2017 Southern California Mini-Meet Report
Despite all the rain that has been falling in California this year, Saturday, February 4, was a dry and beautiful day, and a great day for the Mini-Meet. The event was attended by 110 enthusiastic individuals, most from throughout California. Five came from Arizona. One individual in Howland, Ohio, learned of the event and was fortunate to be in Los Angeles on business that week and was able to attend.
For the second consecutive year, the Mini Meet was held at the Christ Lutheran Church of West Covina. Attendees miss seeing the passing trains at the San Bernardino Depot where the Mini-Meet was previously held, but they strongly favor the comfort that the facilities at the West Covina location has to offer.
The day was filled with five clinics.
- “The L.A. Terminal in the 1930’s & 40″s, by John Signor, Society editor and California rail historian;
- “Modeling Southern California in the 1960s,” also by John Signor;
- “Modeling the California Citrus Industry,” by Bob Chaparro, a local railfan/modeler and citrus industry expert;
- “Railroading in the Steam Era” was a panel discussion moderated by Keith Jordan that included five former Santa Fe employees and Stan Kistler, the noted steam historian, in a roundtable discussion;
- “Cajon, Tehachapi, Arizona & New Mexico in the 1970s & 80s,” by Charles Lang.
During the breaks between clinics, those attending spent time at the 14 vendor tables and the very large modular layout presented by the California Free-Mo layout group. Of special note is the fact that the modular layout was operating on Sunday for the church members and their families to view, and on Monday for the more than 230 elementary grade students who attend the Lutheran school adjacent to the church. The older children especially enjoyed seeing the model trains being operated. Hopefully some of them will someday be railfans and modelers.
In addition to the above, something else happened at the Mini Meet. Its something that happens at every other Mini Meet, convention and event associated with our Society. It’s the interaction among attendees: meeting new friends, renewing old friendships, exchanging information and learning about subjects relating to modeling and/or the Santa Fe Railway. It cannot be precisely described or measured, but it happened at this Mini Meet as it does at all such events.
Gene Rutledge and I thank all those who attended the meet as well as those who assisted in any way in presenting it. Planing for the 2018 Mini Meet is underway.