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Otis McGee
SP Shasta Division

This double decked, mushroom style, layout is a model of SP's storied Shasta Division from Redding, CA to Klamath Falls, OR, located in a purpose-built 1,200 sq ft loft in the Oakland Hills overlooking San Francisco Bay. The Shasta Division is the last large layout designed by the late and legendary John Armstrong. Operations follow the prototype using a modified 1952 prototype timetable & train orders and CTC. The layout is faithful to the prototype. Car forwarding is by "Thompson" waybills. Trackside maps document the switching areas, and train briefs are provided.

The original John Armstrong design was modified in significant respects, largely to achieve operational goals. For example, sidings and spurs were added or modified to add to operational interest. Some track work was eliminated to create more interesting, and lengthy, runs between modeled towns. Most significantly, the capacity of the designed hidden staging yards at Redding and Klamath Falls were increased from 4 to 7 tracks. Additional staging tracks were added at Weed and lengthened from 8' to nearly 20'. And, additional tracks were installed at the visible lower Dunsmuir yard.

Track is ME rail on CVP tie strips with hand laid turnouts. All mainline track, nearly 400 feet, is installed. Train control is via wireless NCE DCC. The layout is fully signaled from Redding to Black Butte (the CTC section) and ABS signaling is now being installed, per the prototype, from Black Butte to Klamath Falls. Computer interface is accomplished using C/MRI hardware and JMRI software. The tone of the layout is casual but purposeful.

The Shasta Division is 60% scenicked with painted backdrops from Redding to Dorris. Many key structures are in place or mocked up, giving the modeled scenes a sense of place For example, the Dunsmuir engine facility and City structures are complete and in place.

The layout accommodates 13 operators including a yard crew of 3, two dispatchers (one CTC and one TT & TO, two TO Operators, and road crews.)

The SP Shasta Division is featured in Great Model Railroads 2011


Here's a TSG Video Layout Tour:

View Kent Williams' video of Cab Forward action:

And another:

Updated 10/06/2019