Saturday, February 27, 2021

SP Jawbone Branch (Part 14) - Construction and Mockups for Height

Well, for those of you who have been following this blog series, I'm now to the point where I'm assembling the sections of the layout.  Check the bottom of this post for a complete list of previous parts of this series.

Owenyo (top) and Mojave staging (bottom)

CAD rendering of the Owenyo Branch's more complicated mechanical relationships of this layout, the stacking of the Mojave staging and Owenyo yards.

Mojave (West Panel)

View of the underside of the West Mojave panel with diagonal frame trussing for extra strength.

 Layout Panel Construction


End Frames


Endsills of 1/2" MDF material

Owenyo West #1 section needed a notch for one of the longitudinal frames to meet inboard of the front edge of the layout, where the company village will be.

Mojave West panel's endsill glued in place.

I glued the endsill to the top skin with Gorilla Glue.  The joints are dampened with water, which improves the bonding and expansion qualities of the Gorilla Glue.  Clamps are applied until the glue expands and sets.

Mojave West panel being assembled on  top of Owenyo #2 panel.

Small Machinist square used to check that the parts are going together square.

Laying out the longitudinal frames of 1/4"x1-3/4" MDF strips.

2x2 Corner Blocks


Right side of West Mojave with 2x2 blocks

Middle of West Mojave panel with 2x2 blocks.

Longitudinal Frame Strips


Front frame prepared to be glued.

2x2 Pine corner blocks notched for the cross frame and diagonal pieces.

Test fitting 3/4" Plywood Bracket under the staging panel.

Test fitting front edge frame.

Clamp and Glue


Gluing cross frames and 2x2 blocks in place as anchors first. Front frame clamped in place dry for spacing.

Another view of the cross frames being glued in place.

Unfortunately, I only have five of the larger clamps which can span the width of the yards.  So each step of gluing the panel together has to account for how much I can clamp at once.  By gluing the cross frames in first with the 2x2 blocks, I can using the five smaller clamps to secure the 97.25" long front frame edge piece with the combination of all the clamps.

Mid-West Mojave panel endsill.

The wall-side longitudinal frame is now glued to the panel.

Mid-West Mojave yard being glued. Notice small clamp holding frame to end blocks.

Watching Glue Dry...


Clamps removed and checking bracket placement.

Yup, it is getting pretty strong now. Gorilla glue 'squeeze out' has happened in some places.

Diagonal Truss


Diagonal frames being installed with Titebond wood glue.

The fit of the diagonals is tight enough that I am driving them into place with a small hammer and scrap of MDF to prevent damaging the edges.

The rasp makes short work of cleaning up any edges or burrs.

Finished Diagonals.

Completed West Mojave (far end of staging) panel section - Feb 21, 2021.

After the glue dried overnight I tried lifting the section and twisting it with only the two ends supported.  The sheering twist only resulted in maybe 1/4" of twist in 97.25" of length and 12" width.  Laying flat on the Owenyo #2 section, which is on 2x4 rails, the Mojave section did sag about 1/2-3/4" in the middle over 8ft in length. 

Mocking Up Support Brackets


South Wall Bracket with 3/4" Plywood and 2x2 support.

The Wall Brackets will be fabricated out of several pieces, but the first piece I cut was the supporting arm of 3/4" Plywood.  These are 4" on the wall side, 2" on the cantilevered side, and span about 14".

Dismantling Work Bench Shelf


Old shelf which will be dismantled.

A few years ago I added a shelf over my south-side work bench.  I plan to reuse the shelf part on another project, but the 3/4" plywood supports will be useful now for the new brackets.  The far support is a bit over 14" by about 30".  It will make at least eight of my cantilever brackets.  I'll get some other 3/4" ply to make the vertical part of the wall brackets.

South Wall Brackets cut from 3/4" Plywood

Stack of cantilever brackets after cutting on the table saw.

Looking over the Brackets and gluing up one joint that missed enough glue.

 So I checked how it was with three supports below when I mocked it up in place.

Mock-Up Mojave Staging Yard


I decided to do some more height checks at this point with the first two panels of layout structure (Owenyo #2 and West Mojave Staging).  The height is 51" above the floor.  At five points I stacked up various materials to simulate the rough locations the brackets will be supporting the layout at.  Each section of Mojave Yard will be supported by three brackets, approximately 36" apart.  The joints between the sections are unconveniently landing over windows where I can't have a bracket supporting them.  This will mean having the alignment pins and bolts holding the sections together and even.

