Wednesday, June 26, 2013


This year’s Espee in Oregon Meet was held in Millersburg (north of Albany) the first weekend in June.  This year’s meet featured a pair of industry tours on Thursday, layout tours on Friday, and a day’s worth of clinics—both formal and informal—on Saturday.  As usual, the meet provided an opportunity for fans of the Southern Pacific in Oregon to meet and greet and share information and modeling techniques with emphasis on Oregon-based layouts. 

Herewith some photos from the tours:

Fiberboard (former Duraflake)--one of the last major industries in Millersburg, OR.  Fiberboard makes high quality particle board.

Fiberboard input and grading.

Fiberboard mixing silos.

Fiberboard kiln.  Wood fiber temperature is carefully controlled.

Rick Franklin Industries facility in Lebanon, OR, was our second stop.

Locomotives at Rick Franklin Industries, Lebanon, OR.  It was good to see an old friend, LLW 5399, resplendent in “Black Widow” paint and full light packages.  The Albany and Eastern and RFI units in the background show railroad impartiality to the two big state universities <Go Beavers!>.

In contrast to the LLW 5399, here is the parted-out radiator end of W&P 1851, another SD9.   Rick Franklin salvages and parts out a vast array of railroad equipment.  Some gets reused as originally designed, other gets repurposed (flat cars becoming road bridges) while some goes to scrap.

RFI purchased this unique bit of SP maintenance gear, formerly based at Oakridge for use in tunnels.  Rod Loder, our meet organizer just checked it out.

Larry V’s railroad empire, loosely based on the Valley and Siletz.  “What if?” the V&S made it over the Coast Range to the Coast?

Chuck C’s double deck (and more!) Modoc empire. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


As I completed the primary wiring at Oakridge, the urge to run a train FROM somewhere (Springfield) TO somewhere else (Oakridge) became quite compelling.  While I await parts for the bridge I will build at Westfir, I finally conceded the need to place a temporary bridge (piece of plywood) across the gap, followed by cork and track.  With the track for the new Oakridge East Main block wired, it was time to run a train!

I grabbed my current road power—a set of Atlas GP40-2s, several freight cars and a caboose and assembled all of this at Springfield.  A baker’s dozen cars and a caboose were hauled RR-West to Oakridge, becoming the first official train into Oakridge. 

First train arrives in Oakridge.

I already had several locomotives over in Oakridge that I used for checking out basic track and wiring.  The first train represents the first time a train including cars and a caboose arrived on scene.  The pair of GP35s on the engine lead of the photo were used to check out the wye and its auto-reverser electronic module.  I deliberately used less expensive locos with basic decoders installed for this test task.  No need to blow an expensive sound module for the wye electrical reversing checkout!

That baker’s dozen cars just didn’t look like enough cars for a proper SP train, especially on the main, sidings and yard tracks, all of which are at least twenty (actual) feet long.  Now it was time to do some switching to add more cars.  My trusty Baldwin DRS 6-6-15 did the chores, though I had to help it a little once the train grew to 25 cars.  It took quite a while to assemble the train as I ran the Baldwin at slow switching speeds, appropriate for the task.  I am beginning to understand quite how large a railroad I am building!

Switching more cars into the train at Oakridge.

The return trip RR-Eastbound to Springfield had its own visual thrill as the long train wound its way through the S-curves beyond Westfir.  This is the first taste of what this layout was designed to portray:  long SP freight trains winding their way through the valley and up into the Cascades.  The railroad is coming alive!

First RR-Eastbound proceeds toward Springfield.