A Brief History of The Ramapo Valley Railroad Club

In 1962, six individuals with a common interest in railroads living in the Bergen and Rockland County area banded together to share their interest, find others sharing their interest, and promote an interest in railroading to others as well.  In addition to visiting places of historical significance to railroading and riding trains, they expressed their interest in railroading through building an HO scale model railroad.   The club worked with the Interstate Shopping Plaza in Ramsey at Route 17 and Franklin Turnpike to fix up an underutilized building to use as a club house and a place to build a model railroad layout.  By the end of 1963 the club had an operational model railroad, their membership had more than doubled to 15, and held its first annual Holiday Show between Thanksgiving and Christmas as a means of promoting their interest in railroading to others not familiar with the hobby.

In 1994, the Interstate Shopping Center had changed ownership and was starting a major redevelopment, which included the removal of the building in which the club was located.  At that time the club initiated a search for a new home.  The Ho-Ho-Kus VFW was looking for a quiet tenant.  The Ramapo Valley Club and the VFW agreed to a lease agreement in October of 1994.

The name “Ramapo Valley” was chosen, as it was a central geographic feature in Northwest Bergen and Northwest Rockland County; where most of the members lived.  Without a railroad in the Ramapo Valley, it gave the club the ability to freelance their model railroad without being tied to the practices of any specific prototype or specific locations.

The design and construction of a new layout was initiated immediately.  The layout consisted of a double track loop, which was representative of any major long haul railroad.  The club’s Ramapo Valley Railroad was conceived of as being a connecting, single-track short-line railroad with passing sidings and grades.

Once operational, we resumed our tradition of Annual Holiday Shows between Thanksgiving and Christmas, which typically hosts over 1000 guests.  In addition we initiated holding special open house sessions for local youth organizations like the Ho-Ho-Kus Tiger Cubs and Wyckoff Cub Scouts for educational purposes.  We are also certified with Operation Lifesaver.

In October 2017 the RVRR lost its lease and vacated the Ho-Ho-Kus VFW Hall.  In September 2019 the Club found a new home thanks to the The Allendale Community for Senior Living.  The Club is in the process of planning and building a new layout.




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