THE FREDERICK COUNTY SOCIETY OF MODEL ENGINEERS delivers the exciting sights and sounds of big-time railroading inside an unusual 70-foot, six-door Chesapeake & Ohio horse car. Located at the rear of 423 East Patrick Street, in downtown Frederick, Maryland. Children, grandparents, and everybody in between, thrill as the HO scale standard-gauge and HOn3 narrow-gauge trains cross bridges, pass over tall hills, dive into deep tunnels, creep into towns, and fly by on lengthy mainline tracks. Standard-gauge freights work in and out of the large yards while tiny narrow-gauge puffers drag cars up through mountainous terrain.
F.C.S.M.E. was founded in March 1966 by four enthusiastic hobbyists: Frank Shankle, Warren McClure, John Peteri, and Jack Miller. The club remains active with a membership of approximately 20 modelers. Earliest meetings of the club were held in a Methodist church in Frederick and at member's homes. The tradition of meeting monthly in a member's home continues today.
In 1968, the members started work on a layout in a rented shed near the intersection of Crum Road and Frederick Street in Walkersville, Maryland. Work at that location lasted only one year and the Club moved back into Frederick, meeting at the home of Frank Shankle.
F.C.S.M.E. purchased its unique six-door horse car in 1972, moving it to its present Patrick Street location that same year. Past president, John Hedges was instrumental in planning the club's acquisition of the car.
The blue, gray and yellow car sits on land made available by Mr. and Mrs. F. Russell Young of Frederick. The 75 pound lightweight H&F trolley rail originally under the car was laid by Tony Wagner. This rail was later (after about 20 years) donated to Mr. Don Easterday of Myersville, Maryland to use with his restored H&F trolley car. Work began immediately on a 56-foot layout in the car. It continues today as the club's Catoctin Central RR, which grows with the passage of time. F.C.S.M.E. members believe their C&O car is the last surviving example of a six-door model. Currently the car sits on B&O rail approximately 100 ft. from its original location. It was moved by the city of Frederick in 1995 as part of the Carroll Creek flood control project.
The car last hauled revenue for the C&O between Chicago and Cincinnati; the special car was designed to transport thoroughbred racehorses around the country. The car is maintained in prototype condition through volunteer labor of the club members and with help from public donations at open houses.
The club layout has been revised several times. Originally only standard gauge, HOn3 was added in the late 1970s. A G scale layout was added adjacent to the car in 2000, as many of the club members are becoming active in garden railroading. It is operated at open houses weather permitting.
The group meets every Wednesday night, year round. The first Wednesday night of each month is a business meeting at a member's home. The second and fourth Wednesdays bring members to the car for layout improvements and the third Wednesday is operating night. Members bring their own equipment for the operating sessions. All meetings start at 7:30 P.M. Membership is open to hobbyists of all ages. Current members enjoy all scales from N to prototype.
More information : Articles from the C&O Historical Society containing information about the car.
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Page Update 09/16/08tf