2021 Meets and Events

The San Diego Division holds monthly events every 2nd Saturday at 1 pm. These include quarterly Meets (February, May, August, November) which may include Show & Tell, Contests, Clinics, auctions, swap meets, Bingo for Trains and food. Typically there is a Swap Meet and BBQ at our Summer Meet. On the off months, a Layout Tour open house style, is offered. (For your information, instead of calling our Meetings, "Meetings", we call them "Meets".)

Currently, due to Covid-19 restrictions (the virus name is SARS-CoV-2), the Division is offering virtual events in leu of our regular activities. We will update this web page as each event date approaches. During the pandemic, our Zoom Meets schedule typically has Show & Tell, Layout Tours and Clinics. We are listing all our events as virtual for 2021; however, once it becomes safe for in-person meetings, we will update our website with this information. 

While our Meets and Events are usually for San Diego Division NMRA members, we currently welcome any NMRA member to join our monthly Zoom Meets from any Division, anywhere in the world. For NMRA members, there is no fee to be part of our Zoom Meets. For NMRA members to be added to our Zoom Meet email list, please email publicity and provide your first and last name, Division and Region. (If later, you want to stop receiving these emails, email publicity and ask to be taken off the Zoom Meet email list.)

If you are not a member of the NMRA and would like to join and attend our next Zoom Meet (or attend one or two Zoom Meets for free), please call Rudy Spano (Membership Services) at (858) 279-3166.
 

Upcoming 2021 Meets & Events 

May 8, 2021, Saturday, 1:00 pm - 3 pm (PDT) - Virtual Meet

  • Minieton Railroad & Lumber Co. Show & Tell: To be determined.
    • We would like volunteers to present any type of modeling, tool, or project you have made or are working on, for a 3-5 minute presentation.
    • You can also share pictures of a new piece of rolling stock you've purchased and its features, new buildings, scenery, track, ballast, book(s), electronics, lighting, DCC/Sound, DeadRail, discuss a website, discuss a video, share pictures of running your trains on your layout or a club layout, or show rail fanning pictures that you like.
    • Show & Tell has an almost limitless number of subjects that you can talk about.
    • It is recommended you take pictures of your work or topic, and put these in a file folder to use for your presentation or use Microsoft PowerPoint. 
    • Please email Ryan to be put on the list for Show & Tell.
  • Layout Tour: The layout tour is by Wayne Pierce who will be presenting his fictional Minieton Railroad & Lumber Co. On30 narrow gauge layout. The railroad was originally designed for modeling only, but then through talking with model railroad friends, Wayne changed his layout to be designed for Operations Sessions.
    • Wayne uses DCC/Sound and NCE Power Cabs to control the locomotives.
    • The railroad was started in 1978 and was originally made with HOn3 narrow gauge scale. The HOn3 narrow gauge scale means the rolling stock is HO scale but the width of the wheelsets and track are a narrow gauge, a smaller gauge than HO scale. 
    • The original name of the railroad, in 1978, was going to be the Mini Town Mine Railroad. But when Wayne was painting a sign for the railroad, he misspelled the railroad name and the new spelling became Minieton. Wayne liked the new name and decided to name his railroad the Minieton Railroad & Lumber Co.
    • In 1989, the layout was put on hold.
    • During 2009 through 2010, Wayne moved his layout from his house to a free standing building in his backyard, resumed working on his layout and changed the scale to On30 narrow gauge. On30 gauge means the rolling stock is O scale sized but the gauge of the wheelsets are in HO scale and the track width is the same size as HO scale.
    • Wayne's layout has a town, industries, railroad yards, a turntable, engine house, tunnels, trestles, sidings, industry spurs and more.
    • Side Note: What does Operation Sessions mean? Operations Sessions means running your railroad layout like a real railroad. Why do this? Because many new model railroaders will make a layout with one oval (or two ovals) and run their trains in circles for model railroading enjoyment. However, after about 100 times running your train in circles, the hobby can quickly become boring.
      • This is where Operations Sessions (also called Operations, Ops and Ops Sessions) makes running trains on your model railroad layout very interesting and never boring. 
      • This means that you build a model railroad layout with a railroad yard, industry spurs, sidings and other things found on real railroads. Then during an Operations Session, you use locomotives only, to move and switch rail cars to assemble trains in railroad yards and to move these trains to industry locations on the layout. Then when your train comes to an industry, you will need to leave and/or pick-up railcars at the industry spur(s) and possibly other locations on the railroad layout. When you finish your work list (called a switch list) and have reached your final destination, the Operations Session will be finished for you.
      • Therefore, many model railroaders will make a layout for Operations Sessions so that you can operate your layout by yourself (or with a group of other model railroaders) like a real railroad and keep things interesting for your entire life, when you run trains on your layout! Each Operations Session will be a new experience for everyone.
      • In addition, Operations Sessions can have multiple people involved due to having railroad employee positions needed to be filled such as dispatchers, engineers, conductors, train order operators, yard masters, clerks and more, depending upon how complicated the railroad.
  • Clinic: James Knabb (Trinity River Division, Lone Star Region - Texas, USA) will be presenting, "The Next Generation in Model Railroading".
    • James will explore the modeling preferences and techniques used by the next generation. He will also analyze modern era modeling and what connection railfanning has to it. He will discuss new and trending technologies that are being used such as a 3D Pen and using photo editing software for model train layouts.
    • In addition, he will chat about what the next generation has been doing to stay busy in the model railroad community during the Covid-19 pandemic. Lastly, he will talk about how to use social media as a tool for National Model Railroading Association Divisions and model railroad clubs.

