Friday, January 19, 2018

SP 2701 (Part 3), Lighting a 60-CC-1 by Model Power

In of Modeling SP 2701 (Part 2) I covered most of the interior work.  In Part 3, I'm covering the installation of the lighting and OwlMtModels #10002 marker light and some basic underbody detailing with the major view-blocking parts.

Marker installed on SP 2701 as it rolls through the San Joaquin Valley on the rear of No.56, the Tehachapi Mail.

Interior Lighting


Here we see the SP 2701 with the roof removed and the LED strip lighting and support bar installed.

The LED lighting strip is sold by various companies as kitchen cabinet bottom lighting.  It is designed to project working levels of light up to 18" down to the counter work surfaces at 12V DC.  Inside a model passenger car I only need a fraction of that much power.  Running on DCC 14-16V AC the LEDs get hot, however with 10K Ohm to 30K Ohm dropping resistors (depending on the lighting installation and how much light is desired) the LED run cool and still put out enough light.

Various parts of the lighting system

The LED strip comes in a roll 16ft long and can be cut in increments of 3".  Wiring is easily done with small round solder-able contacts at each end of the 3" sections.  Pre-tin these contacts then solder in pre-tinned wires to the truck pickups and dropping resistors.

I glue the LED strip on top of a piece of 0.100" x 0.250" Evergreen plastic strip, which supports the lighting strip, which is rather floppy.  I use an ACC-type glue, as I don't trust the glue that comes on the back of the LED strip to hold over long periods of time.

The roof is fitted with some 0.010" or 0.005" styrene sheet as a reflector for the LED lights.

On the SP 2701 I elected to use the "bounce" method of lighting where I install a light colored plastic sheet reflector inside the roof.  The lighting is installed on the top of the support bar and shines upwards into the reflector, bouncing the light at a lower intensity back down evenly onto the interior of the car.

It is important to be sure the roof is of dark material (black plastic works!) or is painted with a couple of good coats of black paint to prevent the light getting through the roof of the car.

On some cars, especially brass cars with one-piece roof and sides, it is much easier to use the "Direct Lighting" method by installing the LED light strip and support bar to the inside of the brass roof with RTV (automotive) Silicon glue-caulking and use higher levels of dropping resistors. - I will be covering this method in the building blogs on the SP 1005 and other brass cars.

Adjusting the Interior Lighting


I usually set up the lighting in the car to be barely noticeable when the room lighting is at full intensity.  As the room lighting is lowered, the lighting in the car should start to become visible.  These photos are of a customer's model, SP 2938 Lounge, which I installed the direct lighting method on.  These methods of adjusting the lighting with dropping resistors is the same with either lighting method.

SP 2938 with interior with  with "Sunny White" (blueish) LED strip installed with "Direct Lighting" method.

The car interior details are mounted to the car sides and the stiffening flanges down the inside edges of the floor.  The lighting strip is mounted to the inside of the roof pointing down.  This Lounge car was upgraded in the 1930s with fluorescent lighting systems to match the new Daylight-type cars, so I used the blue-white LED strips (referred to as "Daylight" because of the color of the light) as apposed to the "Golden White" which I use for incandescent lighting in the older cars such as coaches and RPOs.

The lighting starts to show up in reduced "dusk" layout lighting levels

In the photo above, the lighting is starting to become visible with the room lighting at about 1/2 power.  The camera is tricky to get to work in these varying light conditions, I used the gamma adjust to adjust the lighting levels to what my eyes perceive.

Real railroad passenger cars in 1:1 scale are very hard to see into during the daytime, even if they don't have tinted glass windows.  Likewise on the models we shouldn't be able to see into them when the layout lighting is at the maximum normal levels.  The interiors will be quite hard to see, unless the layout lighting is at an angle that allows it inside the carbody.

Here with the room lighting turned off, with the "night" effect, the car's lights are fully visible.

Here is the SP 2938 on my work bench during the trials of the LED lighting.  The goal is to get the lighting at the darkest level (no layout lights) so that it's comfortable to look into the car and see the interior detailing, however not so bright as to light up the scenery trackside as the car sits on the track.  This is a personal call, I often have the amount of light exiting the car and showing on the table top about equal to the amount of light that I can see in the car when the room lights are full.  In other words, minimal bounce lighting off the layout scenery is ideal.



