2024 Meets and Events

About Our Meets and Events

The San Diego Division holds monthly meetings and events (12 times per year), every second Saturday of the month, held at various times. For your information, instead of naming our meetings, "Meetings", we call them "Meets".

  • Our Meets and Events include private model railroad layout tours, Quarterly Meets (Held February, May, August, November and can include Silent Auctions, Hobo Auctions, Clinics, Show & Tell, contests, swap meets, Bingo for Trains, raffles, door prizes and food) and other events.
  • To learn more about the San Diego Division, please feel free to attend one of our Meets or Events as a guest by contacting Rudy Spano, Membership Services, at (858) 761-1424, or email Rudy at membership.
    • Please provide Rudy with your first name, last name and your phone number to be a guest at one of our events. Or to join the San Diego Division, please call Rudy by phone or by email and he will assist you.
  • You may also join the National Model Railroad Association on your own and the San Diego Division will be notified of your new membership status. The National Model Railroad Association has an introductory membership offer good for nine months, for $19.95 and it is called the Rail Pass.
  • We welcome all National Model Railroad Association members from the Pacific Southwest Region or any other region in the world to attend any of our Meets or Events.

 

2024 Meets and Events

March 9, 2024, Saturday - Model railroad layout tour.

Chris Green's 1:8 scale 4-6-2 Northern Pacific #222 steam locomotive, tender and yellow MOW car.
Chris Green's 1:8 scale 4-6-2 Northern Pacific #222 steam locomotive, tender and yellow MOW car.
Picture credit: San Diego Division Webmaster.

Layout Tour: Chris Green will be providing a model railroad layout tour of his private 1-1/2 scale (or 1:8 scale) outdoor model railroad. 1-1/2 scale is where the trains are so big you can ride them!

We have been informed there will probably be at least six trains running on the railroad on Saturday, March 9. This will be a very fun day.

  • Date: Saturday, March 9, 2024
  • Time: 11:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.
  • Location: San Diego County. The location of the model railroad layout will be provide to San Diego Division members several days prior to the model railroad layout tour.
  • Make a day of this: There will be lots of trains and people to visit with and talk to. You might consider making a day of this layout tour and make sure you bring your own food, drinks and chairs.
  • Food: Bring your own lunch and drinks, please!
  • Sunscreen and chairs: Please consider bringing sunscreen and hats. This is an outdoor railroad and we will be outdoors the entire time. Also, please consider bringing chairs so you have a place to sit when in-between riding on the trains.
  • Parking: There is on-street parking and you'll enter the residence through the driveway.
  • Accessible: Unfortunately, the model railroad layout is not officially accessible. However, if you can maneuver on lawns, gravel, dirt and over large 1-1/2 scale railroad tracks, it might work for you. The entrance to the railroad has a typical railroad road crossing. Please email the San Diego Division's webmaster if you need more information on accessibility with this model railroad layout and we can discuss this over the phone.
  • Masks: Not required.
  • More about the outdoor model railroad layout. Spanning several acres, the outdoor model railroad layout has 7,000 feet of track (over 1.3 miles of track), has 150 tons of gravel, 21,000 railroad ties, 84,000 screws, 1,400 rail joiners, 36 switches, eight crossings and has five sidings.
  • While this is a private outdoor railroad, members from the Chula Vista Live Steamers and other model train friends will run their trains on the railroad.
  • The Chris has three locomotives. A large Northern Pacific 4-6-2 steam locomotive, #2222 and tender, an F7 and B unit and a switcher locomotive.
  • This will be an excellent time to learn about 1:8 scale and to ask lots of questions to Chris and the other members of the Chula Vista Live Steamers.
  • In case you didn't know, steam locomotives on the real railroad can take all day or even up to 24 hours to start the locomotive. The locomotive metal has to be heated slowly so that all the metal on the locomotive heats evenly. If a steam locomotive is heated too fast, the metal on the locomotive will break and the locomotive will be ruined.
  • The same is true with the 1:8 scale steam locomotives. Depending upon the size of the steam locomotive, they can take 45 minutes or more to start the steam locomotive.
    • In addition, when steam locomotives are started, the engineer needs to create a draft from the fire box to the smoke stack which is accomplished by having a fan pull the air through the locomotive. And you never want to touch a steam locomotive because you'll burn your fingers. Steam locomotives, even the ones you ride on are very hot!! About 350 degrees.
    • The tenders for the 1:8 scale locomotives have a tank for fuel and for water. Water and gas lines are run from the tender to the locomotive.
    • When looking at a steam locomotive, it is important to take your time and look at the details of the locomotives. If you haven't seen one in person, you'll be surprised how complicated the steam locomotive is, even in miniature.
    • The 1:8 steam locomotives can be powered by many different power sources. Here's a list of some of fuel used for steam locomotives: Coal, wood, diesel fuel, propane, Jet A fuel (airplane fuel), gasoline and kerosene.
  • This type of model railroading is complicated and a lot of work goes into running a miniature railroad of this magnitude. When guest model railroaders bring their trains to run on the railroad, many have pick-up trucks with train tracks mounted on the bed of the pick-up truck. Then to move the locomotives and rail cars to the ground, a mobile crane is used to lower the rolling stock to the track. There are also very small locomotives which can be put in the back seat of a car!
  • Each locomotive has a hand throttle. If you have every used any type of throttle to run N scale, HO scale, narrow gauge, G scale or any other small scale locomotives, you can easily transfer this knowledge and easily understand and use the 1:8 locomotive's throttle.
  • When it comes to stopping a train, the locomotives usually have breaks but most of the rail cars do not have breaks!!
  • Carpooling: Help take the sting out of high gas prices and carpool with a friend.

