Short Track Railroad N Scale Club

Short Track Railroad N Scale Club Short Track RR is an N Scale model railroad club. We are an exhibit at the Antique Gas and Steam Engine Museum in Vista, CA. Open every Saturday 9-1pm

The Short Track Railroad club is an educational organization that seeks to further the appreciation of railroad history in the United States. Our Donner Pass, N-scale, railroad exhibit shows the Southern Pacific crossing of the Sierra Mountains between Roseville, CA and Sparks, NV. We also have a large NTRAK layout and a small layout that can be operated by children (The Young & Victorious RR). Jo

The Short Track Railroad club is an educational organization that seeks to further the appreciation of railroad history in the United States. Our Donner Pass, N-scale, railroad exhibit shows the Southern Pacific crossing of the Sierra Mountains between Roseville, CA and Sparks, NV. We also have a large NTRAK layout and a small layout that can be operated by children (The Young & Victorious RR). Jo

Post Card - Truckee, Ca 1950.  This was the main road through town, Highway 40 / Lincoln Highway. Our visitors can see t...
06/26/2021

Post Card - Truckee, Ca 1950. This was the main road through town, Highway 40 / Lincoln Highway. Our visitors can see this scene on our layout

Post Card - Truckee, Ca 1950. This was the main road through town, Highway 40 / Lincoln Highway. Our visitors can see this scene on our layout

No town would be safe from fire without an effective firefighting force, and our N scale version of Truckee, California ...
05/03/2021

No town would be safe from fire without an effective firefighting force, and our N scale version of Truckee, California is no exception. Adjacent to the main rail yard is Fire Station #1. Founded in 1894, the Truckee Fire Department (now Fire District) still serves to this day! We hope you enjoy our small tribute (literally- it’s 1:160 scale!) to the men and women of the fire service!

The town of Colfax, California was known in the later days of steam for the constant parade of Cab-Forwards leading long...
04/04/2021

The town of Colfax, California was known in the later days of steam for the constant parade of Cab-Forwards leading long trains of freight and passenger trains on their trips over Donner Pass. However, the Southern Pacific also sent smaller trains to serve this mountain town.

The date is 1938 and SP 2-6-0 #1795 finds herself in Colfax on the point of what looks to be a small work train. Perhaps she is making this train up or she has a special run to make. Whichever is the case, she certainly stands out from the massive engines that were so often seen marching through this small town in the Sierra.

Regardless of the trains you watched come through this town, Colfax must have been a fascinating town to visit during the age of steam!

The town of Colfax, California was known in the later days of steam for the constant parade of Cab-Forwards leading long trains of freight and passenger trains on their trips over Donner Pass. However, the Southern Pacific also sent smaller trains to serve this mountain town.

The date is 1938 and SP 2-6-0 #1795 finds herself in Colfax on the point of what looks to be a small work train. Perhaps she is making this train up or she has a special run to make. Whichever is the case, she certainly stands out from the massive engines that were so often seen marching through this small town in the Sierra.

Regardless of the trains you watched come through this town, Colfax must have been a fascinating town to visit during the age of steam!

We’ve been working hard on our railroad these past few months. Looking forward to the return of our visitors!
03/19/2021

We’ve been working hard on our railroad these past few months. Looking forward to the return of our visitors!

We’ve been working hard on our railroad these past few months. Looking forward to the return of our visitors!

05/24/2020

The Museum, at the present time, is in the process of Re-Opening. The site will be open to walking visitors...remember keep the "social distance". Check ahead for current status.

Buildings including, Trains, Weaving, Clocks.will remain closed.

Another past from the past is our “Feather River” module on our N-Trak layout. This was originally built by member John ...
03/26/2020

Another past from the past is our “Feather River” module on our N-Trak layout. This was originally built by member John Sigurdson, an NMRA Master Model Railroader and was inspired by the the Feather River Bridge on the Western Pacific.

This post is a little different than our usual ones; I recently came across an article written by Mr. Sam Dale. Sam was ...
03/24/2020

This post is a little different than our usual ones; I recently came across an article written by Mr. Sam Dale. Sam was one of the original four members of Short Track RR. In 2003, he wrote a brief article about the history of our club. Mind you, the impressive layouts and building we enjoy at the Antique Gas and Steam Engine Museum were but a distant dream at the time. I hope you will enjoy this personal perspective that Sam left us. He and our other founders, will not be forgotten.

