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A Trip to see the San Diego Model Railroad Museum in Balboa Park 12/20/2011 Part 2



by Chris Guenzler



Next we will enjoy the Pacific Desert Lines - N scale layout Based on a rail line that was surveyed but never built, this 1,200 sq ft (110 m2). layout features hand laid Code 40 track (0.040 inches - 1 mm high) and 33 scale miles (1,089 actual feet - 331 m) of mainline track. The San Diego Society of N-Scale's Pacific Desert Lines is an N scale (1/160 actual size) model railroad. It is based on historical plans and documents which detail a turn of the century proposal for building a major railroad from San Diego to the east. Meticulous craftsmanship has gone into the creation of the structures and track work in this exhibit. Club members have won awards for their painstaking efforts. The model of San Diego's Santa Fe depot was constructed using the actual blueprints of the building. The adobe roof tiles were cast with epoxy resin from hand carved moldings. The Carlsbad power plant has fiber optic strobe lights atop its chimney. Many buildings have detailed interiors, right down to the napkin dispenser and place mats on the tables at the corner cafe. If you look real close, you'll even spot some surfers in the water off the coast. A word of caution, however, beware of the pool shark! The track work is all code 40 rail, each piece is only 0.040 (forty thousandths) inches high. Every fifth tie is copper and the rail is soldered in place by hand. There are 10 scale miles of mainline track on the layout. Turnouts are also hand made. It takes about an evening's work to complete one turnout and there are approximately 500 turnouts on the 1200 sq. ft. layout. The railroad is computer controlled and several trains can run completely unattended. In addition, a single operator can control the layout with the click of a mouse button. The San Diego Society of N-scale meets Fridays at 8pm.















Views of the Pacific Desert Lines - N scale layout. The next model railroad this one still under construction is the Tehachapi Pass - HO scale layout This 2-level layout represents the joint Southern Pacific / Santa Fe railroad from Bakersfield to Mojave, California of the 1950s. The model is unique not only for its size but for its geographic fidelity. Literally thousands of photographs of the prototype have been used to ensure that each detail closely models the features of the actual area. It has been constructed with nearly curve-for-curve and switch-for-switch accuracy. It includes a scale model of the world famous Tehachapi Loop. Tehachapi - the name conjures up images of The Loop wherever railfans and modelers gather throughout the world. But railroading in Tehachapi is much more than just the loop alone. It involves the entire 70 miles of railroad between Bakersfield and Mojave. Building a replica of this line has challenged modelers just as the pass itself challenged the railroad barons of a century ago. The La Mesa Model Railroad Club has responded to this challenge by building an HO scale (1/87th actual size) model of this joint Southern Pacific - Santa Fe line with nearly curve-for-curve and switch-for-switch accuracy. This single track railroad, built through a notch in the Tehachapi Mountains, carries nearly all north-south rail traffic between central and southern California. It is also the eastern outlet for most of the produce grown in the San Joaquin Valley. Two of the most attractive things about the Tehachapi are the mountain scenery and the nearly continuous series of sharp reverse curves forced upon the railroad by the rugged terrain. The famous Loop is located at Walong siding, where an engine of a 100 car train spirals up to cross directly over its caboose 70 feet below. In several places the line doubles back upon itself, making it an ideal candidate for modeling. The model is unique not only for its size but for its geographic fidelity. Literally thousands of photographs of the prototype have been used to ensure that each detail closely models the features of the actual area. The La Mesa Model Railroad Club meets every Tuesday at 7:00 pm and Monday work session are from 10am-6pm.































Views of the Tehachapi Pass - HO scale layout.



Click here for Part 3 of this story