Bill KaufmanState Belt, HO
Bill Kaufman's State Belt and Jon Schmidt's Nicasio Northern are offered as a 2-Fer. Sessions are offered Friday and Sunday. The layouts are about 20 minutes apart in San Rafael. You will want to leave the hotel around 8:00 AM to arrive at Bill's by 9:30. Traffic can be tough, but you will have fantastic views from choice of bridges on the the ride! The afternoon session may not end until 4:30 so do not plan for an early flight out of OAK or SFO on Saturday.
The State Belt ran for a hundred years along the piers and into the warehouses of the San Francisco waterfront. Bill has taken important elements like the car float, the interchange at King St. (where the sometime World Champion San Francisco Giants play today), the street running, and the switching areas under Telegraph Hill and built them into a 12' by 12' layout using some interesting modular techniques..
The operations themselves follow the pattern of the actual State Belt with two crews each working its own division. The railroad was and is controlled by switch lists. The prototype never handled way bills or any other official documents. Each of the connecting railroads sent a switch list with its cars and the railroad charged them for each movement, irrespective of contents or distance. We use a "Chief Clerk" who, using a standard car card and waybill system, simulates the ATSF, SP, WP and Northwestern Pacific railroads car forwarding system and writes the switch lists.
The "staging" on the layout consists of three carfloats and three cassettes that attach temporarily to the end of various streets.
The railroad itself is built and totally functional. Basic buildings and scenery are in place. About 125 cars are switched each session with a motive power department of two sound equipped 0-6-0s and four Alco S-2s with LokSound chips. The locomotive control system is NCE and NCE wireless throttles. All switches are hand thrown because that was the way it was on the State Belt.
The April 2007 Model Railroad Craftsman had an article on the layout and Bill has written a book on the State Belt, now in its second printing