Wednesday, August 1, 2018


Each year around the August 1, anniversary of the official start of construction in 2012, I do a photo survey of my railroad.  This helps me and you readers see what progress I have made in the preceding year.  Last year's post can be found at:
You can link back to prior years via a similar link at the top of each of the annual surveys.

This past year saw me make major visual progress on the railroad. Bridges, trestles (viaducts), tunnels and terrain have sprouted over much of the mountain grade portion of the railroad.  Prior years saw the primary construction, fleshing out of the initial core (finished just in time for the August, 2015, NMRA National Convention), refinements prompted by regular operations, and a beginning on structures for industries served by my railroad.  

This year's photo survey will follow the CZLAT (Crown Zellerbach to Los Angeles Trailers) RR-Westbound from Eugene to Crescent Lake.  This is one of the trailer and auto rack trains added to my regular operations in the past couple of years.  Those long cars challenge clearances and roadbed vertical kinks introduced during construction.  By late 1984, the CZLAT had developed from a mostly boxcar train to one with TOFC (Trailer On Flat Car) equipment as wells as the box cars of paper products (think "TP").  

This photo survey will include more photos than usual, befitting the major visual changes introduced this past year.  The captions will highlight those changes.

The CZLAT, running as SP X8283W, prepares to leave the Eugene Arrival-Departure Yard.  A full house in Eugene put the CZLAT on AD-Track 7 instead of the preferred use of tracks 1-5 for Portland-originating traffic. This past year we reversed the normal operating direction in the reverse loop tacks that make up the Arrival-Departure Yard.  This makes it easier for the Santa Clara Tower Operator and road crews to identify the motive power on RR-Westbound trains.

X8283W rolls past the Eugene Depot.  Many of the structures here were 2017 additions, seen in last year's survey. GP9s have taken over yard switching duties as I wrestle with electrical contact and other running issues on my fleet of SW1500s.

SP 8283 crosses the Willamette River between Eugene and Springfield.  

The CZLAT continues RR-Westbound through Springfield.  Springfield is a major industrial complement to Eugene. It looks like I should spend some time filling in structures and an initial scenery treatment here.

SP X8283W rolls around the Marcola area on the railroad.  I built that grain elevator more than four decades ago and it has followed me around the country.  It still serves well.

SP 8283 rolls onto the bridge over the North Fork of the Willamette River at Westfir.  The old Western Lumber sawmill complex continues to provide lots of carloads to the SP on this railroad!  This past year, I built up and finished the major sawmill structures.  I finally sorted out how to represent the log pond as an entrapment of part of the river.  This cleared the way to add the basic terrain shell to the area.

The CZLAT pokes out of Tunnel 22 at the RR-East end of Oakridge.  As a priority train with TOFC cars entrained, the CZLAT takes the mainline through town. Lower priority freight trains without the long cars are routed into the yard at Oakridge to have helpers place mid-train.  The CZLAT will get its helpers on the front of the train.  Tunnel 22 through "THE" Oak Ridge was bored during the Harriman era.  The Oakridge Turn power is in the foreground, waiting for its crew to come back after their eight-hour rest and return to Eugene by way of Westfir.  

A pair of SD39s are today's helper power for the CZLAT.  The SP bought SD39s for helper duty in the Tehachapi Mountains of Southern California and similar duty on other nearby grades. With their long end porches and full light packages, they are very appealing to me, so here they are, transplanted to Oregon!  

As alluded to above, SP operating rules required helpers to be placed on the front of trains containing long equipment such as the 89-feet long TOFC cars in the CZLAT.  My SP Dispatcher friend notes it was easier and faster to put point helpers on the train while occupying the mainline rather than entering the Oakridge Yard. Trains without the long cars do go into the yard to have mid-train helpers entrained.  That is a longer process which includes more time to make the air brake connections and perform an air test.  Today's CZLAT, though, gets the priority treatment of a point helper.

With the air test complete, the CZLAT begins the major climb toward the top of the Cascades as it crosses Salmon Creek, just out of Oakridge.

The CZLAT climbs up into McCredie Springs, one of the first major sidings above Oakridge.  Tunnel 21 is high on my list of future terrain forming efforts.

Climbing out of McCredie Springs, the CZLAT crosses the bridge over Eagle Creek.  I just finished this scenery effort at the end of July.

Here is a wider view of the Eagle Creek area, with Shady Creek Trestle looming above it.  That steep canyon needed to drain somewhere, hence the bridge over Eagle Creek.

Our point helper set emerges from Tunnel 20 as it climbs toward Wicopee. A train waits on the mainline above at Cruzatte.

Climbing out of Wicopee, our train crosses Salt Creek Trestle.  This is the longest trestle (viaduct) on the line. Highway 58, the Willamette Pass Highway, passes underneath.

Another view of our train crossing over Highway 58 using Salt Creek Trestle.

Our train skirts along the rock face between Tunnels 10 and 12. Tunnel 10 has open gallery rock sheds at both ends.

Noisy Creek Trestle spans between the rock shed portals for Tunnels 9 and 10.

The CZLAT meets an RVEUY which is holding the main at Cruzatte for the meet.  Wicopee siding can be seen below.  Though fore-shortened in my model, the tracks really do stack closely in this stretch of the Cascade climb.

Our train emerges from Tunnel 8 to cross Shady Creek Trestle and then plunge immediately into Tunnel 7.

Tunnel 5 has a long open-gallery rock shed at its RR-West end.

The climb is about over as our train crosses Trapper Creek after emerging from Tunnel 3 at the summit.

With the Cascades conquered, the helper is removed from the CZLAT at Cascade Summit.  The helper is joining another helper set on the Beattie Spur--actually a short siding. The helpers will await the pleasure of the Dispatcher for their return to Oakridge.  Depending on traffic and any urgency for helpers at Oakridge, the Dispatcher may send the helpers back down the hill light (alone) or may put them on the point of a RR-Eastbound to help a train downgrade with their dynamic brakes.

Journey's end on my railroad, the SP8283West rolls to a stop in upper staging at Crescent Lake.  Historically, Crescent Lake was the Division boundary between the Shasta and Portland Divisions of the Southern Pacific.  It had a modest yard and a depot with Train Order Operators for both Divisions.  This makes a logical end for my railroad.


  1. Love the scenery progress, Bill. Keep up the fine work!

  2. Likewise, your making great progress given the scope of the project...I'm always amazing out how the large layout owners get this stuff done.
    Looking good Bill