The Southern Pacific Coast Line 2012-2013 work

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March/April 2013 Posts

February 2013 Posts

January 2013 Posts

December 2012 posts

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To see the Minnesota layout that preceded this one, click here.

6/19  Finito! Finished. Done.  The Gaviota scene is finally done.  Here are some pictures showing the finished product.



    This one shows the creek which in the summer doesn't flow hard enough to breach the sand.    Gaviota by moonlight.  Given the number of people still up this train isn't running on time.

5/19 The beach at Gaviota is starting to take shape. The road to the pier is on the left. The creek is at the far end just below the depot perched on top of the cliff. 

5/11 A trip to Disney World and lots of outdoor work has slowed layout wok considerably but the Gaviota Trestle was finally completed today.    The first train on the trestle.  and the second.  Now to put in the beach and finish the scenery.

4/11   The trestle with (most) of the deck in place. Needs a few more boards and paint, both of which should arrive while we are gone. If you expand the picture you can probably see tents and a trailer in the campground. People to follow.

4/7 Everything painted and the bridge modules glued together.  Waiting for the deck to be done before gluing to the piers.

4/3   It has taken a long time but the trestle supports are finally finished. 4 more bridges to build, then glue them all together, paint all the sub-assemblies. add the wood beams that hold the ballast, glue bridges to supports, add handrails. I'll finish this project someday.

3/20 Most of my time this month has gone into working on the Gaviota scene.  Making the trestle has been time consuming.  Likewise getting the trestle pier supports setup correctly was definitely a case of measure once, cut twice.  Repeat.  But it has all come together except for some pieces needed to complete the trestle and they do not appear to be readily available.

First a couple of real Gaviota shots.  Here you can see that the basic support structure has the piers tied together in groups of three with a gap between each group of three. .  From this side the two set of piers on the right end of each set are made of riveted box beams like this while the third set is made up of H beams like these The earliest picture I have shows that it was originally built with just the box beams connected in pairs with a gap between them.  At some point in it's history the H beams were added to give it additional strength.  So much for history.  I have built the necessary box beam structures-here are three pairs on the layout My problem is that I can't find enough H beams to finish the job plus I'm still waiting on some stuff that I hope will be useful for connecting the H beams together and to the box beam pairs. 

While waiting for those parts I have cleaned up the campground, added some trees and a couple of tents.      I don't know how the campground was laid out in the 50's.  I believe this picture was taken in the 70's (that looks like an early 70's GMC motorhome in the foreground).  The trees look like they have been there a while so I hope this is what thecampground looked like. 

2/19   The support structure for the end of the Gaviota trestle. the end of the trestle rests on the tall wood block next to the pink foam board. The first pier will be a short one and will be supported by the pair of boards. The next pier will be a tall one and will be supported by the two small blocks in the creek bed. The pink foam board will support the the rock cliffs.  Here are three shots showing the real Gaviota Trestle     

2/14 At the start of the Gaviota coast, in the corner of the layout, we have a scene that has highway 101 in the background and the first beach scene in the foreground .  The beach in the foreground is the nude, or clothing optional, beach at the east end of Gaviota State Park.  It is known as San Onofre north or Vista del Mar for the old school that is near the parking place for the beach.  On my layout, it is known as Haack's beach because they gave me the figures.  It also fits in with Black's Beach north of San Diego and Bates Beach in Carpenteria.  Here is a picture of the beach.

2/7 Work is progressing on the wall up the center of the garage .  This will be the Gaviota Coast as seen from the ocean side on the upper level and San Luis Obispo on the lower level.  The frames and wood supporting the track shown here are temporary until the Gaviota Trestle is built. Temporary in this case could be a matter of years.

2/3 Took a break from building the layout and worked on one scene, the farm house.  Day and night shots

   The night shot has the Starlight going by in the background.

2/1 February and today we put in the supports for the interior wall. 

