The Los Angeles & San Fernando Valley Railroad

Built in HO scale by Bruce Petty

My layout is modeled after Southern California during the early 1960s. It is built as a round the room shelf type layout, 14 to 18 inches wide allowing for close up photography. Enjoy the photo tour and be sure to check out more web-article links for model building projects at the top and the bottom of this page.

FOR SALE: Old Time 1880s-1930, Train Crews / Engineer / Fireman

These are a new item from Century Foundry, Relay cases with electrical detail equipment inside.
Here is the link to Century Foundry



I've wondered how forklift's get into freight cars and reefers from the loading dock, so after some
research I made a brass master pattern to cast up. I now have
Dock Plates on my loading docks, if you need some of these for your loading docks, check here. Forklift Dock Plates

LA&SF RR Layout in a PDF format
(186KB), from the 2006 Kalmbach's, Great Model Railroads.

The latest model web-articles are:



Have this land I want to sell you!


NEW Searchlight Signals
From my collection of Southern Pacific's engineering blueprints of CTC Equipment and Searchlight Signals.

NEW Simple Freight Car Mover
Need to position cars at an industrial plant can be done by this simple method.

Build a Concrete Loading Dock
An easy to make model using real concrete.

The Union Pacific Freight Station for Glendale, CA.
Build this modern looking railroad structure.

The Movie Studio shows up
Cheeper to use a model train than the prototype.

Making a Southern Pacific Gondola Car
Another one of my cheep modeling projects.

Modeling the Los Angeles River


This is Athearn's new Southern Pacific's, HO Scale, GE U-50 running with a Kato U-25 B, These model diesels both run well together on a DC power supply. Back in the 1960s-70s, these two diesel prototypes ran together on Los Angeles transfers from Taylor to Colton Yard and back.
I give this model U-50 an A+++!

newly painting desert backdrop for the Southerrn Pacific's, Jawbone Branch out of Mojave.

The prototype of this commute train in 1981 was known as "Baxter's Choo-Choo."
Baxter Ward was a L.A. County Supervisor, 1974-80. His idea for a commuter
rail system eventually turned into the L.A. Metrolink.

Here is the new Athearn, MT4 Locomotive out for its test run and photo.

The North Hollywood depot is now used for Railway Express and Pacific Motor Trucking freight shipments long after
the Pacific Electric stopped running passengers in 1952. In later years SP repainted their structures to gray.

This fine model kit is now produced by Showcase Miniatures on a limited production run.

The Burbank local makes a stop at the maintenance of way yard to set out several hopper cars of ballast.

Caboose 807 and train heading southbound on the Lone Pine branch.

There is new SW 1500, Athearn switch engine on the layout, the SP 2467. You can see from the prototype picture below that both engines are waiting on the main line for the orders to move.

The SP 2462 (SW1500) and gravel cars wait on the main line at Sun Valley. The work train will back up all the way to San Fernando for the rebuilding of the main line there after the Sylmar Earthquake in 1971.

The SP trackage runs along the Los Angeles River for many miles and also crossing it in several places.
This fascia model was made from a corrugated cardboard box and Latex indoor paint.

The Westbound "Coast Mail" train is about to depart the Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal.

The "Coast Mail" seen here passing Burbank Junction Tower.
The layout module in only fourteen inches wide at this point. On the prototype, a concrete drainage channel does runs
along the tracks in the same place, however on the model, one channel side wall is used to make the facia.

Richard Hughes is a retired railroad conductor and owns this HO model of an SP, AC9. He worked for the SP back in the early 1950s and ran these monster locomotives on the Modoc Line in Northern California. He says "these locomotives were very easy to operate!"

The Chatsworth Hauler eastbound off the Coast Line at Burbank.

Prototype color photos from my Freight Car collection.


New power 5840 and 2913 waiting at the Burbank Depot.

There goes the local up the Valley Line to finish the day job at Sun Valley.


Switching work at the San Fernando Sunkist Packing House.

San Fernando Orange Association Packing Plant.

Local passing the Sheller Feed Company.

