If you are looking for an active model railroad organization where you can learn about the model train hobby, share your modeling tips, meet other modelers and have fun, we invite you to join the San Diego Division of the National Model Railroad Association.
If you are not a member and would like to join, and attend our next meeting or event, please call Rudy Spano at (858) 761-1424. A list of our 2021 events are here online.
Summer Meet: Saturday, August 14, 2021, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. (PDT). This is our first in-person meet since the pandemic started and is for members only. The Meet details are here.
- Swap Meet and BBQ Lunch.
- Show and Tell: There are several people presenting.
- Layout Tour: Don Fowler's Southern Pacific’s Mojave Division N scale layout.
- Clinic: Hands-on weathering clinic.
More About the San Diego Division
The San Diego Division holds in-person meetings every second Saturday of the month, which include members showcasing their own modeling work, layout tours, and modeling clinics. (A clinic is where one of our members demonstrates techniques or skills needed for modeling, for example, an electronics clinic, how to solder, how to weather rolling stock, understanding decoders, or techniques to improve rolling stock standards.) We have quarterly meetings (which includes a luncheon), an annual swap meet, annual picnic and other activities for our members. The Division newsletter, "The Mail Hook", is published quarterly by email and is sent to our Division members.
The San Diego Division (California, USA) includes the Southern California counties of Imperial and San Diego with a population of over three million, and is one of four divisions in the Pacific Southwest Region (PSR) of the National Model Railroad Association (NMRA). The other PSR Divisions are the Arizona Division, Cajon Division and the Los Angeles Division. Please find links to the National Model Railroad Association membership rates on our website.
San Diego Division Facebook Page, Facebook Group & YouTube Channel
- San Diego Division Facebook Page (Anyone can "Like" this Facebook Page.)
- San Diego Division Facebook Group (Private Facebook Group for our members, new as of April 2020.)
- San Diego Division YouTube Channel (Our YouTube Channel is new as of the Summer of 2020.)
In addition, there are more benefits to joining the National Model Railroad Association than listed above with the complete list of the Benefits of Membership here online. To join the National Model Railroad Association, new members are welcome to take advantage of a discounted nine month introductory membership rate called the Rail Pass. The complete list of Membership Rates and Renewal information is here online.
Model Railroading in San Diego County
Model railroading is also quite active in San Diego County, with multiple model railroad clubs (including the four clubs at the San Diego Model Railroad Museum in Balboa Park), there are many home layouts (of which a number of have active regular operating sessions), a very active Garden Railway Society, three model train stores, and several other general hobby stores that have model railroading supplies.
About the National Model Railroad Association
The National Model Railroad Association, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) not for profit educational organization that advances the global scale model railroading community through education, advocacy, standards, and social interaction. The NMRA is a three-tiered organization. The National Organization is sub-divided into Regions (18 worldwide), and those Regions are in turn sub-divided into Divisions. It is at the Division level that interactions take place between an individual member and the entire NMRA organization.
What's in a Name?
The National Model Railroad Association (NMRA) has named all the local NMRA groups, "Divisions". While it is tempting to call our NMRA group in San Diego, a model railroad club, or just the club, that terminology doesn't quite fit. The reason is, a model railroad club is an organization where the club members own a permanent model train layout, usually in a rented or owned public business-type building. NMRA local Divisions do not own permanent layouts. NMRA Divisions hold monthly meetings and events. It is our members who typically own their own private model railroad layouts. We hope this explains why the San Diego Division is referred to as a Division and not a model railroad club (or the club)!
Please note: The San Diego Division does not have a physical office. Each month, we meet at various locations throughout San Diego County. With the exception of during a pandemic, we hold virtual meetings. All photos on our website credit: The San Diego Division, National Model Railroad Association.