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June 2008 - Page 24


By John C u re // P hotos by Robert Schleicher
J ohn Cure is recreating the Southern Pacific's former narrow gauge line across the Mojave Desert as a standard gauge I nyokern Subdivision cut-off line in his 25 x 38-foot layout. There's an i ndex of all previ ous prototype-based layout tours on our website at
he Southern Pacific Inyokern CInyo for short) subdivision i s a hybrid layout of the prototype and some freelancing. In areas where the rai l road ex isted in standard gauge form, the proto type is fol lowed, c i rca m id- J 980s. At the end of the standard gauge l i ne in Owenyo begins the taking of l i berties by standard gaugi ng the narrow gauge route into Nevada as was considered duri ng World War II. The i ndustry base and types in the area fol lowed, and Car Cards and way b i l l s route cars t o them. D ispatc h i ng uses a DTC form. The layout is operations-oriented with most construction on very narrow shelves to al low the design for a long run of mai n l i n e trains. Most of the layout is Homosote or Homobed roadbed over p ly-


wood. Wiring was originally done w i th blocks, but in a heavy-duty manner for easy conversion to the now-in-use North Coast Engi neering (NCE) DCC system . T h e blocks more o r l e s s fol low signal i ng blocks for that l ater addition. Set up for w i re less operation, there are enough jacks around to cover most emergencies, and keep operations mov i ng. Operations on the layout have not devel oped very far due to the absence of the large to-be-bu i l t yard at M i na. The i n itial plan was to move each session up a year, ala Joe Fugate, but over a wider number of years. For now, we ' re j ust concentrat ing on using equ ipment that works well and has decoders. Quite a few of the lo comotives have been detai led with S P de tai ls, and some fre ight cars are special use or somewhat un ique. Major freight traffic i n c ludes the potash and soda ash indus-

tries, barite and copper mjn i ng and pro cessing, along with other m i nerals. Most of the traffic would be based on that of the competitor Union Pacific's LA&SL route from Ogden to Los Angeles . There is a m i nor presence of both Western Pac i fi c and Santa F e a s wel l a s short l i ne connec tions. Overall the layout occupies a 25 x 38-foot garage arranged so that one vehicle can sti l l be put i ns ide. Aisles are in the 2 1 /2 to 4-foot range with wider pas s i ng spots. Scenery covers the high desert and tries for the spac ious look. Many k it-con verted structures add flavor and distinction. The carbon black plant, a copper m i l l and smelter, along with a cement plant are among the more fi n ished ones. Moving the products of heavy i ndustry through the desert make for an i nteresting theme.


Photo 2. The lancaster Industrial Park (far right) including the Thompson Coors Distributor, Bosch feed milling and other industries. Built on drop-leaf so car can be garaged.


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