Saturday, June 13, 2009

Southern Pacific's Santa Barbara Subdivision

I am trying to model a portion of the Southern Pacific's Coast Line in HO scale. I have been granted rights to my garage for that purpose and began construction a few years ago. I get involved in lots of other activities that detract from focusing on the layout but will do a bit of catching up here on the blog so that you can see how far I have come.

Before I share some of the early construction photos and comments, here is some history of the real railroad which is just down the block from me, along with a description of the layout as I envision it.

The Southern Pacific built its famous Coast Route between 1886 and 1900 along the beautiful California Coast. The line came up from Los Angeles in 1887 and then stopped just north of Santa Barbara until December 31, 1900 when the line was completed to San Francisco. The line is most famous for its streamlined Daylight trains, and indeed the line was primarily envisioned as a more direct passenger route from San Francisco to Los Angeles. The Company could also see business opportunities in the rich agricultural areas along the route. As the twentieth century unfolded, the Coast Line continued to be a secondary main compared to the routes over Donner Pass, Tehachapi or Beaumont.
Still the beauty of the Coast brought people to vacation along its length from Santa Barbara to Monterey. The Salinas area became as the Big Four SP founders envisioned, an agricultural gold mine. Further south, lemons and other produce also contributed to the company’s coffers. Deposits of diatomaceous earth near Lompoc and discoveries of oil near Santa Paula, Santa Maria, and San Ardo also fueled the profitability of the Coast. As the twentieth century progressed, automobiles and trucks took a growing role in carrying the passengers and freight that once traveled the Coast. Now the Coast is quieter but still hosts Amtrak’s Coast Starlight and the Pacific Surfliner.

The freights include unit trains of oil from the San Ardo field, some mixed freight, some empty intermodal trains returning to the Long Beach/Los Angeles Harbor and some auto trains. Still the beauty remains and the sounds of trains still echoes along its shores.

The plan depicts the Southern Pacific Railroad from Carpinteria to just north of San Miguel.
Eras chosen are 1964 and 1994. By varying the motive power and rolling stock the operational time period changes can be made, without extensive changes to other period type scenic components such as automobiles, signs, structures, etc.
The track plan was developed from actual track charts used by the Southern Pacific, Sanborn Insurance maps and visits to the areas.
The modeled segment will incorporate 9 towns: Carpinteria, Summerland, Santa Barbara, Goleta, Surf, Lompoc, Guadalupe, San Luis Obispo, and San Miguel plus the staging yards representing Oxnard and Salinas.
The Lompoc/White Hills branch is envisioned for the second level and the Santa Maria Valley Railroad will be on the third level.
A 7-track stub staging area representing Oxnard and points east and a 9- track stub yard representing Salinas, and points west holds trains between runs.

SP freight train lengths are about 14 to 18 cars plus locomotive.
SP or Amtrak passenger trains depending on the time period operated.

Simulate actual SP operations
Start with 1994 modified “mother may I” dispatching moving toward direct traffic control (DTC)
Start with locals from Santa Barbara to Carpinteria and Goleta
Add through freights – some with block swapping at Santa Barbara
Add limited passenger
Add helper operations over Cuesta if third level is built
Migrate to 1964 using Timetable and Train Order with remote DS
Simulate actual SP operations
Computer control via JMRI

· L-Girder
· Thin wall
· Shelf bracket
· Threaded rod supports for helix
· Homosote/plywood yards
· Masonite spline
· Homobed elevation of main line
· Central Valley track and turnouts
· Code 100 staging
· Code 83 main
· Code 70 sidings and yards
· Code 55 industry spurs

HO Scale (87:1) NCE wired and radio throttles
Overall space 20’ x 25’ Three levels envisioned
Minimum aisle width 25” Minimum radius ~ 27”
Rail height 38” to 45” first level
Main line approximately 100 feet each level
#8 turnouts for main sidings, #6 turnouts off main and in yards,
#5 turnouts for industry

1 comment:

  1. Bruce, that's a really great start!
    And, step by step ... we all will follow you!
    Take care