Friday, November 20, 2020

SP Jawbone Branch (Part 4) - Freight Car Roster

 In the last blog post (SP Jawbone Branch Part 3) I covered some photo analysis to sort out which kinds of freight cars I'll need for the basic operations of the Jawbone Branch.  

SP Mk-4 leads the Owenyo Local, probably near Cantil or Owens Lake - RW Please collection


Note in the photo above the load of white ore/minerals in the first All-Steel SP GS-Gondola, possibly from one of the small ore dumps along the line.  The other cars are probably also loaded from the SPNG trestle at Owenyo.
Let's quickly review this list as follows for a 'Typical' Owenyo Local consist of 10-16 cars:

  • 4-5 SP Steel GS Gondolas (Red Caboose)
  • 1 Black (lease or SP) tank car, probably with fuel oil - Possibly leasers such as SHPX, UTLX, UOCX, GATX, etc.
  • 4-8 XM boxcars - generally a mix of mostly all-steel types after 1952, both SP and foreign car mix.
  • 1+ SPMW water tank cars


Of course a major difference between modeling a train and modeling an operational layout is the fact that the operational layout will require more cars to cycle and make a 'normal' consist to appear on the layout each session.  I'm figuring that at least two times the 'basic train' will be needed as the loaded cars and empty cars need to be swapped each trip which takes two days (3-trips per week) on the Jawbone.  Figuring in cars being held for loading for multiple trips, I can see each Owenyo Local trip consisting of about 40% of the cars on the layout.
Also not all of the prototypical 13-16 car trains would be worked in the few towns I will be able to model, namely Owenyo.  Lone Pine was also a fairly large town and traffic source/receiver for Standard Gauge cars.  This may result in my 'typical' train being only 8-12 cars or something in that range, to have suitable work at Linnie, Bartlett, and Owenyo.
Upon closer inspection of several photos, I have been able to recognize several foreign boxcars of interest that I could model.  Some rather interesting cars show up to which I wouldn't have expected.  I wonder how many of these cars were sent to the Owenyo Branch from LA as empties vs caught by Bakersfield or Mojave on the way back home or if the cars were sent loaded to the Jawbone and were simply being grabbed again for a new load out of Owenyo.

SP GS-Steel Gondolas


Red Caboose SP 151454 in service at Caliente, LMRC.


The majority of the GS gondolas being used on the Owenyo Branch by 1952-55 it seems were the standard SP G-50-18/22 class cars.  I have found one photo of the odd composite GS gondola (G-50-20/23 class) but generally composite cars were reserved for softer loads such as sugar beets and wood chips.  The all-steel cars were used for ore and mineral service.

UP GS-Steel Gondolas


Interestingly one photo of SPNG 18 at Owenyo on an F-70-3 flatcar shows a UP 65k-series gondola in Owenyo. 

Red Caboose UP 65003 G-50-13 kit for standard UP car


 I'm not sure why there would be UP gonds in Owenyo.  Possibilities that come to mind are Lumber, coal, coke, loading of materials (ore/minerals) off the SPNG to be sent off of the Jawbone back to UP territory?  Sometimes photos raise more questions than answers!  For now, I'm making the notes about what cars were there, not worrying so much about why they were there at the moment.

SP All-Steel Boxcars


The following five classes (B-50-18/19/20/21/23) totaled nearly 8000 cars with 10ft Interior Height (IH) placed in service between 1936 and 1942 and were a major expansion of the SP fleet.  The B-50-12A class of rebuilt USRA cars only amounted to 350 cars, but is an interesting side note.  I plan to have several All-Steel SP boxcars on the Jawbone Branch, as they do show up as the dominate car type in the 1952-53+ era photos.  That said, I do plan to have some earlier classes of SP boxcar as well filling out the roster with composite cars including B-50-8/10/11, B-50-12 (gone in 1949), B-50-13/14, and the signature B-50-15/16. 
I'll be covering the specifics of modeling these classes in a future post at some point.  For now, let's look at the All-Steel cars, as they were the type photographed on the Jawbone Branch.

B-50-18 - 1750 cars


Red Caboose RTR model of SP 32891, a B-50-18 class car

This class was built in 1936 to the 10ft IH standard which the SP preferred.  I have a couple of these Red Caboose models to use as examples of this class.  Wood lined with sharp 4/5 Dreadnaught Ends, Youngstown doors, and wood running boards. - Description excerpt from Anthony Thompson's Southern Pacific Freight Cars Vol.4 Boxcars.

B-50-19 - 1000 cars


Essentially repeats of the B-50-18 class ordered only one month later.  Wood lined with sharp 4/5 Dreadnaught Ends, Youngstown doors, and wood running boards. - Description excerpt from Anthony Thompson's Southern Pacific Freight Cars Vol.4 Boxcars.
I will probably change the number of one of my B-50-18s, as it is only one number off from the 32891 shown above.  

B-50-20 -1500 cars


Red Caboose SP 84268, B-50-20 with black patch to the left of the door with "return when empty" data.

This class can be made with RC's kits.  This particular car is from the special run of 300 cars for La Mesa Club in the 1990s with the special "When Empty Return to Agent Bakersfield, Calif."

B-50-21 - 2000 cars


BLYM SP 82992, a B-50-21 class boxcar with minor redecalling.

This class of 40ft boxcar can be found from RC or BLYM.  The example I have is a BLYM car with Speedwitch SP boxcar decals to replace the reporting initials with the spelled out "SOUTHERN PACIFIC", which is more correct for my modeling era of 1946-1953.

B-50-23 - 1744 cars


Built into 1942 when Pullman exhausted the supply of parts, ending the order at 1744 cars.

Post-War Boxcars


The SP ordered several classes of new boxcars after WWII and received new cars all the way into 1953, which is about my cutoff point for era.  There is some chance that I should have some of these cars, but I'll cover those another time as I have no models of them at present.

B-50-12A - Rebuilds

The SP also rebuilt 350 B-50-12 cars in 1949 to the current construction standards of the industry, so these could be showing up in the photos on the Jawbone Branch as well.  I covered this briefly on my SPMW Supply Train (Part 3) - Boxcars SPMW 2767 B-50-12 article.

Foreign Line Boxcars


NP 15000-17996


IMWX NP 15046 boxcar kit

This series of cars covers about 3000 cars all of almost identical measurements according to the 1950 ORER as 10ft IH all-steel boxcars.  I see two easy ways to model the car in this series that was photographed at Owenyo.  One is the IMWX HOBNP046 (IMRC) 10ft NP 1937 AAR boxcar.  I happen to have NP 15046 as a prepainted model (built 1040).  The IMWX kit has the "Main Street of the Northwest" slogan.
Another option to model the NP car is the Branchline Yardmaster series kit 8013 which I bought around 2003-2004 which is NP 17182 which shows a built date of 5-41.  The BLYM kit doesn't have the slogan below the herald.
Unfortunately, the photograph quality doesn't allow me to read the car number on the end, it is pretty clearly a 15-16k car number.  The photo is about a 7/8 end view, so I can make out that the NP car in question does have the slogan painted on the carside below the herald.  While I'm not currently planning to model every exact car that I have a photo of on the branch, I at least take the hint of what cars did show up.  Given the IMWX car is closer with the slogan, I'll probably use that car in this case.

OWR&N 188300-189299 (UP subsidiary) 


Red Caboose OWR&N 189095 kit, similar to the car photographed at Owenyo in the early 1950s.

This 1000-car group of 1937 AAR boxcars was assigned to the Oregon Water River & Navigation Co.  One of which showed up in a photograph of a bulk vertical conveyor loader at Owenyo.  The shot shows a NG boxcar loading minerals into the boxcar, probably something like Perlite or Talc.  I'll be using a RC-8040-2b, a 1937 AAR model of OWR&N 189095 will become a typical model to represent the prototype car which I can't read the number on, other than to see it's a 188 or 189k-series car from OWR&N.

PRR All-Steel Boxcar


Branchline Blueprint-series X43B boxcar, built-up kit in service at LMRC in 2011.