West Mojave Staging - Feb 25, 2021

I leveled the two sections with a 36" bar level.  This was enough that none of the equipment wanted to roll away.  The track has not been delivered yet.  The far west end will have a crossover to allow run-a-rounds of the arriving train consists.  I believe in considering the reach to the planned ground throws for the switches, I will have this be a right-hand crossover to allow cleaner reach to the far switch under Owenyo's west end and any equipment on the resulting stub-track will not be fouling my reach to the switch stand.  

The rear 'track' shows a handful of the 'Excursion' cars, three Walthers Pullmans, my kitbashed SP 10913 Cafe-Lounge and a modernized 72-C-1/2/3/4 class "deluxe" chair car.

60-BP-30-1 & Coach laying over at Owenyo - owensvalleyhistory.com - ebay35_owenyo_sml

The 60-BP-30-1 RPO and SP 1005 chair car are for the 'mixed' train consist, if I want to run the layout in the earlier eras, I need to check exactly when the 'mixed' train was dropped.

Middle of the West Mojave Staging Yard - Feb 25, 2021.

I also decided to test the structural capacity of the sections by placing some equipment models to check for the amount of deflection (sag) which will be created.  The final plan is to have three brackets supporting each 97.25" long section of benchwork.  The roughly 36" between supports seems not to sag at all.

East end of the West Mojave Yard panel.  Owenyo #2 Panel to the left. Feb 25, 2021.

I set up a 'full length' freight consist for the Owenyo Local on the #2 Track, which will be the 'working' A/D track.  There will be a total of five tracks in the staging yard.  No.1 (Run-around) is the closest to the aisle.  No.2 Track is the A/D track, which can also access the 'Stub Tail' at the west end where I'll probably store a 60ft RPO and coach for the mixed train version of the consist.  Tracks 3-5 will be storage or staged tracks for consists and extra equipment.

Owenyo #2 panel in place of the East Mojave Yard panel. Feb 25, 2021.

The Mk-5 SP 3259 is standing in for one of the regular Owenyo Local engines.  A sample of some P2K tank cars fill up the No.3 track at the east end.  Hope the switchmen tied down the required hand brakes on those cars!

Long shot from the east of the Owenyo Local. - Feb 25, 2021.

Notice the notch out to 14" standard for the Owenyo #2 panel, this is where the support column from the brackets will catch the upper level and the staging yard panel is narrow enough to drop between the supports to the lower level of bracket.

I'll be changing around the lighting as well, once the layout is coming together.  The current lighting is more for my work bench and general lighting.

In Closing


I'll be fabricating the rest of the brackets and them gluing up in one of the upcoming posts.  Construction of the East Mojave Staging section and the East end of Owenyo are also coming wil probably take most of a week with the clamping and glue drying times.  Next will come installing the brackets and constructing the mating alignment pins for the layout sections.  After all of that, I'll be able to place the layout sections together and see about starting to lay the track!

Piles of track materials as the NG is pulled up at Owenyo in 1960 - Rich McCutchan - owensvalleyhistory.com - c_n_c57_owenyo_1960_900_sml

It is fun to see the layout coming together, so I hope you'll join me in the upcoming posts as I build my model of the Jawbone Branch!

Jason Hill

Related Articles:



SP Jawbone Branch (Part 2) - Researching and Changing of the Plan

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

SP Jawbone Branch (Part 4) - Freight Car Roster

SP Jawbone Branch (Part 5) - Pulling the Trigger (Buying the materials for the benchwork)

SP Jawbone Branch (Part 6) - Q&A Continuing Design Tweaks - Working out the logistics for the staging yards other details.

SP Jawbone Branch (Part 7) - Film & Construction Begins - Historic movie film clip of Owenyo Local and starting construction of the layout.

SP Jawbone Branch (Part 8) - Little Lake Grows - More research materials have surfaced for my modeling of Little Lake.

SP Jawbone Branch (Part 9) - Layout Material Changes - Shifting to MDF for the roadbed and moving the foam to secondary scenery uses.

SP Jawbone Branch (Part 10) - Track Plan Details of Owenyo - A deeper dive into the buildings and track arrangements.


