The S Scale Journal
Bill Young’s Southern Pacific
Background and Concept
Bill Young earned his civil engineering degree from Stanford University in 1963. He is now a retired general engineering contractor living in St. Helena, CA, summering in Mt. Shasta, where he has his layout. In the winter he builds equipment for his layout; in summer he installs it. It’s not really a surprise, given his background, that Bill’s first love is bridges. The layout is designed as a showcase for Bill’s bridges.
Bill’s Espee is an around-the-wall layout in a dedicated 10 x 24 room, essentially the size of a one-car garage. The layout consists of one single-track loop and one double-track loop that both converge on the town of Dunsmuir CA. There are ten totally scratchbuilt bridges ranging from wood trestles to steel trusses to a three-track motorized bascule bridge that incorporates electronic sound effects recorded from a real motorized bridge. By “totally scratchbuilt,” I mean that Bill fabricated every individual structural member, e.g., laced girders and columns, piece by piece from sheet and strip stock.
This layout is actually Bill’s second. He met fellow Californian Lee Johnson between layouts. Lee suggested that one of the loops in the new layout should be separate from the other two for better scenic effect. Lee also helped design the Dunsmuir yard that ties everything together and makes the layout functional.
Bill does his layout construction projects in the winter half of the year, in St. Helena. When he and his wife move up to Shasta for the summer season, he takes his newly completed projects with him to install on the layout. The entire town of Dunsmuir on Bill’s layout, consisting of two 1’x 6′ sections and one 1’x 3′ section, were built in the winter and installed end to end on the layout. Dunsmuir Yard and all the bridges were likewise built in the winter season in St. Helena, then schlepped north and installed on the layout.
Bill’s friend Diana Woods, a professional artist, painted the backdrops. Eric Tiegel did all the electrical work – last!! Layout power is NCE DCC. And “every stinking foot [of track] is hand-laid” by Bill.
Bill’s work has been published many times, including the NASG Dispatch, S Gaugian, Model Railroader, and two BASS (Bay Area S Scalers) calendars. His three-track bascule bridge won First Place at Sacramento’s 2011 NASG National Convention.