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The Randall Museum in San Francisco hosts a large HO-scale model model railroad. Created by the Golden Gate Model Railroad Club starting in 1961, the layout was donated to the Museum in 2015. Since then I have started automatizing trains running on the layout. I am also the model railroad maintainer. This blog describes various updates on the Randall project and I maintain a separate blog for all my electronics not directly related to Randall.

2020-03-18 - Randall Museum Closed for Shelter-in-Place Order

Category Randall

A Shelter-in-Place Order was issued Monday March 16, 2020 for the City and County of San Francisco and other Bay area counties and will remain in effect until April 7. The Randall Museum is currently closed to the public and is in between used for the Emergency Child Care Center effort organized by the city.

More information here:

As a volunteer, my presence there is non essential. I have a lot of work pending on the layout that will just have to wait.

From a technical point of view, that means the layout will not run for many weeks in a row. That may be a problem as tracks oxidize and gather dust when there are no trains running for a long period of time. Thus I fully expect we (and by “we” I mean essentially just me alone) will have to spend quite some time going in there and manually scrub the track to make sure trains still run smoothly. Some folks naively think it’s as easy as just running a track cleaning car, and my experience is that nothing beats actual elbow grease to scrub the track in the accessible areas.

I could ask the museum staff to run the trains once a week. I’m going to venture that they have reduced staff numbers and more urgents things to focus on. And even that would just induce a different issue, namely that all that dust accumulates over time as gunk on the train wheels. We need to clean them monthly or it can become significant enough to derail them.


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