SP Jawbone Branch (Part 12) - Cutting Time! - Cutting material and starting to assemble layout sections

SP Jawbone Branch (Part 13) - A Bridge Too Far? - Over-stuffing Designs and other planning issues.

Freight Symbols Over Tehachapi - Part 4 - SP Locals - Tehachapi Pass's SP Local Freights, several of which work out of Mojave.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Modeling SP B-50-series Boxcars (Part 3) - Plastic Options for B-50-8, -10, & -11

Continuing my researching and modeling blog post from May 2020 on the B-50-12, B-50-13, and B-50-14 classes, I'll be exploring backwards to the B-50-13's pre-WWI sister classes, the B-50-8, B-50-10 and B-50-11.

The B-50-8 is the first of the boxcars on the SP to be single sheathed and establish the 'look' on the SP and subsidiary companies.  The cars had wood ends with massive vertical posts.  The A-ends also had vertically sliding lumber doors.  Some had round roofs, but many had angled roofs of several types.

Accurail's SP 12020 with incorrect steel ends, but otherwise fairly close to mid-SP B-50-series wood sheath cars.

The Accurail wood door, wood end single sheathed boxcar models are an acceptable starting point for these two classes with some minor detailing work.

Roster of the B-50-8 Class Boxcar


Accurail 4000-series Undec Single Sheath with wood ends and doors with partial painting with SP Freight Car Red.

SP 24250-24749 (500 Cars) Built 1913 Standard Steel Car Co. with Bettendorf T-Section Trucks
GH&SA 37860-38359 (500 Cars) Built 1913 Standard Steel Car Co.
1000 Cars Total

Roster of the B-50-10 Class Boxcar


Accurail 4000-series unpainted.

SP 24850-25839 (990 Cars) Built-1916 Haskell & Barker Car Co. with Vulcan Trucks
CP 17682, 17741, 18252, 18255, 18481, 18789 (6 Cars) Built-1916 Haskell & Barker Car Co.
SP 18828, 24312, 24534 (3 Cars) Built-1916 Haskell & Barker Car Co.
PE 2525 (1 Car) Built-1916 Haskell & Barker Car Co.
1000 Cars Total

Roster of the B-50-11 Class Boxcar


SP 25840-26339 (500 Cars) Built-1916 Ralston Steel Car Co. with Vulcan Trucks
NWP 2160-2259 (100 Cars) Built-1916 Ralston Steel Car Co.
T&NO 38760-39057 (298 Cars) Built-1916 Ralston Steel Car Co.
GH&SA 28210, 38371 (2 Cars) Built-1916 Ralston Steel Car Co.
900 Cars Total

Retirement of the B-50-10 and B-50-11


SPMW 438 Scale Repair Car and SPMW 790 Scale Test car. - Eddie Sims collection

The B-50-8, B-50-10 and B-50-11 were being retired in larger numbers by 1950 and a good list of the cars can be found in the Southern Pacific Maintenance of Way Jan 1, 1956 Roster, which the SPH&TS has published in their quarterly magazine The Trainline.  Many of these cars went to Bunk, Kitchen, Supply, Tool, and other similar non-revenue services.

In Closing


SPMW 2272, a resin B-50-6/9 class car showing the obvious difference from the later B-50-8, -10, -11 class cars.

Just to clear up the question of what the earlier B-50-6/9 class cars were double sheathed cars look like.

I look forward to building several of these cars for both revenue service on the Jawbone Branch and several more in SPMW Supply Car service for LMRC.  Stay tuned for both future projects.

Jason Hill

Related Articles:





Thursday, February 25, 2021

SP Jawbone Branch (Part 13) - A Bridge Too Far?

Deciding to model the Jawbone Branch has certainly opened some interesting doors for my research.  As usual the scope of my research is going far beyond what I plan to be able to fit in the space I have... and know will fit.  Still, some aspects of the research are just cool.

Ramp to Nowhere


North end of Owenyo, notice in the far right, the ramp for the SG to get above the NG's "Pit" track - Rich McCutchan  - owensvalleyhistory.com - slim rails63_sml

Further digging around after posting Part 11 on Fuel Dealers, has shown that the transfer at Owenyo was largely over by the 1952 time frame with the closure of the Natural Soda Products Company about 2 miles south of Keeler, which used the last five fuel-oil tank cars on the SPNG.  Note; small 'trestle' ramp in the foreground of the photo above is for the NG to climb for loading engines or equipment onto the SP SG flatcars for movement to Bakersfield shops for work.

