Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Survival from my old layout-2

Awhile back, I posted to this blog a general description of my old layout in Pittsburgh, and included information from an article about the layout in Railroad Model Craftsman, in March 1990. That prior post is accessible at this link: . I thought that post would summarize enough about the old layout as background for the layout work I’m now doing. But I continue to receive e-mail queries about the old layout, so I’ve decided to post a few more photos from those days.
     The most developed town was Jalama, as it was then called, which I now call Shumala (both are actual Chumash Indian place names). I described in an earlier post how I have “relocated” the area in which the layout is set; see: . In addition to the depot, ice deck and citrus warehouse, I had created a small business block. Here’s what it looked like (it’s now been modified somewhat). The “Giant Orange” stand was made from a European snack stand kit.

The “Buxom Melons” billboard is from an actual cantaloupe crate label.
     Near Jalama was a coastal scene, with the typical sandstone cliffs along which the SP tracks run, above the Pacific shore, in that area. I scratchbuilt a section house near the entrance to Tunnel 12. It’s shown here with a mainline freight train passing, powered by a Westside AC-4 locomotive:

Here is another view, taken by my wife to show me in the scene, dating from about 1986 (an era of large eyeglasses, among other things).

     The other town on the layout which had extensive development was Ballard, now being redone with a somewhat altered arrangements of industries. Photos of it may look familiar, because I have used a number of photos of Ballard, old and new, in previous posts on this blog. Here is an old one, showing a passenger train of my freelance short line, the Lompoc & Cuyama. The combine is a reworked LaBelle kit, named “Santa Ynez” for a river in the area previously being modeled. The car has a fully detailed interior and a removable roof, and did well in several model contests. It now resides in my display case.

    Another view at Ballard shows a meat reefer spotted at the wholesale grocer’s warehouse, Peerless Foods. This is a great industry for inbound loads, because everything from fruits and vegetables, to meat, poultry, eggs, dairy products, canned goods and other packaged foodstuffs, and dry goods can all logically be delivered here by rail. The structure was scratchbuilt from heavy artist’s cardstock and stripwood and, being near the backdrop, is a “half building” with no rear wall. At the time of this photo, door numbers had not been applied. In an earlier post, I used a modified version of this photo, in my post about making choices to select a fleet of refrigerator cars for the layout (see: ). This car was built and lettered by Richard Hendrickson and given to me.

     Last, I’ll show a photo taken by my friend C.J. Riley, about 1984, of me at my modeling bench in Pittsburgh. I can determine the date by the models being completed on the bench! Like many modelers’ work spaces, it wasn’t very large, but did have the advantage of storage space right above the bench, and shelves for reference books just at my right shoulder.

     Well, that should do it for an overview of the old layout, which like most layouts, had its attractions and its shortcomings. I believe the current version, as it’s progressing, is an entirely better version, but then, I would think that, wouldn’t I?
Tony Thompson


  1. And in reading my latest book on the Pacific Coast Railway Co,did I note that the town of Ballards is located south of Los Olivos and north of the Santa Ynez Mission in Santa Barbara county. Have fun hauling all those pipes and oil equipment.

  2. Yes, that's the location of the actual Ballard, though even today it's only a kind of a neighborhood, rather than a town. I chose to re-use the name in a different place.
    Tony Thompson