Model Railways – Garfield-Clarendon Model Railroad Club

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The Garfield-Clarendon Model Railroad Club

The Garfield-Clarendon Model Railroad Club is currently housed in the Clarendon Park Community Center of the Chicago Park District. The Club occupies a 1300-square foot room at the Center, most of which is taken up by the Club’s Garfield Central Railroad, a fictitious Appalachian coal-hauler modeled in HO scale and loosely set during the latter part of the 20th century.


The Garfield-Clarendon Model Railroad Club, Inc. is registered by the State of Illinois as a non-profit corporation whose goals are:

A. To provide members with the opportunity for model railroad building and operations.

B. To provide members with aide and instruction in model railroad building.

C. To provide education to our members, school children and the general public in the historical significance of railroads in the development of our country through the display and operation of railroad models.

D. To research, compile, and preserve through models, photos and artifacts a historical record of railroading for the benefit of our members and the general public.

E. To develop through research and experiments new or improved ways of building and operating model railroads.

F. To disseminate the results of research, experiments and their practical application to model railroaders.


The current Garfield Central is the fifth railroad built by the Garfield-Clarendon Model Railroad Club since its founding in 1947. Three layouts were built in the Garfield Park Fieldhouse before the Chicago Park District moved the Club to Clarendon Park in 1963–hence the name Garfield-Clarendon. The fourth layout, housed in another part of the Clarendon Park building, was scrapped when the fieldhouse was remodeled in 1972-1973. The current Garfield Central, begun in 1974, is among the nation’s largest model railroads.



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