Owenyo Pit track - Raised SG over NG "pit" - Dennis Burke collection

Photos show the north leg of the wye at Owenyo was elevated about three feet above ground level, and in later years by 1959 the track was elevated higher to about 8-9 feet above the surrounding area.  My current understanding is this was done when the SPNG track, known as "the Pit" was filled in and returned to roughly the natural grade.  The Pit was created to allow various fuel and oil to drain into the narrow gauge tank cars.  Some cars were suitable for gasoline, while others were for fuel oils.

The far east end of the branch for my planned layout... Will I go out the window?

Too bad that my space doesn't allow another 15-20" to include the ramp up to the standard gauge track above 'the Pit', but then again some dreams just fly out the window.

Owenyo #1 NG Ramp on my first go at laying out the track centers.  This panel was flipped over and redone a few days later. - Jan 28, 2021.

The exact position of the SG diving into the transfer pit is up to the exact placement of the two switches on the main track and the house track switch diverging into the pit.  As of Feb 25, I have my specs for SP No.7 switches updated so I can lay it out this weekend and cut the SG roadbed for the pit.

Lone Pine


As I've dug a bit deeper with help from several of you on-line, the interesting parts of Lone Pine do stand out as a traffic point for the fuel-dealers. Also there are some cool photos of a SPMW outfit which was at Lone Pine around 1959+.  Lone Pine seems to have been one of the destinations for the remaining tank cars in diesel and gasoline service, which then went up to Bishop by truck or other points as needed.  In the end, it's probably better that I don't model Lone Pine.  While it would be a neat place to model, I can't do everything.

Jawbone Branch SPMW Outfit?


SPMW Outfit at Lone Pine, after 1958. owensvalleyhistory.com - ebay47_lone pine_sml

Maybe I can still have a backdated model of the 1959 Lone Pine 'outfit'.  I generally don't plan to model the SPMW 'Gray' era, post-1958.  So my plan for modeling any of these cars will be done in SP Freight Car Red.  I already have several of these generic model types.

F-50-Series Flat Car


SP F-50-series flatcar painted in the post-1958 MW Gray scheme. - Lone Pine outfit - owensvalleyhistory.com - ebay47_lone pine_sml

It seems this tool-flat is some flavor of Bridge and Building assigned car.  Probably having a diesel compressor or generator and what appears to be water pipes in great abundance.  Also some form of small tank with stand legs on the upper level.

SPMW 2054, One of the OMM flatcars painted in MW Gray.  Little kitbashing could be turned into the car above.

I'll probably look into making the flatcar from the Lone Pine outfit, as it is a very visually interesting model with all the 'stuff' piled on it!

Ex-Pullman Boarding Cars


SPMW 1815 it appears in the Lone Pine outfit is a very old 12-1 without A/C. owensvalleyhistory.com - ebay47_lone pine_sml

There are about three non-airconditioned Pullmans, probably WWII vintage "Tourist Cars" which Pullman got rid of after the war. 

Here's the next two SPMW Boarding cars. owensvalleyhistory.com - ebay47_lone pine_sml

Here's the other two ex-Pullman HW Boarding cars, little grainier in this enlargement, but probably also 12-1s, as they have no A/C ducting.  Looks like they both have stoves installed to keep the crews warm in the high desert nights.  It is also possible this is an extra gang moving around doing work on the Jawbone.

SPMW 5506 - 12-1 Rivarossi Pullman repainted to MW boarding bunk service.

These two models were built many years ago from Rivarossi HW 12-1 cars.  No NERS A/C ducts were installed, so this base-model is probably ideal for use as obsolete, ex-Tourist Cars, turned MW cars.  I'll probably do a blog post on some of these cars and which cars they came from.

SPMW 5524 - 12-1 Rivarossi Pullman repainted to MW boarding bunk service.

I also started a conversion of a Rivarossi 12-1 into a 14-section MW car a number of years ago and never finished it.  Perhaps I will soon and put it with this 'outfit'.

Water Car


SPMW water cars at Owenyo - Sept 19, 1950 - Chard Walker photo - Mike Massee collection - owensvalleyhistory.com (cropped photo)

The far car in the photo above is a CS-25A tank car with the high walkways, like the car below.