In the photos from Tom Dill's San Joaquin Valley book of Lone Pine being switched in January 1953, there is a all-steel boxcar that appears to be a PRR car.  All I can make out is lettering consistent with the PRR's normal lettering scheme.  Reaching back into my 15-20 year old stash of models, I've pulled out a Branchline Blueprint (BLBP) series kit for an X43B boxcar PRR 600633, built NEW 9-51.  This will be a fairly clean model, but I'll probably put some fading on it to represent a car two years old.

PRR Boxcar (Alternate Options)


Given the size of the PRR, I'll probably run two other PRR boxcars if I want to simulate before late 1951.

Atlas X26C USRA rebuild boxcar - not yet weathered.

One is Atlas's X26C, WWI USRA boxcar rebuild PRR 105808, which comes RTR, but I'll be doing some upgrades to the mechanicals and weathering it obviously.

Red Caboose PRR X29 boxcar, a little worse for wear.

This is one of Red Caboose's famous X29 kits.  I started buildign this kit many years ago.  When I finish it, the Owenyo branch should give it a good home as almost every layout in the USA from the late 1920s to the 1960 timeframe should have an X29 on it.  About 2/3s of the X29s were upgraded with new bodies above the floor into X29B, which looked more like AAR boxcars, save the narrower frame sidesills from the original X29.  I may end up kitbashing one of these X29Bs at some point.  They have also been available in resin.

NYC "Standard" Boxcar


BLI's version of NYC's "Standard" boxcar which competed with X29 for the ARA standard in the 1920s.

While I've not found a photo of it, if a PRR boxcar went somewhere on the SP, chances were that an NYC car also went there at some point.  The BLI model of the NYC's 'standard' boxcar is not a bad choice.  I'm also planning to redecal a BLYM car as one of the NYC's all-steel boxcars based on the pre-war (1937-1941) boxcars.

ATSF All-Steel Boxcars


Kadee ATSF 31564, new 1950 - LMRC 2011 photo

In the January 1953 photos in Tom Dill's San Joaquin Valley book, there is a photo of an ATSF all-steel boxcar at Lone Pine being switched.  It is a little hard to read the car number series off the photo, but I expect it could be a 31k series boxcar, like the Kadee car above.
Again IMRC, IMWX, or RC 1937 AAR cars will work for modeling these cars in the 38k series or a 138k series car.  I also have several BLYM series kits for BX-27 class cars.  I'm uncertain which kit I will be using on the Owenyo Branch versus building for operations at LMRC.
The prototype photo shows no map on the side of the car, but the 'Ship Santa Fe - All the way' slogan on the carside as shown in the photo of Kadee ATSF 31564 car above.  I currently don't have an ATSF car with this exact scheme.  Something to ponder at some point down the road, as I have 4-6 of the previously mentioned car kits, I probably will not be looking for a Kadee car.

Other Boxcars


I'm sure there were other foreign road boxcars that traveled the Owenyo branch which will justify operations of some of my other boxcars.  A Seaboard Air Line car photographed at Bartlett shows that there certainly could have been some other esotaric cars on the Jawbone.  Several cars that are in the background of the photos are too dark or weathered to positively read their reporting marks or recognize the owner.

In Closing


Some cars like the ATSF boxcar wouldn't be that surprising, probably some east coast freight forwarder company sending something out to the Jawbone Branch or it could have even been sent from a more local freight house at San Bernardino, Los Angeles, or even Bakersfield with Santa Fe freight forwarder traffic recombined into an freight forwarder LCL shipment to Lone Pine's community.  Some
of the foreign cars on the line were probably also freight forwarders and LCL shipments to the branch.  Some would have been empty cars sent for loading for off-SP destinations, with the empties either 'captured' as they went past Mojave by the Agent, or specificly sent to the Mojave Agent for distribution to Monolith on the KI Local, Palmdale and the Mojave desert on the "Blitz" Local, or to the Jawbone's traffic generators on the Owenyo Branch or the Trona Rwy.  


Loading of Freight Cars, as published in 1953 ORER Register. 

At a certain point, a boxcar is just a boxcar and the customer needs one.  We'll follow the AAR's loading practices as much as possible (see upper half of above image, click on image for larger view).

Hopefully this has been an interesting look at all the colorful traffic that showed up!  In the future I'll be looking into the traffic patterns on the branch if there was any rhyme or reason to which foreign cars were showing up where.

Jason Hill

Related Articles:


SP Jawbone Branch (Part 3) - Consists & More Bartlett Research - Starting to look at photos of the Owenyo Local on the Jawbone Branch and more research on the industries around Bartlett and the Owens Lake.

SP "Jawbone" Branch (Part 2) - Research & Changing Track Plan - Some tweaks to the plan and more research info from SP Trainline #135.

SP "Jawbone" Branch (Part 1) - Concept & Planning - A new crazy idea in my head...

West Bakersfield (Part 1) - Laying Out Industries - Working with SP ValMaps to size and place prototype industries west of Baker St. in Bakersfield.

Laying Out Tehachapi (Part 1) - Research & Layout - Working with SP ValMaps and aerial photos to scale and place prototype structures along the town of Tehachapi

Modeling SP Medium Steam Road-Switchers - Modeling options for SP Mk-series 2-8-2 and other medium size steam engines.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

SP Jawbone Branch (Part 3) - Consists & More Bartlett Research

California Division of Mines - Owens Lake Alkali Plants

The previous two posts on my layout concept for the Jawbone Branch has stirred up some friends to dig through their archives and research materials.  David Coscia dug up a great reference from from the SPNG 2014 Convention at Lone Pine which found an entry in the California Division of Mines 1959  Soda Ash Industry of the Owens Lake publication on the development of the industry from 1887-1959.  Included is information on the 1928 Pacific Alkali Company's production plant at the Bartlett.


 California Division of Mines article. - David Coscia collection


Text of article from California Division of Mines article. - David Coscia collection


The 1928 plant was designed to produce 99.5% pure borax.  The yearly production of 12,000 tons of sodium sesquicarbonate (trona mineral), 12,000 tons of soda ash and 2,000 tons of borax.

These production rates would average of about 100-tons each per trip (tri-weekly) of trona, soda ash, and about 1 car per week of borax.  This means 4-5 cars per trip just for Bartlett, which seems possible.  

Oddly I think the document has a typo where it says "2000 thousand tons of borax" - , which would be about 300 cars per trip.  That seems to be too much, and a result of a typo. - Perhaps they mean "20,000 tons"... or "20 thousand tons", which would be about 3 cars per tri-week trip.  

This seems to be a question of scale, and while I could see maybe up to 3x50 tons 3x week of borax... that would put the car loading out of Bartlett at more like 7 cars per trip, which seems a bit high from what the photographs of the Owenyo Local look like during the 1948-1955 era.

As a side note: There are still remains of charcoal kilns several miles south of Bartlett at Cottonwood Creek, so I'm not sure where they're getting their lime from for this process.  The charcoal was probably being used for the CO2 needs of the processing of the soda ash and trona at the Bartlett facility and others in the area.

Columbia-Southern Chemical Corporation - Bartlett, Calif.


In 1944 the plant Pacific Alkali Company at Bartlett was sold to the Columbia-Southern Chemical Corporation, a subsidiary of Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company.  They left the plant alone until the late 1950s by which time they decided that the nearly inexhaustible supply of trona at Owens Lake was worth upgrading their plant.  The upgrades came on-line in 1958, tripling the production rates!

Check out this great website of Owens Valley History!  There's a lot of good information which I'm still trying to digest there.  One part of the website shows a map with Columbia-Southern Chemical at Bartlett, with US Hwy 395, CA Hwy 190, and the SPNG removed, suggesting this map was post-1960 vintage.  Some of the photos of Bartlett (townsite) are pretty good too, which I didn't know about until I saw the pictures... Still so much more to research!

This information was found at http://www.owensvalleyhistory.com/owens_valley_owens_lake/solda_ash_industry_owens_lake_REDUCED.pdf  which is a great dive if you want more information!

Clark Chemical Company


The Clark Chemical, which I previously commented on from the Ghosttown.com link actually seems to be farther north by a mile or so in the center of Bartlett Point, which this document from Cal Div of Mines says was abandoned after only having a test plant there.  It would be interesting to find the next page or two of the paper and see what is said about that company.  The Clark Chem Company was planned to make caustic soda (NaOH), a.k.a. 'lye', from soda ash from Owens Lake and lime. - 

SPINS Chart


The SPINS Chart I was sent this week shows a pair of single stub at Bartlett.

