Little Trains – Big Fun

McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park’s newest attraction is the 10,000 square foot model railroad building that houses four model railroad clubs, three layouts and a variety of exhibits and hands-on amenities. The LEED-Gold building was designed to weave contemporary architecture into a long and low structure that recalls the style of 19th century train sheds. From the building’s lobby, you can see at least eight scales of trains, from the smallest Z-scale to the full-sized Roald Amundsen Presidential Pullman Car.

A few interesting facts about the building:

  • Throughout the building, orange hands are incorporated into the layouts that when touched by a visitor, cause different items on the layouts to move.
  • Each club has 1,280 square feet of exhibit space that is viewable on all four sides. This creates over 450 feet of up close viewing.
  • The building is unique in that the built-in ramps allow small children and people in wheelchairs to view the layouts without a step or lift.
  • Two large video screens show a wide range of train related videos. Future plans are for cameras located in the club locomotives to project video on the screens.
  • The building has over 25,000 feet of electrical conduit either underground or on the roof.
  • In addition to exhibit space, each club has approximately 270 square feet of club workroom space.

McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park – Model Railroad Exhibit Building was the winner of the 2012 Scottsdale Environmental Design Award (SEDA) because it is aesthetically expressive, and a variety of sustainable technologies were incorporated into the design.

Scottsdale Model Railroad Historical Society

The Scottsdale Model Railroad Historical Society began in 1968; members have been meeting at McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park for 35 years. The club’s layout features two railroads. The Paradise & Pacific recreates standard gauge trains in HO-scale, and the Uncompahgre & San Juan which recreates a narrow gauge railroad in HOn3 scale. This model club is building a snapshot of Arizona railroading since the mid-1960’s. As the layout develops over time, you will see the towns and rail yards that represent real communities from Flagstaff to Safford, including a major switchyard in Phoenix. The narrow gauge railroad runs between the historic mining communities of Jerome and Ash Fork, and passes through Flagstaff.
Please visit Scottsdale Model Railroad Historical Society for more club information.

Paradise & Pacific Railroad Club

The Paradise & Pacific Railroad Club was founded in 1975 and has operated at McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park since it began. It was originally called a “Tinplate” club after early toy trains that were made of inexpensive, lightweight steel plated with tin. Club members regularly bring in and run trains from their personal collections as well. Some engines are powered using traditional electric controls while others are truly 21st century: they’re digital with wireless remote control devices that allows the “engineers” to move trains in different directions, speed up or slow down, uncouple cars and blow whistles at will. Don’t miss an opportunity to help operate the trains when a member hands you a controller!
Please visit Paradise & Pacific Railroad Club for more club information.

Sun-N-Sand Model Railroad Club

The Sun-N-Sand Model Railroad Club was founded in 1973 and moved to Scottsdale’s McCormick Railroad Park five years later. Club members are passionate about creating unique environments for their miniature N-scale trains. This layout uses N-gauge track and, in some areas, a special modular system called N-Trak. Individual N-Trak units are built using common specifications for the location of the tracks. The Sun-N-Sand model railroad invites close inspection: look hard and see if you can find any of the teeny-tiny, fun and comical details that are tucked in among the trees, around buildings and on the trains themselves. On the new layout, Arizona’s Famous “5 C’s” (cattle, cotton, copper, citrus and climate and maybe some extra “C’s” too) are featured. You may also want to look for the club’s custom-made cars. One is a Southern Pacific car (#592002) with the club’s logo and the words Arizona Copper marked on the hoods. The other is a set of six painted boxcars that celebrates Route 66 with a bright red highway map running from Chicago to Santa Monica, California.
Please visit for more club information.

Z Guys Model Railroad Club

The Z Guys Model Railroad Club was founded in 2018. Because the scale of these trains are so tiny, the club’s layout is less than 50 square feet! The display is comprised of multiple levels to increase modeling space. Currently, the lower level is the Island of Sodor with Thomas and Friends trains. Members used commercially available Z locomotives, which were modified by taking off the outer shell and replacing it with hallowed out mini Thomas trains. They fit perfectly, and solved the problem of no commercially available Z scale Thomas trains. The upper level features Z Bend Standard modules which can be exchanged with any other Z Bend module, so the layout will easily showcase different scenes, and also be compatible with other Z clubs around the world who build to Z Bend standards. The first module is Fort McCain Army base featuring an retractable helicopter pad, along with tanks, airfield, and army trains.
Club members have a fun time creating unique items, such as Harold the Helicopter who flies around the layout. Sir Topham Hatt and Percy the diesel engine have speaking parts when hand activated. And, a very fanciful helix mounted to an elevator takes one of the trains between levels.
Please visit Z Guys for more club information.

Scottsdale Live Steamers

The Scottsdale Live Steamers have been a staple at McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park since the park’s inception in 1975. Located next to the Model Railroad Building, the Scottsdale Live Steamers Club provide rides on a renovated track through the gorgeous two acre desert arboretum and features a covered loading platform, top-of-the-line storage and work facility, as well as an air conditioned club room in the model railroad building. With three tracks totaling more than 3,500 feet in length, the club provides rides on 1½ to 1 foot scale equipment on the first weekend of each month October through May.
Please visit Scottsdale Live Steamers for more club information.