Large Scale Central

2023 NGRC Convention Pictures

Well my first convention is in the books and we had a great time! Debbie and I were in Santa Clara from Sunday afternoon until Saturday Afternoon. We ride the bus tour of 30 different layouts, met several on line friends for the first time, Jim Rowson, Colin Camarillo maker of the CamPac box that aligns and simplifies adding KaDee couplers, Ted Doskaris who did the designing and numerous vignettes on making trains work better and President of BAGRS Russ Miller. The BBQ and train ride were both well attended, and the San Francisco Bay Area is home to a huge number of really nice layouts. I could add several hundred photos, but will pare it down.

Day #1 we saw 3 layouts, 2 houses and an Ace Hardware store

Flying there, shameless plug for airline

the paver and stone work, along with the huge bridge
huge roundhouse

Big mine type complex and poured concrete stone mountains

Water crossing trestles

when a bus of almost 40 shows up it can get a little crowded
nice logging scene

Carquinez Straights lift bridge, doesnt work , but built like it could

The ceiling layout is an Ace Hardware store, there is 575’ of track that is in a figure 8 shape and trains run 13 hrs a day 7 days a week. they use whatever brand locomotive and all are retired after 1 year of service. Each cable holding it up is rated at 200 lbs. it takes a train 3 minutes and 28 seconds to make a loop around the place, they are close to adding another 200’ of track to the layout. (layup?)

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Day 2 we saw 5 layouts , Ted Doskaris was the second

all building scratch built. this is Jack Verducci’s layout, he has written several articles for GR when they were in print

the tall trees mimic the Redwood trees

Front yard of this house, radio communcations required to run 4 trains, all of them live steam

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Looks like Roosters home is modeled on the west coast as well

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Day # 5 !
the loop is a huge 11.5% grade, but his Shay’s dont really struggle to get over it.

well detailed sawmill

A bus full of people looking makes a busy host

Some USA Trains big Locomotives, this duo was pulling 18 Auto Racks
they found a very talented artist to paint the murals on the train room walls. Huge train room with several storage tracks, so all they have to do is align the switches and send a train out any time they want.


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Last day

My wife looking at the huge cement over wire mesh mountains

The helix is over 10’ tall at the top, and crosses the bridge and trestle in the distance to go into overhead in the garage

he said the helix is right about a 2% grade so any of his trains can climb it with little problems, the huge trestle is in the background

this layout has both G(lower tracks and O upper track on a big oval, outside a restored Southern Pacific depot. Also has a HO layout inside with a crazy helix to get to upper level. Crazy ABBBA power for this train

the In door HO layout and giant helix

outdoor O scale layout, didnt know that was really possible but they seemed to run fine, until the SF passenger car split a switch!

Club (BAGRS) president’s layout back yard on a serious hillside, leveled out a spot for the layout and needed a 5’ retaining wall , my camera is on the wall looking over a pond to the layout

he has on one side a patio and access from the layout so you can enjoy an a beer while watching your train run

brass trestles, interesting idea . I might try to copy this. They c

The gentleman in the bucket hat has been on the tour all week, using a cane and 2 monthsafter knee replacement and a few more after hip replacement. Not real fast but he was everywhere we went on out bus and was a great guy to talk with.
This layout has been downsized to about 500’ on 2 levels he used to have about double and made it easier with no buildings so they can sit on the huge sunken patio and watch trains run in the garden, from the shade with a BBQ , beer fridge, 60" tv and just chill

the next ones are all from Jim Rowsons beautiful layout, the detail is amazing , and Jim was very nice to talk to , wish I could have spent more time there with him, but hosts are busy when a lot of people are there
This guys layout has been downsized to about 500’ on 2 levels he used to have about double and made it easier with no buildings so they can sit on the huge sunken patio and watch trains run in the garden, from the shade with a BBQ , beer fridge, 60" tv and just relax

last of jims layout is above here

last one on our tour had a carnival type theme with the big rocks as background


Thanks Pete. Amazing pics of amazing layouts!

Hard part was sifting through the others to pull out some to show, I could have dumped a whole lot more!

Thanks for traveling on behalf of all of us, Pete!


The pics are great. Thanks for sharing.

Wife and I were at the convention from Tuesday through Saturday, visited quite a few layouts but took hardly any pictures. There were 4 layouts in the area that we (I) wanted to visit in particular, LSC’s Jim Rowson’s was one of them, super layout, I commented about it in another thread earlier this week.

We did however finally get to ride the Shay’s at Roaring Camp, great ride through the cool shade of the Redwoods on a warm sunny day.
Got a pretty good picture of the Dixiana with no bodies included which is, as we all know, pretty difficult on a tourist ride.

Thank you very much for posting all the nice layout pictures.

It’s funny Ted I spent my time at your layout talking to Colin and you, and took one small video and a picture of the basement!