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The Mission Valley & Pacific

March 26, 2008

My first serious model railroad was the Mission Valley& Pacific, a central california shortline that connected the SP coast line with the ATSF &SP lines in the central valley through a mountain pass I mapped out on google earth. It roughly connects Fresno with San Luis Obispo via Coalinga and San Miguel. It was chartered in 1905, and as the story goes, converted to diesel in 1958 (the modeled year). The railroad company still operates  today, with a small fleet of GP-15-1’s and other motive power.

The Trackplan above is based on my favorite MR project layout, the Alkali Central.

The Major industries were the Orange Grove (B), the scrapyard (D), the bulk oil dealer (4,5), and the freight house& Passenger Depot at Arguello (10,11). #3 was a lumber warehouse/boxfactory, and #1 was a cold storage and packing plant for citrus. 7 was a roadside diner and 8 was a farm house. 9 is the MV&P’s Victorian-era engine house, a old life like offering. 2 was downtown, a string of turn-of-the century buildings.

Inspired by Edward Hopper’s “Early Sunday Morning” This downtown scene is typical of most american small downtowns.

This satellite view of downtown shows (from upper left to lower right) The small Carnegie library/cityhall, the corner restaurant, three story bank, mercantile, Spanish style house (see current layout for finished structure) and the Loews Theatre.

The diner, favorite spot for food, and all the hottest cars of the day, was one of the best scenes on the layout. The old bachmann 1870’s era combine is part of the first kit-bash I ever did. I might still incorporate this scene into my current Riverside Division Layout.

Another view of downtown.

The Loews theatre.

This shows the Arguello Depot, and the 6″ extension on the left side of the layout that went behind the mountain, and connected it to a 4 track staging yard. The Harriman cars are the surprisingly excellent Model Power cars, that feature scale interior detail. (custom painted) The Athearn Daylight is pulling into town.

 Stepping back to 1909, a diminutive mogul pulls into town with a short mixed train. The brakeman holds out the lantern to stop traffic.

An older lady selects her vegetables carefully, while one of the hired hands takes out the trash.

A produce truck, one of Athearn’s Ford C cab-overs, is loading some fresh citrus into the packing shed to be transferred onto the string of PFE reefers sitting next to the shed to be shipped off to a distant market somewhere east.  

Here’s a dramatized version of why I abandoned and demolished this layout. Bad trackwork brought on by choosing to build the layout with E-Z track from bachmann. The switches started giving y trouble, then broke, one by one, as the track laid in fall contracted in winter, then buckeled the next summer, I knew it was time for abandonment. The layout was demolished two weeks later. I captured the last few good minutes on film slides, which I haven’t scanned into the computer yet.

So we bid adeiu to this layout. A few weeks later, in late 2006, I started my Riverside Division layout, a 9X12 HO scale modular layout, one that continues on today. Look for future posts Chronicling the progress of that.

For more information and more cool photos, visit my very old website, chronicling some of the original MV&P’s progress.

Please Stay tuned for the next installment of my next layout’s Genesis and Progress. (I’m already doing scenery on the current layout, so you needn’t worry about me having to build anything first. )


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