San Rafael Train Show 2008

The San Rafael 2008 Run Largest Yet

(Link for more pictures at the bottom of this page)

We as a model railroad club have been blessed every August for the last 5 years. San Rafael Parish has allowed us to setup our layouts in their wonderful facilities.
Each year the details of when and what will be done are hammered out with the aide of club members who attend the church and the Knights of Columbus who sponsor the weekend of fun.



It’s not just trains!
Though the parish hall is decked out in numerous model railroad layouts and exhibits, the Knights of Columbus put on a great ice cream social on Saturday. Now who doesn’t like free ice cream? It doesn’t get much better than eating ice cream and watching trains, or does it? On Sunday’s it’s donuts and trains. Ok, I guess it can get better.



Preparations Begin Early
The Knights let us know how much of the room will be available early in the summer of each year . The club as a whole decides what layouts and exhibits will be shown in that space. Ron Walker each year designs the shape and placement of the layouts in the hall.
The week of the show is a busy one. Generally at the meeting of the club just days before the event takes place last minute details and fixes are applied to the modules. On Thursday of that week, the trailer is delivered to the parish hall and all the modules and equipment are unloaded.

Friday is a non stop marathon of workers building all the layouts, hooking up all the wires, placing trains and buildings and scenery in place and then late in the evening, test running of the first trains.


This years setup went well and the crew had things looking good and running on Friday night. Saturday morning came very early for those who worked late on Friday. The club members started to arrive around 7:30am. Many last minute details were being applied to the layouts such as buildings, cars, some repair work and detail extras.



Around 8:30am the first trains started to form in the yard and a few minutes later, we saw our first trains out on the mainline.

Z Scale
This year Poway Station went all out. We setup 5 layouts this year and a nice static display of equipment for event attendees.
Brian Beck brought his Z scale layout, which got a lot of ohhs and ahhhs from the crowd. Many people hadn’t seen a model train this small before and couldn’t believe it’s size, and how something that small actually ran around the tracks. It was a great hit for the show.





G Scale
This year we once again had room to setup our G Scale layout. It went up fairly quickly I was told, without problems. The nice thing with the G is that it too is a crowd pleaser and at times we were a little short handed, it could be left on it’s own. Two trains keep running pretty much at all times both days.






O Scale
Jim Phelan setup an O scale layout. He and Jack ???? Took turns running it and watching over it. We did have one bad accident with the O though. It appears that a run away throttle caused Jim’s beautiful Cab Forward to fly off the end of the layout when it couldn’t negotiate the tight curve ahead. It landed on the floor and sustained damage. Solomon offered to take a look at it and try and fix it for Jim. Other than that, other O scale equipment ran both days just fine. Even Thomas the Train came by and was running on the O. Always a show stopper for the wee ones in the group.




Lego Layout
DJ brought by his Leg train set. I for one had never seen one before. They are quite interesting. Just goes to prove that you can build just about anything with Legos.




Static Display
Once again George setup a great looking and educational static display. He presented rolling stock of all the different scales so people could get an idea of what G looked like compared to Z scale. George also had fliers, magazines and info pac’s for attendees to take home with them.

During the event George was busy hopping between talking with people and running the many video shows he was presenting on a large screen TV for people to sit and watch.





Switching Layout
This year we were asked if we could do set something up outside the church doors as people left from the services. Ron Tindall had built a 2’ x 8’ switching puzzle layout just for times like this. It collapses into an easily portable 2’ x 4’ case with a carrying handle. Ron created the layout with switching in mind and ease of setup and moving. All the buildings were modified to fit certain spaces on the layout. The buildings are carried separately in a tub and it only takes about 5 minutes or less to set them in place. You plug in a DC or DCC power supply in the front and your off and running.

During the show Saturday the layout was left up and ready in the parish hall for viewers to see. At 5:30 pm the entire layout was quickly carried outside and placed right outside the doors of the church. When the services ended around 5;45 pm trains were running on it with a two man crew. People stopped by and watched the action and asked many questions. Club members then pointed the way to the main hall and told them about all the trains setup in there. When the crowd stopped coming out, the layout was once again brought back inside the parish hall.

On Sunday the layout was taken out early once again to accommodate all the morning services and was brought back in around 1pm. Different club members took turns staying out there and running it. Many thanks to those guys who held the fort outside in the heat.

Ho Layout
Of course our largest layout display was our HO scale. Setup went smooth and trains were running right away on Saturday morning. Viewers were a steady flow on Saturday morning and afternoon. A great variety of trains were seen as members hauled out their loco’s and cars to run. Saturday night after the evening service we had a large group of people come through. About a half hour later they thinned out and we started to pick up and get ready to shut down for the day.

Sunday every hour on the hour large crowds came through and thoroughly enjoyed all the trains and exhibits. It was a long day but we had lots of fun. Of course it ends all to quickly and around 3pm we started to put away items and pull trains from the layout. 4 o’clock power was turned off and tear down began in earnest. Things actually went very well and quickly considering all the things we had to pack up. Ron Walker made the comment that members are getting better at tearing things down, modules have plates and specially marked covers or boxes now too which helped. By 7pm we were packed up and out. Another great run behind us.

A special thank you to San Rafael Parish and the Knights of Columbus once again.

Click here to see more pictures of the event.