East Texas & Gulf RMA
The East Texas and Gulf Rail Modelers Association was originally formed in 2001, and then re-formed in 2012, as a group to promote rail modeling in all scales and to disseminate prototype information on area railroads.
In the years prior to 2001, the local model railroad group was known as the Southeast Texas Chapter of the National Railway Historical. But due to declining membership, seven members reorganize under the name of the East Texas & Gulf Rail Modelers Association to make the group more hobby-oriented while still maintaining an interest in prototype railroads.
The Association maintains a modular HO scale layout which can vary from 12’x20’ to 12’x32’, and which is set up at various hobby shows during the year, including the Longview Train Show, the DeQuincy, LA Railroad Days Festival, the Tyler Train Show, the Galveston Train Show, and the Port Neches Train Show. Model railroad club members from the Golden Triangle area of Texas (Beaumont, Port Arthur, Orange, and its surrounds) have been bringing their modular train layout to the DeQuincy Railroad Days Festival for all but one year since the event began in 1985. The Longview show is the next most-attended show for the group. In mid-2010, four (4) members of the group built a permanent 4’x8’ layout for the DeQuincy Railroad Museum to operate all year long.
The current modular layout is the result of continuous improvement of the original layout over the years with different track arrangements, buildings and scenery. The group’s original modular layout consisted of individual 2’x4’ modules built to adopted standards for main line track placement only, and were owned by the individual members. Each member added track, features and scenery that gave the layout a patchwork appearance, but over time some standardization was achieved. With membership increasing and the original layout becoming shopworn and travel-weary, the group embarked on a redesign and rebuild of the layout in the mid-1990s. New modules were built to maintain the layout size at 12’x20’ so it could continue to be displayed at the DeQuincy depot. With opportunities to go to other shows that have more display area, the group later made some track work changes to the layout and added modules on each long side to expand the dimensions of the layout to 12’x32’.
The original layout and the first rebuild of it operated with DC control on all tracks, but with the advent of Digital Command Control, operations on the layout have been converted to primarily DCC on the two outer main line tracks and yard and primarily DC on the inside main line track and yard. However, all three tracks can be set up for either DCC or DC.
The ET&G maintains a fleet of “club locomotives and freight cars” of various types, mostly from donations by members or through acquisition, but all members are free to bring their own locomotives and rolling stock to run on the layout anytime it is on display. The club cars are used at the various industries and sidings, as well as in the small yard – Depwe Yard – on the DC main line, whereas members primarily stage their personal equipment for operation out of the large yard – Beaumont Yard – on the DCC main lines. The club locomotives are all DC operation, and pull lesser trains or switch Depwe Yard.
The layout is not era-specific or area-specific, and the latest diesel locomotives can be seen running side-by-side with steam locomotives. Cars are always a mixture of what looks best for the locomotive pulling them, and solid trains of coal hoppers and grain hoppers with multiple locomotives can be seen running on the layout. Industries are a variety of types and age that are served by a variety of freight car types. All of the buildings on the original layout have been replaced with new buildings, new industrial areas added, many details have been added and some scenery has been changed. A tunnel was added to a mountain that is part of one of the original layout modules, and a bridge on another original module has been updated.
There are two passenger depots on the layout, Ruliff – named for a community in East Texas on the KCS, and Pairodice – a fictitious town that has a port when the full layout is displayed. Buildings for the town of Ruliff are currently under construction. One novel feature on the layout is a “right angle track” on which a “right angle car” resides next to a dilapidated warehouse, the premise being that the company went out of business because they never could get the car around the corner for shipment of their goods. Another location, Faith Hill, has figures of Faith Hill and Ray Charles in concert.
There is a broad base of abilities in the group that includes operations, layout and building construction, electrical, and building of freight cars and locomotives.
The East Texas & Gulf Rail Modelers Association is guided by a Board of Directors under a set of by-laws updated and approved as part of the 2012 re-formation of the group.
Membership is by invitation, and dues are $40/year. Any persons 18 years and older who are interested in becoming a member are invited to come to the group’s meetings held on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month starting at 6:30pm at the Port Neches Hebert Library, 2025 Merriman Street, Port Neches, Texas.
For additional information about the ET&G, contact Les McMahen at firstname.lastname@example.org or (409) 344-1361.