Spring cleaning leads to a step back in time

While cleaning out the garage, I came across an old membership application for the SVL from 1988, when the club was still new, modular, and operating in a pair of trailers in the Milpitas area. This was just after the six founding members had put up $600 each to buy the trailers from GE.

It’s interesting to see that in a standard Ops session, we’d run 10 trains, most of which were passenger. 30 years later, we run about 20+ trains in a given operating session, but almost exclusively freight (Hey, that’s pretty prototypical, no?). We still use DTC for our Ops sessions, but command control and touchpanels have definitely made our lives simpler for those of us operating the layout.

Regardless, it’s an interesting find from 30 years ago in the club’s history. Who knows what the next 30 years holds. Only time will tell!

PCR 2019, Sacramento

Report from the 2019 PCR convention. It was four days of model railroad activities in all scales. I attended a clinic (presentation) on the McCloud Railway (Mt. Shasta area) which closed for good in 2009. I also attended another clinic on the Quincy Railroad (now just transports lumber from a mill in Quincy 3.3 miles to the junction with the Union Pacific RR. These were interesting to understand the cycles – business, weather, competition – that a 100-year-old railroad goes through. It is a tough business – adapt or die.

I was also fortunate to be assigned to three operating sessions. The first (Phil Gulley) was in a purpose-built 30 x 50’ building with high ceilings. This provided for three levels with walk-unders. I was assigned to a switching job and to help in one of the yards. It was a lot of fun due in large part to perfectly operating track and equipment. The second layout was a Colorado narrow gauge model RR (Sacramento Model RR Historical club) and I was one of the yardmasters. The third layout (Sacramento modular club) was a large modular layout in the display hall. Although the switching puzzles were creative and complicated, the trackwork was poor and the train derailed constantly. It impressed upon me again the importance of great trackwork to the enjoyment of the hobby. I suppose modular railroads take a tough beating being transported frequently. It was tiring but a lot of fun. Here’s some photos.


The file name with each photo starts with “gulley” for Phil Gulley’s layout, “modular” for the Sacramento Valley modular club, and “ng” for the Sacto Narrow Gauge club. The last few photos are the model contest.