SPINS Chart, cropped to show only Bartlett, (east-north to the right) - David Coscia collection

At this point, I'm going to pull up the GoogleMaps/GoogleEarth images of Bartlett and see if I can gauge the width of the spur at Bartlett, to see if there's room for a second spur here.


I don't really see any extra width in the track next to the plant, than the main track arcing by next to the lake to the east.

Freight Traffic to Bartlett


SP 3237 Bartlett on the Jawbone branch - Leo Barusch photo - Inad Akeb Collection

While I don't have a lot of information on what types of cars were used at Bartlett, I can make some good guesses for the late 1940s and early 1950s.  The photo above with SP 3237 shows three standard 50-ton boxcars at Bartlett.  This would appear about right for the 1928 estimate of 12,000-tons per year of both trona and soda ash each would say about two 50-ton carloads per trip of the Owenyo Local of each, or in other words, four empty cars and four loads on average from the plant at Bartlett each trip.

The processing notes suggest CO2 was needed for the chemical processing of the trona and soda ash, plus various levels of heating, furnaces, etc.  There was probably some form of fuel imported to Bartlett to supply this.

Comparison to Trona/West End Fuel Needs


Fuel oil unloading at Trona. - Photographer Unknown - Jason Hill collection

The plants at Trona and West End were located about 30 miles off the Jawbone at Searles, and supplied by its own nightly 50 car train!  They used SP supplied fuel oil with about thirteen 12.5k gallon carloads per day on average, 162,500 gallons per day!  While I'm not 100% sure that Trona was receiving all their fuel oil in 12.5k gallon cars, it still suggests over 100,000 gallons per day if some were 10k or 8k gallon cars, which SP generally didn't have very many of in their fleet.  Assuming Bartlett was shipping about 26,000 tons of material out per year (520 car loads at 50-tons each).  That puts Bartlett at about 1/35th the production rates of Trona.

Kitbashed Athearn 12.5k gallon tank car to earlier class SP O-50-series with radial course tanks for fuel oil service.

Assuming similar fuel requirement rates.  That puts Bartlett's needs at about 4,600 gallons per day, or roughly two-and-a-half 12.5k gallon carloads of fuel oil per week  Combine this with Owenyo's fuel needs for the SPNG's engines and anything they needed for fueling the talc at Keeler and dolomite mining operations... there was probably at least one 12.5k gallon fuel-oil tank car going up the branch every trip (tri-weekly) during this era.

Another option which I suppose could have been a fuel source is the wasted wood, chips, and sawdust from Linnie's lumber operations, although I can't imagine that they would have been able to supply Bartlett's requirements of fuel in comparison to Trona's rate of consumption.

Special Car Types?


One of the SP's earlier covered hoppers class H-70-6 built by AC&F in 1949, model from Kato.

Given that I'm modeling the first few years of the new concept of car construction known as the "covered hopper", most such cars were still be purchased for specialized service with customers that had the volume of traffic to set up for the bulk-loading of such cars.  Smaller plants such as Bartlett, I highly doubt installed large over-track loading silos to load covered hoppers, when they're shipping maybe 600-tons of material (12 boxcar loads) per week.

Trona on the other had was one of the early customers on the SP that pushed for the new technology.  The SP converted a dozen open hoppers for assigned use at Trona, not even waiting for the post-war surge in freight car orders to die down before pushing the SP to provide the cars. - However, I'll talk about those cars another time.

General Boxcars Then?


So it appears that the loading at Bartlett will be done in standard 50-ton boxcars, and from the photo with SP 3237, that foreign cars were preferred by the SP clerks at Mojave!  The SP's home road cars are seen on the loading tracks at Owenyo, so probably are being sent to some on-line customer, where as the cars from Bartlett are going to be interchanged farther from home rails.

SP 3237 Bartlett on the Jawbone branch - Leo Barusch photo - Inad Akeb Collection

In the SP 3237 photo at Bartlett it appears to be a Seaboard (B-3/6 class) outside-braced boxcar immediately behind the tender.  I can't quite read the second car's reporting marks... possibly CV or CNW.  No herald is visible.  The third car is some form of all-steel car, possibly SP without a black background on the herald, although it could be another RR's car with similar lettering and herald placement.

Consist Photos


Looking at other photos of the SP's Owenyo Local in Tom Dill's San Joaquin Valley book, I see that two photos from Dallas Gilbertson show SP 3227 working the Owenyo Local back to Mojave on a frosty January morning in 1953.  

The train at Lone Pine, westward, it has the following on House Track:
1. ATSF all-steel boxcar
2. SP all-steel boxcar
3. SP all-steel boxcar
4. PRR all-steel boxcar
5. Unknown all-steel boxcar (open door)
Main track in Lone Pine being switched:
4-6 GS gondolas.
Siding:
SPMW water car and other cars seen in the train at Little Lake (below).

The X3227 West at Little Lake, has the following:
1. SPMW bunk car of some flavor at the head-end
2. SP steel boxcar
3. SP steel boxcar - probably
4. Possibly SP outside braced boxcar. Could also be some other RR shorter boxcar.
5. Probably SPMW water tank car.
6. SP all-steel boxcar
7. All-steel boxcar, painted darker boxcar red.
8-10. 3 SP gondolas, the third is interesting as it has a herald on the center panel, which means it's not one of the SP's regular GS steel gondolas. - Probably open loads from the SPNG transfer trestle at Owenyo.
11-13. 3 more steel boxcars.  The second two are SP all-steel cars.
14. Black tank car, possibly a leased fuel oil car for Bartlett or SP fuel car for Owenyo.
15. SP steel caboose, or wood bodied C-30-series with wide rebuilt cupola.

 Another Owenyo Local was captured on film by Andy Payne on Febuary 5, 1952 with the SP 3201 leading at Lone Pine.
1. SP composite gondola
2. WP or MP 40ft all-steel boxcar with its door open.
3. SP-style F-50-4/5/8/9/10/12 class flatcar with short height load. (probably, but could also be UP/T&NO/NWP, etc car)
4-5. Low sideboard gondola versions of SP flats or other low-side gondolas with materials. - Car #3-5 possibly a group of SPMW cars sending supplies and material to Owenyo and the NG?
6-10. Group of five GS-type gondolas, probably SP cars.  I'm guessing going to the NG transfer trestle at Owenyo for loading.
11+. Remainder of train is boxcars and a caboose.  Impossible to tell what else is in the train from the angle of the photo, probably another 4-5 boxcars.

Breakdown of Freight Car Consist


From these three trains we can get a rough idea what a 'typical' SP Owenyo Local would be hauling.  It seems that Mk-2/4 class engines can handle about 14-16 cars over most of the branch.  Usually there's 4-5 GS gondolas for loading with material from the SPNG transfer trestle at Owenyo.  There are also several "ore dumps" at other stations, such as Little Lake & Leliter, which probably received the occasional GS gondola to dump ore into by truck.  The black tank car probably, as I mentioned above, is probably the fuel oil car for either Owenyo or Bartlett's industrial needs.  The balance of the cars are standard boxcars, probably 75% of which are SP in our few samples.

One of the tank cars usually in the consist is a FCR painted SPMW car, usually reserved for water service for the engine.  Although recently I'm starting to wonder if it wasn't always the same water car in the train all the way, where they would drop the water car off and let it fill overnight.  Alternately, the water car movements could be to supply the outfits and company villages along the way when they needed more water.  More questions to answer.

In Closing


I hope you have enjoyed another deeper dive into the Owenyo Branch of the early 1950s and a closer look at Bartlett.

Jason Hill

Related Articles:


SP "Jawbone" Branch (Part 2) - Research & Changing Track Plan - Some tweaks to the plan and more research info from SP Trainline #135.

SP "Jawbone" Branch (Part 1) - Concept & Planning - A new crazy idea in my head...

West Bakersfield (Part 1) - Laying Out Industries - Working with SP ValMaps to size and place prototype industries west of Baker St. in Bakersfield.

Laying Out Tehachapi (Part 1) - Research & Layout - Working with SP ValMaps and aerial photos to scale and place prototype structures along the town of Tehachapi

Modeling SP Medium Steam Road-Switchers - Modeling options for SP Mk-series 2-8-2 and other medium size steam engines.

