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Information on the Nauset Model Railroad Club

Relocating to a new part of the country is often stress-inducing because you're packing up your life and starting all over again. You'll likely have to leave friends and family behind, and even if you're only purchasing a summer home where you'll spend a few months per year, there will be an adjustment.

For many, that adjustment involves finding new hobbies or identifying locals in your new town who share your interests.

If model railroads are a significant part of your life, the Nauset Model Railroad Club could be worth looking into when moving to Cape Cod. This association's headquarters enjoy a prime location on the Old King's Highway in downtown Orleans and present Cape Cod residents with the opportunity to meet with like-minded individuals while learning more about this popular hobby.

Here's what you should know about the Nauset Model Railroad Club in Orleans, Massachusetts.

A History of the Club

The Nauset Model Railroad Club got its start in December 1989 when a group of model train enthusiasts began getting together to explore their common interests. The effort was led by Max Sarazin, who is recognized as starting the club in Orleans.

The organization has evolved from those early days and now has over 85 active members. Most club members get together on Friday evenings to build models, watch videos, participate in clinics, or work on railroad layouts. There's also a business meeting on the first Friday of every month where members will go over the financials.

There are seasonal open house events at the Nauset Model Railroad Club, too, where members can invite friends and family members to have a look at what they've been working on. These events are usually open to the public, providing the chance for interested people to get an up-close look at these model railways.

Overall, the club wishes to grow the hobby for the next generation, a job members take seriously on Cape Cod.

John Pryke's Union Freight

The crown jewel at the Nauset Model Railroad Club is Union Freight, a layout created by internationally-known railroader and author John Pryke. Pryke was a club member until he died in 2013 and had over 70 years of experience working on model railroads. He was also published in numerous trade magazines, and his Union Freight layout was perhaps his best-known work.

In fact, model railroad buffs from all over the country know about Union Freight, making the Orleans meetinghouse popular with visitors.

The inspiration for Union Freight was a section of Boston's busy waterfront between Atlantic Avenue and Commercial Street, and Pryke's layout captures it beautifully.

It's an incredibly complex design with elaborate track work and intricate street details, making it a work of art that is a standard-setter for many model railroad enthusiasts.

Pryke arranged for Union Freight and other layouts he created to be given to the club when he died. Today, these layouts remain at the clubhouse, and their presence is one reason why the Nauset Model Railroad Club is well-known throughout New England.

Becoming a Member

Memberships are available to the general public, so you don't have to worry about being left out after buying a home on Cape Cod. However, you have to be at least 18 years old, and membership dues are $80 per year.

Once you're a club member, you can attend all of its events, visit regional hobby shows with the group, or borrow from the club's extensive library. The club will often organize transportation to these shows, making it easy to attend. 

Members also work together on some layouts, providing tips and advice to each other throughout the process.

For many, having the opportunity to meet like-minded people on Cape Cod while receiving their assistance on layouts is reason enough to give the club a shot.

Fitting Into Your New Community

Organizations like the Nauset Model Railroad Club make it far easier for anyone relocating to Cape Cod to find friends and continue the hobbies they had in their former homes. They also provide the opportunity to take up new hobbies as you get used to your new surroundings.

Cape Cod is full of wonderful ways to spend your days once you buy a home in the area, and the Nauset Model Railroad Club is just another element that makes the Cape such a special place for its residents.

Published September 30, 2021 in Get to Know Cape Cod, Exploring Our Area