The Greater Baton Rouge Model Railroaders will host its annual spring open house Friday and Saturday at its facility in Jackson, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the Jackson Assembly and 200th birthday of the town of Jackson.
The club moved to Jackson in 2003 and expanded into a second building in 2010, group spokesman Andrew Martin said.
The added space has enabled the club’s 33 members to build five indoor layouts and two outdoor layouts, including one of only two publicly accessible garden railroads in Louisiana, Martin said.
“The club is unique in that we operate all popular American scales — G, O, HO, N, S and Z,” Martin said. “Most clubs operate only a single scale.”
Martin said the club will demonstrate trains in all scales as well as running live steam.
“When we speak of ‘live steam,’ we’re referring to locomotives that have boilers which are filled with water,” Martin explained. “A fire is lit to boil the water to make the steam, which propels the engine, just as full-sized locomotives were propelled a century ago.”
There is nothing electric about the engines, which is the case with all the other train models at the railroaders’ facility, Martin said.
Several live steam locomotives will be on-site as well as others owned by club members.
“We have a layout specifically dedicated to live steam. No electric trains run on it, and it’ll be operating at the open house,” Martin said. “These engines are not static displays. They travel around a 20-foot-by-50-foot loop pulling trains behind them.”
The trains can run about 15 minutes up to an hour on a single load of water and fuel, generally butane.
“Of course, they emit real live steam from their smokestacks,” Martin said.
The railroaders’ clubhouse, located behind the Republic of West Florida Historical Museum on the grounds of the Old Hickory Railroad, 3406 College St., will be open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.
The open house is free, and the public is invited.