Freight Symbols Over Tehachapi - Index Page - Link page to my description pages on Freight Symbols.   

SPMW 7419 - CS-25A - A Canteen for a Desert Railroad - Painting up a WSM CS-25A for water service

A Trip Over Tehachapi on the SCX-BI - A rather 'normal' trip over the Tehachapi Pass during a 1950's TT/TO session.

Monday, November 9, 2020

Chief's Symbol Log - LMRC 1952 November

Recently I came across one of my notebooks from 2010 documenting the operations at LMRC.  This is after we started operating on a consecutive day basis in the 1952 calendar.  

All dates and data in this post are the period replication by LMRC, and NOT historical documentation of actual movements from history.

Basic Overview of a Line-Up


One "Ops Session" paperwork set for the 1950's TT/TO sessions, all by-hand switchlists. - But how to keep overall track of the operations?  The Line-up!

 I'll quickly go over the basics of what I'll be showing.  The format was written in a standard ledger-style notebook.  Symbols, road engine, cars, caboose, schedule (if used) are recorded.  In the first pages of the ledger I wrote the caboose pool as it stood for November 11, 1952.

SP F-units and AC-class ready to be called for trains 'up' the hill.

SP 3 and 4-unit sets are shown only by the lead engine number of the set in this document.  Most trains use full 4-unit sets on the head-end.  ATSF engines and waycars are preceded by "AT" initials.  Home road engines and cabooses (SP) do not require road initials per the Rulebook.

SP Cabooses: 2, 69 (Mt Local), 213, 11, 833, 684 (Sunset Local), 890, 881, 1021, 1054, 1098, 1099, 973 (Oil City Switcher), 998 (Overnight VMW/VME), 1213, 1277, 1293, 1302, 705, 1095, 3176 (Used on second Overnight Consist).  Note: at this time Mt Local was called out of Bakersfield, and would be replaced by the KI Local out of Mojave as the layout was completed.

ATSF Bakersfield's Waycar track showing cars laying over between runs. - Jan 7-8, 1953 LMRC session - Jason Hill photo

ATSF Waycars: 1333, 1364 (Arvin Rd Sw), 1421 (Arvin Turn), 1563-R, 1579, 1941, 1943, 1981, 1997, 2035, 2060, 2164, 2165, 2172.  Note: 1421 reassigned to 'Super Locals' 55/56 after this date, when ATSF Valley section was opened for service after 2012.  ATSF 1941 used as replacement Arvin Turn waycar.

November 11, 1952



EASTWARD 

Eng #                  Train  Symbol  Cars Cab Helper/Notes/Works

Freight

ATSF 276LABC 2/806 GWS-8 35c AT 1943
6248 3/806 SSE-10 53c 705 H4171, H2850 (helpers)
4193 1/804 BK-VXE-1/10 39c 881 H5300-5303 (helpers) "Shorts East"
AT 212LABC X (AT) BK-6-K 51c DH AT 2164 & AT 1981 (Deadheading second caboose)
6139 X OCM-6 30c 1098 (Note the last F3 model DF-1 class engines were regeared for operations on Tehachapi)
4287 X BK-VXE-2/11/VME-11 cutoff 45c 1095 H4185, H4217 (combined make-up VXE and Overnight)
AT 170LABC 2/804 (AT) BK-10-J 47c AT 2172 H AT 3833, H AT 3849 (two 3800-class helpers assigned)
6245 1/806 PSS-5 42c 213 H 2795
4248 X BK-VXE-1/11 48c 1021 "Shorts" (Must have had helpers assigned out of Bakersfield before departure - not recorded on this 'working' line-up that was 8-12 hours out.
AT 3243 X 1/Arvin Turn 14c AT 1563 (First Arvin Turn with a 2-8-2)
AT 2665-2678 X 2/Arvin Turn 28c AT 1563 (Second Arvin Turn with two GP7s)
5337 X MLE-11 ?c 69 (Mountain Local East out of Bakersfield - later to be replaced by KI Local - Cars vary per switchlists and instructions)
3661 X Mtn Goshen Hauler-10 (Valley Sub) 19c (no caboose listed)

         X PVL-10 (No other info, but indicates a Porterville Local planned)

Scheduled Psgr Trains

4194 No.60 West Coast 10c H 4341 (Bakersfield-Mojave)
6440 No.58 Owl 15c (4-unit dual-service set)
AT 66L-56LA (A-B-A set) 1/24 "Regular" Grand Canyon 14c H AT 3850 (3850 point helper to Summit)
AT 38LABC 2/24 Grapes 13c (no rider car listed, probably a HW chair car)
4443 No.52 SJ Daylight 11c H4438 (double-heading GS-4s Bakersfield-LA)
AT 304LAB (3-unit) No.4 "ATSF Psgr" 8c
6386 No.56 Mail 10c

WESTWARD


Eng #                  Train  Symbol  Cars Cab Helper/Notes/Works

Freight (all Extras, except No.447)

6138 NCP-8 50c 1277
6190 TMW-9 52 1293
AT 239LABC (AT)59-F (no other info, usually auto-parts train from Chicago/Argentine)
4248 No.447 VMW-10 11c 998 (Overnight)
AT 200LABC (AT) GCF-E 48c 1421 (interesting use of 1421 as a road caboose, also the F3 ABBA set, only two of which were owned by the ATSF, 200 & 201)
6241 BK-OK-R (-10 probably, no cars listed) 881 caboose - Mty Reefer drag, to fill out at east end (Mojave Yard) and be called west, probably 80-100+ cars with helper to Bakersfield)
6245 LA-XMUG-10 42c 213 - Mty lumber flats, gonds, & boxcars returning to Eugene and points north of Roseville)
6248 NCP-9 58c 705 - North Coast Perishable
AT 212LABC (AT) Drag-K 98c AT 2164 H AT 3820 - Mty Reefer drag, filled to tonnage with 3800-class helper westward Mojave-Bakersfield.  The model trains over 70-90 cars need a westward helper cut in near the rear to keep the train's own mass from derailing the head-end!

Scheduled Psgr Trains


4293 No.55 Mail 10c
4450 No.51 SJ Daylight 11c H4462 (4450 on point)
AT 16LABC No.23 Grand Canyon 14c
AT 3751 No.7 Mail 8c
6440 No.57 Owl 15c
4194 No.59 West Coast 11c

Other Westward



4233 X LEW 5265, AT 3911, AT 1683 ("Light Engine West" a.k.a. Returning helper to Bakersfield)
5303 X LEW 5300, 4193, AT 3849, AT 3833, 2795

2788 X Huron Hauler-11 H 2718 - helper required in the valley due to train size
5306 X PVL-11 23c 890 (Porterville Local)
6245 X LA-XMUG-10 42c 213
AT 276LABC SWG-10 32c AT 1943

This completes one day's "line-up" for planning purposes.  Let's see how the next day's looks.

November 12, 1952


SP's Altamont West heading into the Valley west of Bakersfield - 2017 Jason Hill photo

EASTWARD 

Eng #                  Train  Symbol  Cars Cab Helper/Notes/Works

Freight

AT 217LABC (AT) CWE-L 24c AT 1421 (Calwa East - junk train)
352-8086 SSE-11 50c 1277 (dual service T&NO F-unit leading with one boiler equipped B-unit)
AT 2794-731-2652 (AT) WGFX- 42c AT 2165 (section & day not show, which will be filled in later)
AT 2665-2678 (AT) WGFX- 17c AT 2035 (section & day not show, see above)
3670 AE-11 37c 1293 H 2355 (heavy Altamont East with auto-parts cars, doubleheading with 4-6-0 on the point)
5306 PVL-11 23c 890 (Porterville Local)

AT 276LABC (AT) SWG-10 24c AT 1943
6139 OCM-6 30c 1095
4287 VXE-2/10/VME-11 45c 998, H4185, H4217 (combined cutoff train with Overnight again)

Also listed for future use (farther out time-wise)
SSE-12
BFX-12 705 (caboose)
1/BK-10-L cutoff/BTX-L 51c AT 2164 (already planning next large cutoff train on the ATSF later in the day after 5.00PM)
SCX-J/N-34-L 52c AT 1421 - 1 S/O Caliente (N-34 is the eastward 'junk train' which is assigned local pickup and setout work.)

