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San Andreas Beach

Control: DC Gauge: 32mm Location: USA, California Period: 1940s Scale: O; 1:48 (¼ inch:1ft) Size: 30' 6" x 11' 6".

San Andreas is an O scale (1:48) layout, based loosely on the Santa Fe’s “Surf Line” in California, running south from Los Angeles to San Diego, and originally built by Garth Ponsonby and Geoff Bishop.

San Andreas is a fictional coastal location where the double track line from the north becomes single. There is a large station depot based on Stockton, constructed in the Santa Fe’s well-known “Spanish style”, in which arches are a prominent feature. We shortened it somewhat, reduced it in height from 3 storeys to 2, and made it a mirror image of the original. There are sidings serving a fruit packing plant and a plastics factory, also a short team track for unloading carloads into road vehicles.

One of the principal aims in constructing the layout was to run lots of colourful trains, with the Santa Fe’s passenger and some mixed traffic power units in Warbonnet livery, and their equally attractive blue or blue and yellow freight locos. Unlike many American lines, passenger trains are as equally at home as freights. We do like to see long freight trains, however, and this was another aim in designing the layout.

Construction is straightforward, with plywood baseboards and relatively uncomplicated electrics, although with plenty of power available capable of running the typically large and heavy trains usual in American O scale. All visible track is handbuilt, with code 148 rail spiked to timber sleepers on main lines, code 125 in sidings. Track in the hidden area is Peco with mostly handbuilt points. Searchlight signals are provided as was done on the prototype during the 1940s.


Photography credits: John Prior

LC & station Orange grove Station & beach Switching the packing plant Through the orange groves