Missouri Valley
Model Railroad Club

HO scale train layout
221 West Third Street
Yankton, SD

Missouri Valley Model Railroad Club can trace it’s beginnings back to late September or early October 2000 when Marv Mann from Bloomfield, NE and Evert Fredericks from Viborg, SD started meeting and kicking around the idea of forming a local model railroad club.  As a result of these early meetings, advertisements were ran in the Press and Dakotan seeking other  model railroaders in the area that would be interested in forming a club.


There was enough interest and in January 2001, organizational meetings were held in the Chamber of Commerce and Library meeting rooms.  Two of the first important decisions that needed to be made were the primary scale that the club would model and the type of layout that the club would build.  The club decided to model in HO scale and build a modular layout.  HO scale was picked because it is the most widely modeled scale in the area and modules were selected for portability.


After most of the details were worked out, the club gained access to the old Great Northern Depot at the Dakota Territorial Museum and started building modules and the layout.  The modules are copied after the design used by the Norfolk, Nebraska club so they can be mixed with that clubs modules.  Straight modules are basically 2’ wide by 6’ long and corner modules are 4’ by 4’ with a 2’ X 2’ corner clip.  Since that time the club has developed a few special modules to fit the unique locations where the club has been located.  Club members own the most of the modules and are free to scenic the module anyway they want.  One module is on its 4th owner and each owner has changed the theme of the module to match his particular interest.  The club owns the corner modules so we can always run trains.


In early 2002, the club moved to a heated garage behind Casey’s on 8th Street and then in 2003 the club moved to it’s present location at the corner of Cedar and 3rd in downtown Yankton in the basement of the original JC Penney’s building.  The current layout is 32’ long and 14’ wide with 3’ aisles.  The track plan consists of dual mainlines and would be called in model railroad terms as a “folded dog bone” with a interior area used for assembling and removing trains. A train will travel approximately 100’ before it reaches its starting point.  One of the unique features of the layout is a curved dual mainline bridge that is over 4’ long and spans a 2’ deep river valley.  The idea for this bridge is based on the actual Kate Shelly Bridge over the Des Moines River west of Boone, IA.


In addition to the club layout, one of members, Francis Serr of Yankton, SD, is building a 6’ X 16’ HO layout that features two separate lines.  One line is a simple oval and the other line is a twice around loop which crosses over itself.  This layout features mountains, tunnels, rock climbers and wild life.


The Missouri Valley Model Railroad Club is a non-profit, incorporated organization and is recognized as by both the State of South Dakota and the Federal Government.  Currently there are 11 full time members, 4 associate members and one youth member.  At one time there were approximately 20 full time members, but employment situations have caused some to leave the club.   5 of the 11 full time members and 1 associate member are from the original group that organized the club.  Members come from Yankton, Springfield, Tyndall, Utica, Viborg, SD and Randolph, NE.  The members come from many walks of life and are very diversified and collectively have around 300 years of model railroading experience plus modeling experience several other fields. Several of the current members have model railroads in other scales as well as HO.


MVMRR Club has sponsored several model railroad shows that have drawn model railroad enthusiast and dealers from Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa as well as from South Dakota and Nebraska.  The first shows were held the first weekend in March but due to dealer conflicts with other shows, it was decided to have the shows in the fall.  This helped the club because it made our show one of the first shows of the winter season which tends bring in model railroads who are looking for new items after the summer.  Each show is different, usually there are 2 to 6 operating layouts brought in by other model railroad clubs or private citizens who have a portable layout plus model railroad dealers or railroad memorabilia dealers from several states.  For the past several years, the club has been hosting the fall model railroad show at the 4-H grounds on the first weekend in October 2007.


Club is open every Monday night except holidays from 6:30PM until whenever.  The monthly business meeting is held on the 2nd Monday of the month.  The other weekly meetings are for working on the layouts, running trains, or group discussions.  The public is always welcome to attend any of these meeting.  Currently there are several openings for full time members, youth members, senior members and associate members.  Full time membership allows the entire family to join in the fun of model railroading for a nominal monthly fee.  Youth members must be 14 years old, sponsored by a full time club member and have parental consent.  Associate and senior members are allowed to enjoy local model railroading but have no voting rights.


Interested parties can call Don Hopf (605-664-1628), or Francis Serr (605-665-7064).  If we are not home, please leave a message and one of us will return your call.

History of the RR in Yankton

Milwaukee Road ran in Yankton from1871 to 1980. In 1871, the Milwaukee Road RR came through Yankton on its way from Sioux City IA to Mitchell SD. Freight was the main commodity hauled by this RR, however passenger trains did make regular trips through Yankton.  The original Milwaukee Road Depot still stands today at 8th and Douglas.




Great Northern RR ran to Yankton from 1894 to 1970.  In 1874, the Great Northern RR came to Yankton and shared some of the Chicago North Western tracks from Volin to Yankton. Freight and passengers was the main commodity of this RR. The original depot was located at 2nd and Capitol. After the Great Northern RR closed the route through Yankton, the depot was relocated to 8th and Summit St.

Chicago North Western ran through Yankton from 1885 to 1964. In 1885, The CNW came to Yankton and built their original freight depot at the present day 8th and Walnut.  CNW ran several mixed trains each week from Centerville wye to Yankton. May 1962 resulted in the closing of the line and destruction of the depot was shortly thereafter.

Burlington Northern Santa Fe 1980 to present: BNSF currently runs several trains a week through Yankton. Most of the trains consist of either 100 car grain or ethanol unit trains.

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