THE SIERRA WESTERN
& SANTA FE RR
- This is where the Santa Fe crosses
the Southern Pacific at grade. The tower is maintained by the
- A pair of interchange tracks are
located between the Southern Pacific & Santa Fe mainlines
immediately after the crossing
- The Southern Pacific then disappears
behind the backdrop to a three track staging yard with reverse
loop which represents Redding, Dunsmuir, and all points to the
north. The Santa Fe continues on to Redding
- A large Owens-Corning fiberglass
plant is located on the west side of the junction. It is switched
by the Southern Pacific
- This is the mid point of the Redding
Division. Here the valley ends and the mountains begin
- A medium sized yard and basic engine
facilities are located here
- In the days of steam this was the
where helpers were added to all northbound trains and removed
from most southbound trains which required the helpers to assist
with braking. There was much activity around the roundhouse,
turntable and full engine service facilities in that era. Today,
helpers are still added on to northbound trains, but on only about
half the trains
- The roundhouse and turntable are
still occasionally used, but most of servicing is now done in
- Beginning at the north end of the
yard the mainline follows the realignment necessitated by the
building of Shasta Dam in the late 1930's and Lake Shasta which
formed behind it. This the beginning of the 2.3% grade towards
- Exiting the yard the mainline immediately
curves towards the north-east and becomes single track again.
It heads towards a tall ridge which contains the lake.
- The single track mainline tunnels
through a ridge and immediately crosses over the 562ft Pit River
bridge to gain access to the east shore of the McCloud River Arm
of Lake Shasta.
- The mainline follows the lake for
several miles to gain elevation before tunneling through South
- This area will be modeled with the
lake surface against the backdrop and the ridge that the track
follows towards the aisle. The mainline will follow the ridgeline
approximately 75-100 ft above the lake surface. The train operator
will be looking down onto his train and the lake as if standing
higher up on the ridge. This configuration will benefit visibility
to the lower deck by angling the underside of the upper deck higher
towards the aisle.
- The small town of Douglas is located
in a short and shallow valley which forms a gap in Harboeck Ridge
- The Santa Fe surveyors used this gap to eliminate
the need for a tunnel through the ridge.
- The mainline drops downgrade into Douglas from
South Benito Ridge and curves through town on a long and relatively
flat horseshoe curve.
- A passing siding on the left side
of the mainline begins 1 mile before the curve.
- Two additional tracks on the inside
of the curve serve as the interchange tracks with the Sierra Western
RR which has its southern terminus here.
- The Sierra Western began its existence
shortly after the Santa Fe laid tracks through this area in the
early 20's. The owners had planned to tap the rich lumber reserves
from the Pacific coast to the Yosemite valley area. It never
reached beyond Lowell, the east end of the line about 50 miles
east of Douglas, and Heldatt, the western terminus about 35 miles
to the west. The portion that was built served a thriving lumber
industry which lasted until the late 40's. Today, it still serves
a few industries, including a rock quarry and a small lumber mill,
before reaching Heldatt. All track to the east to Lowell was
abandoned in the early 50's. Steep grades and sharp curves require
small motive power and short trains. Never having been a prosperous
railroad, the SW has been forced to continue maintaining and operating
a few steam engines and some 1st generation diesels.
- The old Santa Fe depot, located
on the outside of the curve, is used by both railroads to transfer
passengers and occasional less-than-carload freight.
- There are only two industry spurs off the Santa
Fe mainline - a cement plant and a warehouse. They are usually
switched by the Sierra Western crews.
- The Sierra Western also has a small engine facility
in Douglas. It includes a small three track yard, a roundhouse
and a turntable.
- The Santa Fe mainline becomes single track again
at the end of the horseshoe curve. Here the grade increases to
2% until reaching Wyona
- Highest point on the Sierra Western
- End of the line for the Sierra Western
- Wyona used to be a train order station.
It was abandoned in 1945 when the second track from Wyona to
Raymond was constructed and CTC was installed through here.
- The second track was built to lessen
the uphill grade from 2.8% to 2.0%. It is parallel, but not adjacent
to, the original grade. In places it is several hundred yards
to the east of the original grade. Along with the lessened grade,
it has broader curves, fewer tunnels and increased clearances.