June 8, 2021, Saturday, 1:00 pm - 3 pm (PDT) - Virtual MeetShow & Tell: To be determined.

  • Show & Tell: We would like volunteers to present any type of modeling, tool, or project you have made or are working on, for a 3-5 minute presentation.
    • You can also share pictures of a new piece of rolling stock you've purchased and its features, new buildings, scenery, track, ballast, book(s), electronics, lighting, DCC/Sound, DeadRail, discuss a website, discuss a video, share pictures of running your trains on your layout or a club layout, or show rail fanning pictures that you like.
    • Show & Tell has an almost limitless number of subjects that you can talk about.
    • It is recommended you take pictures of your work or topic, and put these in a file folder to use for your presentation or use Microsoft PowerPoint. 
    • Please email Ryan to be put on the list for Show & Tell.
  • Layout Tour: To be determined.
  • Clinic: Pete Steinmetz will be presenting an AK Weathering Pencil Clinic. AK Interactive makes 6-11/16 inch (17 cm) water-based semi-grease paint pencils made specially made for modeling and the company makes other modeling products as well. The company is located in Spain. 

 

Past 2021 Meets/Events

January 9, 2021, Saturday, 1:00 pm - 3 pm (PST) - Virtual Meet

  • Dick T's Coyote Pass and Northern RailroadShow & Tell: We would like volunteers to present any type of modeling, tool or project they have made or are working on, for a 3-5 minute presentation. Please email Ryan to be put on the list for Show & Tell. It is recommended you take pictures of your work and put these in a file folder to use for your presentation or use Microsoft PowerPoint.  
  • Layout Tour: The layout tour will be held at Dick T's freelance Coyote Pass and Northern Railroad and is located in San Diego, California, USA. This museum quality HO scale DCC and Sound layout was first started in 1972, was designed for switching operations and has been upgraded and expanded since. 
    • The railroad continues weekly operations today with some of his crew taking part in switching operations for over 20 years. Operations can take place with a minimum of two people and a maximum of eight people. The average number of people during operations is six people. Operations typically take about two hours. The most important part of this model railroad is for the entire crew to have fun. 
    • While the layout is freelance in design, the era includes steam engines and 1st & 2nd generation diesel-electric locomotives. The railroad features four train routes based loosely in the Southwest (in the USA) and has modeled towns such as Tucson (Arizona), Yuma (Arizona), and Santa Fe (New Mexico). 
    • The layout was re-built once and expanded twice throughout the years, allowing years and years of model railroad operations for model railroaders in the San Diego area. The scale miles of the railroad have increased greatly over the years due to the two expansions. One of the layout expansions was to make the aisle ways wider, making it easy for people to pass each other during operations. 
    • The layout has multiple industries including factories located in a downtown city location, a coal loading industry spur, a cement factory, an oil industry spur, grain storage industries, a milling company, a pickle company, an ordinance factory (No smoking near the building, please!), an ice company and more. There are so many industries with industry spurs, that the switching combinations are probably close to infinity, providing a new experience to operators every time operation sessions occur.  
    • The railroad has multiple tunnels, multiple bridges, many kitbashed buildings and industries, kitbashed rail cars, kitbashed rail car loads and kitbashed locomotives. The layout itself has lots of detail including cars, people, signage, fences, trees, shrubbery, roads, railroad crossings and more. The railroad also has a large fleet of locomotives and rolling stock. In front of a doorway, there are two custom built bridges connecting track. When these bridges are put in the storage position, several switches automatically cut off the track power on both sides of each bridge, so that trains can't accidently run off the track. The back drops use a combination of painting, photos, very thin 3D buildings and half buildings. 
  • Clinic: Electronics Part II, by Tim Foote. This clinic is packed with lots of good information for those who are new to electronics and people who would like a refresher course on these topics and there will be three areas of topics.
    • There will be a discussion on how the electronics of how Digital Command Control (DCC) system works for controlling your trains and layout.
    • Tips and tricks for good wiring techniques will be discussed for your layout.
    • Last but not least, the clinic will also include soldering techniques, including our own world famous Rudy Spano solder removal system. This clinic is packed with lots of good information for those who are new to electronics and people who would like a refresher course on these topics.  

