The P&SF is a model Railroad inspired by the real Santa Fe branchline in Arizona from Ash Fork on the Santa Fe mainline, to Phoenix.
The original name of this line was "The Santa Fe, Prescott & Phoenix Railway".
The period is set around 1961 when this line still served Prescott and had to climb grades up to 3 per cent.
I enjoy watching the layout come alive when friends are coming down in my basement for an opsession. Sadly I have not been able to host opsessions so often I would like the last years, but finaly we managed to operate the P&SF late in May.
The room is pretty small and become pretty crowded. Four to six people is maximum.
When enough operators show up, I can be host and supervisor or even take a nap when things runs smothely! Like this thuesday.
Here are a few photos from this day:
The Hassayampa Chief waiting in the Ash Fork Staging Yard. This is an Intermounain F3AB I bought this spring. It has ESU LokSound decoders factory installed. Just in time for the opsession ESU launched its new Full Throttle features, making running diesel enginees more fun. I still have to learn more of all the features though.
The rest of the pictures shows the yard crew working hard to sort the cars.
The SRX reefer train with SFRD reefer cars is my signature train: The Salt River Valley Express with Letuce and other perishables from the fertile Salt River Valley in Arizona.
I try to run one each opsession
I found an Excell sheet on the late Wolfang Dudlers site
(link) and based my WayBills on his
sheet, but with some significant changes.
First – I do not use four cycles per WayBill that needs
to be turned. I use only one cycle per waybill, but have two to four or even
more WayBills in each pocket of a CarCard.
Second- I have
have color codes for different switching areas and staging, making it easier
for my crew when sorting cars.
For now I do not have details on what goodies the car ships,
just the industry and the industrial area or staging.
I also have some cards with HOLD telling the crew to replace the car at the same spot.
My crews follow the instructions on the WayBills, but do
not turn them or move them.
Between the opsessions I do move the front WayBill in the
pocket of each CarCard to the back of the stack in the pocket.
I have mounted some boxes from Micro Mark for the
I have also made some taller cards with appropriate colors the yardmaster can
use when he is blocking the trains. I have also written some instructions on
I have schematic plans for the yard or industrial district hanging in clear plastic envelopes beneath the boxes. This is an idea I found on the great MRH-forum.
I also has schematic plans for the whole layout hanging around.
I have no timetable, but a loosely based sequens set up
for the trains we are running.
A pair of passenger trains, the ”Hassayampa Chief” and a
motorcar runs from Phoenix Union Station to staging and back during the
All freight trains are extras. The yardmaster calls for
a freight train out of Mobest yard when he has 14-16 car going west or east, which
still is to the same way to small staging yard.
We try to not send freight trains to the yard when the
yard crews has lot of work.
I have also madea
kind of instruction sheet for each train. This has some instructions on
trainhandling and use of horns, some tips, the number for the DCC decoder and a
list of the functions of that decoder.
There is a system map and also a switchlist on the
back side for those who wants to use such a list.
The opsessions are very informal, and we do have lots of
fun operating the layout
When preparing my layout for an op-session last year, in a flash I could put words on what is my main goal for my layout:
Build a layout that is fun to operate!
Scenery, buildings, weathering, details etc will be a bonus if I ever come around to build that.
When it comes to operation, I like many things:
Industrial switching Yard switching Local freight trains Mainline freight trains Reefer trains (SRX) Long trains Helpers (steep grades) Interchange I like to operate
on my own with my son with a couple of friends But I really have a good time when the layout becomes busy with my operation crew of 4-6 people Actually, I do already have had lots of fun with operation on this layout, despite lots of temporary solutions.
My history with model trains include both the Arctic and Arizona. I have never been in Arizona, but my model railroad is inspired by the Peavine – the Santa Fe branch from their transcontinental mainline to Phoenix.
My first train set, however, was bought in colder climate, in Longyearbyen, 78 degrees north.
I lived there 1960-63 as a small boy together with my family. I even visited Ny-Ålesund further north, a small settlement that probably hosted the worlds northernmost railroad-operation hauling coal from the mines to the harbour.
Christmas eve 1963 we were back in continental Norway, but my parents had a real surprise for my brother and me: They had bought a Märklin starter set with some extra track and cars. I have scanned some of my fathers old slides, and it seems that one of those cars might have been an UP-gondala!
My mother says she never knew that she started a life long interest in railroading and trains.
The next autumn we moved to Hol in the Hallingdal valley. Bergensbanen, the mainline between Oslo to Bergen runs through the valley. When not at school I was often found on the “StationRoute” the combined freight and passenger bus between our village and the station. I am not sure of how much help the bus driver actually got from us kids, but he was a kind and funny man.
