Mark your Calendars for April 17, 2021: SVL’s Second Virtual Open House!

Hi everyone!

Update 4/12: All of our available openings to virtually run a train are now full. If you’re interested in running a train virtually, look for future events announced here and on our Facebook page. You are also welcome to follow along with our Virtual Open House once the link is uploaded to our Youtube page at

Now that the Bay Area is opening back up again, as well as the success from our Virtual Fall Open House, we’re planning to conduct another virtual open house for the Spring time! On April 17, 2021, you’ll again be able to take a train for a spin around our lower level loop at SVL, all from the comfort of your home!s

Note: As mentioned above – this is a remote Open House. Our layout is still closed to the general public due to Covid-19 restrictions. Only a limited number of members will be allowed into the building to help monitor trains, so please do not come down to the club.


Night Time in Tracy

Well, … Covid is still here and Santa Clara County continues to be in Purple Tier, so indoor operations at the club are still closed as required by the local health authorities.

Once Santa Clara County moves to Red Tier and allows for indoor operations, we will restart with remote operations sessions.

The SVL CabCam Disk Image

Since we wrote the installation instructions for the CabCam project in August 2020, we have been fine-tuning the camera settings and made other improvements. Review the project page for the hardware we use for our camera cars and to get a better understanding about the software side of the setup.

The instructions on the project page are very detailed and several groups have built camera cars using them. We’re now making a disk image of our CabCam project available for others to use with the hope that this is an even easier way build a working camera car. The disk image comes as a 600MByte zip file with Raspian and mjpg-streamer preconfigured. Depending on your Internet connection speed, it will take a while to download. The download is available below.

This disk image is intended to be used with a Raspberry Pi Zero and the Raspberry Pi camera.

Setup and Usage

Make sure to unzip the disk image before writing the file to the SD card with a disk imaging tool of your choice.

After writing the disk image to the SD card, eject and re-insert the SD card. Edit the file wpa_supplicant.conf in the boot partition to enter the network name and password for your Wifi network. This file can be easily accessed from Windows, MacOS X, or Linux. The Raspberry Pi web site has more information about configuring Wifi for headless operation.

Finally, put the SD card into your Raspberry Pi and let it boot. The Raspberry Pi should acquire an IP address and come up on your Wifi. Give it a few minutes to do that. Many home routers have a handy client list feature listing all devices on your network with their IP address and what they identify as. The camera should identify as “cabcam1”.

Enter the IP address in your browser and it should come up with the default M-JPG Streamer Web page, which has various options for accessing the camera stream in different situations. The URL provided on the VideoLAN sub-page can be used to access the camera video as a Media Source in OBS Studio.

The image brings up SSH with the default password (user pi, password raspberry). We recommend to change the password.

The camera configuration can be changed by changing the parameters in the script in the pi home directory and rebooting the Pi.

This disk image contains software from the Raspberry Pi Foundation and Liam Jackson’s fork of the M-JPEG Streamer project under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; version 2 of the License. This software is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

Happy Holidays

While the layout is currently closed due to county Corona restrictions, club members are working on small, portable projects like this lovely scene at Peachey Brothers.

We are thinking ahead to 2021 and are discussing how to adjust our operations scheme to facilitate remote ops sessions until we can come together again as a group at the layout. A dedicated computer to run video and conferencing software is being built and installed in the dispatcher office. This will help with enabling remote ops and live streaming from the layout room with much less overhead.

Stay tuned for more updates and information about upcoming sessions.