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Reed's Train Shop
8039 La Mesa Boulevard, La Mesa
619-464-1672

Call the Model Railroad Museum in Balboa Park -- it's the largest such museum in North America -- and ask them to recommend a model train shop. Reed's will be on the top of the list they give you. Owner, Bruce Cameron, is a big reason why. A jazz musician turned train hobbyist, Cameron is an easygoing guy who has the patience to explain all the different options to beginners, and is knowledgeable enough to talk train with the most die-hard of "modelers." The store, a little bigger than your average 7-11, is well-stocked with trains in large G and O scales, to the medium-sized HO scale, down to the tiny N, and Z scales, along with all the spare track, and scenery supplies you'll ever need. And Reed's stocks books and videos on "the famous lines" for research purposes. "There's no limit," Cameron says, "to how deep you can get into it." When you go, note the display behind the counter. It's a Rust Belt town motif painted by Cameron himself.

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