Sunday, April 3, 2011

Modeling an engine terminal

My town of Shumala already has the rudiments of an engine terminal. I’m now planning the additional features it needs. Anyone who is familiar with photos of steam terminal facilities, or diesel facilities in different eras, knows generally what is needed. But I supplemented my existing knowledge with Marty McGuirk’s fine Kalmbach book, Locomotive Servicing Terminals (Kalmbach Books, Waukesha, WI, 2001), which contains an excellent selection of prototype photos and some modeling suggestions. For SP practice, I examined several of John Signor’s fine books about different parts of the SP.
     The first thing I installed at Shumala was a Diamond Scale 88-foot turntable. This has worked well electrically and mechanically. Although I installed the Diamond Scale hand-crank mechanism on this table when I lived in Pittsburgh, I removed it for transporting the layout section to California. So far I haven’t re-installed it, relying on manual track alignment, and may continue to do so.
     In line with SP practice, I also have installed oil and water columns. I remember when the folks at Overland Models imported some brass Sheffield water columns, a type commonly used on the SP, but supplied them in a short height which might be suitable for eastern roads’ tenders but certainly would not clear the much larger tenders common on western railroads. I (and several others) let them know in no uncertain terms that these columns were not suitable, and lo and behold, they brought in an additional run of columns with 16-foot heights. Perfect!
     This photo shows the current state of the terminal. Still needed are an engine house or roundhouse, a sand house, and fuel and water storage tanks to feed the columns. I will also add a minimal diesel fueling capability and a small structure for the caboose service track. And I want to include a small shop structure with the engine house so that simple repairs can be conducted here.

In the photo, it’s obvious that the caboose track is at left, and the two turntable leads are at center, with fuel and water columns between them. The engine house or roundhouse will be beyond the turntable. The black tank near the turntable is an interim fuel storage tank.
     I’m still exploring engine house options, and one possibility is the Banta Modelworks laser-cut kit for the two-stall Port Costa SP roundhouse, reviewed by Jimmy Booth in the SP Society’s Trainline magazine (issue 104, page 4). I saw the parts for this kit before Jimmy built it, and they really looked excellent. Alternatively, a small, rectangular engine house may be more suitable, as SP built at a number of them at smaller engine terminals.
     The other significant structure is the sand house. I will likely scratchbuild a standard SP sand house, as shown in Bruce Petty’s Southern Pacific Lines Common Standard Plans, Volume 4. But an alternative might be the Port Costa sand house, if Banta gets around to offering that kit as part of their Port Costa series. As either of these project progresses, I will post about them.
Tony Thompson

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