The Shasta Pacific RR is an
imaginary subsidiary of the Southern Pacific
RR that a STB ruling protected from being swallowed up by the
yellow peril meger. It is predominantly the SP Shasta Division in western USA but stretches from
Portland to Bakersfield & Mojave via Tehachapi loop & covers a loose
time frame 1940 - 1996. [Modeling license]. The Shasta Pacific uses
mainly leased SP locos,
plus a few from other RR's, but repainting of some of the equipment in its own
colors is progressing as time & traffic permit. Some locos that didn't
require full painting were patched. Shasta
Pacific CEO, Ken Leitch, is a long time SP fan, so several of
SP’s famous “Name
Trains” are operated in authentic colors as tourist
operations on the layout.
The HO scale
layout is housed in a 2-car garage (6M x 6M) in
the backyard at Beerwah (near Australia Zoo)(formally part of Landsborough) & is the 4th
layout built. A decision was made about 1980 to go with DCC
control system. A Lenz system was obtained & was great to
operate. In 2000, an
purchased to take advantage of later technology with
easier operation, & 4 radio throttles were added in
2009. Using additional DCC Boosters (NCE), the layout is divided into 4 power districts.
are Lenz, NCE, TCS & Digitrax,
plus Soundtrax, LokSound & QSI sound decoders.
Servos (Tam Valley) or slow
motion switch machines (Switchmaster,
Cobalt or Tortise) power all mainline & yard turnouts, &
controlled by DCC accessory decoders (NCE, Cobalt,Tam Valley &
EasyDCC), some with push
buttons also. Using the easy programable macro feature built into the NCE
system, route selection of the 9 tracks of the main yard, passing loops
at Tehachapi, Summit, North Staging, 5 track East Staging & 4 Bayshore/Portside Loops can be
achieved from any throttle even those without accessory decoder access.
Due to my deteriorating health & mobility, I can no longer
follow trains around the layout. Although built for operation
sessions, I now just run trains over various routes from a bar
stool with backrest near the main yard. A total of 18 trains
reside on the layout at present - 2 railcars, 4 passenger & 12
freight trains. Some trains have 2, 3 or 4 locomotives & can
be swapped with locos stored in the loco depot off the main yard.
Also due to poor health, roster has been reduced from 276
locos & 1400 roling stock to 56 locos & about 600 rollingstock
Minimum radius is 28.5” with
most mainline curves 33” radius, some super-elevated. Early
construction was code 100, but later additions are code 83.
Height of the layout is designed to assist my aching back.
Lower level is 48”, & upper level is 54”. A hidden 4-track staging yard
has been built below track level on the northern wall.
DC point to point section with automatic reversing was laid to model the operations of SP subsidiary, Pacific Electric
– great for running in a loco. This section has now (2023) been
converted to DCC as access to new 5 track eastern staging below main yard.
A narrow gauge section
(HOn3) depicting Southern Pacific 3 foot gauge operations in Death
Valley was started but has been abandoned due to limited availability
of SP narrow guage equipment & standard guaging of
portion of former narrow guage trackage.
All types of scenery
construction are utilized with plaster covering chicken wire,
polystyrene, calico, or cardboard. Some sections have only base
scenery & will have more detail added in due course. Rock
mould details, scenery, buildings, trees/shrubs & bridge abutments are being added as time permits. This
is a work in progress, helped along in 2020 due to the COVID-19 lockdowns.
The Shasta Pacific CEO
started modeling in 1951 with Hornby O guage on hand laid track then
progressed to Hornby Dublo 3 rail trains and has had an interest in
since 1957 when he purchased his first HO rolling stock – SP
‘Golden State’ passenger coaches made by Rivarossi (from
Athearn moulds) & Athearn rubber band drive F7A & RDC units
plus a Lionel (HO) GP-9 unit.
is also active on the exhibition scene, having exhibited various
layouts in South-East Qld over the last 54 years. (Missed only 5 years.)
Current exhibition layout is a N Scale layoutcalled
Shasta Crossing, built to Australian T-Track standards, but with
individual modules combined into 3 large modules for ease of transport
and set up. A 4th large module is under construction to give
alternate viewing. All train shows were cancelled in 2020 due to the
Covid-19 lockdowns, plus I could not go to shows in 2021 due to my
wife's tumor, 2 cancers, & kidney shutdown
treatment which took her life in August, 2021. RIP Renee, 53
late 2015, a 7.25" guage 0-6-0 diesel ride-on loco, Jumbuck #4, was
obtained & gives rides to young & old at Nambour Model Railway
Park every 4th Sunday of the year.
Ken joined the National Model Railroad Assn (NMRA) in 1963 & is now a Life Member
of NMRA, honorary life member of Gold Coast Model Railway Club (Foundation member),&
currently a member of Sunshine Coast Model
Railway Club (formerly CDMRA) & Sunshine Coast
Railway Modellers Society (Nambour, Queensland).