SLIM RAILS - pdln3 97-08-28


    The Southern Pacific narrow gauge railroad is the prototype followed for the narrow gauge portion of the N scale Pacific Desert Lines layout in the San Diego Model Railroad Museum. The layout will model present day operations. We have a 2.7 scale mile long mainline, with two different types of traffic - tourists and Gypsum.

    One end originates in the town of Tourmaline, which will be a 'Wild West - Turn of the Century' tourist town (like Old Tucson). A tourist excursion train will travel from there to the extreme other end of the line (89 actual feet away) for a visit to a Gypsum mine. Tourmaline will include a Passenger and Freight station, a few industries, the town (maybe a film crew and a 'shootout'!), coal, water, and a loop track to turn the trains.

    At the far end, the narrow gage line will model the USG gypsum train that still operates in Plaster City, located in the Anza Borrego Desert east of here (San Diego). The train hauls raw gypsum out of a mine up to a processing plant. The gypsum is converted into wallboard and shipped out by standard gage rail to El Centro and on to Los Angeles or to the East. USG has run a variety of motive power on their line, and there are photos of SP#9 working the line at one point too! The current power is two Alco (actually MLW) DL-535's, hauling specially made dump hoppers. These are low nose hood-type units, originally ordered by White Pass and Yukon but never delivered. The Nn3 Plaster City terminus is being redesigned to add more industrial tracks for local switching. The mine terminus will include a C&C one stall engine house and machine shop, an outdoor repair facility (as used at Keeler), a "Laws" armstrong turntable, coal bin and hoist, water, sand, oil, passenger station, old boarding house, and a work camp.

    So far (January, 1997), the ties are laid at the Tourmaline end, and the hidden trackage is installed through to Plaster City. Rails are following the PDL standards and are Code 40 nickel silver, laid on wood and printed circuit ties. Turnouts are hand made no.6, and are ready to install. The USG mine end is penciled in, but is hiding in my garage right now. The turnouts are done for this end also. The area in Plaster City is being redesigned to fit with changes in the standard gauge trackage. There will be additional industries available for switching and other operations.

    The line will allow any narrow gauge equipment the club members wish to model, since there is very little out there in Nn3. This fits with the present day tourist operations, using whatever steam power could be found and restored. You are likely to see a variety of roads represented, including the Colorado lines. Since the prototype SPng was constantly getting equipment from other RRs that the SP shut down or expanded to standard gauge, it is in that tradition that the club continues to accept "orphans" from other RRs. When the club members get their equipment up and running, and there is enough track to show it off, I will be adding photos to these pages. 'Chick Sales' rides again!


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