El Sereno — The Pasadena Model Railroad Club has built one of the largest model railroad layouts in the country, a 5,000-square-foot world filled with small towns, ski resorts, lakes, mountains and, yes, thousands of feet of tracks and trains. The club, which moved to El Sereno from Pasadena in the 1970s, opened its club house, home to the miniature Sierra Pacific Lines, to the public this weekend for a few days . Eastsider contributor C.J. Salgado shared some photos and observations after a visit on Saturday:
It takes at least 35 operators to run the full functions of the layout. Most of the scenery has been hand made, complete with working model light fixtures and ski tram. Most of the train engines and cars are owned by the members. So, they put unique identification numbers on each piece, while the fixed objects like buildings belong to the Club. One may become a member by paying a nominal fee and then, after an “apprentice” period, Club members vote on granting your membership. Members volunteer hours to “earn” rights to first pick of positions to operate on the layout, some putting in hundreds of hours per month.
The Club was formed in 1940, resided in Pasadena for a time, but then moved to its current location in El Sereno in 1979, after losing its lease in Pasadena. Today, the Club owns the property and has no plans to move. Visitors, both adults and kids alike, were treated to a spectacular mini world of mechanical and artistic train wizardry. Just goes to show that one can never stop being a kid at heart!
The open house will continue through next weekend.