Trolley Modeling in N Scale

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Steam Shovel Book on Project Gutenberg ~ Friday, October 24, 2014

Most of what I find on Project Gutenberg ranges from classics to forgotten dime novels in fiction, to obsolete historical and scientific texts in non-.

Today I saw this new listing of a technical book on steam shovels, with a few cool illustrations.


Maybe there will be books on electric railways in the future--one can always make it happen, I suppose, by volunteering time to scan and/or proofread.

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Lunar Eclipse ~ Wednesday, October 08, 2014

I braced the camera on the top of my car to hold it still for a long exposure (flash doesn't work for taking pictures of the moon!), and got this picture of the lunar eclipse at 3:something this morning:

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Mega Double Rainbow ~ Thursday, September 18, 2014

I don't usually post about the weather but it hasn't rained here for a really really long time.

Pictures taken on the way to the 73 bus stop.

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SF Transit Ice-Cream Tour ~

A local tourism website published a list of the best ice-cream shops in San Francisco.

Here's a few highlights and transit-oriented directions. I've only been to a few of these myself. We will try to remedy that!

  • The Ice Cream Bar. Some flavors are alcoholic! 815 Cole St, in Cole Valley, right by the west portal of the Sunset Streetcar tunnel (N Judah). Close to Haight/Ashbury and the eastern end of Golden Gate park.
  • Mr. & Mrs Miscellaneous, in the formerly scruffy but increasingly upscale Dogpatch. 699 22nd Street; a block from the 22nd St CalTrain station, also by a T-Third Light rail stop.
  • It's not ice-cream, but a block away is Just For You Cafe, which I've heard has New-Orleans-style beignets!
  • Smitten. Apparently they make it on the spot with liquid nitrogen! 432 Octavia Street. This location is within a few blocks of Market Street and the Civic Center--you could reach it from the Van Ness Muni Metro Station, or with a slightly longer walk from the Civic Center BART/Muni station, or walk up from Market (F-Market, etc). Be aware that this is an area where various types of urban environments converge (it's much nicer since the freeway offramp that used to be on top of Octavia was torn down).
  • Bi-Rite Creamery. The article lists them under a location on Divisadero, but I've seen lines out the door at their location at 3692 18th Street, conveniently close to Dolores Park, the J-Church, and Market St.
  • Humphry Slocombe. They list a location at 2790A Harrison Street, a few blocks from the 24th/Mission BART station, but they also have a booth in the Ferry Building.
  • Mitchell's Ice Cream, featured several times in this blog, and the best ice-cream in the world!!!. The location at 29th St. and San Jose Ave. is close to Mission St. busses (14, etc) and the J-Church.

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I Note with Approval... ~ Wednesday, September 17, 2014

That the new elevated track structure at San Bruno has provisions for future catenary.

Also, the relocated SB CalTrain station is a < 20 min walk from the Tanforan mall, even at the pace of a 5 year old.

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Bus Token ~ Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Nate has a Clipper Card but we found a bag of SamTrans youth tokens around the house, so today he's riding to school old-school.

Not to many transit systems still use tokens these days.

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Ghost Tunnel ~ Saturday, September 06, 2014

From CalTrain, between Bayshore and South SF stations, coming around the point by Brisbane, I've noticed an abandoned tunnel portal. You can see it in this Bing Maps birds-eye view. The story is that this was originally part of the SP peninsula bayshore line, but when the 101 freeway was built, the railway was moved out of its way and now goes around a hill it used to go under.

I went poking around to get a better view than from a passing train. The site is at the back of an industrial park and is not too hard to get close to, though I had to stand on the fender of a parked truck to get a good view over a fence.

It made me curious whether the other end still exists or has been buried under the 101. Here's a series of views from a Historical Topographical Map online collection from UC Berkeley (this site is an awesome resource--I wish this sort of thing was available for the whole country).

1896: before the Bayshore Cutoff was built. South San Francisco is a little village by a lagoon.

1915: Tracks up the bay shore, right on the water a lot of the way, and there's the tunnel.

1947: That red line is not the modern Freeway, just the Bayshore Drive that's still there.

1956: The freeway and relocated tracks are under construction.

1968: Basically like today; the freeway is there, and the tracks are moved, but the tunnel is still shown. The south portal is still there. Interesting!

1973: Not much change since 68, but the USGS seems to have forgotten about the tunnel!

Taking another look at Bing Maps facing where the tunnel should go, I can't see any sign of it. Actually, the modern lay of the land seems to be a bit different than the old top maps suggest, or even modern ones.


The maps make the freeway look like an elevated structure, but I think actually the whole area underneath, where the missing portal would have been, has been filled in. Also note the little bit of hillside east of Bayshort Drive--it seems to have gone through a small cut, but this just isn't there now. Maybe the stub piece of hill was leveled to make fill for the new freeway.

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Rail Fair at Ardenwood ~ Monday, September 01, 2014

Nathan and I visited the Washington Township Railroad Fair at Ardenwood Park, where several small visiting steam engines were running the trains (instead of the usual four-legged motive power).

The SP narrow gauge car 1010 was open for inspection. The plumbing of this car--or rather, the lack of it, is always a fascinating detail to kids:

We also rode (and pushed) a handcar, by virtue of becoming members of the Society for Preservation of Carter Railroad Resources, rode a speeder and trailer to visit the society's barn/workshop, where some really old and not-yet-restored equipment is kept, that I have previously only know of from their website.

For the ride back, Nate got to ride in the speeder cab and had the privilege of hoking the horn! :)

A few more scenes from the day:

Crank organs:

Eating an apple we picked ourselves:

Feeding goats:

Milking a fake cow:

Repairs to a (stub) switch:

A butterfly. I always try to take pictures of butterflies, and seldom get one, but had better luck today.

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Where's this and What's Missing? ~ Sunday, August 31, 2014

A quiz for Bay Area locals.


this article shows what was removed, and how it looked originally (it was already pretty grimy by the time I noticed it in the 80's).

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Good News about RMC ~ Saturday, August 30, 2014

Rail Model Craftsman is being taken over by White River Productions:


Now If we could just convince them to resurrect Trolley Talk too...

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