- The original track is now used for
southbound trains coming downhill after cresting the pass between
Wyona and Raymond.
- The newer track is used for trains moving uphill
and eliminates the need for half the helpers that used to be required
- Occasionally, the direction of travel on the
two tracks is switched when the situation requires it.
ORACLE ROCK & GRANITE COMPANY
- The largest industry on this district
is the Oracle Rock & Granite Company's quarry, processing
plant and loading facility, located on the west side of the mainline
2 miles before reaching Raymond
- Various types of rock, including
high grade granite slabs, are quarried nearby and processed and
- The company maintains its own 30" gauge
electric railway to move materials to the processing plant.
- This is the Santa Fe's busiest customer on the
Redding Division. It is not unusual to switch 30 or more carloads
per day in and out of the plant.
- The double track mainline passes underneath some
of the plant's conveyors which feed large piles of rock and gravel
for later loading.
- A double crossover is located on
the mainline 2 miles before the plant. It is often used by crews
while switching the plant. Another facing point crossover is
located about ½ mile past the plant. It too is used by crews
switching the plant, and is also used to switch Raymond.
- An abandoned logging branch curves
off to the right across the tracks from the Oracle plant. It
is now less than a mile long and is mostly used as additional
storage for cars to and from the gravel plant.
- Raymond is a small, well kept town
located on the edge of a small valley. Tourism is the main industry
here, with several popular ski resorts nearby. The station still
sees passenger service, especially in the winter, since the roads
into this area can sometimes be difficult. In the summer, tourists
visit for a relaxing vacation and provide enough business that
many of the resorts continue to stay open. Some of these people
arrive by train
- A siding and five industry spurs
are located on the west side of the main.
- The mainline remains double tracked
up to the north edge of town. There it becomes single track again
and begins a steady 2.1 % ascent to Hipoint before dropping down
- At the end of the double track another
logging spur used to swing off to the right to a lumber mill.
It continued under the main and up a long, narrow valley to the
lumber stands. The logging mill operated here until the early
50's when a forest fire swept through the area. Although the
town was spared, the mill burned to the ground. Several years
later the branch washed out beyond the mainline bridge and has
been abandoned ever since.
- Some of the old mill tracks are
still being used by another industry which has located there.
- This is the highest and most remote
point on this district of the Santa Fe. A long passing siding
is still active here, but the train order station, water tower,
and maintenance-of-way buildings have all been abandoned and are
in a state of disrepair. Some MOW is still stored here on a short
track in front of the old train order station.
- This area also sees the most severe
weather and has always required much monitoring and track maintenance.
MOW facilities had always been located here from the very start.
It was not a pleasant assignment for the crews. Today, modern
maintenance techniques and more efficient MOW equipment has permitted
the facilities and crews to be located in a more hospitable place.
- This is where the Redding Division
ends. All trains change crews here. Most trains continue without
reblocking or switching.
- As the Santa Fe mainline approaches the south
end of the McCloud yard it parallels abandoned Mcloud River RR
right away .
- The yard is at the south end of town and includes
a small classification yard, car shops, roundhouse and turntable.
- The McCloud River RR's track begins
opposite the Santa Fe yard throat and parallels the Santa Fe mainline
past the north end of the yard until it crosses at grade and disappears
behind the backdrop. An engine service lead to the Santa Fe's
roundhouse is also crossed by the McCloud.
- Interchange with the McCloud Railroad
occurs on a short interchange track adjacent to the grade crossing.
It only holds eight cars and is often filled.
- There are several industries switched by one
of the two railroads including a large lumber mill that is switched
- The Santa Fe mainline enters a tunnel and ends
in the Klamath Staging yard. This yard is made up of 12 tracks,
each 25ft long to handle 35 car trains.
- The McCloud RR has a four track staging yard
under the Klamath Staging yard. It is reached by disappearing
behind the lumber mill and backdrop.
- There is a reverse loop disguised
as a track entering a warehouse. It connects to the McCloud track
behind the backdrop and follows this track to the grade crossing
to complete the loop. The loop will allow continuous operation
- Another track curves behind the
lumber mill buildings and becomes the top of the helix to the
lower level. It can be used as an additional staging track.
- This is the end of the modeled portion
of the layout.
- McCloud staging yard - four tracks
- All track north towards Portland,