Sometimes Visions Do Become a Reality, by Sam Dale, written in 2003 (edited by Fred McDowell)

This story begins in the Fall of 1992 when four guys got together in the back room of a hobby shop in Escondido. Three of them had seen a 3”x5” card placed on a bulletin board advertising the intent to start a local model railroad club focusing on “N” scale. The advertisement was placed by a Mr. Kurt Anderson, who would become the group’s founding member.

The idea was to build an N scale modular railroad using national “N-Trak” standards. Modular railroads have the advantage of being portable, allowing for realistic operations without requiring a permanent space. The name “Short Trak’N Railroad” was adopted as a Mrs. Short, along with her business partner, Mr. D. G. Higgins were the owners of the hobby shop giving us the space to hold our meetings.

Yes, I was one of the four original members. The seed was planted and the club never looked back. I don’t know if Kurt had a vision of what the club might become back then but it has grown considerably. The first order of business was to get some modules built so we would have something to run. Each individual built a couple of modules and when these were attached to four “corner” modules, we were off and running.

The club attended its first regional convention at Laughlin, Nevada in 1992. It was a humbling experience with our ten modules, their skinny legs exposed to the viewers. We were located in the bowels of the hotel where few would see us unless they were really looking.

By April of 1993, we were really in high gear, formally organizing and and adopting a set of bylaws. By now, the club had nine members: Tim Woodard, Ken Allen, Jim Russel and his son had joined. Our only female member was model railroader Barbara Schug. Club member Tom Mohr was always in the middle of things, doing whatever was necessary to make the club go forward. His modules, along with a lot of fond memories, are his legacy.

The next big event was the Los Angeles Division of the Southwest Region, National Model Railroad Association (NMRA) “Rails to the Sea in ‘93”. Paul Schmitt and Dave Cobb came along just before this time. The meet took place in at the Long Beach Convention Center in September of 1993. Loading our modules into the trunks of our cars, we attended and learned many things. In November of 1993, “chocolate brown” was selected as the color choice of all support areas on the modules. Construction of a set of yard modules was authorized as a club project at this time.

Our collection of modules continued to grow. In the next few years we ran trains at regional conventions, convalescent homes, churches and schools. Paul Schmitt served as President many times and he has been a steady influence and contributor to the organization. For many of these early years, he provided storage and truck transportation for our modules at his place of business. (Paul would also become an NMRA Master Modeler)

By 1994 our layout looked very professional and we took a active role in the Pacific Southwest Region (PSR) Convention at hotel row in San Diego. A new member, John Sigurdson led the event and it was a rousing financial success! (Editor’s note: John was an excellent architect, artist and later, NMRA Master Model Railroader. He contributed much of his talents to the club as well as model railroading in all of San Diego) In the next few years, the Short Trak’N club became an all NMRA affiliate club with a strong presence at all PSR events.

As the Short Trak’N Railroad grew, it became obvious that we needed to find a permanent home. Storing modules at Paul’s business meant they were difficult to improve, let alone, maintain. Constantly moving them from show to show often caused damage. In addition, setting up and tearing down modules, was a lot of work!

In the spring of 1996, the club got its’ first semi-permanent home when Ken Allen obtained the use of the old Girl’s and Boys Club in Woodland Park, San Marcos. Wow, we thought, no more hauling modules around in our vehicles! We also participated in our first national convention which was held once again in Long Beach, California. Several of our members were volunteers at the event and this participation really paid off. The San Diego Division received over $5,000 in additional income for our members’ help.

Unfortunately the home in San Marcos proved to be short-lived. By the end of December 1997, we had to give up the portables and we were out on the street once again. On the bright side, several of our members took office in the San Diego Division of the PSR. The club also began attending a new event called, “The Great American Train Show.” Our craftsmanship and models were impressive and the Short Trak’N RR walked off with several First Place awards in the ensuing years. Our club treasury fattened a little each time and we were growing!