Installing the Owl Mt Models Marker Light and Tailgate



HiTech Details Diaphragm before mounting of the OwlMtModels marker gate.


Dropping resistors are placed between the truck pickups and the positive and negative commons.

The OwlMtModels kit includes one sprue of plastic, two red LEDs, and two 1k Ohm dropping resistors.  I cut the sprue apart to paint the two types of parts different colors.  The black plastic is ideal for the Gyralite parts as it needs to be thin and also be able to stop the bright light coming from the LEDs.  I spray the Gyralite pieces with Gloss Aluminum paint while still on the sprues.  Once I cut them off and clean any slight flashing with a small file, a small pass with a silver Sharpe Marker will hide where the injection gates were.

Painted OwlMtModels tailgates and Gyralite Markers.

The tailgates are painted to match the color of the vestibule interiors; StarBrand Sea Foam Green for the SP 2436 and another Daylight car, and StarBrand Dark Olive Green for the Harriman coaches and the SP 2701.

I cover more of this process in my videos of installing these markers in the Athearn-Genesis 77-C-3 Chair Car, SP 2436.  The two videos are about 40 minutes long.





SP 2701 with OwlMtModel's Pyle Gyralite Marker & Tailgate installed

Underbody Detailing


Here's a photo of the bottom of a PSC brass 60-C-series coach with all the brake system installed.

The photo above is a picture I took many years ago of a PSC brass car that was part of a collection.  I decided to take the photo for future modeling of Harriman coaches and chair cars, such as the SP 2701!  I have not yet installed the brake rigging and associated tanks, etc. to the bottom of the SP 2701 yet, but I did add a PSC battery box to the car to at least breakup the silhouette.

The door side of the boxes installed on the 2701.


The PSC plastic battery box parts are assembled easily and a piece of sheet styrene is cut to fit the back of the box to prevent anyone seeing into the box from the opposite side of the car.

I added sheet styrene to the back of the PSC Battery Boxes to close it off for a more finished appearance.

The Battery Box was prepainted in my "off-black" mix of StarBrand paint and glued to the floor weight with ACC-type glue.

The SP 2701 with the battery box installed.

The SP 2701 is starting to look pretty finished with the interior and battery box installed.

Cal-Scale "UC" Passenger Brake System parts installed on SP 5199

I plan to install Cal-Scale "UC" Passenger Brake System parts and axle-belt generator to the SP 2701 as well in the near future.  The photo below was staged at Magunden before I was able to get the battery box of the SP 2701 installed.

Markers into the Night


SP 2701 bringing up the markers of No.56 at Magunden California, at La Mesa Model Railroad Club.

In the last part of this series I'll show the applied brake rigging and finished underbody for the car.

Jason Hill

Related Links:

Modeling SP 2701 (Part 2) - Interior & Diaphragms

Modeling SP 60-CC-1 SP 2701 Chair Car (Part 1) - Starting from a Model Power coach

SP 1005 Soho 60-C-5 Coach-Chair Car (Part 1)

MDC-Athearn 60ft Baggages - Overview on Mechanicals.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Busy Times in Bakersfield (Part 1)

Happy New Year everyone!  Hopefully 2018 will be another good year for rail-fanning and also finding out more history about how things worked 75-80 years ago on the railroads.

For the first time in 58 years, SPNG 18 under steam meets SPNG 9 at Laws, CA, Sept 23, 2017. - Jason Hill Photo

I thought I'd branch out in a slightly different direction than most of my other blog posts and hit on some thoughts about operations again.  Two months ago, I was in San Diego for the November on Tehachapi 2017 at the La Mesa Model Railroad Club's 1950's Operating Session.  Most of the following model photos are from that 24 hours of 1:1 time operation.  The last blog post I made about the operations at LMRC was almost a year ago and can be read at this link - A Trip Over Tehacahpi on the SCX-BI.  I also did a blog on Modeling an SPMW Supply Train.

A busy Kern Junction Operator copies orders during the November Session on Tehachapi. - Photos by Jason Hill unless noted.