This day I didn't bother to record the passenger operations, as another Ops member was handling that.

WESTWARD


Eng #                  Train  Symbol  Cars Cab Helper/Notes/Works

Freight

6245 LA-XMUG-11 42c 213
6139 LA-XMUG-12 (NCP-10) 30c 1095 (in the future we'd have combined these trains if possible timewise)
AT 170LABC 1/447 (AT) 59-G 20c AT 2172 (No.447 running late or missed connection, so DS/Chief wrote orders for ATSF Auto-parts Symbol 59-G to run on No.447's schedule slot as a first section instead of a 'run late' order to all inferior trains.)
4171 2/447 VMW-11 24c 998 H 4341 (Overnight combined consist with 24 cars running as Second 447)
AT 212LABC (AT) Drag-L 95c AT 2164 H AT 3820 - Mty Reefer Drag w/westward helper because of length.
6248 NCP-9 58c 705
6150 TMW-11 49c 1099 (Tehachapi Manifest West)
2788 Huron Hauler-11 15c 1054 H 2718 (same small pool of 'little' Valley engines working the locals

(Valley?)


5235 Oil City Sw-12 15c 23486 (boxcar "caboose")
         NCP-11 (no other info)
3670 AW-12 26c 1302 - Altamont West with auto-parts traffic, 3670 again working the line to Tracy and Oakland.
6150 TMW-11 49c 1099 (looks like this was during the time when we're experimenting with running the road engines through Bakersfield before the ATSF yard was built in an effort to reduce the overloading of the SP facilities at Bakersfield trying to run both RR's full operations.)
AT 200LABC (AT) 59-H 48c AT 2165 at Caliente (Note the 'at Caliente' indicates where this train 'tied up' at the end of the last session.  The train is restaged at Caliente to 'start' the next operating session.

In Closing



Lineup for 1988 Tehachapi Pass.

These 'Line-Up' are written as a 'working document', starting 24-36 hours ahead of the time the trains will be moving over the division.  Each train symbol line will start as a rough guess as information is fed in from the adjoing divisions, roundhouse foreman with engine availability, traffic department with estimates of car movement needs, etc.  The book that I pulled this info from was basically my note book to gather the physical information about the trains, engines, cars, cabooses, etc.  The actual published (computer printed) line-up would be typed up from these notes, once call times and slotting in all the freights was finished.  This 'finished' line-up would then be handed out to the various yardmasters around the RR to help them work the trains, with continued evolution of the trains as information became available.  These later steps is what has evolved in the last 10 years, as we've moved away from a 'set' lineup with all the information printed, to an almost organically 'living' lineup where we work on the fly and pass the information with almost no pre-printed material of the actual "day"'s operations.  Of course we have completed 'Train sheets' and 'Chief's sheets' which we work from and document in one place (or two technically) what we've done and are doing.

Chief Dispatcher's Record of Trains and Crews Jan 7/8, 1953 LMRC session sheet showing trains run Eastward.

Chief Dispatcher's Record of Trains and Crews Jan 7/8, 1953 LMRC session sheet showing trains run Westward. - Jason Hill collection photograph of documents.

I have more 'days' of this info if anyone is interested in how we're setting up the logistics behind the sessions.  It is interesting to look back 10 years after we did these sessions at the basic information we're working from, and how that has evolved over time.  I've made some notes above as I see specifics about how things have changed.

Jason Hill

Related Articles:

Freight Symbols Over Tehachapi (Index Page)

Saturday, November 7, 2020

SP Jawbone Branch (Part 2) - Research & Changing Track Plan

This week I've been working on some changes to the design.  Remember that this track plan has the operators standing inside the space looking out to the "East" generally geographically.  Railroad East (Geo-North) is to the left and railroad west is (Geo-South) to the right.  This gets messy as some of the siding sides are really geographically east and west of the main line, but in railroad terms are north or south of the east-west main track.  So hopefully the direction conventions in this post don't get too confusing!

Under steam, SPNG 18 meets SPNG 9 at Laws, Sept 23, 2017 - Jason Hill photo.

Scott Inman reminded me that Trainline No.135 (Spring 2018) from the SPH&TS has a beautiful photo gallery of Owenyo from the lens of Robert M. Hanft and several others, courtesy of the Western Railway Museum.  John Signor adds his great plan drawing of Owenyo and a short history of why the SP Narrow Gauge and Owenyo should be coming up again with the renewed interest (as of 2018) in the operations at Laws. Many of the photos have never been published before!

Front cover of SPH&TS Trainline No.135, Spring 2018.


Those of you that have subscribed to the quarterly issues of Trainline with your SPH&TS membership, can go pull out your copy and follow along!

Original Nov.3, 2020 Plan

Track plan as of Nov 3, 2020

The changes of just four days of design considerations are shown between the two drawings (above and below).

I should note that I'm using my professional copy of SolidWorks to draft and render the CAD trackplan and other features of the space I'm considering. The walls have been eliminated to allow easier viewing of the space.

First Revision Nov.7, 2020 Plan


Among the first changes is dropping the idea of a 'continuous running loop' with a grade climbing back up the front of Owenyo to meet at the West Door. Also dropped is the idea of connecting into the middle of the wye with the continuous track, as that will really destroy the look of the wye area, town, etc, and add a diamond to the middle of the area. Adding a diamond doesn't really scare me building it trackwise, but I don't want to change the 'signature' scene in the town that much.

So the main line will drop and duck under at Owenyo. I have also pulled the staging mainline in slightly at the SE corner of the room to clear a bookcase that will have to move onto the desk in the SE corner. This should only be a change of a couple inches, and will result in a bit of a tangent that should help in adding a couple of switches to the room's east end of the staging yard.


Track plan with changes as of Nov 7, 2020 (connection across the door at the right side not shown)


The Trainline 135 article also has a lovely drawing of Owenyo by John Signor to accompany the photos which shows several other details of the company buildings, an over-head crane (which probably used ground rails and was a simple overhead bridge based on the photo in the article), and the livestock transfer platform.

The major compression in this version as of Nov 7, 2020 has much of the central trans-loading platform compressed out of existence, leaving only 120ft of platform.  The loading ramp has been moved to be at an angle and off a wye-switch at the east end of the north track.

Owenyo


The general plan, as shown in Part 1, calls for Owenyo to be built over a Mojave Stating Yard, which will be about 5.5" lower.  This may cause some clearance issues, and I may have to push the grade up towards 1.75% or even 2% if needed.  I believe I can fit about four tracks under Owenyo comfortably and plan to have most of the switches along the close side of the staging area.  A single crossover at the stub end should allow run-arounds and a short stub for extra cars or engines I wish to keep on the layout, but not assigned to another track or train consist.

It is possible that I may depth compress the structures slightly and even pull the whole arrangement of Owenyo off the wall slightly to make room for 'scenery flats' along the wall with NG boxcars and the faces of some buildings and trees to overlay the basic background of the scene.


Owenyo with roughed in buildings, transfer pit/ramp (far left) and the trough for the Dump Trestle (right).

Owenyo had some company dwellings inside the wye. I have used GoogleEarth's measure tool to measure the length of the disrupted dirt at the end of the west leg of the wye (~300ft). The radius of the wye show at about 570ft, which puts it at about three times larger than my plan for 24" radius. The result is I'll probably only have room for 3-4 dwellings, not the prototype five structures.


East end of Owenyo with some rough structures blocked in.  Mojave Staging in gray below Owenyo.


The water tank was an elevated design, so easy to raise it.  I don't see a raised oil tank above the trees, so I have sketched in as a low tank.  The buildings along the space between the SG and NG might be adjusted to try to get more transfer docks and shift the crane to the east.

I measured the length of what my Mk-6 (SP 3266) with 120-C-6 tender is, and it works out to about 12.5".  The regular engine I plan to use is my Mk-2/4 (SP 3203) which is about the same length.  The two stub tails of the wye therefore need to be about 14" from the headblocks to the end-of-track.  I could probably save an inch, but I would prefer to have a bit of extra space for the engine to drift to a stop, etc and not risk hitting anything.

