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  Updated: May 07, 2022 
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Joining the East Bay Model Engineers Society

The members of the East Bay Model Engineers Society (EBMES) build and maintain the layouts located in the Museum building. All EBMES members are also members of the Golden State Model Railroad Museum (GSMRM).

We offer a Free Trial Membership with one of the three scales (HO, N, O) for those interested in full membership. It is a time to get to know each other and see if there is a mutual fit. This period can last for up to 6 months until a decision is made whether to apply for full membership. It can be terminated at any time if proven to be unsatisfactory. Regular participation is important during this timeframe - we need enthusiastic members who want to contribute to the club's and scales' activities.

Dues for Full Membership are currently $240 per year for Senior Members (over 18) and Families (up to 2 adults and 4 children under 18 living in the same household). This includes dues for a GSMRM voting membership with the privileges noted above and full access to our facility including key to the building. Come down any time to run your trains or work on the layout !

A reduced-dues Associate Membership is offered for those who belong to other model railroad clubs - $120/year with reduced access privileges. This membership includes the GSMRM membership with privileges as described above.

The best way to learn more about EBMES is to send an email to the Trainmaster of the scale of your interest and we’ll set a time for you to come tour the layout. Saturday’s are often best, but some daytime hours during the week can also be arranged. We have need for people of all levels of skill, from absolute beginners to experienced modelers.

For more details on membership in a specific scale


Why you should join a club, and specifically our club

There are several great reasons to join a club.

Sharing the fun:

No one can relate to your love for trains the way other modelers can. Have you ever tried to explain to someone with no interest in trains just why the model you purchased, or better yet built, is so special? At most you get a "that's nice". Fellow modelers appreciate trains as much as you do. Enjoy the camaraderie of our members as they pursue their passion for both model and prototype railroading. We have a good bunch of diverse people - come meet us !


Perhaps you already know everything there is to know about building models, wiring a layout, making scenery, etc. But if you don't, there's no better way to learn than to work side-by-side with someone who does.

We have people of all skills in our club, including people who can build things you wouldn't believe possible. For example, want to learn how to build a turnout from scratch? We have members who do that and for situations not available commercially - like non-standard curved turnouts, crossovers, slip-switches. N-scale is currently building dual gauge turnouts -- try to find that in a hobby store. The fact that turnouts cost $1 to build versus the amount you pay for one in a store might be important to you as well.


As we all know, model railroading isn't the least expensive hobby around. When you design that monster home layout with 55 turnouts you may not realize how expensive that can be. Conservatively, the turnout is $10, the motor is $10, and the electronics, wire, etc to control it is another $5. So each turnout is roughly $25 at a minimum. And you want 50 of them?

We have 50 of them. In fact, we have many times more than that. We build our turnouts and buy electrical components in quantity. Our people know how to build sophisticated control systems for state-of-the-art model railroading. And all of that is paid for by the regular dues. So, for the cost of your yearly dues you can have maybe 6 turnouts at home, or access to pretty much anything you could ever want.

Any money over the dues that you want to devote to the hobby you can devote to getting the rolling stock that you particularly like. You don't have to spend money on lumber, paint, lighting, track, scenery, power supplies, etc.

Do the things you want to do:

Modelers often like one particular aspect of the hobby but aren't so interested in doing other things. Maybe you like detailing locomotives, but you don't like mixing plaster? At a club, you can focus on what you like to do, and the other stuff gets done by other members. Your detailed loco will look a whole lot better running through realistic mountains than it will on the infamous "plywood plains" of someone who doesn't like building scenery.

Sharing the maintenance:

Any hobby requires a certain amount of maintenance, e.g. track cleaning is the bane of many model railroaders. Many hobbyists find that keeping up with the layout they've built at home can be quite a chore. It's much less of a chore if you share the maintenance with a large number of other people. Plus a club can afford some things that you might not be able to as an individual. For example, we don't have just one track cleaning car, we have whole strings of them.

The sheer size of the club layout

Tired of having your train go around your home layout in 3 minutes? Try our HO-scale layout. It will take you a full 90 minutes to go out and back, without ever retracing your route. You can run trains of realistic sizes -- 30 or even 50 boxcars if you want. Passenger trains of 10 or 15 cars that look like they are really going somewhere, because they are. Our layouts are over a dozen scale miles long!

Access to our extensive Library

Need an article from a back issue of a magazine for a modeling project ? We have an extensive collection of most of the various model railroad magazines going back numbers of years. Feel the need for Live Action? Enjoy our large collection of DVD's covering many of the railroads of the US. And our library of out-of-print books continues to grow.


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