April 13, 2024, Saturday - Model railroad layout tour.

Wayne Pierce's Minieton Railroad & Lumber Co. steam locomotive #475.
Wayne Pierce's Minieton Railroad & Lumber Co. steam locomotive #475.
Picture credit: San Diego Division Webmaster.

Layout Tour: Wayne Pierce will be providing a model railroad layout tour of his On30 museum quality model railroad layout. The layout is still under construction and lots of additions have taken place since his last layout tour in April 2022. The location of Wayne's house will be emailed to San Diego Division members several days before the event.

  • Date: Saturday, April 13, 2024
  • Time: 11 a.m.–3 p.m.
  • Lunch: Wayne will be providing lunch during the model railroad tour for all San Diego Division members! There will be drinks, chili and possibly more!
  • Parking: There is on-street parking and you'll enter through the driveway gate.
  • Accessible: Unfortunately, the model railroad layout is not accessible.
  • Masks: Not required.
  • Carpooling: Help take the sting out of high gas prices and carpool with a friend.
  • More About Wayne's Layout & Tour: Wayne's layout is a fictional On30 scale model railroad in the era of the 1950s to the 1970s, named the Minieton Railroad & Lumber Co. The railroad is based on the fictional story that the Minieton Railroad & Lumber Co. in 1952, purchased a defunct section of one of the railroad lines from the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad (1870-1992) and then the Minieton Railroad continued railroad operations on this line into the 1970s.
    • What is On30 scale model railroading? On30 scale is modeling a narrow gauge railroad in O scale (1:48) and the narrow gauge track is HO (1:87) scale track.
    • On Wayne's On30 model railroad, all the buildings, vehicles, people, scenery and roads are O scale. The track is On30 gauged track. However, the size of most of the rolling stock on the railroad is On3 narrow gauge with On3 couplers and all the rolling stock have On30 trucks and wheelsets.
    • In 1978, the name of the railroad was originally going to be named 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.
    • The railroad was also originally designed as a modeling layout only, with one or two continuous loops. After talking to several model railroad friends, Wayne changed his layout so that it could be used for Operations Sessions. Be sure to ask Wayne how he runs his Operation Sessions.
    • The railroad was originally made with HOn3 narrow gauge scale in 1978 but was changed to On30 track in 2009. What is HOn3 scale? 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.
    • 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 from HOn3 to On30 narrow gauge.
    • You'll find that all of the locomotives on the layout are steam locomotives and Wayne has a variety of steam locomotive models. Can you determine how many different steam locomotives are on the layout? Can you name each of the locomotive models? If not, ask Wayne. For your information, it seems that trying to find new On30 steam locomotives is a difficult thing to do today.
    • Wayne's layout has a small town, industries, railroad yards, a turntable, engine house, tunnels, trestles, sidings, industry spurs and more.
    • Many things on Wayne's layout is custom made so remember to look for the small details such as newspapers, trash, boxes, garbage cans and there is much, much more. The buildings are all wood kits which are built board by board. Remember to look at the power lines on the telephone poles. Ask Wayne to show you the power lines and ask him the name of the power line brand. In addition, be sure to look for small scenes that he's made on the layout, such as men working to re-roof a building. Can you find the building being re-roofed on your own? How many scenes can you find on his layout? Make sure to look at the weathering on trains, buildings, vehicles and roads.
    • Wayne uses DCC/Sound and NCE Power Cabs to control the locomotives.

