Well, modeling Casa Grande in the 1980’s appears to be a little more difficult then I originally planned. The signature building is (was) an art deco depot built in 1939 (burnt in 2009) and I can not locate a SPINS (Southern Pacific Industry Numbering System) for CG at all. I can buy a kit of a Southern Pacific Type 23 depot, or I have plans to scratch build one in styrene.
I am kicking around the idea of freelancing a new city on the Sunset Route. the idea that I have is to have a small yard on the west end of town and having a large switching area on both sides of the main. now here is where it gets fun, and not prototypical…all of the track will be based on 2 classic switching puzzles, but increased to hide their true nature, so when I want to use them as a puzzle, I can scale back the number of cars that “fit” the sidings. The yard to the east will be an Inglenook, the main switching area will be a Timesaver, and the top siding in the west of the Timesaver will be another Inglenook pointing the opposite direction, at a grain silo to make it look more realistic. The run-around will have to be long enough for a pair of GP’s and a pair of 50 foot cars and the liquid fertilizer plant will need to have a siding long enough to hold my pair of early Atlas jumbo tank cars (just about 6 inches each).
My givens are simple, code 80 Atlas flex track since I have a dozen pieces, and Atlas custom line #6’s so I can use my SD40-T2’s…
I threw this plan together VERY quickly in Atlas RTS in about 20 minutes. It is currently on a pair of 30 inch wide doors, and can be narroewed down a lot!
In the last year, I have picked up a group of 4 Atlas ACF hoppers, a Micro-Trains PS2 3-Bay “High Side” and a BLMA PS2CD 4000.
The Atlas hoppers are now on their Train Man line, but the4 that I have are all US built and came with Rapido couplers. All that I have done to them is swapped out the couplers to Unimates. These models have thick roofwalks and the molded details are clunky. The ladders are built to withstand being played with by my 7 year old. These are great 3 foot models due to thick details, a lack of brake details and thick seam lines. With a current MSRP of $10.95, they make real good cars for bulk trains. These models are based on 1971 prototypes.
The Micro-Trains PS2 hopper dates back to 1966, and it features many fine details. The roofwalk is a very thin, separately added detail piece. the molded details are great, much finer than the Atlas model, and there is basic brake details. My complaint is that the couplers are painted/molded in gray. The MSRP is $25.55
What can I say about the BLMA PS-4000 that has not been said? It is incredible, the new BLMA trucks look great. The details that are molded on incredible, the brake details are separate items and the etched brake platforms and roof walk are, well, perfect! There are even holes in the frame like the prototype. I just wish that I bought this car in 2009 so I could have got the other 2 numbers! My friend Ashley pointed out the paint on this car first. With an MSRP of $26.95, I don’t know how they made a profit.
I have stepped over this many times and never really thought about it. On the Industrial spur near VIP and Main, there is a simple grade crossing. Since the nearest road is a vacant lot, there is no need for even a crossbuck. It looks like it is only there for a track crew to cross….
Last month, on the first, I went down to look at the switching zone south of Main, near VIP. I did something that I never do and walked down the tracks. to my dismay, the SP caboose was no where to be seen.
This morning, I went back down there, saw that there was recent track work done, including the removal of a switch/turn-out. Sitting there, in her rusting glory, not quite in the same spot is a Southern Pacific caboose. So today, I went up to it, took some shots, and finally have proof for an argument if a caboose has an A and a B end.
Athearn has released a model of this caboose, now I just have to track one down
The wife and I did some long distance railfanning today (she called it hiking). We drove till the pavement ended and started to walk up the access road.
The 2 mile hike up the mountain with the “CG” gave us a unique perspective of the Casa Grande Valley. It also shows how often the Borg runs their freights through, and how much I wish that Tunnels were pulling them. Getting up, out of the valley was a fun experience, and it shows that my compressed track plan really does not give the sense of how large this small city is…Do I continue with my 8 foot plan or stretch it out for a longer run?