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California Southern Model Railroad Club

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

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Answers to Some Frequently Asked Questions

What's the percentage of the grades?    The railroad is generally flat from Pinacate to Arlington.     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, and increasing from 2 to 2.5% through Esperanza, and expected to continue to the wye on the upper level.  Beyond the wye, the railroad will once again be generally flat.
Is the layout DCC?    Yes, the entire club 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 trains plus 3-4 locals and yard jobs throughout the layout.
What kind of power supplies are you using?   We are using two Digitrax Super Chief throttles for lower lever operation.
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.   Passing sidings are expected to be about 25 to 30 feet long. This doesn't mean members can't run longer trains, which often happens.
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".
What era and part of the country is the layout based on?    The layout is based on the Southern California area, albeit with some "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.   The only other stipulations are no talgo type (truck-mounted) couplers, and no one-piece cast wheelsets are allowed.
I like modern equipment.  Can the tunnels and bridges fit doublestacks?   Our bridges and tunnels are designed with plenty of clearance for use with all types of 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 one end of the California Southern to the other takes about 5-10 minutes.  The return trip is usually about the same.   These times should be about double once the upper level is operable.
How much of the layout is double track?     The railroad is double track from Pinacate to 9th Street.... about 75% of the lower level.   The upper level is expected to be single track with passing sidings.
Do you use signals?   The railroad is presently unsignaled, but we do plan to have them.   There are provisions for a dispatching station that will allow 1 or 2 dispatchers to allocate all of the blocks and control all switches (turnouts) on the mainline.
How does one become a member?    Are there any initiation fees?    Other
requirements?    
Just stop by the California Southern any Tuesday evening and talk to one of our members.    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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