Applying for Membership

Why Become A Member

Membership in a model railroad club like the Garfield-Clarendon Model Railroad Club in Chicago offers many benefits. However, please keep in mind we never require membership to view the layout when we're open or partake in our events.


  • Gain experience to build your own home layout
  • Network with friendly like-minded individuals
  • Run trains on a large layout
  • Help in our mission to make the hobby approachable
  • Have fun!

Who Should Join

Anyone interested in railroads, model railroading, and connecting with others who share a similar passion.

Membership Levels

We have several membership levels tailored to fit everyones' needs. Please contact us or talk to a member in-person to learn more. In general costs are about the price of a coffee or two.

Membership entitles you to operate the layout without constant supervision. Most people dream of layouts our size, this benefit is immense. Members may partake in community fellowship including field trips, weekend operation sessions, and learning presentations.

Running Trains

Membership is required to run trains without supervision. On days when we are not too busy, you might be able to run a train under the supervision of a club member.

Running your own train is subject to club approval. The equipment must meet our standards to run well.


Membership is open to anyone. Whether you're new to the hobby or a seasoned expert, you'll find yourself at home. Members under 18 are considered junior members and must be accompanied by an adult.

You will learn about the entire club as part of membership, read about our apprenticeship progarm.

Equipment Standards

Prospective members must be accompanied by a club member when operating on the layout to ensure safe operations. The club has limited engines and rolling stock available for use. We highly recommend bringing your own equipment to run.

Rolling stock (railcars) must be equipped with steel wheels and metal Kadee style couplers. Locomotives must be DCC enabled.

Club members are happy to assist with any questions about rolling stock, engines and DCC programming. We use NCE DCC cabs. You do not need to bring your own, plenty of club cabs are available for use.


We suggest taking your time to explore our club on work days and an operating session before making the decision to join. Applications can be submitted on meeting days, the first Friday of the month. Once submitted your application is read at the monthly meeting four times, with a vote on the last reading. You need to be present at the meetings for your application to be read. Don't worry about missing a meeting, the four readings do not need to be consecutive.

Unable to attend on Fridays but still very interested in joining? Contact us and we'll let you know about alternative membership levels and an alternative process to join.

Additonal Information

  • No home layout needed. Many members don't have a home layout and most couldn't find room for one of our size either.
  • Passion counts, not experience. Our members come from all walks of life. You need not be an engineer in real life to be a member. All that's needed is a willingness to learn and passion for operating or crafting railroads in miniature HO size.
  • Flexible attendance. Life happens, we understand that. You won't find us tallying off your attendance. Most members stop in for meeting days and operating sessions are very popular.


4501 N. Clarendon Ave.
Chicago, IL 60640
United States of America