I built and tore down the tracks a lot of times. Those layouts got more advanced, but I never got into building scenery. I must admit I still have no experience building scenery.
I came to Oslo in the mid 70s and soon discovered a good hobby shop. They introduced me for the German magazine MiBa and even to an US locomotive, which I later think must have been a SP GP38 from Atlas (Roco). I never bought that one, but that could have changed my model railroading history (smile).
During these years I did move from the Märklin 3-rail AC to 2-rail DC and now with Norwegian prototype.
I bought my first issue of the ModelRailroader some years later. During the years following I was more and more influenced by modelling US-style. In 1996 I eventually swapped out my Norwegian and European equipment with US-models. I never looked back.
I learned about the Peavine line in an issue of the Warbonnet. It features an important branch line running through different kind of scenery, from pine covered hills to the desert and the city of Phoenix. Until 1961 it also had very steep grades with helper operation. Just what a modeller wants. My model railroad is inspired by the real Peavine in the early 60s. I do not try to model it closely.
When I switched to modelling US modelling, my three sons bought there own rolling stock. Only the oldest one, Eivind is still a model railroader.
A couple of years ago, when browsing through my first issue of ModelRailroader, the February 1982 issue, I made a surprising discovery. In that very issue there was a mention of the Santa Fe, Prescott & Phoenix - the Peavine line – in the first instalment of John Olsons series on the Jerome & Southwestern.
That layout was set in the Arizona desert. But Arizona has more to offer, even heavy snowfalls.
I was really surprised the other day when I browsed through the october 2014 issue of MRH.
In the Questions, Answers and Tips section was a couple of my plan used as illustration for a Nolix, that is "Gaining height without a helix".
This gains traffic on my blog, so I felt I needed to update this blog, although there is not much to say.
My health has not been well the last year, so not much has been done on the layout, except the usual dreaming and planning.
I have installed a Tsunami-decoder in a F7 set and have fun running this with settings learned from the MRH-forum. I have also hosted some op-sessions. The newest guy is a real life locomotive engineer here in Norway.
I am lucky who have a crew of 5-6 guys coming over. They are the reason I am planning and hopefully building a somewhat larger layout than perhaps would have made common sense.
With some help from my friends, this could be a nice layout to operate, which is my goal.
I like yard switching and industry swithing, but I also want the trains to run a little distance with locals or trough freights and the small passenger train. That is why I am heading for a doubledecked layout.
Her is the current plan:
Her is some 3d snapshots from my 3rdPlanIt-drawings:
I have been working ever so slowly this winter with some changes in the yard and Glendale Industrial District. These changes are also included in the trackplan.
I have added a crossover in Mobest Yard:
Switching Glendale created problems for the whole yard as it did not have its own runaround track.
I have now added a runaround track. I had to move the mainline and the yardlead and some industries to do this.
I have also splitted the yard and the rest of the layout in two Power disctricts by two PSXs.
And I have installed a Dual Frog Juicers for the two number 8 turnouts in the yard.
Tomorrow we will have an op-session. I am looking forward to test these changes.
Yes, I know, it is quite a while since I have posted here. I am realizing I am not a blogger. But I do have some good news to share with you.
1. My healthsituation is much better now. Last september I attended a LP-training seminary and my health is now becoming better for each month.
2. I have been working more on the layout this winter than before. I have built a long grade for testing out how steep grades my trains can handle on resonabely straigth track and in the sharpest curves I plan if I go for a doubledecked layout. It seems to work. Last thuesday the guys in the US-rails tested put it to test in an op-session. Oh yes, the plans needs adjustment, wondering what will come up next.
3. Eivind showed off his first 0-scale sections at a show arranged by the Trondheim ModelRailroadClub - TMJK. Se the O-scale community in Norway and TMJK sites. I even visited Eivind in january. Trondheim is some nine hours ride with trains north of us. Eivind is studing sivil engineering there.
4. There is a new magazine in town - a free e-zine - a downloadable magazine. If you have not checked it out yet, I recommend you do it ASAP. It is great. Joe Fugate is doing a very good job with this one. BTW - the name is ModelRailroadHobbyist - or MRH for short.
The MRH site also host a great discussion forum. Both Eivind and I have our own blogs there, and I would likely post more over there on my layout as there are many thousands active users there. Eivinds blog My blog
5. This spring a friend of mine and I have met some days doing some work like installing decoders and renumbering cars.
So here I am, still dreaming of the layout in my dreams, but now I am also doing a little bit work on it.