FAQ About P&P O Gauge - Paradise & Pacific RR
Paradise & Pacific
At McCormick Stillman Railroad Park,
Welcome to the P&P model railroad club!
Visit us on our web site: www.PandPRR.com
McCormick-Stillman RR Park Website: www.TheRailroadPark.com
Who we are:
We are a friendly organization of volunteers dedicated to having fun entertaining our guests and
visitors with the sights, sounds, and interactive displays of model railroading. As a model
railroad club we have been at the park for over 40 years and responsible for the construction
and operation of the O-Gauge layout. We were originally located in the “Bunkhouse” building
where we operated a layout for 35 years.
How long have you been in this building?
The new 10,000 sq-ft Model Railroad Building was opened to the public on January 27, 2011
and serves as a showcase for three of the most prominent scales in model railroading. Planning
activities for our scale layout, known as O-Gauge, started in 2008. Construction of the benchwork
began at an off-site facility on Memorial Day of 2010 and we moved into the new building in October
When will you be finished?
In model railroading, a layout is never really ever finished. This is particularly true in our case
where seasonal changes are made and interactive features are constantly added. Several other
things contribute to this answer. First, the building is open and the “show must go on” 363 days
a year. Second, all of the labor is done by our members who are all volunteers, most of whom
are also pursuing full time careers. Third, we have made a commitment to have the most
reliable operations possible, which means that everything must meet very high construction
standards. Over time, our visitors will have an opportunity to see the layout evolve and take
Part of being a member in the club is participating in the construction and improvement of the
layout. The changes that take place are the result of dynamic membership as well as new
techniques and technologies. The club always encourages its members to try new ideas and
Who pays for all of this?
Our "rent" is to run our model trains for the benefit of the public on weekends and during special
events like Rail Fair in October and the Holiday Lights in December. Money for operation comes
from member dues and donations from our guests.
When are we open?
We are open every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas day. Our Members regularly run
trains every Saturday and Sunday based on the availability of our members, building hours, and
the weather. If you want to find out which member will be running trains on a given day, just go
to our web site, www.pandprr.com, and click on the link for the Run Schedule. The trains look
like toys, but they are actually very expensive and delicate.
You can never be sure what trains will be running when you visit. The club owns some trains,
but the members own a wide variety of the trains that you see running.
What size are the trains?
The size of our trains is called O-Gauge, which is a measure of the distance between the
outside rails of the track. It is based on O-Scale, where 1/4 inch of the model is equal to one foot
of the real thing. This is a gauge that was made popular by the Lionel Corporation. On the
layout you might notice that some train cars look larger than others. This is because Lionel
made some trains for smaller rooms, and they had to shorten the trains from scale size to make
sharper turns. These compressed proportions have become known as “classic” size. You can
see both scale size and classic size trains on the P&P layout.
Who makes the trains on the layout?
The trains come from a variety of manufacturers. In our club, the most popular brand is MTH
(Mikes Train House). However, Lionel is also heavily represented. Other locomotives and rolling
stock (cars) are from Williams, Weaver, K-Line, Atlas, and Industrial Rail. All AC-powered three
rail O-gauge trains will run on the P&P layout.
The track and switches on the layout are from Atlas-O. These were chosen because of their
realistic appearance and the ability to carry a high level of operations.
Do you use computer control?
We operate both conventionally (hand on the throttle) and with multiple control systems.
Many of the locomotives have rather exotic digital controls built in each engine. This allows the
club member to walk around with a wireless remote control and blow the whistle, change speed
or direction, uncouple cars from the engine, and a host of other operations. At the same time,
and on the same track, we can run non-digital controlled engines or digitally controlled engines
made by a different manufacturer. Many of our digitally controlled engines have a sort of cruise
control built in. We particularly like this feature because we can talk to our guests while reducing
the occasional rear end collisions. The club owns the digital equipment, but members may
choose to bring their own and have multiple remote controls running multiple engines.
Who can be a member?
If you're interested in trains, or your children are, consider joining our club. Membership is open
to all persons age 18 or older who want to have fun. You don’t even need to own a train. No
specific experience or skills are required. We do ask for you to bring a positive attitude. Any
member of the club can give you an application form. It costs $100 annually to belong to the
club and we all take turns running trains on the weekends. At this time each member is
scheduled to run trains for a weekend day once every few months. Of course, members have
their own key to the building and are encouraged to run their trains or the club trains at any time.