The Ice House – Part 4

I have made a couple of adjustments to plans for 2020 that will affect which projects that are started, and planned, so it’s important to document those changes and plans.

First, I’m not changing what is being built first.  I still plan to work from the furthest West on the YV and head to the East.  That plan I’ve been comfortable with for a long time, and it makes the most sense to me, starting with where the railroad connects to the outside world.  That means the first structure is still the Merced Ice & Cold Storage facility.  I had hoped to be well into building that by this point, but illness intervened and I was out of commission for almost two months and am just now getting the energy back to return to modeling work.  

What is changing is the positioning of the facility on the layout.  It’s been bothering me that in my plan the Ice House was directly across from the YV Merced station and freight house.  I understand compression for modeling, but I’m also coming to grips still with planning for Proto48, and when it feels wrong, it’s wrong, and if I’m unhappy with things, I’ll always be unhappy and I do this kind of thing to have fun and enjoy the results, so a change is necessary.

Looking at the maps of the YV in Merced and the area around the SP interchange and the Ice House (my friend Jack Burgess has drawn fantastic maps of the area that can be found here:  or the maps are also in his book, “Trains to Yosemite” on pages 96 and 97) the general track arrangement shows what I have roughly redrawn roughly here.

The YV / SP interchange is slightly North of the SP station.  The interchange track leads to a YV track that somewhat parallels the SP North/South direction.  To the North, the YV track curves to the East and enters the main yard facilities.  To the South, the YV line takes a switch that again parallels the SP, and then there is a second switch that diverts to the East and reaches the Ice House.

I pondered what the track between the Ice House and the SP station was for.  Not being able to sort that out myself, I asked Jack.  At one time that track was used for YV passengers to board trains headed for the National Park, but the spur was out of service and removed by 1935.  

I made the decision to move the Ice House from across the tracks from the YV station to a more prototypical location, and also to create more of the right location for the SP Interchange.  I am still going to keep the same slim 18” deep by 6’ layout section for the interchange area, which means I’ll have to compromise and locate the ice House on the wrong side of its spur.  That compromise is less offensive to me than having it directly opposite from the YV station, and is just part of layout planning and space considerations when compressing real world locations to the confines of benchwork.

I will be omitting the unused passenger track and it’s connection to the YV line.  It’s fortunate for me that it would mostly have been unused in 1928 so I feel justified in compressing it out to fit the space.  If it had been in regular use, I would have wanted to include it on the layout.

Here is the track plan for the Ice House and Interchange section.  This plan feels right to me.  When it’s right, put it on paper, stop working on replanning that, and move to the next item.

With the plan now ready, what you’re looking at in this track plan is my layout construction goal for 2020.  Finish the interchange and the Ice House.  I still plan to build the freight equipment associated with the ice and cold storage going on here, and now that I’m feeling better and have resolved my planning problem and visual problem with location for things, it’s time to get building.

I did learn an important lesson from this exercise.  Put the things on the layout where they belong as close to the prototype as possible and it will feel right.  Overly compressing things, especially in Proto48, does not feel right.  That lesson will help when it comes to the next steps.


Leave a Reply