This was to be accomplished through the construction of a premier display layout having prototypical train operations and scenic details familiar to the United States.
The layout was to be HO scale and be many times larger than feasible for a home layout.
In 1984 the two founding members pooled their financial resources and immediately began to construct the first display to commemorate the 50th year of the National Model Railroad Association. This display was placed in the Westfield Mall (formally Palm Desert Town Center Shopping Mall) for a two day show, from this display we met additional people with our same interests of model railroading.
The Coachella Valley Model Railroaders was formed in 1985 by five model railroaders as an informal group who desired to share their knowledge and experiences.
Warren, Bill, Jim, Dick, Bob
The main thrust of the group at that time was to help fellow members in the construction of their home layouts. Once a week for the price of coffee and cookies the hosts layout would hear the sounds of drills and the buzz of saws as his layout quickly grew before his eyes.
It was not all work for time could always be found to admire a new steam locomotive or a weathered boxcar. The first real project the club tackled was to build a modular layout to be displayed and ran at the Westfield Mall (formally Palm Desert Town Center Shopping Mall). This first effort was done on time and with the diligent efforts of the members in keeping the display operating through the Christmas Season, it was well received by the mall customers. This showing also provided exposure to other desert modelers and the membership began to grow.
The building of the various home layouts continued as did the expansion of the Clubs Modular Railroad. Each year the Christmas Shoppers at the Mall were greeted by an ever larger and more detailed operating railroad. In 1989 an agreement was reached with the Riverside County Fair National Date Festival to be included as an exhibit. After the show at the Mall the layout was moved to the Fairgrounds and installed in the north end of the Crafts and Hobbies building (formally Home Arts Building). The Modules were further expanded so that the layout ran the full width of the buildings north wall and twenty feet down the west wall. Again The exhibit was a great success with club receiving complements from both the viewing public as well as the Fair Personnel.
The result of this first Fair Exhibit was that we now had a home year around in the Crafts and Hobbies building (formally Home Arts Building). The following months saw what looked like total mayhem as the old modular layout was dismantled and a new larger permanent railroad was constructed in the center of the north end of the Crafts and Hobbies building (formally Home Arts Building).
The building of this layout was unusual in that each member chose a piece of the layout and erected what he wished in that area. So we had a Three Ring Circus complete with sideshow on one end and elaborate industrial switching yard on the other with several yards, siding, towns and villages scattered in between with vast canyons spanned by mighty bridges connecting it all. For the first season of our new Railroad we ran what is called a double dogleg layout around the large U shape that was built. A good operator could keep up to five trains going at once as long as they all went the same direction.
The Coachella Valley Model Railroaders is anything but static. Each year the main layout has expanded and grown with the new additions such as DCC. The changing of the track design was to allow two-way running was one of the greater changes to take place. Every year sees new things in place to entice the visitor to come and see us. And come and see us they do. The Club is one of the main attractions during the fair with question and answer sheets that sometimes put the members on their mettle to answer them. Often times it may be an old gentleman and his wife from whom the layout elicits a fond memory of some long past job or pleasure.
The Coachella Valley Model Railroaders is an active community group with an interest in railroading and model building and we invite any person of good moral character to join the Club and enjoy the friendly people who are the Coachella Valley Model Railroaders.
Run trains, enjoy the camaraderie, and contribute to our fair-ground commitment: Maintain the cleanliness and appearance of our building and restroom, a reasonable requirement considering what we get in return.
Location of Layout is on the Riverside County Fairgrounds
Riverside County Fairgrounds