The Puget Sound Model Railroad Engineers (PSMRE) is a model railroad club located in the Washington State History Museum located in downtown Tacoma, WA. Built as a museum exhibit, their layout also provides a challenging operations environment, as it represents the Tacoma area in the 1950’s. Largely focused on the Northern Pacific’s operations, they operate trains from the Great Northern, Milwaukee Road and Union Pacific. This layout tour gets behind the scenes of this large layout in a working museum in downtown Tacoma, how it has transformed over the years, and how the group organizes themselves and their operations.
The three source videos that make up the bulk of the presentation were filmed and produced by Steve Carter and Marshall Wilson, and can also be viewed on the club’s Facebook page at .
This video was recorded at the May 8, 2021, Zoom session of monthly layout tours held by the fourth division of the Pacific Northwest Region ( of the National Model Railroading Association ( and edited by Burr Stewart. These sessions are held on the second Saturday of each month, and feature two 30 minute virtual layout tours followed by up to 15 minutes of audience Q&A.
The PSMRE model railroad represents Tacoma, WA railroading in the 1950’s. The 20′ by 85′ exhibit area provides a compressed view of local landmarks from Tacoma’s Asarco Tunnel to Stampede Pass, and includes trackage and equipment from the Northern Pacific, Great Northern, Union Pacific and Milwaukee Road railroads. In addition to being a public display, the model is used as an operating forum for PSMRE members.
The exhibit is located on Level 5 of the Washington State History Museum, in Tacoma, WA. It can be viewed during normal museum hours. When no PSMRE operators are in attendance, five trains run automatically at the push of a button. Museum admission is required to view the layout.
Their regularly-scheduled operating sessions occur the first Saturday of every month. The sessions typically run from about 11 am to about 3 pm. During these sessions, club members operate the model using “real railroad methods”, including: a dispatcher, who communicates with the train crews via radio; road crews, who run passenger trains and freight trains according to correct procedures and schedules; and yard crews, who sort and arrange cars into trains. Their goal is to operate the railroad as if it was a typical day in the mid 1950’s.
For more information, visit their website at .