The Randall Museum Model Railroad
The Randall Museum in San Francisco hosts a large HO-scale model train layout.
The layout was built by the Golden Gate Model Railroad Club -- in 1961 the Club was offered space in the basement of the Randall Museum in San Francisco, where it has been to this day.
A Presentation of the Randall Model Railroad
Blog & News
Table of content:
The model railroad is the result of more than fifty years’ effort to create a railroad in miniature with the communities it serves and combined with engineering and geographical features found on railroads in California. It features snow sheds on the high mountain line, various types of bridges spanning canyons on the Mountain Division and a narrow gauge line. The layout is HO scale and is contained in a room measuring 57 feet long by 38 feet wide. The mainline is about 600 feet long (nearly 10 scale miles), with an additional 200 feet or so of sidings and passing tracks (see below for the track plan).
The layout originally operated fully in DC with a state-of-the-art multi-throttle setup and centralized dispatch towers. In 2014, the layout was converted to operate in both DC and DCC. In 2015 the Randall Museum closed for two years of renovation. At that time, the Club donated the layout to the Museum. Upon reopening in 2018, the layout is fully operating in DCC with some parts of the track featuring automated train running.
(photo & train by Dexter D.)
The museum is open from 10 AM to 5 PM, Tuesday to Saturday.
Note that it is closed on Sundays and Mondays.
Access is free.
The model railroad is located in the basement. An elevator is available.
From Tuesday to Friday, the model railroad works in automated mode. Trains run at regular intervals.
On most Saturdays, volunteer operators come and run their own trains, depending on availability.
About the Model Railroad
The fictional Sierra Nevada & Pacific Railroad:
The model railroad is mostly a freelance layout with some roots in the history of California Railroads. All the towns on the layout represent California towns: Napa, Richmond, Fairfield, Lodi, Stockton, Sonora, Summit, and Bridgeport.
To know more, read Our own SN&P RR: Route and Historical Scenario of the Sierra Nevada & Pacific Railroad on the old GGMRC web site.
Whole Layout Track Maps & Track Plan:
- 2019 Track Map of the Layout: Randall Map - Layout Map 3.pdf
- 2019 Track Plan of the Layout with Sensors: Randall Map - Track Plan + Sensors 8.pdf
- 2017 Plan of Automation Sensors: Randall Map - Sensors 6.pdf
Track plan and label for Stockton Yard:
Schematics & Technical Documentation
- Technical Presentation of the Randall Model Railroad Layout and the automation.
Also includes an itemized list of mechanical issues/repairs, and a list of ongoing/future projects.
- Randall Train Automation Controller
Details on the current software automation.
Power Routing for the Stockton Passenger Station, SIA & Dow Freight Sidings:
Usage labels for balloon tracks:
If you wish to volunteer to help improve and operate trains on the Randall Model Railroad, please contact Volunteer Coordinator Jim Evans at FiveChime@AOL.com. Volunteers need to be at least 16 years old and be cleared by a Life Scan check performed by the San Francisco Recreation & Park Department.
(photo credits: Jim Evans)
(photo credits: Raphaël Moll)
2015 and before:
(photo credits: GGMC members)
I would like to personally thank the following individuals for their contribution to our effort to restore the layout.
Scenery refresh: Greg and Claudette Ockander, Mike Garrigan, Robert Lopez, Jim Willcox.
Coordinators & Artistic Direction (a.k.a. “keeping the trains somewhat prototype”): Jim Evans.
Electrical, Computers, and Track repairs: Raphaël Moll.
I’d also like to thank Chris Boettcher, the Randall Museum director, and Nathan Robinson, of the Randall Museum Friends, for their continued support.
Usage manual for Randall Museum Staff: Manual Randall Train Room, Museum Staff - 2021-06.pdf
One-pager for Randall Museum Staff: Manual Randall Train Room, Museum Staff One Pager - 2019-08.pdf
Usage manual for Saturday Operators: Manual Randall Train Room - Operator Manual - 2021-11.pdf
Daily Activations Report: Daily Dashboard
Link to the legacy GGMRC web site (no longer updated).