In 1998 most of our members participated in the San Diego PSR convention at the Doubletree in downtown. Unfortunately the division only made a disappointing $1,800 for all their work. Nevertheless, the San Diego Division’s treasury reached $10,000 at this point. 1998 was also the first year Short Trak’N RR brought model railroading to the Del Mar Fair. (Member Chuck Hart was responsible for this opportunity. We set up a large modular layout and ran trains each and every day, bringing the hobby to thousands of guests. It was often difficult staffing the layout each and every day but it was gratifying that several new members also joined the club after seeing the exhibit)

The “one-time” exhibit at the fair turned into a ten year engagement. The Del Mar Fair provided a stipend for our exhibit each year and this allowed us to grow and plan for the future. At this point, the club was really working towards a permanent home. There was growing talk about making a presentation to the “Antique Gas and Steam Engine Museum (AGSEM) in Vista, California. The goal was to become an affiliate club at the AGSEM; that idea would continue to simmer in the minds of our club visionaries for the next few years.

By 1999, the club was showing up wherever they got a chance, including exhibition at the Orange Empire Railroad Museum in Perris, California. We even maintained a small N scale layout in a glass-topped bar at The Old Mining Company in Restaurant Row in San Marcos. They generously allowed us to hold our business meetings in their back room for several months. We eventually gave this up as the trains were getting showered with more suds and alcohol than the bar’s clients! (P.S., the editor, Fred McDowell also joined this year after seeing the club at the Del Mar Fair)

Block signals were introduced (to our N-Trak operations) in 2000 as our layout had grown so much that operators could not see all areas. The club also purchased six locomotives in anticipation of long hours running trains at the fair. (In addition, Short Trak’N RR was helped out by many other neighboring clubs whose members did not operate or own N scale equipment) Paul Schmitt was instrumental in acquiring 501(c)(3) “non-profit” tax status for the club. This was a very important step towards our future progress. We also voted to adopt “yellow” as the official club color and had shirts made along with our logo.

Our membership was growing by leaps and bounds. By 2002 we had grown to 25 members. We attended several Great American Train Shows, winning several prizes with our large and very popular modular layout. At this time, we added a live action drive-in movie module, complete with a small cam-corder screen which showed current movies via DVD. It was considered very novel at the time and was the first exposure many of our younger visitors had of the outdoor theaters which were once so popular in the US.

Short Trak’N RR continued to support the model railroad community in 2002 by helping to host the NMRA Pacific Southwest Region convention. As the last convention had not been a financial success, a new location was sought in North County. It was hoped that by moving away from Hotel Circle, lower costs could be obtained. Eventually the San Luis Rey Mission Conference Center in Oceanside was selected. This venue was well received by most in attendance at the convention. The effort was nicely rewarded; the San Diego Division’s treasury grew by another $6,000 and the PSR gained an additional $2,200. At this time the San Diego Division had in excess of $15,000.

(We also rented a vacant store at 330 “D” W. Felicita in Escondido for a few months around this time. Although it was frustrating that this proved to be a temporary home, the long term effect showed what could be done by installing a permanent layout if and when a permanent facility could be obtained)

Here, it is the year 2003 and I think back on our first presentation to the AGSEM in Vista. The idea had been brewing for some time before it was decided to really present a formal proposal to the Museum Board. (This is where having the temporary building on Felicita really paid off. The Board visited our building to see our operation. We just “happened” to be running exclusively steam-driven locomotives on that day. What a coincidence!) In March of that year, we officially became an integral part of the ASGSEM along with a designated area to erect a 3,000 square foot building. Our club name was changed to the “Short Track Railroad”.

The club has saved for these past ten years so that model railroading could become more easily accessible to the general public and youngsters in the North County area. That is where the future of our hobby lies, especially with the younger set. The southern part of San Diego has a residence group of clubs at the excellent Balboa Park Model Railroad Museum.

Sam Dale, c. 2003

(Editor’s note: I think Sam would be happy to know that our club’s dreams have been more than realized. Many thanks to him and the other founding members of Short Track RR for their vision. Many thanks to the others who have stepped in since, there are just too many of them to name, in order to create one of the finest N scale model railroads in Southern California!)

