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  - - 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. - 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 - - 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. - 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. - 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 - (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. -

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.

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