May 11, 2024, Saturday - Spring Meet

Spring Meet: The Spring Meet will be held at the North Country Model Railroad Society. Please remember to mark the date on your calendars. The Sprint Meet for 2024 will have a prepared lunch, a Hobo Auction, Show and Tell, two clinics, Achievement Program award presentations and door prizes.

  • Date: Saturday, May 11, 2024
  • Time: 9 a.m.–3 p.m.
  • Location: North Country Model Railroad Society
  • Parking: Free parking
  • Lunch: TO BE DETERMINED
  • Accessible: Yes, the building is accessible.
  • Masks: Masks are optional.
  • Hobo Auction: The Hobo Auction is a fun activity for the members to win auction items and help make money for the San Diego Division.
    • Everyone in the San Diego Division is asked to bring several model railroading items and/or prototype railroading items which they will donate to the Division.
    • Items to bring would be things such as model railroading books, prototype railroading books, railroading pins, railroading posters, new and never used railroading hats or clothing, rolling stock kits, new or used factory built rolling stock, building and/or structure kits, locomotives, railroad memorabilia, train kits and more. (Only model railroading and prototype railroad items, please!)
    • Each item will then have a red cup in front of it.
    • Each Division member can purchase a string of tickets. Ticket sheets of 25 are sold for $5.00 each. Members can purchase as many ticket sheets as you want to purchase.
    • Drop a ticket, or as many tickets as you want, in the cup in front of the item you want. The more tickets that you put into each cup, the better chance you'll have to win the auction item.
    • The winning drawn ticket wins the prize. 
  • Show & Tell: This is a time to bring a project or model and show off your model railroading work or discuss any topic about model railroading. You can also talk about something concerning any real railroad, either historical or present day information. Most people keep their presentation to about five minutes. We would like several people to participate in the Show & Tell portion of the Spring Meet. Please contact Ryan and let him know you'd like to participate in Show & Tell.
  • Clinic 1: To be announced.
  • Clinic 2: To be announced.
  • Achievement Program Contest Judging: Every Meet is an opportunity for all Division members to bring in your structures, locomotives, rail cars or modules for Rodger to evaluate. We recommend you contact Rodger and let him know you'll be bringing something to judge for the Achievement Program so that he'll make sure he has the appropriate appropriate forms to fill out.
  • Achievement Program Awards Presentations: Rodger will making several Achievement Program presentations.
  • Door Prizes: There will be Door Prizes!!

June 8, 2024, Saturday - Model railroad layout tour.

Layout Tour: San Diego's Shotgun Tom Kelley will be providing the model railroad layout tour for June.

  • Date: Saturday, June 8, 2024
  • Time: Noon-3 p.m.
  • Location: San Diego County
  • Parking: There is on street parking
  • Accessible: The model railroad layout is accessible.
  • Masks: Not required.

July 13, 2024, Saturday - Model railroad layout tour.

Layout Tour: Steve Bradley will be providing the model railroad layout tour for June.

  • Date: Saturday, July 13, 2024
  • Time: Noon-3 p.m.
  • Location: San Diego County
  • Parking: There is on street parking
  • Accessible: To be determined.
  • Masks: Not required.

