Layout work 2006-2007

Jump to latest entry

Trains 2003-2004  Trains in 2004-2005  Trains 2005-2006      



I have a new Daylight Passenger train on order.  It is supposed to be shipped from the manufacturer in March of '07 (click here to see what I've ordered).  5/1/07 update:  Order canceled to wait and see about the Athearn models which are supposed to be more accurate for my period.

In the meantime, my first order of business this fall is to get my motive power ready to pull this train and the revamped Starlight.  The Starlight will be revamped using a few of the Daylight cars replacing the not so accurate Athearn cars, along with a couple of sleepers.  I had an E7 AB setup pulling my earlier Starlight.  I've been working on another E7B and E8.  I have one more E8 to do and then I may get a PA or two which will give me an ABA set for both trains with possibly a spare A unit.

So, without further  ado, here are pictures of the E8 6051, E7B 5908, and E7A 6017.  Bigger pictures can be found on my slow loading pictures page.



  As you can see, the combination of my new digital camera, Adobe Photoshop Elements 5.0, and CombineZ5 has improved my photography.

Here is a publicity department staged photo, taken shortly after it was announced that all the passenger trains of the Coast Line were now being pulled by diesels.

This shot was taken the same day, just a little further up the coast but for some reason the publicity department never published it, although records indicate that a lot of copies were made.


I recently received my Black Widow FP7 from Intermountain.  Shortly after I got it I discovered there were all sorts of flaws with the model.  Being a firm believer in making the best of whatever situation I'm in, I decided to create a special consist, called my "oh no" consist.  Behind the IM, comes a Bachman F7B, and an old Atlas FP7.  They are pulling a "mail train" made of Athearn baggage cars and one coach.  The number of inaccuracies in this train is staggering but I figure if we just lump them all together and stand back we can have a good time.

So, here is the mail train pulling into Santa Margarita.

and the "oh no" consist

and since I had the camera out, another shot of downtown Santa Margarita showing a few of the engines that are waiting to do their helper duty over the Cuesta grade.

In the 50's the Starlight, which was advertised as the night coach train between LA and SF carried two Pullman sleepers, one heavyweight and one lightweight (at least this is the consist in the 56 timeframe).  In these two pictures, shot under a full moon, the photographer caught the northbound Starlight sitting at San Luis Obispo.  There is a freight pulled by F3 sitting on the main in the first picture.  We see him leaving in the second picture but the Pullman order has been reversed so it must have been shot a night later!



We think we will be moving in a couple of years so I haven't felt like doing much in the world of scenery. Instead, this winter I have spent time building a couple of buildings for "Salinas" and working on engines.  Pictures of the buildings will be up as soon as the second one is finished. 

In the meantime, here are a few engine project pictures


5321, in the left picture is a LifeLike Proto 2000 SD7 and is actually a two winter project.  Last winter I added the light packages and two decoders-one to control all those lights and one for sound only.  This worked, briefly.  Then the sound decoder started making this rhythmic ticking sound on top of the other sounds.  Most annoying.  I had to send the decoder back to Soundtraxx to get it fixed.  When the decoder returned I put it back in and it worked perfectly, briefly.  Then it started ticking again.  I took the engine off the Layout until this winter when I pulled the decoder and speaker out (before the decoder was ruined this time).  The decoder and speaker went into 5427 an old Athearn SD9 dummy which I had detailed in the early 90's.  Now, I had the best of both worlds, 5321 had lots of lights and since it always ran with 5427 we had sound.  Of course, the big gyralite on the front of 5321 burned out shortly thereafter. 

5317 was a this winter project.  For the purists in the audience, I know the Tiger Stripe paint jobs were gone by 1957 but I like it enough to want at least one on my Layout so there it is.  I decided that this engine would never run in the lead so it has only lighted number boards,  All the rest of the lights are dummies.  This allowed for a quicker installation and the use of a sound decoder.  Since the SD7 and SD9 hoods are narrow, I can't put quite as big a speaker in as I'd like, thus having two speaker equipped engines in the consist works out well.  For the time being at least, this consist will be found at the head of a north bound sugar beet train.  Here they can be seen running through Santa Margarita.


The next engine project was PA 6005

Again for the purists, I know that in my time frame, 6005 was not normally assigned to any Coast Line runs being an Oakland pool engine.  But, I figure it wasn't impossible to believe that one day an engine broke down in Oakland and 6005 was assigned to take it's place on a southbound run.  So, that is my story and I'm sticking to it.  Here, 6005 is seen in San Luis Obispo as part of mixed consist leading the Daylight north.  You can't see them in this shot but the other two members of the consist are an E8A and an E7B.  6005 has had the plow added which went quite well.  By using a long shank coupler I was able to keep the coupler in the original coupler box so I'm not putting any strain on the plow.  I did have to grind the coupler mounting pad out of the plow to make room.  6005 also has the Oakland pool "wagon wheel" radio antenna, a five chime horn and ladder grabs on the hood.


Another winter engine project involved an F7 A and an F7B from Stewart.  They were sold as late Phase 1 units and I bought them before Joe Strapac published his book on F units and thus, I didn't know that the SP never had this particular phase of F7s.  There are several external features on the F7s that distinguish the "phases".  Among the easy to see are the following:

The early F7s had                The later F7s had

An overhang on the ends        No overhang

36" Dynamic Brake Fans         48" fans

A multi-piece grille                A one piece grille

Horizontal vents                    Vertical vents

Stewarts "late Phase 1" had the first one from the later column and the second three from the early column-I have no idea of such a combination can be found on any railroad, but Joe Strapac says they weren't on the SP.

I figured that the most obvious problem with these units was the 36 inch fan so I filed it off and replaced it with a Details West fan.  In the case of the B unit, all I had to do to finish the job was repaint the roof.  Since the B unit doesn't have the vents, it now only had the wrong grille and I can find photographic evidence that these sometimes got swapped around.  The A unit was harder.  It had been my first A unit with a decoder and it got my first attempt at weathering.  Just repainting the roof wasn't going to work.  I had to strip it all (except for the silver on the hood), repaint it and redo the decals.  Except for the fact that the decals appear to be designed for an old Athearn unit so they don't fit perfectly, this came out fairly well.

This picture show three F7 roofs (and the side of the redone A unit).  The middle unit is a Stewart Phase 2 unit and the far roof is the redone B unit.


I bought a new Intermountain FP7 this winter and then discovered that the unit had some serious detail problems.  Here it is reworked   more info on what I did can be found here.

The other project that I haven't figured out how to photograph effectively, was to start working on my Salinas area.  I added a two foot extension to the Layout along the very small storage yard and then added four sidings.  Three of them are supposed to represent the area near Salinas where fresh produce was loaded for the trip to the east.  I built three kits to place along the sidings.  They are a Union Ice House, a small warehouse, and a larger packing house.

Here are the pictures:

In the background of the second picture you can see, in the dark, the fourth siding which leads to Sprekels-at least I pretend that is where the sugar beet cars are headed.  As you can see, more details are needed around all of these buildings-maybe next year?


Back in the early 90's I started a Layout and built most of the buildings that make up Santa Margarita in the current Layout.  One of the kits that I built for that Layout was from Taurus Products and was a small stock loader.  It is designed to allow transfer from a truck to a train with no holding pen in between.  This stock loader got lost during my second move after that Layout and just recently resurfaced.  Here it is, on the outskirts of Santa Margarita.  For those with a track plan of the real Santa Margarita, you'll notice it is on the wrong side of the tracks, but I didn't have room for it in it's correct location

An overview of the stock pen/loading ramp and the town

And a ground level view

Thanks for stopping by

Jim Pattison