2011 NMRA National Convention
July 3 to 9, 2011 - Sacramento, California
The Unconventional Convention

Layout Tour Details

Sold Out & Cancelled Layout Tours

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L502 MARIN Sold Out
Thursday All Day July 7 $25.00 Dep 8:00 AM Ret 3:00 PM
This tour will visit five layouts in the Marin area, several of which have received extensive coverage in the model railroad press. Lunch will be on your own at a local shopping mall with multiple fast food opportunities.
HO Jim Providenza Santa Cruz Northern
21 X 22 Scenery: 95% Lenz DCC w/CVP wireless throttles No hazards
Jim's Santa Cruz Northern is a point to point, double deck, walk around style layout that shares a two car garage with a compact car. The SCN is single track with about 240 feet of mainline, of which 45 feet is in a three level helix. The maximum grade is 2.25%; minimum mainline radius is 26.5". The SCN is a jointly owned Western Pacific/Santa Fe subsidiary, running from a connection with the WP in San Jose California south to Santa Cruz on the Pacific Coast. As such it shares many of the characteristics of similar lines in the area such as the Central California Traction Company or the Northwestern Pacific. Five major sidings have been extended to average 15 feet in length. All of the visible mainline and most of the switches are hand laid. Set in the early 1970's, motive power is either second hand or leased, quite often from the parent roads. Traffic has traditionally centered around industrial products in San Jose, agricultural products from the Santa Clara Valley and wood products and cement from the Santa Cruz Mountains. The layout has appeared in numerous model railroad magazines most recently in the March 2010 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman.
HO Bill Kaufman State Belt RR
12x12 Scenery: 70% Lenz DCC w/CVP wireless throttle No hazards http://www.statebelt.org
The State Belt ran for 100 years along piers and into warehouses of the San Francisco waterfront. Bill has taken important elements like a car float, interchange at King St. (where the Giants play today), street running, and switching areas under Telegraph Hill and built them into a 12' x 12' layout using interesting modular techniques. Operations follow the prototype State Belt with 2 crews each working their own division. The railroad is totally functional, and signature buildings like the Ferry Building and Merchants Ice and Cold Storage are being worked on. Control is Lenz DCC with wireless throttles. The State Belt was written up in the April 2007 Railroad Model Craftsman.
HO Paul Weiss Penn Central - Boston
10 X 14 Scenery: 40% NCE DCC Average house (1-2 steps)
This is a double decked switching layout deep in the urban jungle of Boston in 1974 that is based on the Penn Central. The concept is to provide a switching experience with the curves and obstacles typical of urban switching, while trying to represent the city in a true urban context, buildings that are not simple rectangles, roads and trackage crossing and overlapping, and blocked sight lines. There is no main line here to speak of, and as a result Paul enjoys complicated and lengthy op sessions. Entirely code 83, Paul is slowly converting to hand laid turnouts as he moves to a premier standard of reliability and appearance. All of the structures are scratchbuilt or kitbashed, some reside on the layout but not all are complete yet.
HO Jon Schmidt Nicasio Northern Railway
12 X 21 Digitrax Several steps and/or duck-under(s)
Around the turn of the century some prosperous ranchers and farmers in Nicasio, CA (Marin County) decided that they needed a better way to get their products to market. A railroad was discussed, incorporated, and funded. The plan was to build from Nicasio to Bayside, a small but bustling port on San Francisco Bay. The Nicasio Southern Railroad laid rails, started running trains, hired the wrong president, and he very quickly stole all the capital and absconded.

A group of San Francisco financial types saw an opportunity to take a functional railroad, and a territory rich with farms, ranches, fisheries, and lumber, and create a viable railway with connections to the national rail network as well as the Bay. The Nicasio Northern Railway was born, and at this time in history (mid-1920's) is a viable concern. Barely.

The Nicasio Northern starts at Bayside, which has the main passenger and freight yards and the engine servicing facility. Bayside is on a peninsula jutting into the Bay. The wharf and several industries serve the railway and southern Marin.

From Bayside we go north past Backdoor Junction, the connection to short eastern branch to Dither. Past Backdoor, the road continues north through the hills (literally) until we hit Skalville. Skalville is the junction to the NN Railway's eastern division, the town of Yawn, and the connection to the rest of the US rail network. From Skalville the line heads north to the thriving metropolis of Nicasio, with its ranching and farms. Leaving Nicasio, we continue northward to Highland, which is another railway town. The tracks continue to Hither. The Nicasio Northern railway weaves through the hills on muddy and slippery roadbed. Need I mention that this is earthquake country? Even if the right of way was once perfectly laid out with straight tangents and smooth grades and curves, it didn't stay that way. The little steam engines rock and roll as they lead their trains across the pike. Track is complete and operational. The layout has a peninsula in the center of the 12 x 21 foot space, and the rest of the track runs around perimeter of the room. Bayside yards and the engine terminal are on the peninsula.

There is a short, but steep, walk from the corner to Jon's house in addition to two flights of stairs to access his train room.

HO Carquinez Model Railroad Society Crockett Central
30 x 60 Scenery: 30% DCC Several steps and/or duck-under(s) http://www.cmrstrainclub.org
The layout represents a portion of the original transcontinental railroad and old Southern Pacific Railroad running between Oakland, CA and Sparks, NV . The timeframe varies from the 1950's to present, allowing both steam and diesel locomotives to be operated through time appropriate scenery on the layout. Notice that the mainline is double tracked allowing operators to swiftly run from destination to destination without stops at sidings to wait for trains to meet and pass. The track is constructed on three levels with two large helixes on opposite corners providing a connection. The "mushroom style" layout is narrow with long tabletops that are stacked like bunk beds. This design provides maximum linear track space without having unrealistic twists back and forth, an undesirable but typical characteristic of older "spaghetti bowl" designs. Code 100 track is used on the 1st level and helixes only, and Code 83 track is used on the rest of the layout. Nominal minimum track radius is 48 inches. Maximum 2% grade is found on the helixes. The club consists of 50 members, is growing and welcomes new members. The UP mainline passes adjacent to the club's second floor location.

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