I've been thinking about putting some tid-bits of information about how some of the 'regular operations' are done, which are based on prototype photos taken during the 1950s and interviews with former switchmen who worked the Bakersfield Yard during the 1950s.

Roundhouse Operations at Bakersfield


During the average day there were eight passenger trains doing engine changes and at least eight freights changing engines between the valley and mountain.   The freights often ran in multiple sections and eastward freights usually needed one or two helpers.  Some helpers were through and others were instructed to cut off at Summit and return to Bakersfield.  In addition there were three regular switchers and anywhere from two to six or more locals working out of the terminal at Bakersfield.  All of this traffic makes for a busy time at the Bakersfield Roundhouse!

Changing Engines for Eastward 1st Class Trains


SP 6244 and another set of F-units wait for their next call. The 4185 is on the Outbound Leads ready to move to her train.

The SP did not have any water plugs at the Bakersfield Station Platform, so all steam engines arriving on scheduled passenger trains were swapped out here.  The San Joaquin Daylight only spent seven minutes at the platform, just enough time to disconnect the steam lines and cut away the arriving engine(s) and couple up the fresh departing engine(s), connect the steam and air hoses and do a brake test.

LMRC's West Bakersfield Yard Plan, Not showing is the main 600-car yard body to the east. - Jason Hill drawing 2017

While it might not be obvious to the untrained eye, the experienced crews working Bakersfield use the track work here to the maximum potential.  The preparation for the arriving First Class train and engine change can start as much as 90 minutes before the scheduled arrival of the train.

The basic flow through the roundhouse complex is from west to east.  Engines arrive via the "Back Track" from the yard and no switchman is required next to the "Pullman Shed" where a spring switch (marked "S/S" on the drawing above) routes the engines when moving eastward down the lead to the "Inbound Engine" track.  Once the engines have been serviced and inspected, they're topped off with water and fuel on the "Outbound Leads" which dump out on a third lead which leads into the west end of the Ice Deck.  Steam engines generally wait either on the "Outbound Leads" and the diesels in "Ready A" or "Ready B" until the crews pick them up.

Eastward engine changes for passenger trains happen with the train arriving on the Main Track in front of the station.  This can get tricky as freight trains often are split between the main yard and Track 23 and 24 while cutting in helpers mid-train.  Sometimes this process can really tie the throat trackage and leads up beside "Ready A" for 15-20 minutes.  It's always good to keep the First Class train's engines - first.

Time: 30-45 Minutes Before Departure
SP 4450 waiting on the "Outbound Lead" for the second engine to come off the turntable and couple up. - November 2017

As soon as the engines are ready on the Outbound Leads, they are 'herded' over to the East "Main Pocket" shown on the drawing above.  In this example, a pair of 4400-series GS-4s are being coupled together to take the San Joaquin Daylight (No.52) on the last leg of the schedule from Bakersfield to Los Angeles.

Remember that engines may move freely within the Yard Limits (Rule 93) as long as they are not on the time of a First Class Train.  In this case, the arriving first class train is becoming the engines that are sitting on the main.  Protection of the engines is provided by lining the cross over to their west to cross over to Track 22 to Track 1.  Any arriving freights coming in (running like crazy ahead of the First Class Train) will be heading into the yard at that cross over anyway, as all freights arriving in Bakersfield do.  Any westward light engines cleared through Kern Jct. will cruise down the "Old" Track 1 and then crossover to the east end of the 20's Yard ladder heading to the "Back Track" to the Roundhouse's Inbound Lead.  No westward freight trains would be trying to leave (hopefully not anyway) in the face of an opposing First Class Train's arrival.

Time: 8-20 Minutes Before Departure
SP 4450 and one of her black-painted sisters prepare for the arrival of No.52, the San Joaquin Daylight.

At this point, the Bakersfield Yardmaster has the departing engines ready in the East "Pocket" on the Main Track.  The Left-hand crossover east of the station is set to 'reverse' directing the arriving eastward engines over on to Track 22/Track 1, this also serves to 'protect' the waiting engines in the "Pocket" from the arriving train if it overruns the platform stop.  On the model this is also done so the train can be pulled clear of Baker St., which can be a problem for 17 car passenger trains like the Owl and some special trains because of the selective compression of the platform trackage.

