Bay Area Layout Design & Operations Weekend
January 27, 28, & 29, 2017

Sponsored by:
Pacific Coast Region - NMRA
Layout Design Special Interest Group
Operations Special Interest Group



Last updated:

Welcome to Santa Clara County!

The Pacific Coast Region - NMRA, Layout Design SIG and Operations SIG will hold the next San Francisco Bay Area Regional Meet in Santa Clara County, California, Friday, January 27, through Sunday, January 29, 2017.

A terrific three-day program is being planned for your model railroading enjoyment. This year we will be back in the South Bay area with Saturday's event held at the Mountain View Community Center, 201 S Rengstorff Ave in Mountain View, alongside the Caltrain tracks.

The agenda for the weekend starts Friday afternoon with historical tours, followed by an evening kick-off dinner (no-host) at Harry's Hofbrau in San Jose, followed by layout tours. Saturday we will have clinics, layout operations consultations, track planning consultations, and visits to local layouts Saturday evening. Sunday we'll have Operating Sessions in the local area. These sessions are specifically open to new operators and everyone is welcome.

We'll be sending out ops selection forms to registrants about two weeks prior to the event. Don't delay in registering for the meet!

The meet and all three days of layout tours are open to ALL, regardless of affiliation or membership. NMRA, PCR, LDSIG, or OPSIG membership is NOT required! Even NASG members are welcome! If you can't join us for the entire meet, at least come out and enjoy some truly wonderful layouts.


Mountain View Community Center
201 South Rengstorff Ave
Mountain View, CA

Doors open at 8:30 AM.
Parking is limited, please plan to carpool if possible! See Carpooling for more info.

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There will not be an "official" hotel this year.

Layout Descriptions and Maps

The layout tours on Friday and Saturday nights are open to SIG meet attendees and, as a "Coast Tour", are also open to all PCR members, even if they are not participating in the SIG meet.

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Friday – Historical Tours, Kick-Off Dinner & Layout Tours

San Jose History Park – 1:00 to 4:00 PM

The PCR/SIG has a special arrangement with the San Jose History Park and Trolley museum to host our group. This is a re-creation of Downtown San Jose with several period buildings and a working trolley line. Most of the exhibits are inside so this program will be functioning rain or shine. Only the trolley power might have a problem with rain. This is an outstanding history and transportation museum opening just for us on Friday. Located near the intersection of Highways 101 and 680 in Kelly Park.

History Park Entrance
635 Phelan Avenue (Corner Senter Rd.)
San Jose, CA
(408) 287-2290 (Peralta Adobe Historic Site)

Event Coordinator: Mike Kotowski
(408) 378-9157 (h) (408) 679-1172 (c)

Kick-off Dinner – 6:00 PM

Informal happy hour at 6:00 PM with dinner at 7:00 PM cafeteria style. Look for the area reserved for the PCR/SIG. Silicon Valley Lines will be open after 7:30 PM until 10:30 PM. You may attend the dinner and Op Crew or visit SVL afterwards. The Bar and dinner are no host, A typical complete dinner is in the range of $12 - $16.

Be sure to indicate on the ONLINE RSVP & REGISTRATION FORM if you will be joining us so we can make the necessary reservations.

Layout tours – 8:00 – 10:30 PM

Silicon Valley Lines

1800 sq feet HO freelanced double deck national railroad with a minor HOn3 branch. There are 19 control blocks and several large staging yards. Diesel era freight hauler with numerous steam engines held over from an earlier period. Many thru freight and passenger trains support a number of switching locals and trains hauling commodities required by on-line industries. Operations are controlled by dispatcher with computer generated switch lists. A large central yard can be used to support block transfers and classification for locals. The nearby passenger terminal has 4 through tracks to support a variety of passenger trains. Touch screens augment route control. FRS radios and NCE DCC. But run mostly with WiThrottle/Engine Driver.

Silicon Valley Lines Model Railroad Club
148 E. Virginia Street
San Jose, CA 95112
Gated Building: Call for access (408) 806-9461

Edward Loizeaux - 8:00 PM – 11:00 PM

2221 Via Maderos
Los Altos, CA 94024-7113
(650) 962-1577

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Saturday – Clinics & Layout Tours

Doors open and registration starts at 8:30 AM, the meeting starts at 9:00 AM, breaks about 12:00 PM for lunch, then we wrap up about 5:00 PM for dinner, followed by layout tours from 7:00 to 10:00 PM.

