Off my trolley – Pacific Electric – Toluca Yard

It’s been far too long since I posted on traction and trolleys.  But the start of this post is a reminder of how useful Google Earth can be.  First, here is a screen dump from Google Earth, “somewhere in Los Angeles”, with aerial data taken in 2o13.


Not much of interest here for the discerning railroad modeller, you say.  But if you find the timeline slider on the Google Earth menu, we can roll back the years.  And hey presto, we have a picture of the same area in 2002.


In fact we could have rolled back time to the 1980’s, but the photographs then were lower resolution USGS black-and-white shots, and amazingly, the area has hardly changed in that 20 years.

But what do we have here?  This is Toluca Yard, at the entrance of the Pacific Electric Belmont tunnel that ran from here to the Subway Terminal in the centre of town.  Below are some photographs of it at the end of its working life in 1955.  (There are plenty of photographs on the web, some in colour – hunt the Pacific Electric Railway Historical Society site – but I think these are free-to-use shots).

3213227411_079a4d2477_o 3213205387_8bf560927b_o 3214052286_631c3ef948_o 3214052182_30c0d2a8bf_o 3214052112_b70f315a44_o 3527917942_e71fd29e96_o 2930832766_2bf987953b_o


I began to get interested with Toluca as a module.  A little scaling off Google Earth gave me the following plan, with a 1200 x 400 mm module superimposed.

toluca2002 - module

There were six yard tracks, and there was a cross-over just inside the tunnel portal to give access to both up and down lines.  This size plan would make a good stand-alone layout, built into a box, so that the main line goes off scene under the flyover to the left and into the tunnel to the right.  It might look best looking towards the slope, i.e. top to bottom.  If one wanted to make an N-club module out of this, a longer board would be needed, to model the full flyover to the left and a little more of the hill to the right.  I’m not sure that selective compression would work that well.  The yard could be reduced to four tracks, and made narrower and shorter, but really, it’s already tiny!  I think the grade was quite steep into the tunnel.  If used as a module running any trains and not just interurbans, the gradient might also need to be a little shallower.

Anyways, Toluca Yard is a good minimum space design.  Any models of it out there already?

About snitchthebudgie

Secretary of the East Surrey N Gauge railway club
This entry was posted in Inspiration, Layout design, Traction and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Off my trolley – Pacific Electric – Toluca Yard

  1. gary boughton says:

    Nice info! I amanold man who rode in and out of the subway as a child. It was quite the place


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.