1/31 the river more or less complete

1/26   Progress is being made. The bridge abutments are in, the bridge is connected to the main line, the background hills are in with some details added. Next up the foreground of the river bed, then water. The truss structure for the bridge just rests on the deck so it is a quick add-will make this scene even better.

1/23 The river canyon is starting to take shape. The bridge deck is just resting there for the picture and to get the left abutment situated. Still more background work to do, and water to pour before the bridge goes in permanently. 

1/22 the current project is putting a river onto the layout.  this shot shows where it is going, as well as the partially painted backdrop.   And here we have the riverbed.  The rocks along the backside of the river canyon are left over from the Minnesota layout, as is the bridge that will span this gap.

1/20 Added a backdrop along the edge of the layout through the curve.  Later today I'll add the one across the front of the garage.  then comes paint.  Update:  Here are the first two sections of backdrop with their sky blue paint.  Clouds, hills, etc to follow.

1/18 The framework across the front of the garage

1/15 The Main line and siding are now down to the garage door  and a few details are starting to show up.. Concrete steps have been added so people can get into the building and some weeds and grass are now visible.

1/6/13 My brother Ted came to visit for the weekend and we got two posts that run from floor to ceiling installed so the layout can begin to turn the corner and head across the front of the garage. 

1/2/2013 Started doing something about the foreground scenery-brown paint and some stuff dropped onto the wet paint.  A pair of reefers loading up at the Salinas Lettuce Co. shows the current status    

12/29 A quick morning project, adding some distant hills and a few clouds.   

12/28 Track is laid and the first three building are in place for the Salinas Valley portion.  More bench work is needed to finish this level.  Since the Salinas Lettuce company ships lettuce in reefers, I assume this box car is delivering empty boxes or some other supplies    when I have more of the scenery finished I'll take the time to shoot this picture from a tripod with several different settings so I can have the whole picture in focus. Another shot of one the Salinas lettuce buildings.  in the far background you can just see a bit of scenicking, fake California Golden Summer Grass.  And here is the Union Ice plant and dock.  Another siding will be put in in front of the existing siding so multiple reefers can take turns getting ice.

12/17  On to the upper level.  I got a few buildings out of the boxes from Minnesota and tried them in several combinations on the upper level.  Once I had determined how the buildings should be laid out I could start laying more track.   there has also been some work done on the storage yard.

12/12 All the track is laid on the helix and across the connector to the upper level

12/4 Laying the track and testing it.  I figure if a long wheel base, 6 axel diesel and a 6 axel passenger car stay on the rails everything else will be ok-this proved to be false as I had a short section of out-of-gauge track that 3 axel trucks handled but 2 axel trucks didn't.

11/19   Here we have the helix connected to the start of the upper level

11/13  The helix is up  but not yet connected to the upper level.

11/12  The helix on it's way up.  this was a more time consuming project than I had imagined it to be. 

11/10  The completed helix and the first threaded rods that will hold the helix up.

11/6, The support for the helix.

11/4 The next step is to build the helix that moves the train from one level to the other.  For guidance on building the helix I am indebted to Bruce Morden who showed me his helix and explained some of the basics to me.  Additional details were found on his excellent blog,    This is the helix going together.  I used three pieces of .2 inch Luanne plywood, overlaid and glued together to form the roadbed.


10/30  The start.  I started in the back corner putting in the track that leads around the helix and goes to the storage yard.

  The blue walls are too blue and will get repainted a lighter blue later.

This is my current layout occupying half of a two car garage.  The basic design is a double decker U with a helix at the top of each arm of the U.  in this picture the green lines are the upper level and the black lines are the lower level.  The red lines are the edge of the lower level.  The upper level won't be as wide as the lower level.  Right now I envision 4 basic scenes.  Top left will be Salinas Valley packing sheds and ice plant.  Lower left will be Santa Margarita.  Lower right will be San Luis Obispo and top right will be a beach scene-maybe Gaviota.  The bottom of the U will be some transition scenes which are yet to be determined.