Thursday, April 28, 2011

Slow Progress

The progress on the SP Santa Barbara Subdivision has been down-right slow. In fact, I have actually taken a few steps backward.

The track in the outer helix was taken up temporarily. I ran a passenger train through and it was non-clearing so I looked at the track and it was too close to some of the supports. This will be easily fixed by centering the track. But it will wait for another project.

The main-line into Surf from the east had been put in temporarily to see how things ran and because I was procrastinating on installing a turnout for the siding. That turnout has been built but still needs to be installed. An additional turnout off the main at the east end of Surf accesses the wye. There is actually a "storage track" that runs parallel to the main and on the opposite side from the siding. It is from that track the actual legs of the wye begin. So besides the main/siding turnout, I need one turnout from the main, and one turnour from the storage track. Then because it is a wye I need to install an auto-reverser. All is ready, staged to be installed.

The street section of Lompoc is another big job that has been languishing. I laid down the base and now need to put in the street rail. Again, all is ready to be installed.

The industrial area across from the yard in Santa Barbara is still sitting. I keep looking at track arrangements, but so far have not made a decision so the tie strips are still in temporary positions. I complicated my decision recently by deciding to include the scale track.

The Santa Barbara scale track was located between the freight house and the spur to Johnston Fruit Co in the industrial area. It was on the track that parallels the double track main on the mountain side. Here is a wonderful photo that Charles Lange took of the scale and the scale house. You can see the Johnston Fruit Company in the background.

According to an October 1, 1966 Southern Pacific Company Circular 4 List of Agencies, Stations, Etc., the Santa Barbara scale track was 52.5 feet long, had a capacity of 125 tons, withs a Fairbanks scale. My problem is fitting it in. I have a space but the track is curved. I need at least 53 feet of straight track for the actual scale and should have some straight track leading up to both sides where the track has points to divert locomotives on separate track so as not to run across the beam of the scale. I may compromise here and have some minor curvature.

I also was looking at a USGS map of Santa Barbara and noticed two additional spur tracks. One led to the flour silos at the Weber's Bread bakery and the other led across a small bridge to another lemon packing house operated by Santa Barbara Lemon Co. Here is the map.

I do not have room for either of these on the layout but here is an interesting aerial view showing the still existing buildings. [Click on the image to make it larger.]

I did have the local club over a couple times. Once we just sat around and talked while installing Kadee couplers in some locomotives and freight cars. Some of the freights had the old horn-hook couplers but the locomotives and some of the other freight cars were using some of the Kadee copies. They do not seem to work as well, as the split or set in the wrong location and make coupling difficult to impossible. Here is a photo of that get together.

I had one of the club over on a Monday and we pulled wire to power the turnout motors for the first level. Second level power has already been pulled and we have four Tortoises installed. We also went out to lunch at a local eating establishment that holds some promise for the crews once I start real operations. Some of the club members came over the following evening and we drilled holes in the fascia for the turnout motor control switches, and wired up some of the switches.

Then this week they returned and they decided to be track inspectors. Using an NMRA track gauge and one of Micro-Mark inspection car (,8025.html ) they went along the track and put red tape everywhere the tracks needed work. I feel like the FRA just went through and issued slow orders for the layout. Here are some photos.

The local NMRA division is having a meet here in Santa Barbara on May 21 and the layout is on the tour after the meet, so I have lots of work to do between now and then, so you can expect another update in a few weeks.