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Proto-freelanced: The Santa Cruz Northern Railroad

Discussion in 'Route Suggestions & Proposals' started by Adam Palmer, Jul 27, 2018.

  1. Yes

    5 vote(s)
  2. No

    3 vote(s)
  1. Adam Palmer

    Adam Palmer Active Member

    Dec 9, 2016
    Likes Received:
    The Santa Cruz Northern railroad is an HO scale model railroad owned and operated by Jim Providenza. The route is proto-freelanced meaning that while the railroad itself is fictional (or semi-fictional in this case), the towns it passes through are real as well as the area its set in, California's Santa Cruz Mountains. The era and area in which the railroad is set is pre-Silicon Valley San Jose so this means that industries such as fruit packing warehouses in San Jose and redwood lumber in the mountains are still present.

    The route is set in the early 1970's and is modelled as a subsidiary of the Santa Fe and Western Pacific railroads (a combination not unheard of in real life). The route is also bankrupt and is in receivership. Power on the route generally consists of 4 axle EMD, and GE diesels with products from ALCO and Baldwin present as well. Most of the SCN's power is either run through or loaned from the parent roads, however the SCN does roster a modest collection of mostly ALCO and a few EMD products.

    The SCN operates an eastbound and westbound merchandise drag freight, numbered 271 and 272 and 3rd class on the timetable, which operate from the WP in Stockton and carry through cars for Santa Cruz as well as set out or pick up cars either heading east, or ultimately bound for lineside industries at San Jose and Fallon. The SCN also operates an eastbound and westbound priority perishable trains forwarding reefers loaded with perishable goods as well as other priority traffic to and from the WP connection at Stockton. These trains are numbers 201 and 202 and are second class on the timetable. The Santa Cruz Northern also hosts two Amtrak operated passenger trains, The Suntan, No. 33-34 which operate between San Jose and Santa Cruz, and the Del Monte, No. 127-142, which operate as part of the SP Commute out of San Francisco to San Jose where, via SP's Vasona Branch, come onto the SCN before operating through to Santa Cruz then onto Monterey via SP's Santa Cruz Branch. These trains are first class on the timetable.

    The SCN is also home to two local freights. These are the East Rica Local which operates between Mac St. Yard in San Jose to E. Rica where it works local industries including the Ilium Sand Spur. And the Mountain Local which is based out of Fallon and works local industries as far west as Laurel and east as Holy City. The Mountain Local also builds the outbound block for the eastbound drag freight.

    Other trains on the SCN include a cement train, known as "The Cementipede" by crews that runs from San Jose to the massive Santa Cruz Portland Cement plant at San Vicente (Just west of Fallon) and return. The San Jose industrial switcher, known as "The Crusher" which works local industries in the San Jose area between SP Crossing, West San Jose, Mac Street, and WP Junction. The Fall Creek and Alba log train which runs from Fall Creek Jct. to the Beroldingen Mill at Laurel, a resident switcher at the Beroldingen Lumber Mill at Laurel, and the Mac St. Yardmaster who serves as the yards switcher.

    To dispatch trains, the SCN uses the Timetable and Train Order system in which written train orders, dictated by a chief dispatcher are dictated by station agents and handed up to train crews. The Timetable states scheduled trains, the trains number, class, and direction. On the SCN west is the superior direction meaning a westbound train is superior by direction to an eastbound train of the same class. Classes of trains are a sort of a totem pole system with 1st class passenger trains being the highest priority and extras the lowest.

    A Tour of The Route:
    The modelled portion of the Santa Cruz Northern begins where WP's San Jose Branch ends. This area is known as WP Junction and is home to Overshoe Cement, Edwards Equipment, U.S. Cold Storage, and the SCN Team Track. Coal and iron ore loads for the Cementipede are received here as well.

    Next we come to Mac St. Yard where cars handled by the Crusher are set out and cars for Fallon and San Jose filled. Mac St. is also home to a small locomotive facility, passenger depot, and Brooks Chocolate.

    Heading west out of Mac St. we come to West San Jose, this is the home base for the Crusher and is home to the Bekins Warehouse, Del Monte Cannery, Analytical Engine Co, and the Carbolic Smokeball Co.

    SP Xing is next on the line where the Southern Pacific's Vasona Branch crossed the SCN. SP Xing is home to an interchange track. This is also where the Del Monte comes onto and off of the SCN as well as where the empty cement and gypsum loads are received for the Cementipede.

