SDMRRA Public Services.
The San Diego Model Railroad Association (SDMRRA) strives to provide information to visitors of the San Diego Model Railroad Museum about our two layouts (HO and O-scale) design, construction techniques, operations, geographical representation, era modeled, and membership opportunities in our organization.
The SDMRRA modified the security perimeters on both layouts to place open grills in several locations to facilitate conversation with patrons in the public aisle ways. Operators are always happy to answer questions about the layouts and the trains running on them. Most trains are privately owned by association members, but some are owned and maintained by the SDMRRA.
Visitors are permitted inside the layout area at the discretion of the member-in-charge, but this may not always be possible because limited staffing or other factors would prevent escorting duties. Photography and video of our exhibits is encouraged, and serious photographers may be invited inside the layout area for the purposes of special photographic needs.
Work on the SDMRRA layouts is performed Friday nights. Guests interested in model railroading who want to see how much effort is required to produce museum quality construction and trouble-free operation may visit a work session. If later you would like to join our organization, talk to the operator in charge for the day, or any SDMRRA board officer. Some special projects may occur on other evenings, especially track work or electrical modifications which would affect daytime layout operations.
The HO "Carrizo Gorge" layout is very large, and sometimes it may seem that nothing is running. Even with a dozen trains moving somewhere on the layout, it may still seem inactive at a particular location. Please ask any operator where the action is at that moment, or when the next train may pass through a given area.
A note about era. The layouts represent the late 1940's through the mid 1950's. However, the trains operating on any given day may vary from early 1900's through present day. Era chosen for each train depends on the modeler/owner interests, and helps tell the story of our nation's railroad history. It is not only the locomotive(s) but type and details of freight car and passenger rolling stock as a whole making up a prototypical train for a given era.
Younger children seem to prefer the SDMRRA O-scale layout, with the bigger (and faster) trains, and the rapid pace action. O-scale occupies a lot of room, but trains are quickly back near the viewing windows. There are also trolley cars running right along the front of the layout, drawing a lot of attention. The HO layout on the other hand moves seemingly twice as slow for a given scale MPH, and because of the many scale miles to travel, trains are more infrequent. Younger children's shorter attention span usually means the HO layout is less interesting. Older children and adults, however, enjoy the longer trains, scenery detail vignettes, and modeled landmarks around San Diego. Trolley cars may also be found on the HO layout, but not every day. Tuesdays and Fridays are the best days to look for trolley operation on the SDMRRRA HO layout.
Since The HO "Carrizo Gorge" layout is based on a actual prototype railroad in San Diego County, anyone interested in the history and operations of the SD&AE will find reference material on the HO layout expanded page. Other information may also be obtained through the internet or your local public library.