2021 Meets and Events

The San Diego Division holds monthly meetings and 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".

  • To learn more about the San Diego Division, attend one of our Meets or events as a guest, or to join the San Diego Division, please call Rudy Spano (Membership Services) at (858) 761-1424. Or email Rudy at membership and please provide your first name, last name and your phone number. 

Covid-19 Update: Our Division was offering virtual events during 2020 and the first half of 2021. Our in-person Meets start August 2021. 

Upcoming 2021 Meets & Events 

October 9, 2021, Saturday, 8:00 a.m. to noon (PDT) - In-Person Swap Meet and Layout Tour

  • North County Model Railroad ClubIn-Person Swap Meet: The North County Model Railroad Society will have their fall Model Train Show and Swap Meet on Saturday, October 9, 2021 from 8 a.m. to noon, and will include raffle prizes.
  • The Swap Meet will be at the North County Model Railroad Society, located in Heritage Park at 230 Peyri Drive, Oceanside, California. Please remember, the entire park is a no-smoking park.
  • This is one of the largest model train Swap Meets in San Diego County.
    • The Swap Meet is free for all visitors. (Sellers pay $10.00 per table. Sellers please RSVP here: swapinfo [AT] ncmrs [DOT] org)
    • There will be food trucks at the park that day where you can purchase drinks, snacks and lunch.
    • The San Diego Division will have a table at the Swap Meet and will sell train cars, hobby books, model train and real train memorabilia, and more. The San Diego Division will also use our Swap Meet table as a recruiting table.
    • While some people are ready to leave the Swap Meet at noon, you are welcome to stay and talk with North County Model Railroad Society's model railroaders and visit the layout. 
  • Layout Tour: The layout tour will be at the HO scale North County Model Railroad Society in the Train Depot building in Heritage Park.
    • The North County Model Railroad Society was founded in 1990 and has been in several different locations in North County. The club began construction of its current layout, in its latest home in Heritage Park, on June 18, 2014.
    • The club's railroad is a two-level layout modeling from San Diego to Oceanside, then going through Temecula and ending in Colton, California. The layout includes railroad stations, railroad yards, a helix, industry spurs, many towns, multiple industries, multiple tunnels, bridges and more. The layout has nighttime capability including buildings with lighting, street lighting and the layout also has thunder and lightning effects. 
    • The club is open to the public, has Wednesday Work Nights and the layout has been designed with Operations Sessions in mind. The club has regular Operations Sessions throughout the year. The club invites model railroaders of all ages to join their HO scale model railroad club.
  • Please mark your calendars for this Meet, as this is the largest annual event the San Diego Division schedules each year. 

 

Past 2021 Meets/Events

January 9, 2021, Saturday, 1:00 p.m. to 3 p.m. (PST) - Virtual Meet

  • Dick T's Coyote Pass and Northern RailroadAttendance: 41 people, plus YouTube viewers, attended our virtual Meet.
  • Show & 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 p.m. to 3 p.m. (PST) - Virtual Meet

  • Steve Bradley's HO and HOn3 (narrow gauge) prototype map.Attendance: 40 people, plus YouTube viewers, attended our virtual Meet.
  • 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 p.m. to 3 p.m. (PST) - Virtual Meet

  • Don Fowler's N scale layoutAttendance: 23 people, plus YouTube viewers, attended our virtual Meet.
  • Layout 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 nighttime 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 p.m. to 3 p.m. (PDT) - Virtual Meet

  • Gopher Canyon Railroad switcherAttendance: 29 people, plus YouTube viewers, attended our virtual Meet.
  • 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: 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

 

May 8, 2021, Saturday, 1:00 p.m. to 3 p.m. (PDT) - Virtual Meet

  • Minieton Railroad & Lumber Co. Attendance: 19 people, plus YouTube viewers, attended our Meet.
  • 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 12, 2021, Saturday, 1:00 p.m. to 3 p.m. (PDT) - Virtual Meet