Notice that in the photo above the set of F-units on Ready A are gone?  They were called for a freight train with the 4185 as the helper.  Because the engines for No.52 were out of the way and sitting on the Main Track, there was no probable or delay to putting the freight train together.  The freight will be ready to leave as soon as No.52's block clears at the east end of the yard in a few minutes!

Time: 7 Minutes Before Departure
At this point the arriving No.52 pulls into the station. 

Basic drawing showing the "Hill" engines waiting in the pocket for the arriving train. Arriving engines cut off and crossover.

The arriving engine cuts off, leaving the train at the platform and crosses over to Track 1.  The crossover is lined back for the Main Track and the new engines back down onto the train standing at the platform.

Time: 2 Minutes After Arrival, 5 Minutes Before Departure
SP 4466 pulled the First 52 into Bakersfield and is ready to back down to the "Back Track" and head to the Roundhouse - Eddie Sims Collection

Here we see SP 4466 backing down Track 1 Lead and about crossover to the 20's Ladder heading for the Roundhouse via the "Back Track" next to the Carpenter's Shop at the left of the photo above.  The train that SP 4466 just pulled into Bakersfield should be just out of frame to the left in this photo.

City Switcher would pull off any cars for Bakersfield and the Arriving engine clears for 'Hill' engines to couple to the train.

Also of interest is the dirt-asphalt walkway seen at left crossing the P.I. Yard tracks between the crew Yard Office building (out of frame to the far left) and the Crew Lockers and Washrooms at right where the road crews go on-duty.

Time: 5 Minutes After Arrival, 2 Minutes Before Departure
SP 4450 and 4434 are ready for departure.  SP 4438 (in 'half-Daylight' scheme) is on the inbound servicing track top-right.

The arriving engine (SP 4438) cuts away from the standing train at the depot and pulls through the crossover.  The two new engines (SP 4450 & 4434) back down onto the train, connect the steam and air hose connections, make a quick brake test, and then wait for the Conductor's highball, signaling that all the passengers and headend work are done.

Train ready to depart, Arriving engines back down 'Back Track', through spring switch, and head to servicing at the roundhouse.

The arriving engine (SP 4438), after moving through the crossovers backs down the 20's ladder and onto the "Back Track" moving westward along the south side of the Carpentry Shops and over the spring switch (marked "S/S" on the drawing), before pulling eastward again onto the "Inbound Engine" lead for service as shown in the photo above.

Time: 15 Seconds After Departure - On Time
On another day SP 4434 leads No52 out past the Storehouse towards Kern Jct. - Nov 2017

The San Joaquin Daylight is back on the move heading for Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal (LAUPT).

Head End Car Notes:
If any headend cars are being pulled off the arriving train they can either come off with the arriving engines or a switcher can dive in and pull them away.  The San Joaquin Daylight usually doesn't have any cars to pick up or drop off at Bakersfield.  The short 7 minute stop would mean any car moves should be done ahead of time on the departing engines before the train arrives or by pulling the setouts off with the arriving engine, to clear the path back to the standing portion of the train at the station without further delay.

Changing Engines for Westward 1st Class Trains


The scheme for changing westward engines isn't much different, except the track arrangement is a bit different.

SP 4439 sitting at the Bakersfield Station - Eddie Sims Collection

Here's roughly what the San Joaquin Daylight would have looked like arriving into Bakersfield off the Tehachapi Pass from Los Angeles.  The above photo is actually taken on March 17, 1957 on a Fresno-Bakersfield-Fresno fan trip.

Waiting Departure Engine
Waiting in the "West Pocket", the SP 4438 ready to take a First Class westward train. November 2017

Above we see SP 4438 again waiting for an eastward freight to come into the yard, probably a PSS (Portland-Sunset) or OCM (Oregon-California Manifest) from the look of it.  This would be common if the passenger engine was spotted in the pocket 20-40 minutes before the arrival of the train it was assigned to and the freight could come right up the Main Track past the Station before crossing over into the yard without fouling the time of the First Class train.

