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Model RR show

It was raining by the time we got to the Placer County Fairgrounds at about 2 pm Saturday, and the rain just got worse during the afternoon and evening. This was inconvenient because the model RR fair was split between several widely-spaced buildings. Admission was $7 each, not exorbitant, but $2 more than I thought the event merited.

Ticket window

The building closest to the ticket window was mostly dealer space. Lots of equipment on sale, mostly used (or at least out of boxes and on display) everything from engines, cars and track to scenery and figurines. Themed T-shirts, hats and jackets were also plentiful. Marilyn picked up a toy helicopter for her grandson's holiday present at one of the more gift-oriented stalls.

Each building had between two and "more than two" working displays, most of them brought in and assembled just for the show, but there was also a section of one building which housed the Roseville club's permanent setups. They have two sets, side by side, both of them long and narrow, with well-placed power and switching consoles.

Part of the Roseville local club display

Most of the displays were narrow-gauge HO and N, which when I was a kid was for wusses. Real Kids had Lionel engines, which ran on manly O gauge, two-rail tracks. Generally speaking, the larger the track the larger the cars on it. HO is half O, and HO trains are about half as big as trains which run on O.


O-gauge track display

HO-gauge track

N-gauge track


Cleverly hidden in the room marked "Consignment Sales" were a couple of overhead wired tracks. Like the old-fashioned trolleys and Seattle's electric buses, these get power from lines strung above the tracks. Quite a lot of work goes into stringing those wires on a miniature scale.

Track complex strung for overhead power lines

Outdoors there were a couple of interesting displays. A miniature steam engine was giving rides around a track on the lawn - the rain shut this down before we got a chance to ride. A good thing, since we would have been soaked.


And on the other side of the fair grounds was an even smaller track, with O-sized stream engines running on it.

One of the highlights for me was a demonstration of how to make artificial rock wall scenery from polyurethane foam. In about 45 minutes he went from zero to wall panel, showing it was something anyone could do in the kitchen or garage in their spare time. For effect, he left about an inch of the foam mix in a plastic cup, so we could watch it expand over the next half hour to what he said was 40x its original size.


One from column A and one from column B


10 minutes

20 minutes

30 minutes



Out of the mold, ready to be painted (finished products are behind him)

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