Oceanside CA— Members of the North County Model Railroad Society have been busy converting the old maintenance shed at Heritage Park into an attractive site featuring an operating model train for kids, museum room with a collection of historical railroad photographs and artifacts pertinent to San Diego County, and a large operating model railroad depicting activity in North San Diego County communities during the 1950s.
On Saturday a new ‘Train Depot’ sign was unveiled that, once installed, will properly identify the revitalized building.
Mayor Jim Wood with City Council-members Jack Feller and Chuck Lowery joined a large contingent of the society members for the unveiling as work continues, on the project, inside the building.
The North County Model Railroad Society(NCMRS) moved into the building in Spring of 2014 and have been working on a three tiered design, to take full advantage of the 1,000 square feet of space available, of what the railroad system looked like in San Diego County during the 1950’s.
“Roughly at the turn of the century (1900’s) the Santa Fe Railroad, West Coast Headquarters was in National City.” explained Richard Bale, a member of the NCMRS and News Editor of Model Railroad Hobbyist Magazine. “The line ran from National City, through San Diego and up along the coast as we know it now. It continued to Oceanside where it turned east into Fallbrook then through Temecula Canyon up to San Bernadino. The Temecula Canyon portion washed out twice and the second time, the railroad had enough and built the Surfliner that goes from Oceanside, through San Juan Capistrano up to Santa Ana.”
The NCMRS is modeling what the rail line looked like prior to the Surfline. “What we are modeling here is though the canyon never did get washed out and what it would have looked like in the 1950’s because everyone loves the ’50s” said Richard.
That era has another benefit. “That time period allows us to run diesel equipment along with the steam locomotives. That was kind of the transition period for the railroads, right after World War II.”
The Society is replicating the cities along the route beginning with Oceanside. “All of the business names that are on those buildings have all been authenticated as actual business names from the 1950’s, in downtown Oceanside.” continued Richard “We are trying to do that with all of the communities to some degree. We are trying to make it authentic the best we can”
The museum portion of the building contains a series of photographs that all relate to the greater Oceanside area. “We obtained a lot of those from our own personal files but also from the San Diego Historical Society down in Balboa Park.”
There are approximately 43 members of the NCMRS “Our average age is about 100” joked Richard. The youngest member is 8 years-old.
Heritage Park is located 220 Peyri Road. A “Trains for Kids” model set-up allows children to view and operate the trains. The exhibit is open to the public on Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
For more information on NCMRS, please visit their website [Link] or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.