The train arriving from LA cut off the engines, leaving the train standing at the station platform while headend baggage and mail are worked.  The engines from LA head for the roundhouse and SP 4438 will then back down across Baker St. on to the standing consist at the platform.

No.51 Departure
Coupled to No.51, SP 4455 is ready to go --- as soon as the guy fixing his bike is out of the way!  Photographer Unknown.

Another day, downtown Bakersfield shakes as the Mt-4 accelerates the Daylight out of town!

Here's a classic scene of No.51 departing Bakersfield, with the station at the far right. - Eddie Sims Collection

After changing the westward pair of engines out at Bakersfield for a single fresh engine, the Daylight is out of town heading for Fresno, Lathrop and Oakland.

Around the Roundhouse


The Bakersfield Roundhouse is a full time job for the bidded job working the "Roundhouse Foreman" position.  Responsible for all movement within the Roundhouse Complex, he also doubles as the "Inside Hostler" for moving engines from the sanding and servicing arrival area, into stalls with inspection pits for about 90 minutes minimum for "Running Inspections" to be completed.  He keeps track of the times the engines arrived and were put away.

SP Bakersfield Roundhouse setup for operations.  SP 4401 is waiting to be serviced and tucked away for inspections.

The Roundhouse Foreman works with the Chief Dispatcher by phone, the engines are called in a First-In, First-Out basis.  During these regular phone calls engines are assigned to trains up to 2-3 hours ahead of time.  The engines once called, will be pulled by the Inside Hostler and spotted on the Ready Leads pointed in the correct direction for their call for the crews to pick up.  The crews move the engines from the Ready Lead or Ready Track out into the yard to pickup their trains.  On some occasions if the crew is on a 'short call' or late, or we're short on crews, the Hostler will take the engines out to the trains.

SP 4477 & 4483, plus two GS-2/3/6s are worked in the South Garden of the Bakersfield Roundhouse - Eddie Sims Collection.

Running repairs and light work was done at the end of every trip.  This was usually not serious work, but basic every day type work.  Any serious problem found could be dealt with, but would require the use of a 'protection' engine if the original engine was planned to go back out on a 'short turn'.  This is why there was ALWAYS a spare passenger Mt or GS sitting at Bakersfield to protect the passenger pool.  If a freight engine, whether it was a 'Malley', a 'Deck', or a engine from the local pool, there would always be a protection engine ready in case the primary engine couldn't take the assignment.

Any medium and heavy servicing could be done in the backshops at Bakersfield, this included full rebuilding of the SP's narrow gauge engines which worked the Keeler-Laws Branch out of Owenyo 143 miles from Mojave.  While some complete rebuilds were done at LA or Sacramento, Bakersfield could handle all the regular work which the engines assigned to it needed.

Engines in the shops for heavier work are also modeled, such as SP 4279 undergoing repairs and service.

In one photo I've seen from the John Sweetser Collection, a late model AC-class engine with its tender removed and set aside.  The engine, placed in the same open-air "Garden Track" as the model above, shows its smoke box door-plate removed and a 'superheater cart' pushed up to the rear of the 'monkey deck' for the swapping out of the Superheater unit and tubes.  Adding an engine under scheduled 'medium repair' is rather interesting, and adds some variety to the scene.  The SP 4279 model is a disabled IMRC Mk-1 AC-12, which has also been used to salvage spare parts from for the other IMRC engines I've discussed before.

Crews Taking Their Calls


SP 2601 on the Bakersfield Ready Track - Eddie Sims Collection - used with permission.

Here, SP 2601 one of the early 'Harriman' 2-8-0s with a whale-back tender sits awaiting her crew on the north Ready Track Lead from the turntable.  This lead extended to the east of the roundhouse complex into the Haley St. Yard lead along the north side of the yard.  Engines ready for service would wait here for the crew to come on-duty and final servicing was finished up before moving into the yard to fetch the train.
The SP 2601 didn't last too long, retired in 1949, as I recall.  It was probably being used mostly as a switcher in the yards or close by in local service by this photo after June 1946.

Other Roundhouse Operations 


Servicing Diesels

Here we see the PSS/OCM arriving with two sets of four F-units, the 4185 called as a helper and two "Decks" ready to go west.

