Bay Area Layout Design & Operations Weekend
January 25, 26, & 27, 2019

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



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DISCLAIMER: If what is on this website does not agree with an email you received,
believe what is on the email!
Except for the dinner date - it is Friday the 25th, not 23rd, as incorrectly stated in the email. dg

Welcome to the Bay Area!

The Pacific Coast Region-NMRA and Layout Design SIG (LDSIG) will hold the next San Francisco Bay Area Regional Meet in Petaluma, California, Friday, January 25, through Sunday, January 27, 2019.

A terrific three-day program is being planned for your model railroading enjoyment. The agenda for the weekend includes a welcome dinner (no-host), clinics, operations discussions, track planning workshops, layout operations consultations, track planning consultations, and visits to local layouts on Friday and Saturday evenings. There will also be operating sessions at several nearby layouts Sunday, along with additional layout tours. Don't be surprised if someone puts a throttle in your hand!

The meet and all three days of layout tours are open to all. NMRA, PCR, LDSIG or any other SIG membership is not required! If you can't join us for the entire meet, at least come out and enjoy some truly wonderful layouts.

Registration is now open!


Sheraton Sonoma County Petaluma
745 Baywood Drive
Petaluma, California 94954
(707) 283-2888

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Sheraton Sonoma County Petaluma
745 Baywood Drive
Petaluma, California 94954
(707) 283-2888

Make your reservations using one of these two methods:

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Friday, January 25th – Afternoon Activities, Welcome Dinner & Layout Tours

SMART SYSTEM TOUR – NEW Times: 1:44 to 4:44 PM
The weekend's festivities start Friday afternoon with an unguided tour of the SMART system. Meet at the Novato Hamilton Station, 10 Main Gate Rd, Novato, CA 94949, for the 1:44 PM train North to Sonoma County Airport, take the next train all the way South to San Rafael and then return to Novato Hamilton by 4:44 PM.

Transit Connections:
Golden Gate Transit and Marin Transit serve stops located near the Novato Hamilton Station.

$2.00 per day. Payment for parking is done through Parkmobile. Please either download and use the Parkmobile app or call (877) 727-5718 to pay for parking. Parkmobile requires zone information to process payment. For this station, the zone number is 2520 for the daily parking rate. Green Parkmobile signs are also located throughout the parking lot with Parkmobile and zone information.


The NWP Historical Center and Archives will be open for visitors Friday afternoon for those not taking the SMART train tour. The NWPRRHS Archive holds over 120 collections of materials relating to the North Coast area and its railroads. Tens of thousands of pictures, thousands of maps and plans and scores of books,along with artifacts line the walls of the Archive space. There are over 25,000 items relating to the railroad and its environs with over 60% scanned.

1364 North McDowell Blvd
Petaluma, CA
(Across from Kohl’s shopping center and next door to Motel 6)

WELCOME DINNER – 7:00 to 8:30 PM (Social Hour starts at 6:00 PM)

Seared Stake and Seafood
170 Petaluma Blvd North
Petaluma, CA 94954

You are welcome to join us for some good food, along with good conversation with friends, both old and new. Social hour (no-host cash bar) starts at 6:00 PM, with dinner served at 7:00 PM. The buffet-style dinner will be $50 per person. Reservations are required.

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

LAYOUTS TOURS – 8:30 to 10:00 pm
Tours of several local layouts will follow dinner. Details to be distributed at dinner.

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Saturday, January 26th – Clinics & Layout Tours



  8:30 Doors Open for Registration
  9:00 Introduction
  9:10 Welcome & Remarks by PCR President Ed Merrin
  9:30 Blood Sweat Tears and Lumber: one man’s bucket list journey from 120 square feet of layout to over 1200 Paul Weiss
10:15 Car Movement on the Central Vermont Railway with JMRI Jon Schmidt
11:00 Announcements  
11:30 Birds of a Feather (BOF) Discussions
12:00 Lunch
  1:30 State Belt: Roads not taken and lessons learned Bill Kaufman
  2:15 Fifteen Years on the NWP in HO: A Retrospective Ed Merrin
  3:00 Operations Design Challenge: Layout Design / Operations Plan for Klamath Falls ares Bruce Morden
  4:10 Panel Discussion Bruce Morden
  4:45 Closing Remarks Seth Neumann
  5:00 Dinner Break
  6:00 Layout Tours Start
10:00 Layout Tours End

Layout Tours

Layout tours will start after a dinner break. Description and addresses for the layouts will be distributed at the meet. David Parks is coordinating the layout tours Saturday evening.

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Sunday, January 27th – Operating Sessions

An advance reservation is necessary to crew an operating sessions. All layouts are HO scale this year.
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. You will be contacted via email to sign up for your preferred layouts.

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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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Layout Design Challenge

This year the challenge is to design a layout and/or an operation plan for the Klamath Falls area. The owner of the space is modeling in HO scale and has chosen 2006 as his era. For the challenge you can choose any scale and era. The space for the layout is approx. 19 ft by 22 ft.

Click here for the Design Challenge and Details (734 kb) Updated: 12/18/18
If you have opened this link previously, open it again and refresh your browser by hitting the F5 key (Cmd+R on a Mac) to ensure you get today's update. dg

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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, LCC, 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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Past attendees have come from all over the country and would welcome riding with someone familiar with the area. If you need or can offer a carpool seat to a fellow attendee, please contact:
Clif Linton
Phone: (510) 418-1573

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RSVP / 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:
Clif Linton
Phone: (510) 418-1573

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