Saturday, October 29, 2011


Our walk through a portion of San Diego's Balboa Park took us to the Casa de Balboa building. Housed in this building are the Museum of Photographic Arts, the San Diego History Center, and our destination for the day, the Model Railroad Museum.

"The mission of the Model Railroad Museum is to preserve the heritage of railroading through a series of miniature representa-tions of California railroads, research and preserve the history of model railroading, and educate the public in the many different aspects of railroading.

"At 27,000 sq. ft., the museum is one of the largest indoor model railroad displays in the world and the only accredited railroad-themed museum in the USA.

"The Museum has four Principal Exhibitors: the San Diego Model Railroad Club, the La Mesa Railroad Club, the San Diego Society of N-Scale, and the San Diego 3-Railers" (sdmrm. org).

In my eagerness to see the display, we probably passed informa-tional brochures at the entrance and descriptions of the layout posted around the display, but the history of the location of the route covered by the San Diego and Arizona Eastern (SD&AE) Railway and the efforts of the San Diego Model Railroad Club (SDMRC) took second place to the visual experience.

The Cabrillo & Southwes-tern is the O scale (1/48th actual size) model railroad being built by the San Diego Model Railroad Club. It is a freelance model of an imaginary prototype running between San Diego and Sac-ramento. The layout features a electric trolley line which actually receives power from the overhead catenary system.

I soon lost track of time.

I was caught up in the life of the display.

The photos that follow show scenes from the route of the SD&AE railroad in 1949.

The San Diego & Arizona Eastern is the HO scale, 4500 sq. ft. layout of the San Diego Model Railroad Club. The SD&AE models the prototype railroad of the same name connecting San Diego with El Cajon and El Centro.

This layout features an impressive 10-feet high model of the Carriso Gorge (north of Jacumba in eastern San Diego County) and the Goat Canyon trestle. The actual trestle was the largest timber railroad trestle in the world at the time of its construction in 1932.

Because of the rough terrain, the SD&AE has been coined "The Impossible Railroad."

But the reflections on the glass made it difficult to get a photo of the full layout and especially difficult to get close-ups of the small details in the layout.

If only I could get into the display....

1 comment:

Walsh Brothers said...

Just discovered this post and great pictures! I am also building a layout of the San Diego and Arizona Eastern Railroad! It has been called The Impossible Railroad, but thankfully it is a little more manageable in N scale!