Hobbies

Post image for West Bay Model Railroad Association holds its annual open house on Dec. 3 & 4

We stopped by the West Bay Model Railroad Association building in Menlo Park to chat with members about progress over the past year in advance of the group’s annual open house on Saturday, Dec. 3, from 1:00 to 6:00 pm and Sunday, Dec. 4, from 1:00 to 8:30 pm. (Note: Caltrain’s Holiday Train is scheduled to arrive at Menlo Park Station around 7:45 pm on Sunday.)

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Three years ago, WBMRA members scrapped the existing train layout and began an entirely new two-level HO layout. While much of the upper level was completed in time for last year’s open house, it’s now totally complete with new scenes, many of which are remarkably life like (if in miniature!). Our favorites included an oil refinery, a coal company and a main street.

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This year saw the beginning of the lower deck, explained Clyde King, who serves as association president. “Our goal is to have it complete by next year,” he said.

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The trains are powered by engines inscribed with names of past and existing train companies. We feature four of those locomotives with this post.

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When we remarked at how skillfully every last detail is employed, including tiny people engaged in various activities, association member Lauren Mercer told us that train hobby shops specialize in these figures which help bring the scenes to life.

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Admission to the open house is free. Donations are greatly appreciated as they fund continuing work on the railroad. The Model Railroad Building is located in the former Southern Pacific baggage building at 1090 Merrill St., south of the Menlo Park Train Station near Ravenswood Avenue.

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Photos by Scott Loftesness

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Spotted: Model airplanes at Portola Valley Flight Night

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Planes were buzzing over Portola Valley yesterday afternoon and into the evening during the town’s Flight Night. Model aviation enthusiasts piloted radio-controlled airplanes, sailplanes, and helicopters. After the sun set, illuminated model aircraft performed aerobatics. Youngster Thatcher (bottom left) got a chance to try his hand at flying a radio-controlled plane using a dual control […]

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For Giles Beebe, it’s all about “stuff that flies”

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M-A sophomore Giles Beebe is clear about his passion. Simply stated: “It’s stuff that flies.” He got involved with remote controlled aircraft when he was in third grade. “I met Patrick who’d been flying since he was five,” he explains. “His Dad, Russell Kao, mentored me and was a great teacher.” By sixth grade he was gravitating to multi-rotor […]

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New layout on view at West Bay Model Railroad Association’s holiday open house

Thumbnail image for New layout on view at West Bay Model Railroad Association’s holiday open house

The West Bay Model Railroad Association is holding its annual open house for the public to see model trains running on a new large layout on Saturday, December 5, 1:00 to 5:00 pm and Sunday, December 6, 5:oo to 9:00 pm. The event will be at the Model Railroad Building (1090 Merrill St.) near the Ravenswood Avenue crossing of […]

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“Sudoku Guru” to share puzzle techniques during Menlo Park appearance

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Puzzle enthusiasts interested in sharpening their Sudoku skills are invited to hear some sage advice from “The Sudoku Guru,” during a free program to be presented by the Menlo Park Library on Tuesday, September 29. Divyang “Dave” Pandit approached the famous number puzzle with his analytical engineer’s mind — but it was his octogenarian mother […]

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Preview of new model railroad in Menlo Park scheduled for December 6 & 7

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After a year’s hiatus, a holiday favorite resumes this year when the West Bay Model Railroad Association will unveil its new railroad layout — a work in progress —  at two open houses on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 6 and 7 at the Model Railroad Building, 1090 Merrill St. in Menlo Park. The hours are 2:00 to […]

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Good news for jigsaw fans – Menlo Park is home to Artifact Puzzles

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The notion that “it would be fun to buy a laser cutter” kept creeping into Maya Gupta’s brain. “I studied electrical engineering because I was interested in lasers,” she explained in the warehouse space of Menlo Park-based Artifact Puzzles, which she started as a hobby and is turning into a business. The idea of making […]

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M-A Robotic Team 766 readies its robot to play Ultimate Ascent

After six weeks of planning, prototyping, building, testing, rebuilding, and even more testing, team 766′s robot was finished on February 20 at 12 am. The robot was designed to play Ultimate Ascent, a competition involving robots throwing disks into goals in order to score points (for a brief overview click here). The robot’s shooting mechanism is […]

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Tom Kabat creates whimsical but functional wooden bicycles

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Tom Kabat admits he’s always been wild about bikes. “In high school, I was a bike snob,” he says. “Today, I like all kinds of things about bikes. I’m into bicycle advocacy. I do bike repair on bike to work days. I like getting people into biking.” For the past 10 years, the Menlo Park […]

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How Gordy Gourdin’s passion for flying led to antique clock collecting

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Given Gordy Gourdin’s love of flying and his description of himself as a “tinker junky,” you’d think his Atherton home might be lined with model airplanes. Instead, a visitor is greeted by a wall of old clocks, just part of a collection that also resides in a second home in Oregon and his sister’s home […]

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Synonymous: Charlie Marshall and vintage automobiles

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Automobiles have always been a major part of Charlie Marshall’s life. He remembers growing up in Menlo Park down the street from car dealership owner George Paddleford. “It seemed like he had a different car in his driveway every day,” recalls Charlie, who now lives in Atherton. “Plus I think in that era, people bought […]

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