Monday, July 5, 2021

Visiting the Vasona Branch: NMRA 2021 "Rails By the Bay"

Virtual visitors for the NMRA 2021 “Rails by the Bay”: Welcome to the Vasona Branch!

Thanks to the challenges of organizing a national convention during a pandemic, the National Model Railroad Association’s annual in-person convention in Santa Clara was cancelled. However, the local Pacific Coast Region has arranged an all-virtual convention, Rails By the Bay" this week, July 6-10, 2021. Sign up to attend (just $49!), watch presentations, ask questions of the presenters, hang out in the meeting rooms, and continue to watch clinics until August 7.

The Vasona Branch layout is one of the layouts on the “virtual tour”. For all you virtual visitors, here’s a quick good-parts summary of the layout. If you've got questions, ask in the comments below!

Check out the NMRA Magazine's November 2020 issue for a summary of the layout. (More on prep for the article and Dan and Doug's photographs of the layout.)

Layout plans: Lower deck, Upper deck.

Watch videos of the layout:

I’ve also written lots on the history of the real branch on my Vasona Branch blog. Some sample articles include:
I’ve used 3d printers to make lots of freight cars and passenger cars for the layout:
The Vasona Branch models the real crossing with the Western Pacific Railroad, and uses a real interlocking machine from Australia’s Modratec to control the crossing.
The Vasona Branch is an layout designed for operations; I invite two two-man crews operating layout for four hour operating sessions. I use my own switchlist generator for deciding which cars to move; trains move via yard limits and informal train orders.