An Introduction

The winter of 2018 saw our first annual six week program for children in our local schools. Since then this program has become an integral part of our club’s mission to share knowledge of model railroading and giving back to the community utilizing STEM. The program was held using a classroom at the Chicago Park District’s Clarendon Park Community Center and the train layout room.

We taught how mathematics, engineering, and other sciences play a role in the everyday operations of railroads and public transit.

Proud Corporate Sponsor: Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway
Proud Corporate Sponsor: Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway

Youth program participant and their train buddy

Our Jr. Railfans Learned a lot in 6 Weeks

Each session featured a lecture with interactive activities, snacks, and ended with activities in the train layout room incorporating the learnings from earlier.

Topics included the following:

  • Layout Design/Electricity and Electronics - Students tour of the train layout room.
  • Engineering/Bridge Building - Student scavenger hunt for various bridge designs.
  • Motive Power - Students learned about engineering design that goes into locomotives: Diesel, Steam, and Electric.
  • Signal Lighting/Traffic Management - Students control local switching and help plan moves and use proper horn / bell / whistle usage.
  • Classification Yards/Logistics and Routing - Students control local switching; members supervise and help plan moves.
Youth Program in classroom

Field Trip

We ended our community youth outreach program with a special field trip to The Museum of Science and Industry. Students got a behind the scenes tour of their train layout display.

We are happy to help share knowledge of railroads and model railroading for future generations. We look forward to another great class!

Youth Promgram and Museum of Science and Industry

Awards and Sponsor

Our 2018 program was nominated for and won the Chicago Park District Foundation’s Connecting Communities Award. We were very proud and honored to have been recognized among nominations from across the city.

Special thanks to our 2019 - 2020 sponsor, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway


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