 

February 13, 2021, Saturday, 1:00 pm - 3 pm (PST) - Virtual Meet

  • Steve Bradley's HO and HOn3 (narrow gauge) prototype map.Show & Tell: There are several people presenting.
    • We would like volunteers to present any type of modeling, tool or project they have made or are working on, for a 3-5 minute presentation. Please email Ryan to be put on the list for Show & Tell. It is recommended you take pictures of your work and put these in a file folder to use for your presentation or use Microsoft PowerPoint. 
  • Layout Tour: Steve Bradley's HO and HOn3 (narrow gauge) layout covering the Southern Pacific Railroad Mina Subdivision (Southwest Nevada to Eastern California - USA). To the right is a partial map of the area.
    • Steve designed the model railroad on digital software for a 10’ X 10’ room as a point to point operational layout. Many structures are scratch built to match real buildings from the area. Almost all of the rail cars are custom built and weathered kits. Many of the engines are brass and custom painted.
    • A portion of the layout was featured in the January/February 2020 edition of the Narrow Gauge Gazette.
  • Clinic: "JMRI: What It Is, What It Does", by Robin Becker.
    • Java Model Railroad Interface (JMRI) is a powerful collection of software tools for model railroaders that span the gamut from locomotive programming to complete automated operation. The tools are free, support virtually every computer platform and interface with almost all DCC systems.
    • The clinic will briefly review the various of JMRI: Easy DCC decoder programming, layout panels, signaling, operations, use of mobile devices as throttles. We will wrap up with an example of a customized user addition via “scripting”.
    • Java Model Railroad Interface reference websites: JMRI official websiteJMRI on DCCWikiJMRI Wikipedia web page. 

 

