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California Southern Model Railroad Club

12140 E Firestone Blvd, Norwalk, CA 90650 (562)863-3156

Club History
Club History
Layout Plan
Layout Plan
Layout Plan
Layout Progress
Open House Dates
Frequently Asked Questions
Become a Member
Are We Having Fun?
Members Models
Links to Other Web Sites

Answers to Some Frequently Asked Questions

What's the percentage of the grades?    The railroad is generally flat along the first half of the Lower Level from Pinacate through Malin Yard. A 1.5% grade begins at the east end of Malin Yard and extends from Val Verde to 9th Street, increasing to 1.75% through Spadra, increasing from 2 to 2.25% through Esperanza. Now on single track, the ruling grade averages 1.75 to 2.0% through Canyon Sidings all the way to the final Summit just before Chester Junction. The Upper Level return loop between Chester and Costa Junctions is once again level.
.Is the layout DCC?    Yes, the entire layout is wired up for Digirtax DCC operation.
How many trains can be run at a time?    There is enough room on the mainline loop for roughly 5-7 (25-35 car) trains, plus 3-4 locals and yard jobs throughout the layout.
What kind of power supplies are you using?   The layout uses Digitrax Super Chief command stations and multiple dedicated Boosters for both lower and upper level operations.
How long can a train be?    The staging yard has tracks that average about 23 feet in length.   This allows for a train of about 30 to 40 cars, depending on the length of the cars.   More cars can be added in Malin Yard, but then siding lengths become a problem.   Upper level passing sidings are about 25 to 30 feet long.
What are the minimum and maximum curve radii?      The minimum radius on the mainline is 40" in the visible areas, and can be 36" in the hidden areas.   The minimum radius on industrial track is 20". Maximum curves go right on up into the 50-60" range.
What era and part of the country is the layout based on?    The layout is based on a Southern California theme, albeit with a fair amount of "modeler's license" thrown in.    We are striving to keep the railroad non-era specific, by changing structures and vehicles to represent different eras as desired.
Are there any requirements on the equipment I bring to run?     Any weight standards?   We use Kadee compatible couplers on all engines and rolling stock, and follow the NMRA recommended practice for weight of rolling stock.   Metal wheel sets on all equipment as well. The only other stipulations are no talgo type (truck-mounted) couplers, and no one-piece cast wheel sets are allowed.
I like modern equipment.  Can the tunnels and bridges fit double-stacks?   Our bridges and tunnels are designed with plenty of clearance for use with nearly all types of HO scale equipment. Even On30 on rare occasions!
How long does it take to complete a trip around the layout?    Depending on the traffic, a run from the bottom to the top of the California Southern's double deck layout takes about 15-20 minutes.  The return trip back down is usually about the same.  
How much of the layout is double track?     The railroad is double track from Pinacate to Spadra.... about 90% of the lower level.   The upper level is single track, with two ~25' passing sidings at Canyon, and one more between Chester and Costa.
Do you use signals?   Signal assembly and installation is ongoing on the layout with approximately 80% of the mainline signaled as of late 2021.  Computer programming of the signal system is in development. There are provisions for a dispatching station that will allow 1 or 2 dispatchers to operate all of the blocks and control all switches (turnouts) on the mainline.
How does one become a member?    Are there any initiation fees?    Other
Just stop by the California Southern any Wednesday or Saturday evening and talk to one of our members. Or stop by at one of the monthly business meetings on the first Tuesday evening of every month at 7:30PM.   There are no initiation fees, and dues are just $30 per month $15 for Junior members.    Perspective Junior members between the ages of 12 and 17 will require a sponsorship from another adult club member. There is a minimum age limit of 12.    Please see the Membership page for more info.
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