History 1990 through 2002: Written by Co-founder Cyrus Grimshaw.
Cyrus Grimshaw, John King and Jeff Warner formed the club in January 1990.
The three of them had been visitors at Bob Bethel’s American Hobby Supply in San Marcos asking whether there was a train club in the area that they could join.
Bob’s answer was that none existed, so why not start one? He put them in touch with one another and it was quickly decide that a modular approach would be the best way to go since modules would be easy to assemble, disassemble, move, and store.
Displays were arranged in 1990-1991 at the Carlsbad Train Station, American Hobby in San Marcos, Short Lines Junction (now Reed’s) in Escondido, Pacific
Southwest Region Convention in San Bernardino, and the Great American Train Show in San Diego. Additional members were recruited and by 1991 the club was ready to rent a small storefront to allow permanent set-up of the modules and to serve as a meeting place for the members.
The first location was at 817 San Marcos Boulevard, only two doors away from American Hobby Supply. There was room for about a dozen modules in the rear and a small meeting area in front. That front space soon disappeared when two N-Scale modelers asked for module space and got quick approval for it.
By 1992 the number of members had increased to where additional space would be required. Thanks to Dan Reid, one of the club members, we moved into new quarters at 2642 Oceanside Boulevard and were able to expand to almost 1800 square feet of floor space. We doubled the size of the N-Scale layout and split the HO-Scale into Eastern and Western Divisions. 1994 brought about the temporary loss of the Oceanside Boulevard location, and all modules were placed in storage while a search went on for a new home.
Fortunately, Cy Grimshaw made contact with the Palm Tree Plaza management and an agreement was reached on one of the storefronts at the corner of South Melrose and Cannon Road in Oceanside. The club moved into Suite 2H in the spring of 1994 and remained in the Plaza until January of 2001. The management was very supportive of the club and while we had to move into different suites over the years, we never lost a space until January 2001. To complicate our move, we even put up an N-Scale layout display at the Dec. 2000 Great American Train Show.
We were again able to locate an agreeable management and moved into 1360 East Mission Road in Jan. 2001. We struggled for a while with no power while an electrical panel was modified to provide 110 volt power and in April 2001 had a “Grand Reopening” with almost 400 plus visitors over a weekend. The club was again off and running. In 2002, the club voted to redo the HO-Scale layout to emphasize railroad-type operation and construction of all-new modules and Member Orientation control systems began. About that time, dwindling interest in the N-scale layout resulted in a decision to abandon N-scale and focus the club’s resource solely on HO.