Railroading Merit Badge Program
Next workshop: TBA
You will need to bring pen/pencil and paper, and review the Merit Badge Handbook (see below) ahead of time!
The Houston Railroad Museum offers a
one-day workshop in support of the Boy Scout Railroading Merit Badge
information or to schedule a
workshop, contact Al Dykes by telephone at
281-575-2813 (days) or 281-367-7019 (evenings).
The Railroading Merit Badge is offered
as a one-day workshop, taking place at the Houston Railroad Museum
starting at 9:00 a.m. Click here for
directions to the museum. The cost is $10.00 per Scout to cover
materials, snacks, and lunch. The workshop should be over by 5:00
merit badge workshops are scheduled
as demand arises. The minimum group size is five scouts, ten to fifteen
scouts is a preferred size. Larger groups of up to fifty can be
accommodated by special arrangement.
work will be required in order to complete the requirements in one day.
It is very helpful if the 2003 edition of the Railroading Merit Badge
pamphlet is studied carefully before participating in the workshop.
Please read the Merit Badge Requirements (listed below) carefully,
especially the last section, Requirement 8.
The nature of
Requirement 8: a. Model
Railroading means that a plan, model, report, etc. will have to be
completed ahead of time. The nature of Requirement 8: b. Railfanning
that these assignments will have to be done ahead of time with reports
documentation brought to the workshop. If this is not done, we will
able to award a partial completion.
This is a full day program that runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Please bring a merit badge card signed by
your scoutmaster. Also, participants should bring paper and writing utensils to the workshop.
Volunteers from the
museum will teach the
rest of the requirements. We have instructors familiar with full size
railroading. We have a large operating model railroad, plus a good
vintage rolling stock and an extensive video library. We should be able
start up one of our diesel locomotives (although not run it!) and blow
The scouts will have a hands-on opportunity
to build a short section of display track learning basic scenery
techniques. We also plan to have a “Timesaver” layout available for
boys to try
their hands at delivering frieght cars to their proper locations in the
shortest time. More details on the “Timesaver” are in the Railroading
Class "A" uniform required.
Railroad Museum President Al
Dykes served as an Assistant Scoutmaster with Troop 89 in The
Woodlands; his son is a 2001 Eagle Scout from Troop 89.
Houston Railroad Museum Past President Shawn
Sanders is a 1985 Eagle Scout
from Troop 283 in Houston. He is currently the Charter Organization
Representative for Ship 88 at Christ the King Episcopal Church in
1. Do THREE of the following:
Name three types of modern freight trains. Explain why unit trains are
more efficient than mixed freight trains.
2. Do the following:
b. Name one class
regional railroad or I. Explain what major cities it serves, the
locations of major terminals, service facilities and crew change
points, and the major commodities it carries.
c. Using models or
pictures identify 10 types of freight or passenger cars. Explain the
purpose of each type of car.
d. Explain how real
electric and diesel locomotives develop power. Explain the terms
dynamic brakes and radial steering trucks.
Explain the purpose and formation of Amtrak. Explain; by the use of a
timetable a plan for making a trip by rail between two cities at least
500 miles apart. List the times of departure and of arrival at your
destination, the train number and name, and the service you want.
3. Do ONE of the
b. List and explain the
various forms of public transport /mass transit using rail.
Name four departments of a railroad company. Describe what each
4. Explain the purpose of
Operation Lifesaver and its mission.
b. Tell about the
opportunity in railroading that interests you most and why.
c. Name four rail
support industries. Describe the function of each one.
d. With your parent’s
and counselor’s approval, interview someone employed in the railroad
industry. Learn whet that person does and how that person became
interested in railroading. Find out what type of schooling and training
are required for this position.
5. Do THREE of the following:
List five safety precautions that help make trains safer for workers
6. Explain the appearance and
meaning of the following warning signs and devices: advance warning
sign, pavement markings, crossbucks, flashing red lights, crossing
b. Explain to your merit
badge counselor why railroad rights-of-way are important for safety.
c. List 10 safety tips
to remember when you are near a railroad track (either on the ground or
on station platform) or aboard a train.
d. Tell your counselor
about the guidelines for conduct that should be followed when you are
near or on railroad property. Explain the danger of trespassing on
e. Tell what an
automobile driver can do to safely operate a car at grade crossings,
and list three things an automobile driver should never do at a grade
f. Tell how to report a
malfunction of grade crossing warning devices.
g. List safety
precautions a pedestrian should follow at a public crossing.
7. Do EACH of the following:
Explain how railroad signals operate and show two basic signal types
using color or configuration.
8. Select ONE of the
special interest areas and complete the requirements.
b. Explain the meaning
of three horn signals
c. Describe a way to
signal a train for an emergency stop
d. Explain the use and
function of the EOTD (end-of-train-device) or FRED
(flashing-rear-end-device), used on the last car of most trains.
With your parent’s and counselor’s
approval, do TWO of the following:
Draw to scale the layout of your own model railroad or one that could
be built in your home. Have point-to- point or loop with different
routings. Include a turnaround or terminal or yard or siding.
With your parent’s and counselor’s
approval, do TWO of the following:
2) Build one model
railroad car kit or one locomotive kit.
3) Name the scale of
four popular model railroad gauges. Identify the scale of four model
cars or locomotives.
4) Locate the Web site
of four model related-related manufacturers or magazine publishers.
Print information on their products and services and discuss the
information with your counselor.
5) Build one railroad
structure (from scratch or using a kit), paint and weather the
structure, mount it on your layout or diorama, and make the surrounding
area on the diorama scenic.
6) Alone or with others,
build a model railroad or modular layout including ballast and scenery.
Make electrical connections and operate a train. Describe what you
7) Participate in a
switching contest on a timesaver layout and record your time.
Visit a railroad museum, historical display, or a prototype
railroad-sponsored public event. With permission, photograph,
videotape, or sketch items of interest. Explain what you saw and
describe your photos, sketches, or video tape
2) Purchase tickets and
ride a scenic or historic railroad. Under supervision, photograph the
equipment and discuss with your counselor the historic significance of
3) Locate the Web site
of four rail historical groups; then find information on the history of
the rail preservation operations and the purpose of each group. Talk
with a member of one of the groups and find out how you might help.
4) Plan a rail trip by
rail between two points. Obtain a schedule and explain when the train
should arrive at two intermediate points. Purchase the tickets and make
the trip. Explain to your counselor what you saw.
Source: BSA Railroading Merit Badge
Pamphlet; 2005 Printing, 2003 Edition
Click here to
download a PDF version of the requirements.