SPMW 7419, CS-25A class, somewhere on the SP system. -  Eddie Sims collection

As usual, there's a CS-25A tank car in the outfit providing water for the boarding cars.  I'll probably use one of my WSM models for this service.  I've covered some of the SP's use of water cars on my blog post SPMW 7419 A Canteen for Desert Railroading.

Tool or Bunk Box Cars


SPMW 714 - Accurail 40ft wood sheath boxcar (B-50-13/14)

SPMW 1616 - Tool Car - MDC/Roundhouse 50ft A-50-5/6 stand-in.

SPMW 63 - Bunk - MDC/Roundhouse 50ft A-50-5/6 stand-in, still with side doors.

Towards the far end of the outfit, it would seem there's at least two boxcars, it is difficult to see if they're 40ft boarding cars of some type or if they might be the 50ft ex-A-50-5/6 series tool cars or bunk cars.

A Bridge Too Far?


Owens River Bridge 1/2 mile north of Lone Pine, CA. - owensvalleyhistory.com

I've mentioned adding the Owens River Bridge, located 1/2 mile north of Lone Pine, to the layout to several of my friends.  Both of them immediately said, "YES, Do it!"  


Proposed CAD model with 45ft approach bridges.

I'm still on the fence about it... if it will be trying to push too much into the west bridge module of the layout across the western door.  The prototype bridge is about 100ft with two ~50ft approach deck bridges.  

Fairchild Aerial Survey photo of Lone Pine with the bridge. - North to the left.

Top View of CAD model.  The spiral easements are not included on this CAD model.

My curve standards call for 1/4x12" spiral easements, which means that the 48" curve will be ending right at or on the deck bridges, and the remaining 6" of spiral will extend onto the bridge from the Bartlett side, and the "High Line" trestle switch will be right at the abutment on the Owenyo side.  Pretty tight quarters.  Trying to jam things in is one thing I promised myself not to do on this layout!  It always tries to creep in somewhere.

Another option if I just want the bridge is to put it below Little Lake on the east bridge instead or on the north wall, along the bookcase.  However, then it really is out of linear order compared to Little Lake and Bartlett.

I will probably put off building the Owens River Bridge for the push to get the 'golden spike' driven with the trains operating.  As the whole section across the west door will be removeable... I could always replace it later with a module with the bridge on it.

In Closing


The modeling of the Jawbone Branch is still challenging and creating interesting points to consider.

Construction of my Mk-II Truss Framing with 2x2 joint blocks. Feb 22, 2021

Small design changes continue for the construction of the layout.  I've started mocking up the layout height of the Mojave Yard for 51" above floor, which seems to be pretty nice.  I'll be working on assembling sub-structures for the Owenyo and Mojave layout skins.

A query with the track crew at LMRC has refreshed some of my info for the switch standards.  So while I wait for the track parts to arrive, I can finish laying out the switches.  Maybe I can even get into cutting and gluing down the switch ties on the layout sections!

Jason Hill

Related Articles:



SP Jawbone Branch (Part 2) - Researching and Changing of the Plan

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

SP Jawbone Branch (Part 4) - Freight Car Roster

SP Jawbone Branch (Part 5) - Pulling the Trigger (Buying the materials for the benchwork)

SP Jawbone Branch (Part 6) - Q&A Continuing Design Tweaks - Working out the logistics for the staging yards other details.

SP Jawbone Branch (Part 7) - Film & Construction Begins - Historic movie film clip of Owenyo Local and starting construction of the layout.

SP Jawbone Branch (Part 8) - Little Lake Grows - More research materials have surfaced for my modeling of Little Lake.

SP Jawbone Branch (Part 9) - Layout Material Changes - Shifting to MDF for the roadbed and moving the foam to secondary scenery uses.

SP Jawbone Branch (Part 10) - Track Plan Details of Owenyo - A deeper dive into the buildings and track arrangements.


SP Jawbone Branch (Part 12) - Cutting Time! - Cutting material and starting to assemble layout sections

SP Jawbone Branch (Part 14) - Construction & Mockups for Height - Taking the next steps in assembling the layout structure.

Freight Symbols Over Tehachapi - Part 4 - SP Locals - Tehachapi Pass's SP Local Freights, several of which work out of Mojave.