August 4-11, 2024, Saturday - Surfliner 2024 NMRA National Model Train Convention

NMRA National Model Train Convention: The SurfLiner 2024 NMRA National Convention is being held in Long Beach, California, USA.

  • Date: August 4-11, 2024
  • Location: Long Beach, California, USA.
  • Accessible: Yes.
  • Masks: Not required.

September 14, 2024, Saturday - Model railroad layout tour.

Layout Tour: Chuck Molnar will be providing the model railroad layout tour.

  • Date: Saturday, September 14, 2024
  • Time: To be determined.
  • Location: San Diego County
  • Parking: There is on street parking
  • Accessible: The model railroad layout is not accessible.
  • Masks: Not required.

October 12, 2024, Saturday - TO BE DETERMINED

Event: TO BE DETERMINED

  • Date: October 12, 2024
  • Time: TO BE DETERMINED
  • Location: TO BE DETERMINED
  • Parking: TO BE DETERMINED
  • Accessible: TO BE DETERMINED
  • Masks: TO BE DETERMINED

November 9, 2024, Saturday - Fall Meet at the San Diego Model Railroad Museum.

Fall Meet: The Fall Meet will take place at the San Diego Model Railroad Museum.

  • Date: Saturday, November 9, 2024
  • Time: To be determined.
  • Location: San Diego Model Railroad Museum in Balboa Park
  • Parking: There is free parking in the rear of the museum.
  • Accessible: The San Diego Model Railroad Museum is accessible.
  • Masks: Not required.

December 14, 2024, Saturday - Holiday Dinner, Party and Model Railroad Layout Tour

Holiday Dinner, Party and model railroad layout tour: The Fall Meet will take place at the San Diego Model Railroad Museum.

  • Date: Saturday, December 14, 2024
  • Time: To be determined.
  • Location: Jimmy's Restaurant in Santee, California, USA.
  • Parking: There is free parking at the restaurant.
  • Accessible: The restaurant is accessible.
  • Masks: Not required.

 

January 13, 2024, Saturday - Model railroad layout tour.

Jays' Southern Pacific switcher locomotive.
Jay's Southern Pacific switcher locomotive.
Picture credit: San Diego Division Webmaster.

Layout Tour: The new year will be kicked off with a very nice prototypical HO scale model railroad layout tour provided by Jay and it is located in Fallbrook. The model railroad is called the Friant Branch. The city of Friant is located north of Fresno, California, USA. The era of the layout is 1953.

Jay hasn't had a model railroad layout tour at his house for many years. We are very privileged to be invited to his home to view his highly detailed and beautiful model railroad layout. The location of Jay's house will be sent to San Diego Division members several days prior to the layout tour.

  • Date: Saturday, January 13, 2024
  • Time: Noon-3 p.m.
  • Location: San Diego County
  • Parking: There is on street parking and you'll enter the property through the driveway.
  • Accessible: Unfortunately, the model railroad layout is not accessible.
  • Masks: Not required.
  • More about the Friant Branch. Jay started model railroading from around age 8 to 10. He started with Lionel trains and then eventually moved to HO scale model railroading.
    • Jay who is an avid model railroader who kit bashes rail cars, kit bashes structures, scratch builds structures, builds resin kits and much more.
  • The Friant Branch was started in 2003 and is the third model railroad layout designed and built by Jay. The layout is 90% complete. The layout is powered by DCC and Sound using NCE Power Cabs to control the locomotives.
    • The Friant Branch is a point-to-point model railroad that begins at Fresno, the next station is Las Palmas, then to Clovis, to Rockfield and ending at Friant.
    • All locomotives on the railroad layout are Southern Pacific.
    • There is about 120 feet of main track, plus the sidings, storage tracks, a railroad yard and staging tracks.
    • When visiting the layout, please be sure to notice the train depots, oil dealers, a farm, stock pens, an orchard, wineries, an all metal gravel loader, two turntables, an ice company with an adjacent ice deck, a cotton company, a junk yard, a fruit packing company, a lumber company, warehouses, a gas station, a dried fruit company, a restaurant, an iron works company, an automobile repair station, homes and more.
    • Be sure to take notice of the many long roads modeled on the layout. Modeling long roads is something that can be easily overlooked by a model railroader.
    • Another important point is to notice the many vehicles on the layout. Many vehicles are from Classic Model Works or Oxford.
    • The model railroad layout has been made for Operations and takes from two to three hours for an Operations Session to take place. Waybills are used for the Operation Sessions.
  • Carpooling: Help take the sting out of high gas prices and carpool with a friend.
  • Follow-up: 22 people attended!! The new year certainly started out strong with Jay's model railroad layout tour. Everyone stated it was certainly a nice drive to the layout with the day being sunny with very little clouds. Members of the San Diego Division and Cajon Division enjoyed talking with Jay and about model railroading.
    • The model railroad layout was new to many of our members but there were also some members who had seen Jay's model railroad layout years ago when the layout had just been started and were very happy to see the railroad layout almost completed. New friendships were made and old friendships were rekindled. Lots of model railroading was discussed with Jay.
    • In addition to the model railroad layout discussions, there were other discussions taking place between members including talking to railroad engineers about the real railroad, talking about new HO model trains just purchased, to different scales that people model, to joking around, to rolling stock standards and more.

