Since 1972, The Rensselaer Model Railroad Society has been constructing and refining an exhibit depicting the Delaware & Hudson and Rutland Railroads. Set in 1950, the layout represents life in Troy, New York and points north in the Hudson and Champlain Valleys. The 1950s were a period of immense change for American railroads and the places they served. The transition from steam to diesel power marked a massive reduction in railroad employment. Growth of automotive culture shifted the center of town away from the tracks and downtowns. The exhibit captures the tail end of the railroad era – a time when railroads were the main movers of people and products and when most institutions were within walking distance of the tracks.
In 2018 the layout was disassembled and moved into storage. A new, larger site for the club has been built. As soon as Covid restrictions are lifted, the club will reassemble the layout sections. The club is open to all students and meets online every Wednesday night.