In the photo above we see the PSS or OCM arriving, running up Track 22, to Track 1 and then being 'Yarded" down into Track 3.  "Ready A" and "Ready B" each have a 4-unit set of F-units receiving light servicing before returning to LA.  During the first few years of diesel operations at Bakersfield the F-units worked an LA-Bakersfield-LA cycle, only receiving a quick wipe down of the windows and possibly a topping off of the fuel tank with a hose if needed.  This light work only took about an hour and didn't require any pits for inspections.  The regular inspections and work were handed at the "Home" shop in LA.

Carpenter Shop (foreground) and Lumber Shed (rear)

The diesel work wasn't done at Bakersfield from 1948-about 1958 when the SP tore down the Carpenter's Shop and replaced it with a small diesel fueling and servicing rack, with the demise of the SP steam operations in the San Joaquin Valley Division.

Freight Yard Operations


SP 2850 leads a local with a block of SP stock cars through the San Joaquin Valley.

The primary operations in Bakersfield were changing engines on the railroads heavy freight traffic as it made the transition from the mostly flat San Joaquin Valley (Bakersfield Sub Division) territory to the heavy grades of the Tehachapi Sub Division with 2.2% grades climbing from 300 feet at Bakersfield to 4000 feet at Summit.

Engines on the Mountain
SP 4255 Leads an eastward freight into the curve at Caliente with a freight.

The AC-class "Cab-Forwards" took over from non-articulated engines over Tehachapi Pass with the expansion of the SP Articulated fleet in 1928 and through the Depression years.  The later class engines generally were preferred in passenger service on the Owl, West Coast, and Mail trains Nos.55/56.

SP 4230 drifting westward through Bealville as a through helper out of Los Angeles.

The SP's F-units were mostly used as the road engines on the Tehachapi Sub. after about 1950-51, replacing the heavy AC-type "Cab-forwards".  The AC's remained in regular helper service until March-June 1953 with the arrival of the 5294-5307 series of RSD-5s.

SP 6202 pulls No.51, the San Joaquin Daylight, through Caliente in late 1953.

Some of the SP's F-units were delivered for dual-service with steam generators in the B-units and water tanks in the A-units, these units were often seen working as heavy mountain territory passenger engines.  They started being used over Tehachapi on passenger trains such as the West Coast and Owl around 1952, and eventually taking over the San Joaquin Daylight for a time in late 1953, before the ALCo PA's arrived in numbers.

The 1949-1953 era is really the last 'longer' era not seeing the phasing in and out of engine types very quickly on the Tehachapi Pass.  The F-units in freight service on Tehachapi only lasted until 1954 when the 44 new 5440-series SD9s were delivered and bumped the F-units to other Divisions.  This was the beginning of the fast changes to the SP engine fleet which lasted well into the 1960s, changing every couple of years, modeling this era is very hard because of these rapid changes.

Engines in the Valley
SP 3666, "Deck" serviced and pointed westward, ready to back down to her next assignment.

During the early 1950's SP used SP-type (4-10-2s) "Stuttering Decks" and F-type (2-10-2s) "Decks" as the heavy engines on the Bakersfield Sub. of the San Joaquin Division.

The SP 5038 and a "Deck" bring a heavy freight down Track 22 past the station at Bakersfield - November 2017.

Heavy trains on the model railroad don't scale as well, so often two engines are needed for 60-70 car trains in the Valley.

T&NO 910 prepares to take an NCP westward to Fresno with a couple of stock cars on the headend.

During the post-war years, SP transfered most of the F-5 class engines to the Texas & New Orleans subsidiary.  A few came back to the Pacific Lines in the early 1950s, T&NO 910 was one such engine, which actually kept its T&NO number for about a year, during that time it worked out of Bakersfield.

Engines in Local Assignments
The switching and local jobs keep the SP's small engines busy.  The wide variety of 2-8-0 "Hogs", 2-6-0 "Valley Malleys", and 0-6-0s, along with a scattering of S-2 Alco diesels and a few other diesel switchers cover most of the smaller jobs.  The SP's last 4-8-0, the SP 2914 TW-8 class, was kept working into the mid-1950s out of Bakersfield on the Taft and Sunset Railway Locals.