February 10, 2024, Saturday - Winter Meet

San Diego S-Gaugers Grossmont Mall directory
San Diego S-Gaugers Grossmont Center (mall) directory
Picture credit: San Diego Division Webmaster. Photo taken December 2022.

Winter Meet: Get ready for the Winter Meet! Please remember to mark the date on your calendars. The Winter Meet for 2024 will have a Silent Auction, Show and Tell, two clinics, Achievement Program evaluations and door prizes.

  • Date: Saturday, February 10, 2024
  • Time: 9 a.m.–noon
  • Location: San Diego S-Gaugers Club at the Grossmont Center Mall, Suite 304, 5500 Grossmont Center Drive, La Mesa, California, USA.
  • Parking: Parking is free.
  • Lunch: No lunch will be provided. What some members do, is after the Meet, they will enjoy a lunch at one of the many restaurants at the mall.
  • Accessible: Yes, the building is accessible. 
  • Masks: Optional.
  • Layout Tour: Self-guided layout tour of the S-Gaugers model railroad layout. Be sure to ask the S-Gaugers any questions you have about their model railroad and club.
  • Silent Auction: There will be a Silent Auction where every Division member can bring an unlimited number of items to sell. Note: The Division will be assessing a 10% fee off the grand total of what you make at the auction.
    • Please remember that all items you have for the auction must be related to model railroading and/or the real railroad. You can bring things such as rolling stock kits, used rolling stock, new rolling stock, books, railroad memorabilia, posters, pins and anything else you would like to sell.
    • Every item at the Silent Auction will have a bidding card. The person selling the item will list the starting price of the item. Then anyone can bid on that item by writing their name and bid amount. Whoever has the highest bid amount at the end of the auction, wins the item.
  • Show & Tell: This is a time to bring a project or model and show off your model railroading work or discuss any topic about model railroading. You can also talk about something concerning any real railroad, either historical or present day information. Most people keep their presentation to about five minutes. We would like several people to participate in the Show & Tell portion of the Spring Meet. Please contact Ryan and let him know you'd like to participate in Show & Tell.
  • Clinic 1: BlueRail Trains. David Rees, founder of BlueRail Trains (developers of the SoundTraxx Blunami and the Bachmann EZ App), will give insight into the development, capabilities and future of direct wireless train control and how it may apply to today's hobbyist.
  • Clinic 2: A DCC Steam Throttle. Kyle Jensen is a member of the La Mesa Model Railroad Club and runs his steam locomotives on the club's two-story mountain model railroad layout. The La Mesa Model Railroad Club is located inside the San Diego Model Railroad Museum, located in San Diego's famous Balboa Park.
    • Kyle controls his steam locomotives using his custom built DCC & Sound Steam Throttle. The throttle is built to physically resemble an actual steam locomotive cab, including gauges, a throttle lever, a rope to ring the bell and more.
    • Kyle will be discussing the process and problems of building the throttle. This includes 3D printing the parts, code changes and small modifications to the model that Kyle made. He describes himself as a complete amateur and is very satisfied with his throttle's operation and fun factor, including the satisfaction of building it.
  • AP Evaluations: Please contact Rodger for Achievement Program information. Rodger will brings forms to the Winter Meet and you can bring your models for evaluation.
  • Door Prizes: There will be Door Prizes!!
  • About the San Diego S-Gaugers model train club: The S scale (1:64 scale) San Diego S-Gaugers is a 501(C)(3) nonprofit model train club that welcomes new members of all ages and skill levels. If you want to get started in model trains, this is a good club to join.
