Rails By The Bay 2021 logo

NMRA 2021 Virtual National Convention


July 6 – 10, 2021
Santa Clara, California

Virtual Operations

Remote Operating Session

Silicon Valley Lines (SVL), a club layout in San Jose, California, hosted a remote operating session on Friday, July 9 at 7:00 PM PDT. This was an opportunity to run a train on the extensive Silicon Valley Lines layout from the comfort of your own home! No driving in San Jose traffic!

No special equipment or software was needed, just an Android or iOS device, or a computer with a browser.

Contact James Brassill for questions.

Silicon Valley Lines Club HO
Silicon Valley Lines

Layout Owner Panel • Tuesday, 7:00 – 8:00 PM • Zephyr Track

Silicon Valley Lines yard photoFounded in 1979, Silicon Valley Lines (SVL) is a freelance HO scale model railroad club located in San Jose, California. Construction of the current layout began in late 2000 and is located in the basement of an industrial building near downtown San Jose. The railroad occupies a 23’ x 72’ space and is a multi-level design built using commercial steel C-channel as a benchwork system with over 600 feet of mainline. The upper level is a single-track division, while much of the lower level is double-tracked. The layout features two large operating yards, as well as ample hidden, yet accessible staging.

Basic scenery is about 50% completed with painted backdrops and some key structures in place. Scenery construction, tuning operations, and refining the electrical control systems of the layout are now the top priorities for the club.

Realistic operation has always been a key focus in the SVL club. Throughout construction, members have been operating monthly on the layout to ensure that the railroad is built to create an enjoyable experience for our members and guests. Generous aisles provide ample space to support up to 8 simultaneous train crews and we are capable of running more than 25 trains on a good night.

Just like the former Southern Pacific, SVL utilizes Direct Traffic Control (DTC) to keep trains moving on the railroad. Crews use radios to obtain authority from a dispatcher, and engineers are given switch-lists that describe the work. Switch-lists for each session are generated using a new software system (Spar) developed by one of our members.

The club was an early adopter of command control, starting with the Keller Onboard system in the 1980s, and quickly transitioning to Digital Command Control in 1995. Layout control uses NCE DCC with support for both plug-in and wireless throttles, as well as WiFi-throttles using JMRI WiThrottle. Turnout control around the layout is done using touch screens. The dispatcher desk is integrated with that system as well and controls signals and turnouts remotely.

Featured in the December 2020 issue of: NMRA Magazine.

Website: siliconvalleylines.com

More photos and information on the BayRails website.

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