Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Diablo Valley Lines Model Railroad is awesome

Pardon me while I model-train out here. Jackson is a big model train fan--not a builder, just an admirer, so we visited Walnut Creek's Model Railroad Society's winter show this week. According to the Web site, the WCMRS boasts one of the largest exclusively HO scale lines in the United States. And they have overhead interurban traction and HOn3 narrow gage, too!


No matter--if you're a model railroad freak, or you know some children, go to this show and bring the children so they can forever worship you. It's happening this weekend, November 27 & 28, and it's affordable fun. 4,300 feet of hand-laid track in a building that was built by Society members in 1970 simply to house a giant model train layout that takes 45 minutes for a train to travel through. The entire layout, in order to be operational, takes about 25 operators, and the Society has been in operation since 1948. Dude, that's a lot of model train knowledge in one layout.

My photos are without flash, to avoid glare, so the ambiance is tavern-like. I liked whenever the modelers would show up in the layout to make repairs and operate their trains. The upstairs bay allows more than a dozen guys (still waiting for that elusive gal modeler to show up) to run operations. And because the trains go through so many tunnels and turnouts, the engineers have to watch a light-up grid on the opposite wall of the building to keep track of their train's progress. It's like Star Trek in there.

There's also a working drawbridge, nighttime operations with light-up city and lightning storm (one volunteer walks through spraying water for "rain"), a Jurassic Park dinosaur-attack and carnival freak-show tent, and perfect replicas of San Francisco's "F" street-cars, including the vintage models from around the world. Plus decent hot dogs and fresh-baked cookies for sale. This is positive obsessive-compulsiveness in action.

Looks like there's a little bit of Union activity going on here on the street-car line.
There are guys up there in the balcony, working the trains. They are dedicated and unfathomable people--go see them in action.

Officially endorsed by Wired.


Anonymous said...

CWW, you drive me ape, you big gorilla. This really took me back -- haven't been to the WC RR thing since the early 60s. Yeah, the NINETEEN sixties. Don't even know if it was the same thing, but I have a vague memory, I guess it was. We'd moved to WC from Oakland, eminent domain reasons: they built the Mac Freeway through our old house on Alma off Park Blvd. There were huge miles of CA grasslands between WC & Concord, etc. Always have loved the model RR, though. As my young'un is now 14, she might not be as impressed with overhead interurban traction and HOn3 narrow gage as I am, or as she might've been 7yrs ago. Ahh well. I'll never be too old for it, so maybe I'll get my dad out there before he can't walk anymore. Thanks, and hope you and yours had a good Thanksgiving.

Miss Lisa said...