Messages From modelrailroadsofsoutherncalifornia



#4874 Dec 23, 2011

The High Desert Layout Tour next February will feature four HO railroads (one more signed on this week) and one On30 railroad. All five layouts are appearing on the tour program for the first time. I hope to have one or two more layouts signed on by tour time.

Below is a description of one of the layouts.

Bob Chaparro


John Parrish's HO scale Great Southwest and Pacific Railroad covers 94 square feet with an 83 foot mainline. He models the 1950s through early 1970s. Both steam and diesel power are used with for the three principal western railroads: Santa Fe, SP and UP.

Bench work is L-girder construction. The track plan features wide radius curves for long trains and passenger cars. Track is Atlas Code 83. John operates using the Digitrax Zephyr DCC system.

The layout has ten different tunnels that connect five different western scenes: desert, red rock, mountains, ocean, and California's "golden" oak hills. All backdrops are hand painted. Scenery is about forty percent complete and includes a red rock arch, palm trees and orange groves. Scratch-built vegetation includes Joshua and aspen trees, Ponderosa pines and California Black Oaks. There is a scratch-built cemetery with grave markers. The Pacific Coast shoreline features sunbathers and surfers. The Calico ghost town has a six mule team borax wagon and a curved wood trestle over Rock Canyon.

The train room is surrounded by railroad memorabilia, including many western rail posters, photographs (some taken by John), paintings, and timetables. Included is a New York Central "20th Century Limited" dinner menu from 1939, two lanterns (ATSF and New Haven), switch keys from Southern Pacific, an Illinois Central telegraph register of trains with Casey Jones's signature and a prototype (and very heavy) Santa Fe dwarf target light signal from Barstow.

Current operations consist of through freights, passenger trains and just running trains.