Several people have commented that I should have the tail of the wye able to fold.  As the layout will be at about chin level, I agree that it would be much preferred to be able to lift it, or drop it, out of the way.  At this point, I'm just mentally keeping that in mind, but not spending extra time at this point chopping up the CAD renders, as I'm focusing on the other design considerations first.

Bartlett MP 509.02


Bartlett in the NW corner of my space.  Drawing Nov 7, 2020.


Looking more closely at Bartlett on GoogleMaps and GoogleEarth there was a light duty road which crossed the spur and the main between the switch and the buildings heading down to the lake.  This road will be about where the line crosses the track in the middle of the curve.  The backdrop here will be of the Owens Lake, which today is broken up into various salt mining basins.

Bartlett looking east with a yellow line 100ft long sketched on in GoogleEarth.

Currently I have a shelving unit which would wrap over and around the switch at Bartlett. I probably will have to find a new home for that structure as it will interfere with any scenery that I want to put in at Bartlett.

At one point around 1980, the parent company owning Trona and West End were considering acquiring the rights and the facilities around Bartlett and Owens Lake to mine minerals there.  This was not done and the railroad was abandoned from Lone Pine back to the US Hwy 395 crossing north of Searles.  

From the Ghosttowns.com website, it seems that the station at Bartlett was named for Frank Bartlett, Chief Financial Officer of Clark Chemical, which was the company that I presume was operating the facility at the location.  I do not know the corporate history of the companies that ran the operation at Bartlett after it was started and named.

Little Lake


Looking for more information on Little Lake in the last few days resulted in a quick internet search brought me to Ghosttowns.com's page on Little Lake, which is a great little page and gives some good information.

Roughly my planned view will be about the same as the first photo on the Ghosttown's page "Overview of Little Lake from the west. Largest building is the old Little Lake Hotel. October 15, 1998.Courtesy David A. Wright", which nicely shows the area.  I plan to run the wayback machine about 50 years back however, to bring the town back to life!

Little Lake, snuggled into the knook between the bookcases and over a desk.  Drawing Nov 7, 2020.

The view of Little Lake will be from the mountain behind the track, looking down at the road, hotel, company village and the southern end of the "lake", although most of the lake will be off to the left when viewing this scene, the ridge south of the lake on the east side of the track will probably make up most of the backdrop scene.  Unfortunately, the wye at Owenyo forces the model to be looking "down slope" at two of the other three stations.  Linnie is more or less "flat", but it too is down slope to the east into the usually dry drainage from Haiwee Pass, north of Little Lake.

Hopefully some further investigation will show more about what the railroad 'village' at Little Lake consisted of.  Probably over to the right side there will be a spur with an 'ore dump' near the wall.  I expect there was also a small spur somewhere closer to the middle of the scene in which a water car was being stored in the 1958-1962-ish Alden Armstrong photo... but more research is needed, as the photo doesn't really show the track plan well in the area.

Linnie MP 461.5


 
Linnie, November 7, 2020 CAD drawing.

In the 1970s, the site at Linnie was a Georgia Pacific Lumber Mill, with several acres of cut logs with misters keeping them from drying out too much.  Thanks to Jim Sommerskier for that memory he recalled of the area.  He mentioned the logs were stored with the bark still on the trunks, explaining how the large piles of bark came to still cover the area in 2002 when I was there.

I have rearranged the spur to be branching off from the south (RR West) end of the station, but looking at the aerial photos on GoogleMaps, it appears that this is wrong, and the spur was from the north end.  Being thoroughly confused now, I will await further research before continuing to take time changing this.

In either case: logs, sawmill, spur, boxcars, flatcars, gondolas, bark on the ground... call it Linnie!


In Closing

I still need to contact CSRM and see if I can purchase the SP ValMaps for the four towns of Owenyo, Bartlett, Little Lake, and Linnie. 

This project is so far been interesting as I start to pull my various notes and research materials together.  I know I have several other bits which I will need to dig out from 15-20 years ago to nail down certain other aspects.  I am very grateful to several friends and new faces that have made themselves known after my first post on this topic.  I look forward to new exportation of this concept, and someday soon constructing it.


Jason Hill

Related Articles:



SP "Jawbone" Branch (Part 1) - Concept & Planning - A new crazy idea in my head...

West Bakersfield (Part 1) - Laying Out Industries - Working with SP ValMaps to size and place prototype industries west of Baker St. in Bakersfield.

Laying Out Tehachapi (Part 1) - Research & Layout - Working with SP ValMaps and aerial photos to scale and place prototype structures along the town of Tehachapi

Modeling SP Medium Steam Road-Switchers - Modeling options for SP Mk-series 2-8-2 and other medium size steam engines.

Freight Symbols Over Tehachapi - Index Page - Link page to my description pages on Freight Symbols.

SPMW 7419 - CS-25A - A Canteen for a Desert Railroad - Painting up a WSM CS-25A for water service

A Trip Over Tehachapi on the SCX-BI - A rather 'normal' trip over the Tehachapi Pass during a 1950's TT/TO session.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

SP Jawbone Branch (Part 1) - Concept & Planning

 So for many years I've been interested and researching the Southern Pacific's "Jawbone" Branch and the Trona Railway which branch off to the northeast from Mojave 143 miles to Owenyo, interchanging with the SP's Carson & Colorado Narrow Gauge operations.  The SP Narrow Gauge was cut off from the standard gauge connection at the north end, originally with the V&T via Moundhouse, Carson City, and Sparks, and eventually moving to the Hazen, and through a number of re-gauging steps Mina becoming the northern end of the narrow gauge.

SP 3237 leads 3266 with a fan trip to Searles Station and the Trona Rwy. 5-30-1952 - Carl Blaubach photo - Brian Black Collection


The new California Aqueduct system was planned and built in the 1908-1918 time frame to move water from the Mono Lake basin to Los Angeles 300 miles to the south.  This construction spurred the SP into building a new branch to connect the Portland Cement Company's new plant at Monolith (on the Tehachapi Sub-Division) to the planned aqueduct route across the Mojave Desert, through Red Rock Canyon (now a park!) and up what would generally become the route of US Hwy 395 to the Owens Valley and connect with the narrow gauge Carson & Colorado.

Let's quickly follow the "Jawbone" Branch from Mojave railroad eastward and point out some stations of interest.  I'll be skipping a couple of interesting stations that I really can't model, and including a couple in this list that I will not be able to include.

Cantil - MP 402.5


Cantil looking eastward towards Searles. Jason Hill photo, March 2002.

Cantil looking westward towards Mojave. Note sand over the ballast and the second cut of covered hoppers. Jason Hill photo, March 2002.


The first water stop out of Mojave was Cantil.  In these photos taken in March 2002 we can see some of the same potash/soda ash cars used at Trona being loaded by a very simple conveyor lift.  Cantil was also past a small shoulder of the mountain range from Mojave, which made it a low spot before the track climbs back up to Searles and Tunnel 29.

Searles MP 428.4 & Trona


Trona interchanges at the station of Searles and is one of the main traffic generators for the branch with large amounts of potash and soda ash being shipped out by rail since 1916! 

Inyokern MP 447.2 & China Lake


The US Navy's Weapon Test Center at China Lake (Inyokern) is another, receiving all sorts of equipment and rockets, etc to test, even back into the early 1950s for the earliest of air-to-air guided missiles.  The track to China Lake branched off and entered the US Navy base, which was run by the 
in-base switcher.  The SP left the cars on an interchange track and picked up any outbound cars.

Atlas's 11k gallon USAX 8056 - Anhydrous Ammonia - Atlas 11k 105A300W-A tank car

One starts to wonder how they transported the chemicals to China Lake to the various rocket experimenting... Maybe the US Navy had some similar cars to this US Army tank car for handling Anhydrous Ammonia, which is a major component in making rocket fuel!

Inyokern was also the farthest north (RR East) that "big" SP engines could go, including AC's and GS class.  Beyond Inyokern the heaviest engines allowed were selected Mk-2/4 class 2-8-2s and for some odd reason the SP 3266, an Mk-5/6 class "big Mike" was also rated in some time tables.  T-class (4-6-0) and C-class (2-8-0) were also used for extra trains such as livestock movements and passenger excursions past Inyokern.

Linnie MP 461.5


The old SP right-of-way at Linnie looking North towards Little Lake in the pass at the left.  Jason Hill photo March 2002.

