Chicagoland Lionel Railroad Club, Lionel Ambassador and home to 101 local and 35 long distance members is located in New Lenox, IL.
Since acquiring there new
clubhouse in New Lenox, Illinois more than ten years ago they have developed a
strong recognition in the Chicago area through nine monthly open houses hosted
each year and from articles published in local print media and stories
broadcasted on TV. The centerpiece of the open houses and the attraction for
the news media is the main floor club layout – the largest interactive club
layout in the midwest – where Lionel trains are run throughout the day along
with Lionel operating accessories. Also operating during open houses is a
smaller layout on the mezzanine where children under the supervision of club
members can actually run the trains.
July 5, 2015 Chicagoland Lionel Railroad Club HOSTS A SPECIAL OPEN HOUSE FOR LOTS CONVENTION
We have always been interacting with LOTS. Our first convention with LOTS was when we brought our layout to the Lionel 100th anniversary convention in Dearborn, Michigan in 2000. Many great memories were had. Scott Kuntz was the LOTS President at that time. It was a joy to see him again as the LOTS convention came to our CLRC Train House.
After a short introduction all of the LOTS members made their way into our main room to see the layout. On the far wall, they were able to see last year’s enhancement of our 120’ continuous background picture thanks to Tyler Mallory. He took over 100 pictures and put them together without a seam and to scale with the background picture matching our industry and town area.
Our members ran many Lionel trains with more than one on some of the tracks, thanks to Lionel’s TMCC and Legacy systems. Many complements came in from the LOTS guests stating how nice the layout is, the hands on kids layout from the mezzanine level and its view.
September 19, 2015 Chicagoland
Lionel Railroad Club has its first Open House of the Season
We were able to present our summer
projects to the community. We hung sound absorbing panels to keep
reverberation (echo) from contaminating the sound. The key was to have
whatever sound is made, mainly from the trains, but also conversation, be heard
only once and not from wall or ceiling bounce back. It has truly enhanced
our train appreciation.
The lighting tracks are up and will have
the lights attached soon. (More next Open House.)
We had nearly 200 in attendance.
February Open House:
February 20, 2016 brought in some warm
temperatures and many CLRC fans. It is
always enjoyable to see both young and old be amazed at the working of trains
on our three layouts.
Open House – March 19, 2016
Our regulars were in today to view the
Chicagoland Lionel Railroad facility.
Trains were running, accessories were activated, and all were enjoying
One of our main Open House features is
the temporary Dioramas that are set up by our members. Jerry
Girard set up a favorite from his past.
It is Lincoln Log structures with his General Train traveling in the
prairie. Jerry set up his scene in
February, after our Christmas decorations came down. He mentioned that not only does it bring back
many memories, but he also enjoys seeing how our guests and fellow members
enjoy viewing some of his history.
Open House: April 16, 2016
This was the last time that our guests
would be able to see our trains running on the modular layout that we have been
using since 1994. The layout has been to
Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Michigan, Kentucky, Wisconsin and our home state,
Illinois. Before we had our Train House
in New Lenox, IL, we would tote and setup our modular layout monthly, traveling
from restaurants, privately owned buildings, and malls. Fortunately we were able to have dynamic and
successful fund raisers and eventually were able to BUY our Train House in
2004. This was a good thing as our
layout was getting “heavier” to move, we were continually getting older and we
liked having the layout continuously set up for our use. It is bitter sweet seeing our old friend move
on. The good thing is that it is going
to various members for them to begin their layouts.
to an old friend at our April 16, 2016 Open House
This brings the excitement of having a
new layout being built. It is a three
year project. We plan to have trains
running by September 17, 2016 Open House.
The new layout is going to have mountains, rivers, valleys, logging town
and much more. One can view the layout
on our website.
A New Day -
The new CLRC layout began the April 18,
2016 with the redistribution of the modular layout and clearing of the
area. Great things are happening.
future looks bright (as always) for the Chicagoland Lionel Railroad Club with
the new layout!
May 14, 2016 - Railroading
Merit Badge at Chicagoland Lionel Railroad Club:
Over 200 Boy Scouts, Adult Leaders and
Parents came to enjoy a great day for over 120 Boy Scouts to earn the
Railroading Merit Badge. We set up eight
stations to reflect the requirements of the Railroading Merit Badge. Mother Nature threw us a curve with the high
temperatures in the mid fifties (56°).