  • Desert Highlands RailroadAttendance: 34 people, plus YouTube viewers, attended our virtual Meet.
  • Show & Tell: We had three presenters for today's virtual meet.
    • Paul W. talked about his need to find a short-in-height switch motor, to save space, for a HO scale shelf layout. He also revealed through a video how he tested the electric motor to validate the functionality of the new switch motor that he recently purchased.
    • John P. presented his 12' X12' 1964 era HO scale diorama which he made to submit for a diorama contest. He described how he scratch built many things on the diorama including a building, parking lot, trees, shrubbery, the ground  and more.
    • Don F. gave us an update on his continuing work on his N scale 20’ x 22’ double-decker Southern Pacific Division layout showing a scratch built overpass fitted over the Bakersfield Railroad Yard. The overpass is removable so that track cleaning or other modeling can take place beneath the road when needed. He also added some graffiti to the bridge. He revealed that a friend made a replicate of the Bakersfield Railroad Station which was designed in an AutoCad program and was printed by a 3-D printer.   
    • Please email Ryan to be put on the list for Show & Tell at future Meets.
  • Layout Tour: Desert Highlands Railroad by Tim Foote.
    • The Desert Highlands Railroad was inspired by high desert railroading in Southern California, USA. It is a freelanced layout based on the California High Desert rail line from Barstow, California to Kingman, Arizona during the transition era of the 1950s. The HO scale single level layout sits in a three car garage and has an area of approximately 14X22 feet.
    • The layout is over 60% completed with most of the structures placed on the layout. All the track has been laid and is working. The layout includes track which has code 83 track for industry spurs and railroad yards and code 100 track for mainline track. It still needs fine detailing and some landscaping.
    • The layout includes the town of Barstow, Ludlow Railroad Station, buildings in Needles, mountains in Arizona, a Kingman water front, a high voltage transformer substation, the small town of Borate which has a Borax mill, mines and more.
    • The layout is powered by NCE DCC and is separated into three power districts.
  • Clinic: Track laying techniques for Operations by Tim Foote. The clinic is a basic review of track laying design with Operations in mind. The clinic will also includes basic advice regarding curves, elevations, setting up signals, turnout controls, painting and wiring your track. Discussion and questions are encouraged from the group. You are welcome to share your experiences in designing your layouts.

 

July 10, 2021, Saturday, 1:00 p.m. to 3 p.m. (PDT) - Virtual Meet

  • Picture from the San Diego Model Railroad Association layout.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: The San Diego Model Railroad Association will present their HO scale San Diego and Arizona Eastern layout. 
    • The HO layout features the prototype of San Diego & Arizona Eastern Railway from San Diego's Union Station, California, USA, travelling South to Tijuana, Mexico, then recrossing into the United States at the border town of Tecate through to Campo, California. The line continues into the Carrizo Gorge into Imperial County past Plaster City and ending at El Centro, California.
    • The club also models a 3 ft narrow gauge railroad line from a gypsum plant in Plaster City to a gypsum mine. The mine is approximately 26 miles from the gypsum plant, according to the Google Maps measuring distance tool.
    • Finally, a branch line running from San Diego going east, to El Cajon (and at one time Foster) is modeled with trolley and branch line service.
    • Although most of the trackwork and basic scenery is completed on the very large layout, upgrades and detailing continue.
    • While not technically prototypical, an old-time HOn3 line with a mining town are beautifully modeled in the desert foothills.
  • Clinic: There is no clinic for this meet, the Layout Tour will take the entire time allotted for a clinic.

 

August 14, 2021, Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. (PDT) - In-Person Summer Meet, Member's Only Event.

  • Southern Pacific Mojave DivisionIn-Person Meet for NMRA Division members only: This will be our first in-person meet since the Covid pandemic of 2020. Using the honor system, we are counting on everyone being vaccinated for this Meet. Masks are optional.
  • 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. - Swap Meet: The first event of the Meet will be our Summer Swap Meet. We encourage people to bring anything related to the model train hobby or the real railroad to sell. Please remember to bring your own card table to put your items on. Remember to bring money to buy items at the Swap Meet. 
  • 11:00 a.m. to noon - BBQ Lunch: A BBQ lunch with sides and drinks will be provided after the Swap Meet. All members are asked to bring a dessert. The lunch will be held outdoors.
  • 11:30 a.m. to noon - Business meeting and award presentations.
  • Noon to 3 p.m. - Show & Tell, Clinics and the Layout Tour.
  • 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.
    • If you need ideas on what you can share, here are just a few examples: You can share a new piece of rolling stock you've purchased and show its features, show a building you've worked on, talk about how you make your scenery, discuss track, ballast, book(s), electronics, lighting, DCC/Sound, DeadRail, discuss a website or a video, discuss rail fanning and things of this nature.
    • Show & Tell has an almost limitless number of subjects that you can talk about.
    • Please email Ryan to be put on the list for Show & Tell.
  • Clinic 1: Improving the Realism of Plastic Building Kits by Gary Robinson. This presentation will examine and discuss ways to improve the appearance of plastic (or resin) building kits you wish to install on your layout. There will be an introduction to planning, preparation, painting, lighting, assembly, detailing, and installation, including options and tips to improve your model.
    • Planning: Layout location; determining if modifications will be made to the basic shape and/or size of the structure;
      determining if the building will be lighted and hw this may be accomplished; assembly, including appropriate adhesives; how the building will be installed n the layout.
    • Preparation: Removing mold release agents; separating parts from the sprue; squaring up edges for resin buildings; modifications of windows and doors if necessary.
    • Painting: Primer; paint application methods; masking; color order.
    • Lighting: LED lighting; incandescent lighting; fiber optic lighting.
    • Assembly: Foundation (concrete, stone, block, brick, other. Height, vis-à-vis track, if applicable); Windows and doors; other interior considerations; roof.
    • Details
    • Installations
  • Clinic 2: Hands On Weathering Clinic by Pete Steinmetz. Participants will come away with a weathered car and a knowledge of how to use Pan pastels. Bring your own car, HO and N Scales, recommend not bringing larger scales due to time constrains.
    • A shade of Boxcar Red or Tuscan is recommended, no pink cars. We will spray clear flat on the cars. Wheels and trucks should be attached. We will fade the paint and apply dirt, grime, rust. We will not seal at the end. No need.
    • There is room for up to 10 participants but there is no limit on watchers.
    • Please email Pete at director [AT] sandiegodivision [DOT] org to let him know you are bringing a car to use at the clinic. (Pete's Director email address is now working as of August 9, 2021 at 11:00 a.m.)
  • Layout Tour: Don Fowler will be presenting his Southern Pacific’s Mojave Division N scale 20’ x 22’ double-decker layout which depicts segments between Southern Pacific's Intermodal Container Transfer Facility in 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 diesel service facility and arrival & departure yard.
    • There is 388 feet of mainline (just over 30 scale miles) with four railroad yards, two bridges, nine tunnels, twelve rail served industries, has several residential areas and working modern windmills. The layout also includes working signals and crossing gates, over 100 turnouts, the Tehachapi Loop and more.
    • There is also night time capability with lighted buildings, providing a very nice ambiance during operations or when showing the layout to visitors.
    • The layout uses DCC & Sound with a Digitrax DCC wireless system, has a custom-made N scale work bench and was started in 2015.
    • The layout was made specifically for Operations and was also designed so no one has to duck under the layout during an Operations Session.