Farther north (RR East) on the branch the branch reaches Linnie, a station where logs were hauled down from the Kennedy Meadows area and shipped out by rail as logs or lumber in boxcars, flats, and gondolas.  The area was still covered in bark chips in 2002 when I went up there following the right-of-way!

Little Lake


Not much left at Little Lake in 2020.  Too bad, it had a lot of charm back in the day... One of the main reasons I would like to push it up the list onto my top four stations to model on the Jawbone Branch.

Little Lake looking South - Jason Hill 2020

Little Lake looking west - Jason Hill 2020

Little Lake looking Southeast - Jason Hill 2020

Little Lake looking East - Jason Hill 2020

Little Lake certainly has some rugged beauty about it.  One of the few places on the branch fresh water is track side.   Looking at one of Alden Armstrong's photos from around 1958-1960, with a light gray painted water car in it, there was a ore dump ramp, a small water tank, an NG boxcar body, a speeder shed, and a few other company buildings there in addition to the gas station and lodge for the adventuring travelers on US Hwy 395 in the 1950s.  This makes a nice small scene to model.  The exposed lava near the right of way also makes for more interesting views in the area and the shear lava cliff on the east side of Little Lake is always a cool backdrop.

Haiwee Summit (& Reservoir)


One of the main water transferring lakes with dams at the north and south ends to supply water for the California Aqueduct to Los Angeles.  The SP climbs way up about 1-2 miles from the lake, along the higher slopes of the valley reaching one of the highest points on the Jawbone branch.  While this would be a neat place to model if given the space for the vast cut-and-fill form of the track, it will take too much space.

Cartego


Nestled up against the Eastern Sierra foothills against Owens Lake, Cartego is a rather interesting place.  Still home to a water bottling plant for Crystal Geyser Alpine Spring Water the original industries were based on mining and salt-cake mining off the Owens Lake.

While a neat place in reality, I don't really have room for it.

Bartlett MP 509.02


SP 3237, an ex-AE 2-8-2 works the spur looking south at Bartlett. - Leo Barusch photo, Inad Akeb collection

When Eddie Sims showed me this photo it launched a "where's this" search.  I knew this had to be on the Jawbone Branch from seeing the Eastern Sierras for the last 30 years driving US Hwy 395.  A quick search with the road view on Google Maps lead me to rule out the first 5-6 areas I was thinking.  Combined with the switch under the engine, the search is narrowed to only a few towns which could have had a spur at the south end and this view of the Sierras.

Found it! - GoogleEarth

That's the Bartlett plant and road just at the right edge of this 3d view in GoogleEarth.  The background of the original photo is the left half of this view, with the right peak cut off, out of frame above.  This view was rather tricky to get as the camera really doesn't like being down on the ground.  Google Street View also doesn't have any vantage points on the old road out to the Bartlett complex... so that's not really an option.

Google Maps satellite view of Bartlett looking south - 2019 screen capture.

This is rather an un-natural view for me to see Bartlett from in aerial perspective... I flipped the N-S of the map to look as the photographer was.  Looking closely, one can see the switch to the Bartlett plant and sort out almost exactly which bush the photographer was standing at to get the shot with the 3237!

Lone Pine MP 518.8


Much of Lone Pine's fame on the SP comes from when the Owenyo Branch was cut back 13 miles and ended at Lone Pine for many years. thus the name of the branch changed in the Employe Timetables (ETT) to reflect the new end point.  The original station location was several miles east of the town of Lone Pine on Hwy 395.  While it might be neat to model, I feel that Owenyo will have more operational interest, so I'm voting Lone Pine off my model.

Owenyo


Finally, at the end of the branch, and the main focus of my concept layout, Owenyo.  It was literally in the middle of nowhere on the northeastern side of Owens Lake.  The SPNG extended a branch along the east shore of the lake to the Talc plant at Keeler.  The old stations of Cerro Gordo (famous for the silver mine) and Tramway were located along this section.  In the days before the California Aqueduct pulled off most of the water out of the watershed, Owens Lake had notable agriculture, even shipping the produce that wasn't consumed locally out by rail.  A steam-powered ferry which carried passengers and freight even across the lake on a daily schedule until there wasn't enough water left to float it!

SP 3203 switching in Owenyo. - Eddie Sims collection

The photographer in the above photo is standing in the Narrow Gauge track east of the Standard Gauge.  The depression in the standard gauge can be seen and the elevated NG ramp up (at right) to load the NG engines onto SG cars for transportation to the SP Company Shops at Bakersfield for shopping.

In front of the 3203 the switch stands can be seen for the wye and sidings.  The engineer is looking back as he shoves on a composite gondola.  Is it possible there was a farmer in the Owens Valley still trying to ship out produce in gondolas, or was this gondola being loaded with bulk ore from the NG dump trestle at the other end of town, or talc from the over-head conveyor at the transfer docks?

Rough Track Plan


Rough Concept for HO-scale "Jawbone" Branch - (click on the drawing to see full size)

This plan shows my work spaces and book cases in my shop.  I'm considering building a layout near eye-level above the work space and lathe.  The general concept is around-the-walls with an average grade of 1% to 1.5%, this should allow 3.7" to 5.5" height change from the west switch of Owenyo to the point where it will cross back under the wye at the SE corner of the plan.

Track Standards


The main line will use 48" Radius curves with 3/8" spiral easements.  This will match the LMRC's curve standards for equipment testing before I take anything down to San Diego.  I'm considering putting a connection track climbing back up to the upper level at the West Door to allow continuous running options.

Non-mainline spurs will use down to 24" Radius for operations with the Mk-class steam engines being the largest engines for 'regular operations' beyond 'circle running'.  I know the Mk-5/6 from Balboa really do not like 18" R curves, so something more around 24" should be happy for the wye and spurs.

Switches


Cast frogs and points from Terry Weggman (RIP), I believe DTW now has a line of these parts in their parts line.

I would like to build my own switches based on the LMRC's standard No.7 hand-layed switches.  These are for sale in the last few years from Details West with cast points and frogs.  The guard rails and point bars are fabricated to suit the standard switch.  This allows flexiblities in curved turnouts and smooth flow through the routes which is not available from commercial switches and even 'jig' switches such as Fast Tracks.  I have built a number of turnouts at LMRC over the last 15 odd years, so look forward to building some at home!  I'll probably go with ground-throw type controls for the switches as the 'game' with this layout will be switching the towns along the line.

To Mojave Yard or Not To?


No... I'm not going to build another version of this massive 450-car yard to serve my little branch line layout.  When I want to knock myself out with a 'proper' Mojave Yard, I'll go to the LMRC's beautiful rendition of the historical yard, only sans a couple of short classification tracks, the full engine house and the wye, which would be in the operators' aisle.

LMRC's massive Mojave Yard - No way I could or should do an actual working 'yard' at Mojave for my layout in the shop.

On my concept. if the track running under Owenyo works, I could add a couple of stub staging tracks along the South Wall to act as my 'Mojave' staging.  I'll probably put a crossover 'escape' path so I could rearrange and turn a freight train around without 'finger fiddling' with any equipment.  This staging would be great to store an 'excursion train' and maybe a second set of freight cars to swap cars and continue operating with the next day's Owenyo Turn.  Alternately, I could set up a 'Livestock Special' on one of those tracks too!

Modeling Options for the "Jawbone"


SP 3203 - Mk-4 for the "Owenyo Turn"


Another view of 3203 at Owenyo. - Eddie Sims collection

The SP's ETT's Special Instructions (SI) show usually four Mk-2/4 class engines were assigned to Mojave to work the various locals (KI - Tehachapi, "Blitz" - Palmdale, and Jawbone - Owenyo, plus a 'protection' engine in case there were any unexpected failures in one of the 'regular' three engines.

Right side of SP 3203, a Sunset Models Mk-4.

Left side of SP 3203, a Sunset Models Mk-4.

I still need to scratch build the 120-SC-style tender for this model as those tenders are VERY hard to come by.  The 3203 otherwise is a very nice proportioned engine to my eye, beefy but also small enough to get into just about anywhere the SP needed it to.  Basically these were the GP7/9s of the 1920s and were kept in larger numbers than their newer 'Passenger Mike' sisters which were reduced to a mere handful by 1951.   Where as the Mk-2/4s lasted for several more years, into at least 1954 and several finishing up on the Western Division around San Jose and Pleasanton in local road switcher work in 1956! 