This is important as half of the merit badge is held outside.
The Railroading Merit Badge covers
Operation Lifesaver where Scouts are taught the rules of respecting trains and
railroad property. It also includes
Railroading Signals, planning a trip planning a trip over 500 miles on Amtrak,
understanding the different management and working positions and much
more. As with all Boy Scout activities,
we start with the Pledge of Allegiance, the Scout Law and Oath.
At registration, each Scout is issued an
information bag which includes Amtrak schedules, the merit badge worksheet,
promotional RR items, and the CLRC RRMB patch. The Scouts verify that they have
the authorization to participate by showing the Scoutmaster signed Merit Badge
Blue Card and are assigned a “train” where they move from one station to
another until they complete going over all of the requirements to earn the
merit badge. The program presents each
requirement to the scouts, reviews the requirement and then tests for the
requirement. The worksheet is signed off
by the leaders (Conductors). At the end,
the Scout presents the worksheet to the Merit Badge Counselor to support the Blue
Card interview. If successful, the Blue
Card is signed and the Boy Scout earns the Railroading Merit Badge. Over 120 Boy Scouts earned the Railroading
Opening Flag Ceremony
Reviewing Railroad Jobs
Engineer Fred from Operation Lifesaver
Engineer Brian presents Operation Lifesaver
Model Train types and scales
Types of trains, the
cars and their uses
Open House June 19, 2016 -
Chicagoland Lionel Railroad Club hosts Train
Display at the Pullman National Monument
Sunday, the National Park service opened the
historic Pullman Clock Tower to the public for the first time since Pullman
became a National Monument.
Chicagoland Lionel Railroad Club was asked to provide trains representing
Pullman Lightweight and Heavyweight cars.
The Club stepped up and a twelve foot by eight foot (12' X 8') layout
was set up.
& O “Capitol Limited is being set up for running
trains on display
The Lionel Baltimore and Ohio "Capitol
Limited" set (lightweight cars) with expansion cars was in operation along
with a set of F3 A-B-A Chesapeake and Ohio heavyweight cars.
Completing the set-up
Kevin Barry testing power
Many visitors observed the layout including a retired Pullman Porter and
a re-enactor portraying George Pullman.
A good time was had by all. A
billboard proudly displayed our Club logo and business cards were taken by many
else have the Ambassador’s been up to? Check out their product review videos on
new and old product below:
View Video Review of Lionel's Shay
(6-28022 West Side Lumber Shay #10)
View Video Review of Lionel's BSA UP ES44AC
(6-28347 Union Pacific Boy Scouts
of America LEGACY ES44AC Diesel #2010)
View Video Review of Lionel's Southern Pacific GS4
(6-11127 Southern Pacific 'Daylight' LEGACY Scale 4-8-4 GS-4 #4436)
View Video Review of Lionel's 611 Norfolk & Western
(6-38095 Norfolk & Western TMCC Scale 4-8-4 J-Class Northern #611))
Boxcars Reviewed by Curt Ward:
First introduced in the 2015 catalog and delivered in
mid-2015, these boxcars are a great addition to the layout.
As the grandchildren started to grow older, their interest
in Thomas and his friends began to wane.
As a result, I went in search of additional items for the layout that
would continue to stimulate their interests. These Super Hero boxcars are a
favorite of both the young and the old, and they have created a renewed
interest in the layout by all.
The boxcars come in a collectible two-pack. The unique boxes
are as nicely detailed as the boxcars. Superman and the Green Lantern are
packaged together and Batman and The Flash are packaged together. The graphics
on all four boxcars are nicely done and my grandchildren recognized who they
The box cars have the standard die-cast sprung trucks with
operating couplers, and the doors on either side of the boxcar open and close.
The boxcars are 10 7 ½ inches long and will operate on a minimum curve of O27.
As a result, these boxcars can be added to any layout, regardless of the size. Best
of all, these boxcars are part of the growing Lionel product line that is made
in the USA.
