Sunday, August 15, 2010

What Have I Gotten Myself Into?

Back on April 28 I made a promise to report every two weeks or whenever something substantial is completed. I now consider that a promise broken. It has been more than three months since the last post and I have not reported any progress. I apologize for the delay in posting.
Fortunately, some progress has been made. I have added an additional shelf for the tail track of the switchback at White Hills Junction. This is removable and obviously will not be used in inclement weather so rain closes the White Hills Branch.

I have temporarily laid out tie strips for the tracks in Lompoc and White Hills to see how they fit and to try to optimize the track arrangement.


I have made some changes in the shelf at White Hills to reflect the differences in elevation from the yard at White Hills to the mill and warehouse. An additional 3/4 of an inch was added to the upper portion of White Hills.


Unfortunately, I have been distracted with several other activities, some of which I will list here as an excuse.

I have a hard time saying "No". I am active with my family, my church, and with railroad activities other than my layout. I include in these my involvement with the South Coast Railroad Museum (, our local model railroad club - the South Coast Society of Model Engineers, the Southern Pacific Historical and Technical Society (, and several friends' layouts where I love to operate and learn from them in the hopes of helping my own layout to progress. As a result I do not progress very quickly on my layout.

Recently, I was the event chair for the Goleta Railroad Days ( The event is now over and here are some photos from Jamie Foster from one of the two days -

I then was asked to help a friend with his booth at the Ventura County Fair. I put in 5 days at the fair and managed to build several structures for the layout so that was helpful. I will report on each structure in the weeks ahead.

Lastly, I gave some thought to just how big this "oval of track in the laundry room" has become. I was interested in looking at this from an operational standpoint so I used Joe Fugate's formulas for evaluating a layout which Joe has posted on his website at

Here are some of the statistics:

All track - 743 feet
Mainline - 400 feet
Passing track - 73.5 feet (6 sidings)
Storage track - 100 feet (industries, team tracks, etc.
Staging track - 188 feet (17 tracks)

According to Joe's formulas, I should be able to accomodate a maximum number of cars of over 500. I should be able to have 22 trains run on the layout without overloading the trackage. This is considerably more than I was planning for. The Coast Route that I am trying to model has not had much traffic in the later part of its life so I anticipate a quite, layed back kind of operation. Still when I step back and consider the layout as it is coming together it is much larger than I thought and I sure hope I can bring it to a modicum of completion and provide a good space to operate and have some fun.

I know this has been more text than photos and I will endeavor to provide more photos of progress in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.

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