ZINIO logo
45 Years on the MR&T

45 Years on the MR&T

45 Years on the MR&T
Add to favorites

Featuring the work of Model Railroader staff, past and present, including David Popp, Cody Grivno, Steve Otte, Dana Kawala, and Eric White, this special issue provides decades of projects, tips, and even the original track plan.

Read More
United States
Kalmbach Publishing Co. - Magazines

in this issue

2 min.
a model railroad like no other

Forty-five years ago, Kalmbach’s Executive Committee approved construction of an employee-built HO scale club layout, the Milwaukee, Racine & Troy. (The name is an inside joke; the initials MR&T stand for the company’s flagship magazines, Model Railroader and Trains.) The model railroad has had dual purposes: first, to act as an employee club activity, and, second, to be a resource for Model Railroader itself. As you’ll discover in these pages, the “Myrt” is really two railroads. The original was located in Kalmbach’s downtown Milwaukee headquarters. Construction of the current 28 x 54-foot layout began shortly after the company’s 1989 move to the Milwaukee suburb of Waukesha. But, old or new, the MR&T was a layout like no other. As a testbed for new techniques and products, the MR&T has generated many how-to…

27 min.
the original milwaukee, racine & troy

The original Milwaukee, Racine & Troy (MR&T), located on the third floor of Kalmbach Publishing Co.’s former headquarters at 1027 North 7th Street in downtown Milwaukee, started in rather unassuming fashion. No fanfare. No ribbon-cutting ceremony. Just a short memo dated November 13, 1975, with the subject line “Kalmbach Model Railroad Club.” It read, “A club charter and budget have been approved by the Executive Committee. The space on the 3rd floor will probably be ready sometime in January, so it’s not too early for us to get going on some of the preliminaries. A short kickoff meeting will be held Monday, November 17th at 12:15 p.m. in the conference room on the 6th floor. If you are interested in being a member of this club, please try to attend.” But over…

5 min.
feelin’ the blues

As the 1970s were drawing to a close, the Milwaukee, Racine & Troy (MR&T) was starting to take shape. The track was in place and the scenery was being roughed in on the layout. Now it was time to start thinking about locomotives, freight cars, and cabooses. Alan Cerny, an illustrator in Kalmbach Publishing Co.’s art department from 1975 to 1978, designed the MR&T herald. With a graphic identity established, the next step was to select a paint scheme. As you might expect in a club setting, there were plenty of opinions. “Some of the guys wanted to adopt a fancy, multicolor paint scheme,” former Model Railroader senior editor Jim Hediger said in a 2020 interview. “Company librarian George Drury and I convinced them to go with the solid blue scheme,…

25 min.
new era for the mr&t

When Kalmbach Publishing Co. moved from Milwaukee to the western suburb of Waukesha in 1989, the Milwaukee, Racine & Troy had a blank slate. The ink-stained concrete floor; large, drafty windows; and sun-faded scenery were in the past. “Our new layout room is a beautiful place, an open, rectangular space with a tile floor, drop ceiling, central air conditioning, and its own lab-size sink,” Andy Sperandeo wrote in the December 1989 Model Railroader. “The new railroad will have a better traffic pattern for entertaining visitors. Guests will be able to see the port and city scene through the hallway windows even before they enter the room. Coming in through the lower doorway, the first thing they’ll see will be the ‘roundhouse’ scene with its collection of motive power.” Much of the…

4 min.
legacy of a kitbashing pioneer

“Rules are made to be – you guessed it – broken,” wrote Art Curren in the June 1980 Model Railroader. The first rule that Art suggested we all break was following a kit manufacturer’s instructions to build only the model shown on the front of the box. In that article, titled “Chrisville Mill,” Art described how he transformed a Con-Cor HO scale courthouse into the three-story mill. He also introduced many model railroaders to the concept of kitbashing, where he would combine and modify structure kits to create one-of-a-kind models. A creative whirlwind Art is best-best known to long-time readers of MR as a prolific author. He wrote dozens of articles, mainly on model building and scenery techniques, for Model Railroader and other hobby publications. He also wrote two books for Kalmbach…

15 min.
operating night on the mr&t

The Milwaukee, Racine & Troy RR is the HO layout of the Kalmbach Employees Model Railroad Club. It is supported by Model Railroader magazine’s publisher, Kalmbach Publishing Co., for the benefit of those of us who work here and as a resource for our magazine. The MR&T (“the Myrt,” we like to say) has been under construction for more than eight years, but mainly during lunch hours, so it’s still a long way from finished. For the past couple of years, though, the railroad has been far enough along so that we’ve been holding regular operating sessions while the construction continues. Operating the MR&T, running trains over it as if they were really carrying freight and a few people, is what I’m here to tell you about, but first you’ll want…