SP 3266 - Mk-6 from Balboa


SP 3237 leads 3266 with a fan trip to Searles Station and the Trona Rwy. 5-30-1952 - Carl Blaubach photo - Brian Black Collection

If I continue with this project, I'll probably build a second SP 3266 for my own use on the Jawbone Branch layout.  I'm already finishing one for a customer for use at LMRC.  As I commented above, the 3266 was the only Mk-5/6 rated for operations all the way to Owenyo on the Jawbone Branch.  I am still not sure why this is the case, as the Mk-5/6s are substantially larger with 63" drivers and heavier than the smaller Mk-2/4 class engines with 57" drivers.

Painted & weathered Balboa model of SP 3266 with Ath-Gen tender - Left Side

Painted & weathered Balboa model of SP 3266 with Ath-Gen tender - Right Side


The Balboa Mk-6 I am starting with has worn out driver plating, but I bought it for a good price.  I plan to pair it with a Athearn-Genesis 120-C-6 tender, which has all-wheel pickup, so the dirt issues shouldn't be too bad for this model's operation.

Operations & Cars on the Jawbone Branch


The days' operation will primarily consist of the "Owenyo Turn" coming out of Mojave around 6-7 PM Monday-Wednesday-Friday and spending the night working up to Owenyo 14-16 hours later.  "Lunch" was taken at the Section House at Brown, about halfway between Inyokern and Linnie.  The switching work would be done in route and some cars probably dropped at convenient places to work them on the way back.  This would include SP Company Service cars, such as the common water cars along this desert branchline.

The Owenyo Turn usually is shown in most photos with 11-18 cars in tow.  If I can keep the grade down to 1% to 1.5% the Mk-2/4 should be able to handle 12 cars comfortably.  If I get more than that, I'll probably need a 2-8-0 point helper to "help get me over Haiwee Summit."

The Owenyo Turn would be finishing its run into Owenyo hopefully before the mid-day heat set in.  Once the train arrived, some cars would be worked if there was time, before going off duty at 15:59.  This would allow the crews to get 8 hours sleep and be ready to take the train out again that evening.

SP 84268, a Red Caboose B-50-20 with 'Return to Agent Bakersfield, Calif when empty" stencil.

SP 151344, a Red Caboose steel G-50-22 class gondola, common for ore loadings on the Owenyo Branch.

Industries at Owenyo would be primarily served with various types of SP 40ft boxcars, steel 40ft GS gondolas, and the assortment of SP company Bunker-C fuel oil tank car and water cars.  Foreign cars would be bringing in new machinery and supplies to keep the small isolated mining towns alive.  The occasional PFE reefer would show up with fresh food and other "refreshments".

SP 58215 - a kitbashed Athearn 12.5k gallon tank car.

I believe the Bartlett plant must have been oil fired, so there were probably a couple tank cars a week to supply that operation. 

Linnie - Lumber Operations of the 1949-53 era


SP 79934, one of the 130 F-70-3 class 60ft flatcars built in 1942. - Kitbash from F-70-6/7 Red Caboose kit
SP 43745, one of the SP's very common (2600 car strong) F-50-series cars.  These were being retired in larger and larger numbers after 1949 to 1956. OwlMtModels F-50-8 model shown.

SP 140635, one of 2050 new 1949 built F-70-7 class cars were part of the reason for the retirement of F-50-series cars. - Red Caboose/Espee Models F-70-7 shown.

The logging & lumber operation at Linnie would also provide a job for gondolas, flatcars, and boxcars.  Later era photos from the 1970s show bulkhead flatcars loaded with banded lumber.  I'll have to do some more digging if the saw mill was at Linnie or if it was farther up nearer Kennedy Meadows, and only the finished lumber was brought down to load in rail cars.  Given the large amount of bark at the Linnie site, I think there was more at Linnie than just truck to rail loading going on.

Once the crew came back on duty they would head back to Mojave Tuesday-Thrusday-Saturday nights, arriving the next day.  This cycle continued six-days a week with Sundays off.

NYC 111869, a BLI USRA-Rebuilt boxcar weathered for service in the 1950s.

Foreign boxcars obviously would be 40-60% of the boxcar traffic on the branch as smaller machinery and other supplies are brought in.  The occasional gondola or flatcar of larger machinery and equipment is shipped in.  

SPMW 2676, B-50-12 class Supply Car - the only such class car still in MW service by Jan 1956.

There would also be a fair number of SPMW supply cars sent up the branch to keep the various section gangs supplied and also the whole SPNG at Owenyo.  

Shopping Movements for SPNG Engines


SPNG 18 rides SP 79951 (F-70-3) back at Owengo after shopping at Bakersfield. - Eddie Sims collection

Lastly there will be the occasional F-70-3 special ordered by the SP Agent at Owenyo to move a SPNG 4-6-0 to the Shops at Bakersfield for shopping... and then the return trip of the SPNG engine back to Owenyo once the shopping was finished.

Also of note in the background of the above photo of SPNG 18 on the flatcar is a UP GS-gondola.  Red Caboose has produced this GS gondola and paint scheme.



Live Stock Extras


SP 2850 leads a stock extra.  SP/T&NO S-40-series Red Caboose stock cars in tow.

The SP also handled large movements of livestock between summer and winter pastures over the Owenyo Branch.  According to John Signor's book 'Tehachapi' these movements often were worked with C-class 2-8-0s and when needed would get a second 2-8-0 helper to get the heavier trains up to Haiwee pass.

Cabooses - Wood or All-Steel?


SP 213 brings up the rear of a freight at Magunden with a PRR gondola loaded with a large tank.

The SP used standard cabooses, I'm not sure exactly if the older C-30-1/2/3 class wood-sided, steel underframe cabooses were used on the Owenyo Branch or if they received any of the newer all-steel C-40-1 series cars by the 1950-53 era.  I wouldn't be surprised if the C-30-1/2/3 classes hung on in the local assignments.  The heat extremes were probably more bearable in a wooden caboose with more insulative qualities.

In Closing


This post might seem a bit scatter-brained but I'm just starting to put the general concept together for what the space could handle comfortably.  I'm going to reverse the spur at Linnie to be facing away from Mojave, per the prototype, but still on the "East" side of the track, which is opposite the prototype so that it can stub into the backdrop and not take so much space out of the aisle space over the lathe.

Also since I drafted up this rough outline, I have found that there was much more at Little Lake than is shown in this drawing.  Future plan revisions will expand on the company village and the lodge at Little Lake.  Hopefully, I can see if CSRM has the Val Maps available for these four towns.  If I can, it will allow me to do more accurate scale-compression of what was there.

Rough Concept for HO-scale "Jawbone" Branch - (click on the drawing to see full size)

I like layouts that are not over packed with track along the mainline keeping the 'open' space feel, which I really appreciate about the LMRC's Tehachapi Pass exhibit.  In a funny way, this will probably continue the operational aspects 143 miles from Mojave which I'm familiar with at LMRC.

Jason Hill

Related Articles:


SP "Jawbone" Branch (Part 2) - Research & Changing Track Plan - Some tweaks to the plan and more research info from SP Trainline #135.

SP "Jawbone" Branch (Part 3) - Consists & More Bartlett Research - I look closer at several prototype photos of the Owenyo Local and some deeper diving into the Alkali Salt Mining at Bartlett on the Owens Lake.

West Bakersfield (Part 1) - Laying Out Industries - Working with SP ValMaps to size and place prototype industries west of Baker St. in Bakersfield.

Laying Out Tehachapi (Part 1) - Research & Layout - Working with SP ValMaps and aerial photos to scale and place prototype structures along the town of Tehachapi

Modeling SP Medium Steam Road-Switchers - Modeling options for SP Mk-series 2-8-2 and other medium size steam engines.

Freight Symbols Over Tehachapi - Index Page - Link page to my description pages on Freight Symbols.

SPMW 7419 - CS-25A - A Canteen for a Desert Railroad - Painting up a WSM CS-25A for water service

A Trip Over Tehachapi on the SCX-BI - A rather 'normal' trip over the Tehachapi Pass during a 1950's TT/TO session.