Dimensions - 7'6" x 10'6"
The 'Surf line' is the name given to the stretch of railroad that runs from San Diego up through Los Angeles to Santa Barbara, One hundred miles to the north of Los Angeles. It gets its name as a large part of the route hugs the coastline. Amtrak passenger trains run over this stretch of line with two trains a day continuing north of Santa Barbara, one of these being the Coast Starlight which travels between Los Angeles and Seattle in the north of the country.
The scenery along this route is generally breathtaking except for the built up area of Los Angeles, which is typically American sprawl.
The stretch of line north of Los Angeles is owned by Southern Pacific (now part of Union Pacific) while south of Los Angeles to San Diego is owned by Burlington Northern Santa Fe.
The layout is based on the northern part of the route and in particular the area around Santa Barbara as this town is attractive and compact by American standards. The Amtrak station is very close to the beach and in the town itself. As the layout is circular, the station at Santa Barbara is not suitable for modelling, therefore, a fictitious location somewhere nearby has been chosen.
The layout is scenic all the way around featuring a station area next to the beach and town, a single-track section following the coastline and a yard where local freight trains can be seen being switched to various small industries. The fiddleyard runs round the inside of the layout and can accommodate fairly lengthy trains such as double stack container trains.
A large number of palm trees can be seen around the layout as per Santa Barbara. Some of these etched brass trees where obtained from an architectural model shop not far from Tower Bridge in London. The track side details are from a number of sources including a working nodding donkey (oil pump).
Peco finescale track has been used throughout using SEEP solenoids for the turnouts. Buildings are a mixture of kit and scratch built structures.
Rolling stock and locomotives have been detailed and are from a number of manufacturers such as Kato, Atlas, Roundhouse and Microtrains. Graffiti has been added to a number of wagons. This has been done using photos taken of various examples seen on wagons seen in California.
A Kato SD40-2 has been converted into a tunnel motor in Southern Pacific colours. Click here for details. Since this was done Intermountain have produced tunnel motors. A few can be seen on California Coast along with this converted Kato one.
The layout is featured in the April 2006 issue of Continental Modeller