LAJ Update

Los Angeles-Junction-Railway-Trackplan

It’s been a productive month on the LAJ layout.  Progress being: made a visit to the actual site in Vernon, solved the lighting problem, finalized and tightened up the track plan, laid all the track (half of which is permanent), wired in the track and activated the control system.

The LAJ is proto freelance.  It draws heavily on the lead to Federal Cold Storage but doesn’t model it exactly.  Freelancing has the advantage of giving some flexibility but you need to choose your elements carefully so as to capture the flavor of the area and not give the impression that you “cherry picked” .  You do cherry pick, you just don’t want to be obvious about it.  All of the structures and industries are either on the lead or within a mile or so.  Sabor Hispano is a small food processor that used to take an occasional car.  On my visit a few weeks ago it was clear it is no longer rail served but I’ll bend the rules a bit and assume it still takes a car now and then.  .  Federal Cold Storage is no longer rail served but is an iconic structure on the skyline.  General Mills is the major customer on this lead.  The problem is grain hoppers aren’t really car spot dependent so you lose some operational interest.  I needed to find a replacement industry that would be more interesting to switch out.

I spent considerable time deciding what to select as the major industry.  The answer ended up being Sweetener Products, a corn syrup processor  located about a mile away and served by the UP.  The advantage of a corn syrup facility is that it is highly dependent upon car spots since each grade of syrup needs to be placed at the appropriate discharge hose.  In the plan above the numbers 55, 200, and 300 indicate the syrup grades.  I also like the fact that the 17,600 gallon cars are typically an understated uniform flat black, an appearance that just “looks right” for what I’m trying to accomplish.  The cars are also pretty short which also helps.  In the plan above an incoming train will have five cars of various grades that will need to be sorted. The areas blocked in red to can be used to that end.  Once the cars are sorted a grand pull is performed removing the empties and then spotting the loads.  The slot between the Sweetener Products gate and Everett Avenue can serve team track duty thus adding one more industry.

I tend to take a time oriented approach to design.  It will easily take forty five minutes to work Sweetener Products which is about as long as I car to run most days.  The layout will be fairly detailed so should keep me pretty busy for at least a few years.  Again, two years is a good chunk of time, and a lot of play value per square foot.


The photo above is of Sweetener Products in Vernon.  I like the understated look and short length of the cars as well as the fact that they are car spot dependent.  For the actual structure on my layout I plan to get away from the totally modern steel look and go with a slightly older brick.