Southern Pacific – Sunset Route

The Sunset Route model railroad represents a portion of the Southern Pacific Railroad from Los Angeles to Tucson as one might have witnessed in the mid 1950’s. Another segment represents the Southern Pacific from Los Angeles to Bakersfield. Though the railroad depicts trains and operations of the Southern Pacific in the southwest, there are also a few trains of the Santa Fe and the Union Pacific.

The modeled portion begins in Los Angeles, with three readily recognized locations: Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal (LAUPT), Mission Road coach yard, and the Alhambra engine facility. LAUPT features the depot, the postal building, 12 arrival/departure tracks, and Mission Tower. After crossing the Los Angeles River, you can view the Alhambra engine facility, with its 11 stall round house and 13 open-air service tracks. Around the corner is Mission Road coach yard, capable of holding 110 passenger cars.

Following the Southern Pacific line north from Los Angeles, we arrive at Bakersfield at the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley. Bakersfield has long been known as the collection point for agriculture products grown in the area, headed to the mid west and eastern markets via the Sunset Route. A major Pacific Fruit Express icing facility dominates the skyline.

If you depart Los Angeles in the eastward direction, Phoenix is the first major city. Southern Pacific and Pacific Fruit Express have long been synonymous with 40 foot refrigerator cars, and Phoenix is a critical stopping point for re-icing these cars. A dual track icing dock is capable of handling 48 40 foot refrigerator cars. Downtown Phoenix is in the post-war growth and development cycle, with high-rise buildings replacing turn-or-the-century structures, all next to the Phoenix Union Depot.

The Tempe local switch crew starts in Phoenix and works eastward, handling industries in Tempe, Picacho, and an interchange with an Arizona short line railroad. The Glendale local switch crew departs Phoenix in the westward direction, and handles the industrial park in Glendale. Dominating the Glendale skyline is the Crystal Sugar Processing facility that receives sugar beets from fields near Bakersfield. Red Rock is a community on the line from Phoenix to Tucson.

Layout room construction began in 1989 in a 70’ x 30’ block building. Phase 2 construction of the Los Angeles area began in 2005, extending the layout 30’ x 40’, including a crew lounge and extensive work shop. Phase 3 expansion is expected to add 40’ x 40’.

OwnerRon Mei
LocationPhoenix AZ
PrototypeSouthern Pacific Sunset
EraTransition era
LocaleLA Passenger Terminal
  and Southwest US
ForwardingCar Card / Waybill
Control SystemNCE DCC
Size70′ x 30′
StyleSemi walk around
CommunicationVerbal, visual rules
AccessHalf of the positions
  enter at crawl under
Pets in homeNone
Crew Size8
Multiple   Road crews
Multiple   Local crews