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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PLEASE NOTE! If you have mobility issues and have already signed up or plan to sign up for any bus tours, please see the "Mobility Issues" page for important information.

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Thursday All Day July 7 $4.00 Dep 10:00 AM Ret 10:00 PM
We are offering non-bus alternative layout openings on a daily basis. In general layouts open on bus tours will not be open for self-guided at the same time. Some will not be open for self-guided at any time, and others will only be available as open self-guided. Except for Friday evening tours, tickets are good for the entire day, but individual layouts are only open in the time window indicated by the layout owner. It is your responsibility to be aware of the hours a layout owner is available before leaving for a particular destination.

Directions packages will include a listing of addresses for entry in a GPS or internet maping system, including notations of known system glitches. Pricing for self-guided tours assumes very few people go alone and not everyone requires a directions package. Therefore, two ticket classifcations are available for each daily package; a ticket and directions package and ticket only for additional people in your party. The 50 suffix tours include directions packages and the 51 suffix tours are ticket only.

The owners open for self guided tours on Thursday are:

Sacramento and Elk Grove (along Interstate-5 south of Sacramento)
Dave Arrol 3:00 pm to 8:00 pm- Self Guided only
Greg Austin 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Bill Burg 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Matt Mason 10:00 am to 5:00 pm

Interstate-80 Northeast of Sacramento
Jerry Abrau 10:00 am to 2:00 pm
Frank and Ruby Andrews 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Chuck and Sue Maley 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Aaron Splawn 10:00 am to 5:00 pm- Self Guided Only

Marin County - North of San Francisco
Bill Horstmeyer
Bill Kaufman 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Jim Providenza
Jon Schmidt
Paul Weiss