It is February of 1978 as Amtrak's Train #6,  "The San Francisco Zephyr",  negotiates Yuba Pass (or Gap if you prefer) i...
12/04/2019

It is February of 1978 as Amtrak's Train #6, "The San Francisco Zephyr", negotiates Yuba Pass (or Gap if you prefer) in Donner Pass on its journey East. SDP40F #620 is leading. (Photo: Drew Jacksich)

Busy day...Stop by!!
11/10/2019

Busy day...Stop by!!

Today at AGSEM: Quilting bee in the classroom (9-12) Christmas decorations in the farmhouse (10-12) and consignment drop offs (9-4) for the auction on Sunday!

10/31/2019
2019 Transylvania Railroad featuring MTH, Lionel and Kato locomotives

For years, one of our members has set up a Halloween-themed train layout in their garage. It has five O scale and one N scale trains and is seen by about 600 visitors each year. In fact, it is often the first model train ever seen by many of the children. They always advertise for the Short Track Railroad Club too. One of the most common question; “how long did it take to set up?” Here’s the answer!

https://youtu.be/R9MveGy94Ko

We’ve done this O scale (and N scale) Halloween-themed model railroad in our garage for years. We get hundreds of Trick-Or-Treaters each year. One of the mos...

One of our members is going through this evaluation with his Doctor, Hospital and Labs right now!  Should watch out for ...
10/30/2019
Compensation For Roundup Victims

One of our members is going through this evaluation with his Doctor, Hospital and Labs right now! Should watch out for this especially if you were in Viet Nam!

Don't forget us!!
10/20/2019

Don't forget us!!

We're all planning on being here!  Stop in and say Hello!
10/03/2019

We're all planning on being here! Stop in and say Hello!

This weekend is the Annual Fiber Arts Fiesta! Admission and Parking is FREE for this event. There will be weavers, basket makers, spinners, felters, and so many other people representing all kinds of fiber arts! So come by and check it out!
For more information, check out their website: http://vistafiberartsfiesta.yolasite.com/

THIS WEEKEND!  Come on over while you're around.
10/01/2019

THIS WEEKEND! Come on over while you're around.

08/22/2019
Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum

Come out and take a look. And while you're here, stop in and see the Southern Pacific RR in marvelous miniature up and over Donner'd Pass!!

08/18/2019
Summergrass San Diego

If you missed them this time around, mark your calendars of the Fall Show. They'll be back a roaming!!

Steam Whistles at Summergrass!

The weekend will be a great time to visit!  Great entertainment and all of the exhibits fully manned!  Come join us.
08/14/2019

The weekend will be a great time to visit! Great entertainment and all of the exhibits fully manned! Come join us.

We’re “headin’ west” this week so look out California...here we come! We’re really looking forward to being part of this great festival (Summergrass in Vista, CA) and leading their bluegrass boot camp, too. It’s rare that we’re anywhere two days so we’re looking forward to visiting with y’all!
Summergrass San Diego
#bluegrass #TheGrascals

07/26/2019
Rail Fanning, Short Track Railroad; N Scale Club, July 6, 2019

Here’s a short video taken by a recent visitor to our club. It was shot when we weren’t having too much “train activity” (you’ll keep seeing the same consist over and over) yet it does give a good representation of our work as of late. Hope you all enjoy!

https://youtu.be/VszjwL6XXHU

Rail Fanning at the Short Track Railroad, N Scale Club. . . Located in Vista, California http://www.shorttrackrr.org/ Phone: 760-941-1791 (Museum Office) eMa...

The NMRA national convention banquet
07/14/2019

The NMRA national convention banquet

National Model Railroad Associtation convention salt lake city Utah the reenactment of the golden spike of the northern ...
07/13/2019

National Model Railroad Associtation convention salt lake city Utah the reenactment of the golden spike of the northern and southern trains meeting.

Address

2040 N Santa Fe Ave
Vista, CA
92083

Telephone

(760) 941-1791

Products

Donner Pass Exhibit - Museum quality permanent layout with 33 scale miles of track representing the Southern Pacific Line from Roseville CA to Sparks Nevada.

NTRAK - 35 or our best NTRAK modules set up on permanent display.

Young & Victorious RR - Fully detailed "Scenic Ridge" from Woodland Scenics for the little tykes to run while visiting the club.

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