The year is 1954.
The setting is Southern California, about 70 miles east of Los Angeles.
Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra are "top of the pops". Thekids are jitterbugging; rock and roll is still in its infancy.
Dwight Eisenhower is mid-way through his first term as US President.And a local Californian, Richard Nixon is his Vice President.
The Santa Fe has been winding down the use of steam locomotives.However, the pressures of the recently ended Korean War and acontinuing booming economy means they haven't been able to scrap themall quite yet. It is an interesting time for other reasons as well.Piggy-back is now coming in. SP has beenleading the way in California and both UP and ATSF are keen to catchup.Freight cars are getting longer with 50 footers now as plentiful as the40footers. The Santa Fe's long-distance streamliners are now using domecarsheaded up with their gorgeous "Warbonnets".
What a great period for early diesel types: E's, F's, PA's, earlyGeeps, F-M's etc! The "San Francisco Chief" has just began running andtwo new hi-decked cars will be introduced on Santa Fe streamliners inJuly. If they are successful, the "El Capitan" will be re-equipped nextyear with these innovative, bold new cars.
The Santa Fe is probably at it's peak and a market leader. The "SuperChief" is the train of the stars - the Hollywood stars that is. Anybodywho's anybody wouldn't consider riding on anything other than the"Super"between Chicago and L.A. Photographers and journalists hang around theL.A.Union Station in the hope of catching a rich-and-famous news scoop.
They are still running their pair of Budd RDC's in California. Mainlyon the L.A. - San Diego service. (comment: after a fatal accident atRedondo Junction, they later get banished to the mid-west).
There's also plenty of freight trailing behind the road's snazzy blueand yellow F-units. New black and silver zebra-striped road switchersarebecoming part of that action too. Much of California's machinery,petroleumproducts, livestock, aircraft parts, new autos, manufacturing, fruitandveggies are being shipped by train. Steel is also being shipped outfromthe new mills in nearby Fontana. Local citrus fruit, beef cattle andmilkproduction are amongst the highest in the country.
The area modelled is the Los Angeles Division , Third District.Specifically the ten miles between Riverside & San Bernardino. Thisis a busy Santa Fe main line with Union Pacific leasing trackage rightsover this area. The UP has in place a 99-year joint use agreement forthe 100 miles between Riverside and Daggett near Barstow. So, there'splenty of UP action as well. Thisyear the UP is also still regularly using steam. Not just the smallerstuffbut the big Northerns and Challengers as well. In fact, all thetranscontinental UP traffic to and from L.A. goes via this line. Unlikethe Santa Fe, the UP has no alternative. There's also further operatinginterest with both thePacific Electric and the SP interchanging at Riverside and Colton.
The regional "Pacific Seaboard Railway" joins up with the Santa Feabout half way along this stretch of main line at the city of "SantaAmba". From there, after using a short stretch of the Santa Fe viatrackage rights through the narrow "Canyon Dublo", it leaves the mainline at "Glen Lyndon" and climbs up into the mountains to "Clinton".After passing through the summit tunnel it drops down into the rich"Springfield Valley" town of "Mariesville".
The "PSR" has been re-organised a couple of times.
The current name "Pacific Seaboard Railway" came into being about 1945.It's previous name was "San Pedro & Riverside" and there is stillsome rolling stock & locomotives around lettered that way. There'salso some equipment lettered for the "Tasman Coastal Railway", butthat's too longa story!
Unfortunately, the muscles of the Santa Fe are just too strong and thegood ol' boys hangin' out at the local barber shop reckon that inanother couple of years the PSR will be gobbled up. They claim the ATSFhas been quietly buying up PSR stock. Takeover may come as early as1960.
In the mean time, there's enough work for the PSR to remain financialand independent; tapping the agricultural and oil rich valleys adjacentto the L.A. basin. There's so much work in fact that they have beenforcedto lease motive power from other railroads! Regularly seen on the PSRareUP, ATSF, SP & WP. (There's also some coal-burners, a pair ofBaldwinRF-16's and a BL-2 that NOBODY can explain!).
A note to the rivet counters: Yes, modeller's licence has been used inthe above story.