SoCal Road Trip 2012: San Diego Model Railroad Museum

SoCal Road Trip 2012: San Diego Model Railroad Museum

This was definitely one of my favorite places to visit in San Diego. As an engineer, I love trains, especially high speed trains. I also love model trains and owned some when I was a kid. I never got the electric train sets to work properly, however.

The admission was about ten dollars with a student discount. It is in the museum row of San Diego and parking was available, even though it may be hard to find an open space. The museum is ran by volunteers and much of the exhibits were donated. I think the tracks may have been purchased as they are permanent installations at the museum. Many of the trains are provided by the volunteers.

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There were many exhibits. There were about 10 separate areas with different types of terrain and trains. The main scale here is N scale but also HO scale trains as well.

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Below you can see a train indicator to help the conductor drive the trains.

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Below is the loops to get trains into different levels in the display. There are also hundreds of feet of racks to get trains into different areas.

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There is a hand held controller that controls the train. The controller speaks to only certain trains so one remote can control multiple trains. It also allows for a second conductor to control their trains, so multiple remotes can be used on one circuit. I thought that was pretty cool. Also below is a scale model of a real bridge in the US. Many of the exhibits are scaled versions of real structures.

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There were a good mix of passenger trains and freight train. Many of the exhibits show off freight trains as they usually have many cars attached to them, making them more interesting to look at. However, these trains requires more weight and bigger motors in order to tow the long line of cars.


There was also a Lego Train exhibit, ran by the Lego Train Club, which I didn’t even know existed. There were many handbuilt bridges and the entire cityscape looks amazing.

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Over the years, there were different types of Lego trains sold. I’ve seen the white high speed train set and the red set when I was growing up. I do not believe they make these sets anymore.

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Below were displays of other train sets.

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It was an awesome museum. I had a lot of fun seeing the different trains and tracks. They are still expanding much of the displays. It is pretty awesome that everyone who runs the trains are volunteers and they provided many of the train sets for everyone to enjoy. I did see a lot of kids amazed with the amount of trains on display.

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