    • The club has a space that is 41 feet X 22 feet. The main model train layout has 24 modules, each module built by club members.
    • The club also welcomes the public to bring in their trains in storage, to see if they still run.
    • The club has a several test tracks for HO, S scale, Sn3 and O scale trains, to test your model train locomotives.
    • Members own a variety of trains from vintage toy trains to those who use the latest technology in trains.
    • The club also sells trains and accessories that are donated to the club and 100% of the selling prices goes directly back to the club to support the S scale club.
    • The club is a National Model Railroad Association (NMRA) 100% club. This means that all its members are National Model Railroad Association members.
    • Here is a big congratulations that the San Diego S-Gaugers is a NMRA 100% Club.
    • When the club is closed, the trains still run. Just push the button outside the window and the trains on all three window layouts will run for about a minute.
    • As of 2020, the club has been busy upgrading existing layout features.
      • Some of the additions include adding a sky board and building flats to the left side of the layout.
      • A Ghostbusters scene was added, Plasticville buildings added, new business section added, barber shop added, auto dealer added, the lake has upgraded and the mountain has been upgraded.
      • The Westside Lumber Sn3 layout has been upgraded and partially operational.
      • The museum walls have been decorated with new items and a painting by one of the members.
      • A farmers co-op display has been added, a Jurassic Park scene has been added, the interior of the train station has been upgraded, a super hero area has been added, a snack bar has been added and a Crispy Creme trailer has been added.
  • About Grossmont Center (mall):
    • The Grossmont Center opened in 1961.
    • The mall occupies 100 acres of land.
    • It cost over $20 million USD to build the mall.
    • At the time, Grossmont Center was the largest development project in the City of La Mesa.
    • As of January 2024, the mall has a total of almost 100 stores and restaurants, 10 movie screens and more.
    • The largest stores in the mall are Macy's, Target, Walmart, CVS Pharmacy, Cost Plus World Market and RH Outlet.
    • The mall is also home to Barnes and Noble, Bath & Body Works, Hallmark, Dollar Tree, Brands Overstock, Jewelry Loft, Empire Beauty Supply, Famous Footwear and more. There is also an watch repair, phone repair, engraving service and shoe repair store.
    • The mall has 13 sit-down restaurants and cafes, has nine fast food restaurants in their food court, has 11 spa, salons and beauty stores, and there is much more.
  • Shopping: Attending the layout tour is a great way to make your time count as you can also do shopping, watch a movie and/or eat out for lunch at the mall.
  • Carpooling: Help take the sting out of high gas prices and carpool with a friend.
  • Follow-up: Over 40 people attended the Winter Meet and the meeting had a jammed packed agenda. In fact, there were so many people, they ran out of seats! There were plenty of donuts and bottled water to start out the morning. The Silent Auction was a success. Several people won Achievement Program awards. Several people had informative Show & Tell presentations. Both clinics were very well received by the club members. Many of us went to several different restaurants to have lunch. For the Spring Meet, we will make sure there is enough seating for everyone.

 

 

Note: Pacific Daylight Time starts March 12, 2023 and Pacific Standard Time starts November 5, 2023. 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.

[Covid-19 Information: Our Division provided virtual Meets during the Covid pandemic of 2020 and during the first half of 2021. Our in-person Meets started back in August 2021. Masks are optional at our in-person Meets and Events in 2023, unless otherwise noted or when required by state or federal law.]