Links To: The National Model Railroad Association, San Diego Model Railroad Clubs, Railroad Museums & Public Displays, Train Rides, Public Trains & Trolley Service (in San Diego, California, USA)

 

N Scale freight train and layout by Don Fowler, Master Model Railroader®, San Diego Division member.
N Scale freight train and layout by Don Fowler, Master Model Railroader®, San Diego Division member.

Pacific Southwest Region, National Model Railroad Association

 

National Model Railroad Association (NMRA)

 

Modeling diorama by Trudy Seeley, San Diego Division member.
Modeling diorama by Trudy Seeley, San Diego Division member. 
Picture credit: Trudy Seeley.

San Diego Model Railroad Clubs

The Centennial Railway Garden
(San Diego, California, USA)

Chula Vista Live Steamers
(Bonita, California, USA)
www.chulavistalivesteamers.org 

  • Chula Vista Live Steamers, established in January 1974, is a group of people interested in building and operating scale models of real (live steam) machinery. Their engines and associated equipment are usually built and operated by the owner and are maintained by them at their considerable expense of time and money.

La Mesa Model Railroad Club
(San Diego, California, USA)
www.lamesaclub.com

  • Located inside the San Diego Model Railroad Museum.
  • The club layout, in HO scale, represents the joint Southern Pacific Railroad and the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway from Bakersfield to Mojave, California (USA) of the 1950s. The current layout consists of the area from the Southern Pacific Bakersfield Yard through the famous Tehachapi Loop to the Mojave Yard. The club uses DCC and Sound using NCE Power Cabs and NCE Pro Cabs. Both plug-in cables and wireless NCE cabs are used. The club layout is still under construction.
  • The club has Time Table/Train Order Operation Sessions (set in the 1950s) several times a year and operators are invited from all over the United States to help operate in real time. Some of the model enthusiasts will arrive into San Diego days before these events and visit with friends or family in San Diego, or visit tourist areas or simply enjoy the camaraderie of other model railroad enthusiasts.
N Scale layout by Don Fowler, Master Model Railroader®, San Diego Division member.
N Scale layout by Don Fowler, Master Model Railroader®, San Diego Division member.
Picture credit: San Diego Division Webmaster.

North County Model Railroad Society
(Oceanside, California, USA)
www.ncmrs.org

  • The club was formed in January 1990 and is an active HO scale model railroad club. The club is open to the public at Heritage Park, Oceanside. Look for the building with the sign that says, "Train Depot", to find where the model railroad layout is located.
  • The club models the Southern Pacific Railroad from San Diego, California (USA) to Colton, California (USA). 
  • The club layout has two levels, has many buildings and industries, has tunnels, railroad yards, industry spurs, sidings and more, and is located in two large rooms.
  • The club uses DCC/Sound to control the locomotives through phone apps and use multiple touchscreen tablets throughout the layout, which control the switches. 
  • The club welcomes new members from anywhere in San Diego County and other areas north of Oceanside and has Operations Sessions for its members.

San Diego 3-Railers
(San Diego, California, USA)
www.sd3r.org

San Diego Division - National Model Railroad Association
(San Diego County and Imperial County, California, USA)
www.sandiegodivision.org

  • The San Diego Division of the National Model Railroad Association is quite an active group of railroad modelers and holds meetings and events, every second Saturday of the month. We call our meetings, "Meets".
  • Our meetings 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. Here are a few examples of clinic topics: An electronics clinic; how to solder; how to weather rolling stock; understanding decoders; techniques and standards to improve rolling stock.)
  • We have Quarterly Meets which can include a variety of activities such as a potluck luncheon, an annual swap meet, annual picnic and other activities for our members.
  • Due to the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic, many National Model Railroad Association Divisions (including the San Diego Division) started Zoom Meetings across the nation and around the world. By joining the National Model Railroad Association, you will have access to plenty of Zoom Meetings to help improve your scale railroad modeling.
  • The San Diego Division does not have a club layout or permanent meeting room. Each individual has their own layout and some members do not have layouts. Our Meets and Events are held at various locations throughout San Diego County.
  • The National Model Railroad Association (NMRA) is a world-wide organization with over 18,000 active members, associates, families and clubs dedicated to the hobby of scale model railroading in all its facets, helping to educate its members in modeling techniques, to learn more about the hobby and to meet others with your same interest. The National Model Railroad Association also develops standards for scale model railroad equipment for model railroad manufactures, to help facilitate the interchangeability and operation of equipment between modelers, clubs and others.
La Mesa Model Railroad Club HO scale layout, powered by DCC and Sound.
La Mesa Model Railroad Club HO scale layout, powered by DCC and Sound.
Picture credit: San Diego Division Webmaster.

