The Black Diamond Lines Model Railroad Club began back in July 1981 as a group of model railroaders who gathered in the back of a local Antioch, California hobby shop. Later that year, we decided to make things official and we were incorporated as a not-for-profit organization. In December of 1981, we began work on our first layout, located at the Contra Costa County Fairgrounds here in Antioch.
In April 1983, the Fairgrounds management required that we move out of the building that we were in and relocate to a different building on the grounds. This entailed sectioning that layout into movable pieces, taking down the walls that we had built to separate the layout from the rest of the building (we had been given space inside a large, open display hall, thus requiring our constructing walls), moving the whole works to the other building, and re-assembling the layout (including wiring) and walls before being able to operate model trains again.
In December of 1985, disaster struck the Black Diamond Lines. After four years, Fairground management decided not to renew our lease and we were forced to move again. While the Club was able to save all the materials that made up the layout enclosure for future use, we were only able to salvage the main freight yard section from the old layout. The rest of the layout was unfortunately a total loss.
In May 1986, after much negotiating and viewing of potential sites, the Club signed a four-year contract with the City of Antioch for our current home at 425 Fulton Shipyard Road. The next six months were spent preparing the building, which used to be part of the Antioch water treatment plant, for visitors and layout construction. This involved removing the old water treatment machinery and equipment that had been left in the building.
The first rails of the new layout were laid in November 1986. We also installed the freight yard from the first layout, which is now Diamond Flats, the main yard seen in the front layout room as you view the layout. Thus, we able to partly resurrect the old as a part of the new.
Thirty six years later, the Black Diamond Lines is in great shape, an operating HO Scale Empire. While the layout appears on the surface to be completed, there are many projects underway, as everyone knows...A model railroad is never done!