Information for New Members

The Coastal Valley Lines Model Railroad Club of Sonoma County, LTD (CVL) is an informal association of novice to expert model railroaders from around the Sonoma County area. The group operates its HO modular railroad at public and private events and also gathers for clinics, work sessions, and regular monthly meetings.

The members all agree to use a set of standards (technical guidelines) for the construction of their modules. They also follow standards to prepare their rolling stock (cars and locomotives) before operating them. This ensures reliable operation which helps up to have fun running trains!

CVL Basic Agreements

To participate in the association, you must agree to:

  1. Have fun running trains!

  2. Follow the standards. Variances must be obtained from the membership at club meetings.

  3. Assist in either setup or breakdown (both if possible!) of any show or run that you participate in.

  4. Take your turn doing some of the assigned tasks during preparation for and operation at fun and show runs.

  5. Operate all modules and equipment with care, as though they were your own.

  6. Have at least one engine and ten cars which meet standards and which you bring to be run at club events within a year of joining.

  7. Allow your modules and equipment (if present at a run) to be run by all CVL members.

  8. Be willing to resolve differences by discussion and compromise. Our prime purpose is to have fun.

If you are under 16 years of age, you must have a sponsor over 21 who is a member to be with you whenever trains are being run. (A person under 16 can be upgraded to regular member status after recommendation by the sponsor and a two-thirds vote of the membership at a meeting.)


Annual dues are $20.

The required locomotive and ten cars (of good quality) can be obtained for under $120. This includes the cost of adding approved couplers and otherwise bringing the equipment up to standards.

Optional Expenses

A 2 foot long module can be built for as little as $30. A module or module group may be as expensive and extensive as you want, but build only as much as you yourself can transport.

You may be able to save money by showing your ideas to other CVL members, as they may have suggestions based on experience save money and assist in the construction. It is strongly recommended that you do this.

You must have flameproof curtain for the front and back of your modules. We do bulk purchases of curtain when necessary at a cost of about $3 a running foot. Your curtain is added to the association's pool when your module is ready to run.

Some members choose to own the type of throttle that we use to control trains on the CVL layout. These throttles are not available through hobby stores, so the CVL members interested in having them occasionally get together in a work session to make them. They cost about $30 to construct.

Finally, many members buy 2-way FM radios for communication at shows. These cost from $25 to $60. (GE, Maxon, and Radio Shack offer various models.) CVL uses Channel "B" (49.845 MHz) as our main channel, but 5- channel radios are preferred.

Liability insurance for the association is covered from the proceeds of paid CVL show runs. Additional moneys left over go to buy common equipment, such as power supplies.

Costs of lodging, food, and transportation to shows would, in most circumstances, be handled by each individual going to that show.