September 8–11, 2021, Orange Blossom Special 2021 In-Person Convention (Irvine, California, USA)

  • Orange Blossom Special 2021The regularly scheduled Saturday Meet will not take place allowing our members to attend the in-person Pacific Southwest Region 2021 Convention in Irvine (The Greater Los Angeles area), California, USA.
  • Pacific Southwest Region 2021 Convention: The Pacific Southwest Region of the National Model Railroad Association is holding the Orange Blossom Special 2021 (an in-person model railroad convention) taking place September 8–11, 2021.
    • While we are posting some of the convention information on our website, we are not listing all of the events. We highly recommend that you please visit the Orange Blossom Special 2021 website to start planning your model train convention. The convention is filled with many events and things to do.
    • The convention will be held at the Hilton Irvine/Orange County Airport Hotel located next to the Orange County Airport (John Wayne Airport).
    • The Keynote Speaker is Charlie Getz. His father bought him his first Lionel train set in 1956 and has been modeling ever since. Charlie is also a past president of the National Model Railroad Association.
    • The convention will have clinics, layout tours, prototype tours, a Hobo Auction, swap meets, raffles, a reception, a banquet, awards, evaluations for Merit Awards, prizes and more.
    • The prototype tour will be at Gemco Yard in Van Nuys to watch a train being classified that will head north that afternoon. The Union Pacific Railroad Yard is located in Van Nuys between Van Nuys Boulevard and Woodman Avenue. A Google Maps search phrase to find the railroad yard online is "Union Pacific Railroad Co, Van Nuys Boulevard, Panorama City, CA" (without quotes).
    • Non-rail tours include a guided tour of the Nixon Library that will be followed by a lunch (which is included in the tour price), bingo, an Artificial Flower Display, a Sand Art Clinic and more.
    • If you are planning to have your entries evaluated for the NMRA Achievement Program you will need to fill out NMRA form #902. The form can be downloaded from the NMRA website. In addition, there will be a clinic offered for first-time and experienced modelers to help lead you through the paperwork process and to give you hints on what the evaluators are looking for. The paperwork is really quite simple once you understand it.
      • The Judged and Evaluated categories include:
        • Steam Locomotives
        • Diesel and other Locomotives
        • Traction
        • Passenger Cars
        • Freight Cars
        • Cabooses
        • Non-Revenue Equipment
        • Structures – On-Line
        • Structures – Off-Line
      • There are also the following contests:
        • Photo Contest
        • Arts and Crafts Contest
        • Modular Contest
        • Special Awards
  • Evaluators Are Needed. The Orange Blossom Special Show Room needs evaluators to help evaluate models entered for NMRA Awards Program. If you are interested, please sign up at the show room and there will be a mandatory training session at 11:00 am on Friday prior to preforming the evaluations in the Board Room. Evaluation will take place from 1:00 to 4:00 pm on Friday in the Show Room. Did you know you can get points toward you Volunteer AP Certificate by helping evaluate?
  • Please be aware that we have only listed some of the highlights above, about the model train convention. We recommend to visit the Orange Blossom Special 2021 website because it is filled lots of information and events.
  • When on the Orange Blossom Special 2021 convention website, please remember to find the clinics, tours and events you are interested in and please book early as there is limited attendance for each event.

 

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.