March 13, 2021, Saturday, 1:00 pm - 3 pm (PST) - Virtual Meet

  • Don Fowler's N scale layoutLayout Tour: Don Fowler, Master Model Railroader, will be presenting his museum quality N scale Southern Pacific’s Mojave Division private layout. The layout was made for operations. It was also designed so no one has to duck under the layout during an operations session.
    • Don's 20’ x 22’ double-decker N scale layout depicts segments between Southern Pacific's Intermodal Container Transfer Facility from Los Angeles (California, USA) to Bakersfield (California, USA) from 1975 – 1995. The layout includes the Tehachapi Loop (using artistic license) and Southern Pacific's West Colton’s Classification Yard, complete with a diesel service facility, and an arrival & departure yard.
    • There is 388 feet of mainline (about 11.75 scales miles of mainline track) with four railroad yards (and one railroad yard has a working hump yard), two bridges, nine tunnels and twelve rail-served industries, has several residential areas and working modern windmills. The layout includes working signals and crossing gates, has over 100 turnouts and there are over 30 scale miles of N scale track including all railroad yards and industry spurs. 
    • There is also night time capability with lighted buildings providing a very nice ambiance during operations and/or for visitors.
    • The layout uses uses DCC & Sound with a Digitrax DCC wireless system, has a custom-made N scale workbench and the layout was started in 2015.
  • Show & Tell: A member had pictures a new HO scale Blue Amtrak locomotive with Blue Rail electronics inside to control the locomotive and uses batteries inside to power the locomotive (called dead rail). Dead rail means the batteries power the locomotive are inside the locomotive or in the tender of the locomotive.
    • The antenna inside the locomotives has about a 150 foot range. A Blue Rail app is used to control the locomotive and also allows you to change the CVs. A programming track is not needed to program your decoder using Blue Rail. You can program your Blue Rail locomotive with many other locomotives on the layout and it won't change any of the other locomotive's programming. The electric motors are inside the truck of the Amtrak locomotive. 
  • Another member had pictures of a Southern Pacific box car resin kit, converted into a caboose.
    • The member explained that in the past, Southern Pacific would try to keep their wooden box cars as long as possible and would recycle them as well. Southern Pacific would take a wooden box car and convert it into a caboose. 
    • The member provided how he converted the resin box car into a Southern Pacific caboose.
  • Clinic: Don Fowler, Master Model Railroader, will be presenting how Operations works with his museum quality N scale Southern Pacific’s Mojave Division private layout.
    • What is Operations? For those who don't know, Operations for model railroading, means that you operate your private layout like a real railroad. Why Operations? Or why build a layout for Operations? Here's why.
    • Novice model railroaders will typically begin their first layout with an oval (or two ovals), but after running your train about 100 times in an oval shape, the model railroading experience can become a bit boring. Therefore, many model railroaders will make a layout for Operations so that you can operate your layout (by yourself or with a group of other model railroaders) like a real railroad and keep things interesting when you run trains on your layout!
    • For example, each Operations session can be a new experience for everyone by making new train schedules for each each person with a train. This means requiring different cars to be left off and picked up at different industries for each Operations sessions. This way, everyone can have a new model railroading experience due to the unique requirements of each Operations session.
    • In addition, Operations can have other people involved in the Operations session such as dispatchers, train order operators, yard masters, clerks and more, depending upon how complicated the railroad.

 

April 10, 2021, Saturday, 1:00 pm - 3 pm (PDT) - Virtual Meet

  • Gopher Canyon Railroad switcherShow & Tell: We would like volunteers to present any type of modeling, tool, or project you have made or are working on, for a 3-5 minute presentation.
    • You can also share pictures of a new piece of rolling stock you've purchased and its features, new buildings, scenery, track, ballast, book(s), electronics, lighting, DCC/Sound, DeadRail, discuss a website, discuss a video, share pictures of running your trains on your layout or a club layout, or show rail fanning pictures that you like.
    • Show & Tell has an almost limitless number of subjects that you can talk about.
    • It is recommended you take pictures of your work or topic, and put these in a file folder to use for your presentation or use Microsoft PowerPoint. 
    • Please email Ryan to be put on the list for Show & Tell.
  • Layout Tour: The layout tour will be presented by Steve Seidensticker featuring his outdoor G scale (1:32) layout.
    • All locomotives run by “dead rail”, that is, there is no power on the rail. The locomotives have micro batteries and DCC with Bluetooth, so they can be operated by wireless throttles or by smart phones.
    • Unlike many outdoor G scale layouts that just run “round-n-round”, Steve has a point-to-point layout designed for operations and switching.
    • Steve also has regular operations sessions every month, a fun time for all. During the pandemic, many operations sessions were cancelled, unfortunately. 
    • G scale is also called Large Scale and Garden Railroading and is suited for indoor and outdoor use. The origins of G in G scale are from the comes from the German word groß meaning "big". However, more recently, some people have come to interpret G scale as standing for "garden scale". Here is the link to the Wikipedia web page on G scale model railroading.)
  • Clinic: Weathering using special pencils by Pete Steinmetz

 

Note: Pacific Daylight Time starts March 14, 2021 and Pacific Standard Time starts November 7, 2021. In the USA, in general, Daylight Time starts the second Sunday of March and Standard Time begins the first Sunday in November. In Europe, summer time begins the last Sunday of March and ends on the last Sunday in October. 

We do not have a physical office, permanent meeting room or layout. Each month, we meet at various locations throughout San Diego County. With the exception of during a pandemic, we hold virtual meetings.