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Located on a 40-acre site in the high desert of Nevada, the Rondolino residence is a 111 sqm prefabricated house sits in an isolated plain near Scotty’s Junction that is framed by mountains on all sides. Nottoscale introduced larger floor to ceiling windows in all the living quarters and raised the building on a concrete plinth which seems to emerge out of the desert landscape while overlooking the scenery.
Informative Daily Blog with diverse modeling topics related to miniature railroading, such as 15" gauge live steam, HO, N, ON30 and Garden scales.
Denny's blog covering his N scale layout representing a portion of the Southern Pacific Coast Line in Central California between Callender and Surf, including the Guadalupe yard, set in the early 1970s. Metal replacement wheelsets in a variety of sizes and precision as drop in replacements for commercial plastic wheels. This whole trip is basically an out an back route meaning that we can be selective about where we stop, knowing that we get another chance at any locations that we missed or want to spend more time at on the way back. This view from B Hill barely captures the expansiveness of the yard and the surrounding desert.
Across the street from the Starbucks is a MacDonalds decked out in a bright railroad theme with coaches and a caboose or two.
As a side note, the many tourists briefly stopping here on their bus trips to Vegas were entirely oblivious to the amazing display of railroading on the triple track just  few feet on the other side of the back fence to the right of this shot.
Other than a row of houses and old buildings on either side of the main tracks, Daggett is little more than a desert hamlet with a couple of grade crossings over the busy triple track BNSF main line.
Marto and I walked down the line toward Barstow to check out the new triple track arrangement.
BNSF 1001 is heading west to Barstow under the new CTC signal bridge on the west end of Daggett. Not long after the 1001 disappeared from view, a BNSF Z-train blasted out of Barstow toward the wide open spaces of the Mojave. It turns out we had ended up here before to get my brakes fixed on one of those prior trips. If it had turned out that the Needles Sub was the same distance from where I live as Tehachapi Pass, I would probably spend most of my railroading time on the Needles Sub.
We gassed up the van at the town and drove east up ‘66 to the grade crossing a mile and a half up the hill.
Then a few minutes later, BNSF 5196 bore down on the Ludlow crossovers with a long string of TOFC’s. The Mojave is not flat, rather it has long shallow undulations extending for dozens of miles.


At Goffs, another eastbound stack ahead of the 5003 was rolling over the crest onto the downslope as another westbound stack was completing its climb out of the Colorado River valley. Here’s a sequence of shots from a nicely powered westbound trailer train heading into the lowering sun. A few miles out of Kingman we encountered this eastbound stacker with a couple of rear end distributed power units earning their keep. This gives the user the impression to float over, yet to be completely immersed in the desert landscape. For almost all of that distance, the line is closely paired with old Route 66 (the National Trails Highway) and I-40, a large east-west freeway that cuts through the landscape like a lash from a giant whip. Marto and I elected to do the trip from Tehachapi to Barstow just after dawn to allow more time to enjoy the Barstow area and the Needles Sub, a long time favorite stretch of railroading for both of us.
It was clear blue skies for the rest of this trip except for some marine layer around Cajon Pass later in the trip. Aside from a few mural paintings in Old Town Barstow, this is the dominant public reference to Barstow’s railroading heritage. The location has plenty of importance to railroaders by virtue of the fact that UP’s Salt Lake City line to LA merges with the BNSF Needles Sub at the east end of Daggett. These tracks curve to join the Needles Sub, which runs left to right through mid-picture.
To accommodate the flow of UP trains on top of the streetcar-like BNSF traffic on this route, BNSF recently laid an additional track to Barstow, ten miles west of here. For ten miles I was actually willing to risk a flat in the middle of nowhere before I came to my senses and drove back to Barstow to get it fixed. We stuck to the highway and its high speed limit to make up for lost time getting the tire fixed. First came a WB stack train led by BNSF 8709 a conventional cab blue and yellow GP60 along with two GP60B’s and an SD40-2. Route 66 leaves the BNSF line but Goffs Road closely hugs the line over the hill for about twenty miles. Aside from a deviation at the top of the hill, Goffs Road is back to running very close to the right of way here, affording some great pacing and closeup views of the railroad.
More than half the trains we saw had a swoosh unit, usually a Gevo, but we did catch a few SD’s with the new logo as well. Ten minutes further east is the large truss bridge spanning the Colorado River at Topock, now on the BNSF Seligman Sub.


The desert landscape is more vegetated in parts that the eastern Mojave and the sandy soil continues to dominate. There are stiff grades approaching Kingman and the line winds its way though some rugged canyons to keep the grade manageable. Marto was keen to get shots of depots in this part of the BNSF to capture a little of the flavor of the old Santa Fe.
It was great to hear the chug of the big GE’s in the canyon before the train hurried past the depot moving faster than I expected given the grade through here and caught me off guard.
While lacking in character, I-40 provides a convenient means to rapidly skip the less interesting sections along the way where the tracks are not paired with a road. With modern railroads so eager to quietly get on with business out of the public eye as much as possible, the public is left to create railroad references largely on their own. The Needles Sub is actually out of reach, at least for rational weekend trips, so I have not visited here as often as I would have liked and heading out to the Needles Sub on this Sunday morning, I was feeling pretty darned good about things.
I have visited the hills just west of Ludlow where the tracks curve and stretch to ease the grade west on several previous trips.
The hills in the distance have distinctive shades of purple and brown on the far side of the tilted, sandy desert floor. On the day we passed by, a bad order articulated autorack had been set out in the siding about two miles west of Arrowhead Jct.
On the other side of this range lies the southern tip of Nevada and, on the other side of the Colorado River, Arizona. For a lot of the trip from Topock to Kingman, the tracks are not close to the road so we took advantage of the 75mph limits on the freeway. At this point we had headlights coming from both directions as a UP local had swung onto the Needles Sub a little east of our position. The smaller single mast signals below the signal bridge and just to the far side of it face trains moving from the Needles Sub onto the UP Salt Lake line. They have a celebrity photo wall in the office which Marto recognized from one of our trips ten years ago.



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