  9:00 Introduction Seth Neumann
  9:15 Welcome Ed Merrin, PCR President
  9:30 Clinic: Lessons learned after 18 years of "formal" op sessions
on the Durlin Branch
Dave Adams
10:20 Clinic: New waybill-related topic Tony Thompson
11:10 Clinic: Operator Training Ed Loizeaux
12:00 Birds of a Feather (BOF) Discussions
12:15 Lunch - Togos, 5 Guys, Panera, Pizza my Heart within
5 or 6 block walk or drive to downtown Mountain View
  1:45 Clinic: Exploring LCC as a layout control transport mechanism David Parks
  2:30 Design Challenge (Details) Bruce Morden
  3:30 Panel Discussion Bruce Morden
  4:30 Closing Remarks  
  5:00 Clean-up. please plan to stay for a few minutes to help us clean up!
  7:00 South Bay Layout Tours Start
Car pooling is recommended. Descriptions and addresses will be sent in advance to registrants.

Bernhard Beck – San Jose
California Central MR Club – Santa Clara
Bill Goodenough – San Jose (Tentative)
David Griffy - Sunnyvale
Edward Loizeaux – Los Altos (8:00 PM – 11:00 PM)
Seth Neumann – Mt. View
David Parks – Los Altos
Ted Stevens – Mt View

10:00 Layout Tours End

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Sunday – Operating Sessions

We'll be sending out ops selection forms to registrants about two weeks prior to the event, so don't delay registering for the meet.

David Parks is also coordinating operating sessions for Sunday morning and afternoon at a number of nearby layouts, including many opportunities for those new to operations. Please use the ONLINE RSVP & REGISTRATION FORM if you'd like to sign-up for an operating session.

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Exhibits & Displays

Bring your display of layout design or operations-related ideas. (Layout mock-ups are particularly interesting). Please indicate what you are bringing and its size in the "Comments" block of the ONLINE RSVP & REGISTRATION FORM

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Track Planning & Layout Operations Consultations

Byron Henderson is again organizing the layout design and operations consultations. If you are planning a layout, bring along your "Givens & Druthers", maps, sketches, and other materials to get a free consultation from group members! They can also help with questions about operating your layout, including how to get started. Please indicate on the ONLINE RSVP & REGISTRATION FORM that you would like a free layout design or operations consultation to facilitate scheduling.

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Design Challenge

The Design Challenge is Paul Weiss's new layout which is based on the New Haven around New London, Connecticut. Challengers need to follow the criteria set forth below:

Click here for the OPSIG Design Challenge and Details (230 kb)

It's easy to participate: simply develop an operations plan for the layout along with a page or two of supporting information. These submissions are due Wednesday, January 18th. The organizers will pull submissions together into a computer presentation for discussion with the group. Each challenger will have five to ten minutes to present his or her design to the meeting on Saturday, January 28th, then a panel of modelers will discuss the various approaches. The good news is that there is no winning or losing ... the bad news is you will not receive any lovely gifts for participating.

If you are interested in participating in the challenge or have questions regarding the challenge, please let Bruce Morden know by email as soon as possible. Your submissions for the Design Challenge are due no later than Wednesday, January 18, 2017. Absolutely no exceptions to this deadline will be accepted, and therefore no walk-ins on the day of the meeting. Our goal is four or five participants.

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"Birds of a Feather" (BOF)

Would you like to meet with others modeling your region, prototype or era? Interested in DCC, sound, computerized switchlists, or layout CAD programs? Any of these might be a topic for an impromptu "Birds of a Feather" meeting. Let us know if you would like to informally lead a short group discussion on any topic. These are scheduled at the end of the morning session so you can continue your discussion over lunch, if you'd like. Please indicate in the "Comments" section on the ONLINE RSVP & REGISTRATION FORM if there are any BOF discussion topics of interest to you, either as a participant or the leader.

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WANTED: Layout Tours

David Parks is arranging for a number of layouts to be available Friday and Saturday evenings to tour and we would like to have more. Remember that SIG groups will be appreciative of seeing your layout in any state of construction, or even completion! If you'd like to make your layout available to us, please use the ONLINE RSVP & REGISTRATION FORM to let David know.

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Car Pools

Parking at the venue is limited, so please plan on carpooling if you can. Contact Bob Jacobsen if you need or can offer a carpool seat to a fellow attendee. Past attendees have come from all over the country and would welcome riding with someone familiar with the area.

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RSVPs & Registrations

To facilitate planning, please RSVP and register in advance using the ONLINE RSVP & REGISTRATION FORM. Be sure to sign up for the other activities so that we can contact you, especially about your preferences for operating sessions.

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Contact Us

For more information, to volunteer to help out, get names for car pools, etc., contact:
Bob Jacobsen
Phone: (510) 708-5988

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Page maintained by Dave Grenier, PCR / LDSIG / OPSIG.

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