    Continuing west, we come to E. Rica. E. Rica is home to a train order station, which is served by the Suntan, as well as a number of local industries including: Second Garrote Sand and Gravel, Modoc Petroleum, E. Rica Feeds, a Team Track, Sewall and Brown Apricot Processors, and Orchard Supply Hardware Warehouse. These industries are all served by the E. Rica Local. This is also where a helper engine is cut in to assist the drags and Cementipede up the grade to Holy City.

    Heading west from E. Rica we cross Los Gatos Creek on a thru truss bridge and begin the climb to Ilium and Holy City crossing Watson Crick en-route. Ilium is home to Ilium Sand which is served by the E. Rica Local. A bit further west, Holy City is home to a Team Track, House Track, and the Union Oil Company's Moody Gulch Unit. We are now entering the territory served by the Mountain Local.

    Continuing west we cross the Bean Creek Trestle and pass through Fall Creek Jct. home to the Fall Creek and Alba railroad's House Track, and is where the FC&A's log train comes onto the SCN.

    Next we come to Fallon, the principal town between San Jose and Santa Cruz. Here is where westbound drag sets out a block of cars for delivery to local industries by the Mountain Local. Fallon also hosts a train order depot, Chinquini Cannery, Fallon Fuel and Oil, Romano Lumber, Team Track, and the L.A. Hearne Company (a feed mill).

    Continuing west we begin the final climb to Sergeants, the summit of the railroad. En-route we pass Damsite Junction where the branch to the Santa Cruz Portland Cement plant at San Vicente leaves the SCN main. The reason for the Junctions naming stems from the branch formerly running to a damsite but curtailed to the cement plant once the dam was completed. The plant is served by the Cementipede and receives empty cement hoppers as well as loads of gypsum, coal, and iron ore all used in the cement making process.

    West of the short siding at Sergeants we enter Laurel home to the Beroldingen Lumber Mill. The mill ships outbound board lumber in both boxcars and flat cars as well as woodchips. The mill is served by the Mountain Local, FC&A log train, and has a resident switcher. Laurel is also home to a MOW spur served by the Mountain Local, and a small train order station.

    Lastly we arrive in Santa Cruz the terminus of the SCN. Since on the actual model railroad Santa Cruz is staging, this is where things become a little bit uncertain as to exactly what's here but presumably, since trains are made up and terminate here, there is a yard of sorts as well as a passenger station at the Boardwalk.

    Included Equipment:
    Locomotives I feel should be included for the Train Simulator version of the Santa Cruz Northern include, from Western Pacific, the GE U30B, EMD F7, FP7, GP35, and GP20 for road service. GP20, GP9, and SW1200 for local and yard work. From the ATSF: EMD GP35, GP30, F3, for passenger and freight service, and CF7, F7 B unit for use on the Cementipede. Other locomotives should include, lettered for the SCN: ALCO RS-3, C-420, and EMD SW1500. Lettered for the FC&A: Baldwin VO1000. Also to add variety, a BN ALSO RS-11, and SP&S ALCO C-60.

    For freight equipment, the SCN should include WP, SCN, and ATSF 40 & 50ft boxcar, mechanical reefer, bulkhead and standard flatcar, pipe gondola, TOFC flatcar, UTLX and UOCX tank cars, WP and ATSF covered hopper, ATSF stone gon, 2 bay covered hopper, SP WP ATSF cement hopper, WP SCN ATSF 3 & 4 bay open hopper, FC&A log bunk. For cabooses, WP bay window and wood sided, ATSF CE-1, CE-5, FC&A former SP wood sided.

    Concluding Remarks:
    This route while unusual as it does not model a prototype railroad, still has all the operations and action of one. Jim built the Santa Cruz Northern to do prototype operations and these shall be recreated here. For the modelling of the route itself the SCN should not be modelled as a model railroad but how it would have looked had it existed in real life. Some assets can be recycled from the Feather River. In all the Santa Cruz Northern would make for a fantastic route with many operational opportunities from passenger, to through and local freights.
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  2. LativaBoy

    LativaBoy Active Member

    Mar 17, 2018
    Likes Received:
    I would absolutely love this on Train Simulator! Greetings from Santa Cruz!
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Aljaž Skarlovnik

    Aljaž Skarlovnik Active Member

    Jul 12, 2018
    Likes Received:
    Is much as this is cool, if you'll be remaking model layouts, you might prefer to either remake the world's largest one, or do the Gorre & Daphetid, the more famous one.

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