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A Trip to see the San Diego Model Railroad Museum in Balboa Park 12/20/2011

by Chris Guenzler

AC Adam invited me down to San Diego to go to the San Diego Model Railroads Museum on the first Tuesday of my Winter Break. I drove down to Santa Ana and waited for Pacific Surfliner 566.

Surfliner 566 came into Santa Ana and I boarded the train. When Conductor Joe punched my ten ride, I gave him one of my 2012 Calendars I had made and they are for sale on-line at the Silver Rails Gallery in La Plata, Missouri.

The scene later along the surf south of San Clemente. The train ran into the siding at West Fallbrook and I got lucky this morning with my camera and where the train stopped.

US Army GP-9 1401 was out where I could get pictures as we rolled by and after we stopped. We sat here for over twenty minutes before Surfliner 769 ran by us on the mainline. We got into San Diego thirty minutes late which was no big deal because I was on Connect Amtrak the whole trip south and listened to music while I surfed the web. I went out onto the street side of the San Diego Station and waited for AC Adam who was delayed by a major accident on Interstate 8. He picked me up and we drove to Balboa Park and finally found a place to park. From the parking lot we walked over to the building that is the home of the San Diego Model Railroad Museum. We went down the stairs and came to our destination for this trip.

First you see this sign.

Then you see the lettering on the wall.

There is an operating Southern Pacific lower quadrant semaphore signal. You then pay your admission fee and then you are free to enjoy the model railroads in this unique museum.

There is an interactive map of San Diego and the Imperial Valley.

The O scale layout model railroad is the Cabrillo & Southwestern. This 2,700 sq ft (250 m2). layout is a free-lance representation of a route from San Diego to Sacramento. The Cabrillo & Southwestern is the O scale (1/48th actual size) model railroad being built by the San Diego Model Railroad Club. It is a freelance model of an imaginary prototype running between San Diego and Sacramento. The layout was redesigned in 1986 and is being built in place, section by section, giving visitors a firsthand view of model railroad construction. The layout features an electric trolley line which actually receives power from the overhead catenary system. There is also an operating brass sculptured water fountain in front of the main terminal. The San Diego Model Railroad Club (O and HO Scales) meets Fridays at 7:30 pm in the Museum

Views of the Cabrillo & Southwestern O scale layout model railroad. The next layout we will look at is the San Diego & Arizona Eastern RR - HO scale layout. This 4,500 sq ft (420 m2). layout is based on the prototype San Diego and Arizona Eastern Railway line from San Diego Union Station eastward through spectacular Carriso Gorge to the desert floor at El Centro. The San Diego & Arizona Eastern is the HO scale (1/87th actual size) layout of the San Diego Model Railroad Club. HO is the most popular scale in model railroading. The SD&AE models the prototype railroad of the same name connecting San Diego with El Cajon and El Centro. The San Diego - San Ysidro and San Diego - El Cajon portions are now part of the San Diego Trolley. This layout features an impressive 10 ft. high model of the Carriso Gorge (north of Jacumba in eastern San Diego County) and the Goat Canyon trestle. The actual trestle was the largest timber railroad trestle in the world at the time of its construction in 1932. Because of the rough terrain, the SD&AE has been coined "The Impossible Railroad". The San Diego Model Railroad club meets every Friday evening. Now let us enjoy this unique model railroad.

Views of the San Diego & Arizona Eastern RR - HO scale layout. Now lets go see what else we can find.

There is a kid area to drop of your kids while you enjoy the model railroads.

There are many display cases around this museum.

Click here for Part 2 of this story