SP 1774 works in Bakersfield on Track 25 next to the Carpenter's Shop building.

The various locals worked out of Bakersfield up the San Joaquin Valley and on the various branches that radiated off the mainline between Bakersfield and Fresno.  Engines like SP 1774 (above) often kept their train indicators slated with three blank numbers, so it was easy to drop in the freight schedule number when they're called to work on the road west of Bakersfield.

It is interesting that the 1774 is on Track 25, not the Back Track in this photo.  This might suggest that it's drilling on Track 25 working the 70's yard before taking a 3rd class scheduled freight train west up the valley.  Alternately, perhaps a Valley Shorts or Hauler for the towns along the way.  Another possibly is that the crew will be working completely within yard limits and not need the indicators at all.

Local & Switching Operations


SP 2827 heads a string of reefers, probably on a run to drop off at various sheds up the valley. - Eddie Sims Collection

Above we see SP 2827 leading a string of reefers out past the Station on the Main Track.  This could be a "Valley Shorts" train which would go out and drop reefers off and then either run on up to Fresno or turn and come back as one of the "Haulers" with loaded reefers to send east on an SJ-Block via Los Angeles and Colton on a C-Block to the eastern markets.

SP 2850 brings in a short string of SP GS-drop bottom gondolas with SP 973 as the caboose.

It should also be remembered that the Oil City Branch and Edison packing shed district were inside the "Yard Switching Agreement" which meant that yard crews would work these jobs instead of road crews.  The Oil City Switcher was assigned an old coach in 1954, the SP 973, which I talk about in SP Cabooses (Part 1) - Ex-Coaches.

Yard Work - City Switcher
The City job works all the industries around the Bakersfield area, which number about a dozen, some of which can take 6-12 cars each.  This includes the Car Shop, where bad-order cars are fixed and various other repairs are made.  Company materials to the various storehouses as well as commercial customers are served.

One of the SP yard jobs is the City Switcher, which works the SP and ATSF freight houses.

Currently the SP's final Freight House track work area isn't finished and the ATSF's Freight House had to be compressed down to about 10% of its scale size.  The result is that we've moved our freight operations over to a prototypically unused building during the early 1950s, the Kern Land Warehouse, which offers 7-doors and until the future SP Freight house is serviceable a second track for through-loading of freight forwarder loads both in and out from Bakersfield.  The freight houses are a major traffic flow for Bakersfield's locals because of all the merchandise coming into the consumer markets from the manufacturing east coast. - Remember the industrialization of the west coast was just beginning in the early 1950s.

The SP 6102, a set-out Storage Mail Car from the various night mail trains sits at Bakersfield's Mail Dock track.

The City Switcher job also works the express and mail cars, and also the express perishable work around Bakersfield.  I talk about this more in the SP 6102 - Storage Mail Car post.

During expected low work shift times of the day or week, the City job can be cut off and the regular yard job will do whatever work is needed.  This also applies to the Oil City switch job and Edison packing shed work.

'Going for the Quit'


I always find it fun and somewhat amazing how the art of "Ferro-Industrial Anthropology" works out in practice when you build a scale model (with minimal compression) and then start using it to the best of the research as you can get, how accurate the "simple answers" work out to be the "historically accurate" ones too.  The Bakersfield Yard complex discussed above is missing only one or two crossovers, which are semi-redundant, but the basic functions and flows works very close to what photos and discussions with the men that worked the yard experienced there.  - Even down to the caboose tracks... but that's a blog for another time!

One of SP's Articulated Chair cars brings up the marker on the San Joaquin Daylight this day departing Bakersfield.

I hope that everyone has enjoyed this blog post talking about operations within a larger modeled terminal area complex.  I'll probably expand on this with other more detailed posts about other aspects.

Jason Hill

Related Article Links:

A Trip Over Tehacahpi on the SCX-BI

Modeling an SPMW Supply Train

Modeling SP Cabooses (Part 1) - Ex-Coaches

SP 6102 - Kitbashing an RPO from MDC/Athearn Parts

Modeling Mail Trains - SP Nos 55 & 56 - the Tehachapi Mail