HO Dave Arrol Western Pacific First Sub
20 X 40 Accessibility unknown/not entered
The Bay Area and Central Valley RR is a multi-level HO layout specifically geared w/ operations in mind. The lower level depicts both the WP and SP from the SF/Oakland Bay Area south through the busy industrial area of E. Oakland, down through Fremont, Niles Jct. and eventually Warm Springs. A 'nine times' rotation helix takes you up and east into Pleasanton, the Altamont Pass area and back down into both the WP and SP Stockton Yards. A branch off the WP, out of Stockton, runs south on the Tidewater Southern and takes you into S. Modesto with a number of the local industries represented. The trackwork is about 80% complete with N. Stockton and the STE (Stockton Terminal & Eastern) in the near future plans. The layout is still under construction and scenery is limited.
HO Greg Austin Chicago, Ohio & Eastern
12 x 19 Scenery: 20% DCC Several steps and/or duck-under(s)
Greg's layout depicts a Mid-western railroad and is being modeled in the 1948 to 1955 steam to diesel transition period. The layout is designed to support up to 4 trains running simultaneously and signaling of the layout is underway. One of the scenic features is a 10 foot wide valley with steel bridges and wood trestle work spanning it with a maximum height of 150 scale feet.
HO Bill Burg Sacramento Northern Beltline
11 X 24 Scenery: 30% DC Average house (1-2 steps)
Bill's Sacramento Belt Line portrays Sacramento Northern Railway's industrial belt line within the city of Sacramento, California, during the period of 1953-1965, set in the high summer peak harvest/canning season. Operation focuses on industrial switching and interchange between multiple Class I railroads (Southern Pacific and Western Pacific), using a modified "wheel report" operation scheme. Scenery is urban/suburban, running between heavy industrial areas and tree-lined residential neighborhoods. Industries are primarily agricultural processing (canning, almonds, dairy, lumber milling, grain milling) and interchange between railroads, warehouses, trucks and riverboats/barges. Motive power consists of small diesel-electric switching locomotives operating on city streets and tight curves, formerly electric interurban right-of-way. The railroad is freight-only, aside from occasional chartered fan trips. Scale is HO, standard gauge, set up as a point-to-point shelf layout that will eventually circle the room entirely.
1/12 scale Matt Mason American River Navigation & Railway
120 X 140 Scenery: 100% Steam and on-board battery No hazards
The American River Navigation and Railway is a home railroad that is 1" scale, or 1/12 size. It is a rideable railroad that performs work for Matt moving firewood, landscape materials, and of course his two boys. The 4 3/4" gauge track winds from the front yard to the back with many sidings. A branch-line goes over to the neighbor's yard (a relative) and skirts the pool to a fruit-packing shed where fresh oranges are loaded in the winter. The layout is laid out roughly like a self-type switching layout, except folded over on itself twice. The railroad uses battery-powered GP9's, freelance 4-wheeled switchers, and steam locomotives to switch the 430' long railroad. You are also welcome to visit the railroad's machine shop where repairs are done and new locomotives built. An article on the layout was published in the Summer 2006 issue of The Home Railway Journal.
G Jerry Abreu Silverwood Mining and Lumber Railroad
Scenery: 100% No hazards
The Silverwood Mining and Lumber Railroad is built in a dog bone shape filling an area approximately two hundred feet long by thirty feet wide. The railroad depicts the steam era of railroading between 1900 and 1952 and uses track power, on board battery with radio control as well as live steam. On the Silverwood you will see passenger trains running as well as trains serving both mining and lumbering operations.
Fn3 Frank & Ruby Andrews Maple Rock Garden Railway
3 plus acres Battery and Live Steam Special adaptations for handicapped
The Maple Rock Garden Railway is unique because the railway is part of a nationally recognized three acre private garden. The railway is intended to represent a believable, small narrow gauge railway serving people and industries typical of this part of California in the 1920s to 1940s time. The Maple Rock Railway serves several small towns and small industries. Locomotives, cars, buildings, industries, and structures are necessarily small and compact. Locomotives include both live steam and onboard battery powered locomotives, each radio controlled. Battery powered locomotives also have electronic sound systems. Freight cars are typical 8 wheel freight and log cars or short, 4 wheel, ore cars. Passenger business is chiefly handled by combines run as mixed trains. The railway also runs periodic excursion trains for special occasions. Formed partly from graded and built up earth and partly following natural contours of the site, the railway is modeled in FN3 Scale, and has about 900 feet of track, or about 3.5 scale miles. Track is Llagas Creek code 215 rail, ties, and switches laid on granite "dust" ballast. Originally built as two sections, the lower section is built in a area of about 60 x 40 feet, has 450 feet of track in a large loop. The upper section has 120 feet of track, also a loop, is located 12 to 15 feet higher than the lower section. Later, a connector section was built between the two sections with 320 feet of track that climbs the 12 feet difference in height on 4% grades. A single "out and back" train trip from the lower section to the upper section is a bit over 3 scale miles and climbs and descends about 300 scale feet (15 actual feet) of elevation. Train trips continuing with a loop run around the lower section add another 2 scale miles, or a total of over 5 scale miles for a trip. Foliage in and around the railway are "in scale", living Dwarf Alberta Spruce, Juniper, and Japanese Maples, and ground covers. Also "decorating" the railway are several large Bonsai trees as old as 50 years and moss rocks as large as seven tons. This is a railway not to be missed.
G Chuck & Sue Maley Coyote Pass Railroad
30 X 100 Scenery: 100% Track Power and Live Steam No hazards
The railroad is about 8 years old and was built in a naturally rugged, rocky, area using numerous fills and bridges to follow the natural land contours - much like the real thing. It depicts a standard gauge mountain division line with rustic narrow gauge characteristics. Short, old time combines as well as long 15 to 20 car freights look right at home. The motive power ranges from kit bashed steam relics to late steam and early diesels of the 1950s and '60s as well as a completely out of place GG1. The 700 feet of mainline is Llargas Creek code 250 rail, bent for broad curves. The ruling grade is 2%. There is also a 90-foot short line with sharp curves and a 6% grade that services a lumber camp. Trains are track powered by Crest's RC Train Engineer system and several trains can be run concurrently. There is also a large live steam track connected to the mainline in a wye configuration. Interesting features include a 5-track car barn, cascading water flumes for a no muss, no fuss water feature and a working turntable. The over 75 structures, bridges and trestles are mostly scratch built and include animated features for the coaling tower, lumber mill and steam donkeys. Most of the structures light up for night time operations. Some of the rolling stock is also scratch built including a long, logging consist with handmade disconnects.
N and S Aaron Splawn Western Pacific
N 5X9 Scenery: 100% both layouts Average house (1-2 steps)
Aaron's Sn3 Tuolume is a model of the upper Tuolumne yard on the West Side Lumber Co in the late 50's. It includes the sand, water and oil facility, the car shops, old engine house/car shops, depot and warehouse. It is modeled close to prototype in a 15 foot long shadow box. All the rail is hand laid code 55 and includes dual gauge S/Sn3. Most of the structures are scratchbuilt and operating diorama is 100% sceniced.

The N scale layout is loosely based on the Western Pacific in late 60's to early 70's. The layout features the small community of Virgilia on one side, and the Feather River Canyon on the other. The layout will be 100% sceniced by the NMRA Convention and features numerous custom painted and detailed WP locomotives not available in N scale.

HO Bill Horstmeyer Oregon I-5 RR
25x30 Scenery: 30% Easy DCC, radio Average house (1-2 steps)
Bill has constructed a layout with a 300 foot long mainline, some branch lines and a few yards. The prototype is contemporary times of modern trains running on the Union Pacific over the Cascades in Oregon. This is a large layout with lengthy trains running well on steep grades and relatively tight curves.
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 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 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 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.

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