GEMCO local eastbound off the Coast Line.

GEMCO power passing the Burbank Local.

Picture of the day when SP 2467, a brand new EMD, SW1500 has just arrived on the property in 1967.

Working the gravel loader facility is this Mack switcher by Scale Structures Ltd.

Find out how these Southern Pacific Hopper Cars are loaded and dump gravel. Another easy to do and cheap modeling project.


Model Building Articles and Ideas


Hand Throw Turnouts from under the Shelf Layout

Operating HO Gravel Dump Cars, with Movie!

Building the Gravel Loading Bunker

Making Model Eucalyptus Trees

Spring Greens on the Layout

Flat Cars by the Dozen

Upgrading Older Freight Cars

The LA&SFV's Freight Cars.

Here's a great material to make HO freight car steel roof walks.

Layout derailments that can only be blamed on operator error!

Corrugated Metal Structures

The Volcanic Rock Mine for HO Rock Gardens

Mini TV Cam on the Layout

Espee MOW Structures

Tar Creek Oil Company

CTC Machine at Burbank Tower.

Steam Days on the Espee.

Southern Pacific Passenger Car Models

US Mail and Express Train.

Modeling Searchlight Signals

Modeling the Desert with Live Cactus

Building The Los Angeles Model Railroad

Cool LA Industries for Model Builders

Weathering Freight Cars

Old Model Treasures

Follow the construction methods used to build this shelf layout:

Part 1, Building the Layout Extension

Part 2, Painting the Backdrop Sky

Part 3, Painting the Mountains

Part 5, Plywood & Sound Board Layout Surface

Part 6, Notes on Laying the Track Work

Part 7, The Fascia Board

Part 8, The Finished Burbank Branch

Building LA Industries in HO Scale

The Sheller Feed Company near San Fernando, CA. 1963
The Cyclone Fence Company along the SP main line in Glendale.
Burbank Beer Distributor Warehouse. that was near Burbank Junction.
Strongheart Dog Food Co. located in the downtown LA industrial district.

Several Southern California HO layout Designs

NEW! Here's a Trona Railway, HO layout in PDF format (888.5KB),
I had designed for the 2006 layout contest for Model Railroader Magazine.
It didn't win, but this shelf layout can be expanded to whatever room size you may have.

Here is the Southern Pacific Searles Turn running at our club layout.



Pacific Electric at San Fernando. A small prototypical switching layout.

Whit Towers' Bus by Andrew Novak

My wife Cheryl and I have produced a series of Christmas train stories for
her nephew, we hope your Children will enjoy them too.
The Town Christmas Tree
This will be the last of the Christmas stories.



Los Angeles River Railroads

Model Magazine Published Articles


Model Railroader Magazine

  • August 2009, Scratchbuild the Sheller Feed Co. (with drawings)
  • July 2008, Simple tarp-covered loads
  • May 2008, Planning an On30 desert railroad
  • January 2008, Painting Distant Mountains
  • July 2007, Making Signal Cable
  • October 2006, Build an operating scrap Yard
  • April 2006, Landscaping a layout with live cactus plants
  • 2006, Realistic Layouts, Spur Without a Turnout
  • 2006, GMR Publication, Beautiful Downtown Burbank Junction
  • July 2001, Build a train order delivery stand

    Model Trains International

  • Issue 82, page 264, Operating Hopper Cars
  • Issue 76, page 100, Trona Railway Layout
  • Issue 75, page 80, Lenoir (North Carolina) Industrial Area
  • Issue 65, page 292, SP MOW Structures
  • Issue 64, page 274, The General Water Heater Co.
  • Issue 63, page 224, Digital Photo Flats
  • Issue 61, page 174, Cyclone Fence Company
  • Issue 60, page 162, Pacific Electric at San Fernando
  • Issue 59, Page 134, Miller Beer Distributor
  • Issue 58, page 106 Strongheart Packing Company

    Railroad Modeler

  • July 1972, Modeling an Oil Field


& CENTURY Detail Metal Parts

The Finest Laser Cut N and HO Scale Structures