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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Another Planet
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    380

    Smile Tehachapi Pass in N Scale

    Yes, another Tehachapi Pass layout!

    Inspired by the work of Jim Reising on his Oakville Sub, Jamie Schatte's CSX Dixie Line, as well as comments and drawings by Gary Hinshaw, I recently made the decision to switch from my original plan to model the Clinchfield to that of modeling Southern Pacificís San Joaquin Mountain District through Tehachapi Pass. Besides the inspiration mentioned above, another reason was Intermountain's AC-12s, not to mention the current number of SP/ATSF locos and rolling stock I already own!

    This is a big area to model, and I have no illusions of recreating the entire route scene for scene. What I am after, however, is to capture the look and feel of the Tehachapi Mountains, and use this as a backdrop to the operations of both the Southern Pacific and the Santa Fe as they traverse the serpentine curves throughout the pass during the 1950s.

    Steam was on the wane, especially on the Santa Fe, but Southern Pacificís AC-12 Cab Forward was still a prominent player in daily operations. Passenger trains were frequent, and there were daily westbound and eastbound mail trains. Citrus and potato packing plants dotted the northern portion of the line, along with long drags of ice reefers and lumber from the North.

    A few doodles I worked up:







    Yes, three decks (mostly double deck though) makes it a monster, so any feedback from the gang here is very much appreciated. The raised floor in some places and 30" minimum aisle width should make the layout a bit easier to fiddle with (a lanky 6'-4" person, I), but perhaps I have gone too far? (Or worse, senility is setting in...)

    Note: Kern Jct. is viewed and operated from the "pit" area near Arvin, and not the aisle to the left on the plan (the text simply fit in the space). Also note that I have not finished the plans for staging, or yet worked out an lift/swing gate to minimize the problems with the duck-under (Mark Dance uses some niffy tricks!). These will come later once the these main plans are further refined.

    Here is a link to my "Givens and Druthers" for the layout, which might clarify some points. Let me know if things still appear to be muddy.

    All I have to do afterward is build the thing...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Kitchener, Ontario
    Posts
    131
    All I have to say is WOW!!!! Three levels including staging top and bottom is a monster for sure! I have no knowledge of the Southern Pacific route, but just following your track along from bottom to top, it looks great! I really like the long stretches of mainline. I can just imagine a consist starting at the bottom and working their way along the (what looks to be almost 300') of mainline to the top.

    If you can figure out a nice clean way to set up the benchwork, I think it would be a beauty to work on. Definitely one for the picture shows!

    Looking forward to seeing where this goes!
    Ben

    "No man goes before his time - unless the boss leaves early." - Groucho Marx

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    New Mexico
    Posts
    2,477
    Blog Entries
    11
    That's one quite interesting layout and with out a doubt would be loads of fun. But sure is one monster of a layout and even in N Scale it will take up quite a bit of room.
    But I hope you decide to build this monster; I sure would be interested in the progress,
    Thanks for sharing so far for sure.
    I say build it!


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Another Planet
    Posts
    380

    Smile

    Thank you for your comments.

    I would think the bench work around the walls will be a snap. The peninsula, however, is another matter. With the 3~4" inches of grade change, as well as my desire to maintain no less than 12" of viewing space o each deck, the structure will no doubt be quite a sight. I'll have to tinker with how the peninsula will go together before making any final commitments. The design elements of the CSX Dixie Line appear to be a good place to start.

    I have another plan, closer to what Gary Hinshaw drew up, and although it too uses multi-deck design (stacks the loop and Woodford over Caliente and Bealville), it only allows for running trains from Bena to Marcel, thereby cutting-off half of the operating potential. I don't mind running mainline-only, but it can get old after a while IMO, and I kinda' like having the Arvin Branch and Summit Switch in the above plan.

    And that loop sure takes up a lot of room! (I suppose I now know where I'll store my FreeMoN modules between shows - for that matter, I can probably store my saws and other tools there too!) Its position, however, is about as good as it gets in allowing access to nearly every square inch. I'll have to tinker with that element again and see if any improvement can be made.

    Give me a box and I'll fill it... :mmad:

  5. #5
    Thats going to be one awesome layout. I wish I had the room like you do. I am in the process of building a 3 deck layout with hidden staging. I also based me brackets off of what CSX Jamie did for his layout. Do what pleases you as the builder. I used 3/4 cabinet grade plywood for all my framing, excellent stuff and cheaper her in Canada than 2 sided sanded pine plywood. If you are anywhere in the midwest check out Menards for birch plywood, very nice stuff and good prices... Keep the updates coming. I hope it all comes together like you plan.

    JSL

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    San Francisco CA
    Age
    37
    Posts
    1,826
    That's one heck of a track plan!

    Don't have time for detailed feedback, but I'll try to give some later on. Tehachapi is my favorite.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Riverside,California
    Posts
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    OK Marc, when do we start?

    Wait, but first things first. Did you create a laundry space for the little woman? Priority #1, or else.:ru-wink:

    Looks to me like we will have to add more to the building than originally planned.:tb-err:

    Oh, ya and don't forget the rest of the siding and building prep.:mwacko:

    So this is what the third or fourth plan for this space? At least when we finish preparing the space you can pick your favorite and refine it.:mnerd:
    John


    N-land Pacific FreemoN Homepage

    Big Train Show Video Ontario CA 2014

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Another Planet
    Posts
    380
    Quote Originally Posted by jhn_plsn View Post
    Wait, but first things first. Did you create a laundry space for the little woman? Priority #1, or else.:ru-wink:
    Workin' on it, but just in case, I'm tinkering with some new plans with the political boundaries redrawn...

    And yes, much concrete to be poured.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Riverside,California
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3DTrains View Post
    Workin' on it, but just in case, I'm tinkering with some new plans with the political boundaries redrawn...

    And yes, much concrete to be poured.
    When we drive the first spike after all the building prep a party with all the club members is required. I'll bring the BBQ and some spirits.

    Wait, if I have some spirits first I get to swing the hammer, you get to hold the spike.
    John


    N-land Pacific FreemoN Homepage

    Big Train Show Video Ontario CA 2014

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    San Francisco CA
    Age
    37
    Posts
    1,826
    Finally got some more time to spend with this...

    -What resources did you have for prototype research on the era? I'm much more familiar with Tehachapi from the 1970's to the present, but there are a few things where it seems to me there could probably be more prototypical accuracy in the track plan. I'm wondering in particular about Woodford, and a little about the helper pocket in Walong. Asking as much to satisfy my own curiosity about the prototype as to offer further details.

    -Train length. You said 9'-10' in your givens and druthers. (You said minimum but I gather you meant maximum.) I have a feeling this is going to test the limits at 18" radii and 2.5 percent grades, but it might be more doable if you don't hit those limits in the same places. It looks like you've thought pretty carefully about this, but I thought I'd raise these points anyway. One thing you might want to think about is whether your maximum length train is going to be able to cross over itself at Walong. It'd be a bit of a shame if you couldn't do that after building all that layout. Personally my preference would be for slightly more friendly grade and radius specs at the cost of modeling slightly less territory, but of course that's up to you.

    -I think it's a really good idea to be able to do some 'short work' operations on any layout. Kudos for including Arvin and Edison.

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