If you are as excited about the boxcars as I am, then there
is more good news. In the 2016 catalog, Lionel just announced three more
two-packs of Justice League Super Hero boxcars. There will be a Wonder Woman/
Green Arrow two-pack, a Joker/ Lex Luthor two-pack, and a Aquaman/ Martian Man
two-pack. I have already reserved these exciting additions for my layout. We
can’t wait to have more Super Heroes on our layout!
by Curt Ward
If you enjoy railroading with children or
grandchildren as much as I do, then Thomas and his Friends are a must have for
your layout. My grandchildren are all younger than the age of five. They enjoy
Thomas and Friends on the local PBS station each day. The addition of Thomas
and Friends to my layout brings the television show to life. The locomotives of
Sodor Island are a huge hit with the kids and they put a big smile on my face
From left to right: Diesel, Thomas, James, and
Percy. Sir Topham Hat and two of the conductors stand with the trains.
All four locomotives are part of the Lion Chief
series of trains and are controlled by their own dedicated, kid friendly,
remote. The trains have been released at different times over the years;
however Lionel continues to make them available today. Thomas and his Friends
enjoy their own section in the 2016 Ready-To-Run catalog.
Thomas and Diesel are available are part of a set or
by themselves. As a part of the set, Thomas comes with the passenger cars Annie
and Clarabel as well an oval of track. Diesel comes with a hopper car and a
caboose, as well as an oval of track. James and Percy are available
individually. All four locomotives are capable of pulling multiple cars. Each
locomotive has its own distinctive bell and whistle as well as the station
announcement of “all aboard”. The direction of the train is controlled with an
easily rotated knob on the controller face. The trains will run on any powered
track so they can be easily added to any layout. Lionel has a wide variety of
freight cars from Sodor Island available to add to the locomotives. They have
also released a number of Sodor Island Accessories to go with the trains. The
Sir Topham Hat Gateman and the Sodor Shed are two very popular accessories.
With some basic instructions, the grandchildren have
been able to easily learn how to control the trains of Sodor Island. They are
very excited to able to run trains just like Papa. If you enjoy running your trains
with young children or grandchildren like me, then these trains must be part of
March 20, 2016
View Video Review of Lionel’s B&O Engines and C&O Passenger Cars
(6-38563 Baltimore & Ohio LEGACY Scale RF-16 Sharknose A-A Diesels (PWR #855 & DMY #857))
(6-82582 Chesapeake & Ohio 21" Streamlined Passenger Car 4-Pack)
(6-82587 Chesapeake & Ohio 21' Streamlined Passenger Car 2-Pack)
(6-82888 Chesapeake & Ohio 21" Streamlined StationSounds Diner)
View Video Review of Lionel's Hogwarts™ Express Train Set
(7-11020 Harry Potter Hogwarts Express O-Gauge (4-6-0 Conv. LOCO #5972))
Lionel 6-28448 4850TM CSX Trackmobile
Story by Kevin Barry & Pictures
by Herbert Koch
What do you say about a piece of equipment that does the work of a switch engine and then gets up and drives away? That is exactly what a Trackmobile does. This Lionel Trackmobile is very close to being an actual miniaturized clone of real working unit. It was developed shortly after World War II by a recently discharged Navy fighter pilot who was asked to solve the problem of switch engines being trapped at the end of a dead end siding for hours while switching cars into light industrial facilities. This model is so successful that over 10,000 Trackmobiles are in use inside the United States today.
Working strobe lights on the roof make it easy to spot on the layout and electric couplers allow you to complete the spotting or recovery and move to the next assignment. Twin powered axles ensure a smooth and strong motive effort while moving rolling stock. The full cab on this model, the Hercules – full cab, comes with an operator and an interior light. This is the perfect piece of equipment for the Lionel operator who has light manufacturing on their layout.
I recently made a side trip to a small Rail transfer facility that uses a Trackmobile for sorting and switching rail cars and was pleasantly surprised to see how close the Lionel Trackmobile was to the actual unit. The only thing missing from the Lionel Trackmobile is a sound chip that would allow it to sound in a prototypical manner when approaching another engine or workers along the track.
6-38808 Chessie Scale Trackmobile
**The information about the clubs is provided by them and may or may not
be accurate depending on changes in membership, 501c status, etc..
Lionel is sharing their content and not validating it’s accuracy”.