San Diego Garden Railway Society
(San Diego, California, USA)
www.sdgrs.com

San Diego Model Railroad Association
(San Diego, California, USA)
www.sdmrra.org (The site is currently down as of June 2021 and the club knows this and is working on it.)

  • Located inside the San Diego Model Railroad Museum.
  • The HO layout features the prototype San Diego & Arizona Eastern from San Diego's Union Station travelling South to Tijuana and through Mexico, recrossing into the United States at Tecate (Mexico and California) through to Campo (California). The line continues into the Carrizo Gorge, to Imperial County past Plaster City, and ending at El Centro (California). A 3 ft narrow gauge line from Plaster City to a gypsum mine is also loosely modeled. Finally, the 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, upgrades and detailing continue.
  • The O-Scale layout has been under construction, refinement and operation for more than 25 years. The layout consists of three independent loops, a downtown trolley section, an On3 narrow gauge, and a single track mountain division (high-line) with automatic loops at each end. Scenic location is based on an imaginary line from San Diego to Sacramento, California (USA).

San Diego S-Gaugers
(Grossmont, California, USA)
www.sites.google.com/site/sdsgaugers

San Diego Society of N Scale
(San Diego, California, USA)

Short Track Railroad
(Vista, California, USA)
www.shorttrackrr.org

 

San Diego Railroad Museums and Public Displays 

HO scale Dead Rail model layout by San Diego Division member.
HO scale Dead Rail model layout by San Diego Division member.
Picture credit: San Diego Division Webmaster.

Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum
(Vista, California, USA)
www.agsem.com

Old Town Model Railroad Depot
(San Diego, California, USA)
www.oldtowntrains.com

Pacific Southwest Railway Museum and Association
(Campo and La Mesa, California, USA)
www.psrm.org

Poway-Midland Railway 
(Poway, California, USA)
www.powaymidlandrr.org

San Diego Electric Railway Association, Inc. & National City Depot Museum
(National City, California, USA) 
www.sdera.org

San Diego Model Railroad Museum
(San Diego, California, USA)
www.sdmrm.org

  • Located in Balboa Park.

 

San Diego Train Rides

Balboa Park Miniature Railroad
(San Diego, California, USA)
www.balboapark.org/attractions/miniature-train

  • In Balboa Park, next to the San Diego Zoo.

LEGOLAND Express Train
(Carlsbad, California, USA)
www.legoland.com

Pacific Southwest Railway Museum and Association
(Campo and La Mesa, California, USA)
www.psrm.org

  • The Campo location has train rides, a museum, gift shop, special events, locomotives, switchers, train cars, maintenance facilities, a railroad yard and more. The La Mesa location has a small museum and an outside display which has a steam locomotive, box car and a  caboose.

Poway-Midland Railway 
(Poway, California, USA)
www.powaymidlandrr.org

 

Pacific Surfliner at the Santa Fe train station at downtown San Diego (California, USA).
Pacific Surfliner at the Santa Fe train station at downtown San Diego (California, USA).
Picture credit: San Diego Division Webmaster.

San Diego Public Train and Trolley Service 

The Coaster
(San Diego, California, USA)
www.gonctd.com/services/coaster-commuter-rail

  • Service between downtown San Diego and Oceanside.

Metrolink
(Southern California, USA)
www.metrolinktrains.com

  • Service between Oceanside and Los Angeles. 

Pacific Surfliner
(Southern California, USA)
www.amtrak.com/pacific-surfliner-train

  • Service between downtown San Diego, through Los Angeles with its final destination in San Luis Obispo, with spectacular ocean views. 

San Diego Trolley
(San Diego, California, USA)
www.sdmts.com

The Sprinter
(San Diego North County, California, USA)
www.gonctd.com/services/sprinter-hybrid-rail

  • Service between Oceanside and Escondido.