Operating Groups

NMRA is the association that helps bring all this together

Our great hobby of model railroading provides the opportunity to allow us to use our vision to be creative, use carpentry skills, electrical skills, model building skills, and develop scenery. Another opportunity that we can benefit from is the friendships and helpful assistance from fellow model train lovers. The NMRA is the association that helps bring all this together. The Piedmont Division has monthly meetings and clinics that provides a place to interact and expand friendships, but we encourage out members to form Operating Groups.

Operating Groups are smaller groups of people (frequently 8-15 people) that help each other with constructing their respective layouts and participating in operating sessions. These smaller groups provide you with the ability to develop closer friends and a camaraderie that generally are not available in the larger group setting. We have listed below Operating Groups in our area.
We encourage you to join or form an operating group; you may find you will enjoy the model railroad hobby more than you do now. This can be with individuals in a close geographical area or just putting out a notice that you want to form a new group. Some of the groups listed below may have a full complement of members; others may be looking for new members.

Intown Atlanta Model Railroaders

The Intown Atlanta Model Railroaders was started in 2008 by Crew Heimer and Tom Gordon to help develop the layouts and operating skills of modellers who actually live ‘Inside The Perimeter’. Our membership is open to all scales, and you don’t have to have a layout to be a member (you just have to wish you did!). We operate, of course, but we also get together to help members build, plan, and in some cases, clean up!

We have 17 full members, two associate members and one we really aren’t sure about.  There are eight operating layouts, two others are under construction, and five are in planning. Meetings are ad-hoc but usually monthly, and membership is open to everyone who lives in or near the City of Atlanta. We have no dues, no officers and almost no discipline. The only requirement is that when a member hosts an operating session, he or she must supply the crowd with a bag of Oreo Double-Stuffed cookies. We don’t really know how this came to be, but them’s the rules. Many of our members’ layouts have been on the Piedmont Pilgrimage.

Contact doug_alexander@bellsouth.net.

Serving the far NE portion of the Piedmont division, the Boomers are a group of modelers who gather for operating sessions several times each quarter. We have layouts (all Digitrax) and members in an area that roughly forms a triangle from Gwinnett County to Athens to Commerce.

We have no formal rules and no dues. It’s not necessary to have a layout to participate, only the desire to come enjoy running trains. Although we try to operate like the prototypes, our operating sessions usually break down into three hours of laughter and ribbing each other. No problem if you don’t have a lot of railroad knowledge–several in our group are former railroad employees and will show new operators the ropes.

If you would like to join us, or would like more information, email John Rieken at jrieken@windstream.net

North Atlanta Metro area
Contact: Chris White 770 594-2618

We are a loosely based group of narrow gauge modelers in Georgia, Tennessee & Alabama. Our infrequent meetings are at members’ homes or other locations of note for narrow gaugers.

Contact: Pat Turner, fecrr@mindspring.com423-453-0468

The  Georgia Garden Railway Society was founded in 1991. Our foremost objective is to have fun with our  hobby. We are family oriented with men and women equally involved in club activities. We welcome everyone who shares our interests; members come from all over Georgia. Meetings are usually held on the  second Saturday of warm weather months at the home of a club member. There is usually a garden layout to see, a group discussion, trains running in the garden, and the joy of visiting with others interested in garden railroading. We welcome guests and new members!

We set up our mobile layout at most area train shows!

Contact: eldecker@windstream.net

Web site:  https://ggrs.info/

This is an all scales group and meets every Wed at 10am, at various locations.  We have about 40 folks on the active roster.  The group started in Jasper at a coffee shop with 2 guys talking trains around summer 2010.  It now includes folks mostly along I-575 from Marietta to Jasper and gets 7 to 25 members every Wed depending on where we meet.

Contact: Phil Stead, trainman07@aol.com

The Joint Railway Association of Georgia (JRAG) is a group of model railroaders dedicated to Prototype Model Railroad Operation. We are a loosely knit Round Robin operating group. We have been meeting almost every Friday evening since 1981 operating one of the layouts in the group. We currently have 8 operating railroads in the schedule. We operate in a professional manner but we also think operation should be FUN!

If you are interested in Model Railroad Operations based on prototype practices, we would be happy to have you join us for a session!

Contact: Norm Stenzel stenzeln@mindspring.com

Website: http://dixierail.com/

Serving the I-85/I-985 corridor, the North County Interchange (NCI) is organized with the goal of operating model railroad layouts. To that end, the 100% NMRA operating group assists its members in building home layouts from start to finish. Our group is comprised of members with diverse model railroading interests, skills and experience. Additionally, the layouts are quite varied in terms of scale, era, railroad, location, size, and proto- and free-lanced design and operation. 

We are friends, first and foremost, and the group is a wonderful source of fellowship, support, and encouragement. There are no formal rules governing the group, although each person must be member of the Piedmont Division and the NMRA. Membership is limited to a maximum of 9 individuals due to space limitations around member layouts.  We meet regularly on Friday evenings operating using a loosely knit round-robin format. The person hosting that evening is in charge of organizing the work or operating session. 

If you are interested or would like more information about the operating group, please contact Mark Reed at mreed@gsu.edu.

This operating group was started by Howard Goodwin to accommodate the model railroaders on the northwest side of Atlanta in an effort to assist those who are building or starting home layouts, to teach the skills it necessitates and to be a source of fellowship, support base and encouragement to those in the group. In the nine years since it’s creation, one of the most important accomplishments has been the fellowship derived from participation in the group. Our group currently numbers 19 and we are a 100% NMRA Club, one of only two in the Division.

Currently there are 18 home layouts in varying stages of completion. Nine of our layouts are currently capable of having operations with a tenth starting by the end of this year. All of the layouts have trains running to some degree, but progress is continual on all the layouts. All the layouts are currently using some form of DCC (Digital Command Control), Digitrax, Lenz and NCE, although the vast majority are using Digitrax DCC. While we were not anticipating adding any new members when there were only eight of us in the group, our numbers have more than doubled since the group was chartered in 2005.

We are dedicated to promoting the hobby of model railroading in addition to our above stated goals and to that end are involved in a project called “Model Railroad Magic” where we construct 4′ X 4′ layouts to display and donate to worthwhile children’s organizations in the Atlanta area.

If you reside in the Cobb, Cherokee and Paulding county area and would like information on our operating group, get in touch!

Contact Howard Goodwin, horn69@bellsouth.net

Website: www.NorthAtlantaRailBarons.com.

S-COG serves modelers living South of I-20. There are no formal rules or requirements for membership.

Contact: David Gelmini 770 707-5019  atcgel@gmail.com