The History and Travels
of the Business Car Alaska.
Part 13, The Prez Visits Southern California and Texas.
Late in the afternoon of September 19, 2014 the B Yard Crew was dispatched to deliver the Business car Alaska to Highgrove with the Prez and Monica on board.  The Prez was on a new adventure to once again visit Southern California as the guest of  Robert Chaparro in Hemet CA.  The Prez arrived at the historic Hemet depot on the evening of September 25 to start his new Southern California Adventure.


On September 26th, the Prez was the guest of Ron Varnell's HO Scale Union Pacific Railroad in Torrance, CA.
The freelance HO scale Mesa Grande Railroad imagines a bridge line connecting the Santa Fe at the fictitious Southern California coastal city of Mesa with the Union Pacific and Southern Pacific in the desert to the east. All three railroads have trackage rights over the Mesa Grande.

The layout primarily features an expansive cityscape which conceals twelve hidden double-ended tracks from which trains automatically cycle out onto the double-track main line and pass through the wharf section of Mesa. Trains vary in length from a thirty car reefer block to a single motorcar. Four additional "out and back" lines provide additional automatic rail operation in the city.

The automatic mainline running provides the background for operation on the Tri Trestle branch which switches the Mesa wharf and other industries along to the branch to San Carlos. Cars are added to and received from passing trains.

The railroad fills a two-car garage. The layout is ninety-five percent complete although additional detailing will always be possible. Control is a hybrid which includes DCC and some sound. No specific era is represented although most equipment is 1950-60. The Mesa Grande Railroad runs steam and diesel.

At the end of the day, the Prez reported that he had enjoyed his tour of the Mesa Grande Railroad and that he was glad that he could tour it in warm weather.


On September 30, 2014 the Prez and Monica had the privilege of touring Robert Chaparro's Citrus Belt Railroad, the host of this tour to Southern California.

The Citrus Belt Railway by Robert Chaparro  of Hemet CA and is located in a 12 by 20 foot room in his home.  The Railroad is based on an imaginary joint operation between the Santa Fe and the Southern Pacific Railroads.  Each railroad takes a turn operating the Citrus Belt Railway for a three-year period.  The time period is 1956 and the Santa Fe is currently responsible for operations.

As modeled, the Citrus Belt Railway loosely represents the real Santa Fe's Third District mainline from Atwood to San Bernardino plus the Fourth District from Irvine through Santa Ana to Atwood.  Also included for traffic routing purposes is the Southern Pacific's line from West Anaheim south to Dyer, and the Tustin Branch.  This allows the operation of both Santa Fe and Southern Pacific equipment on the Citrus Belt Railway and accounts for an infrastructure representing both railroads.

Locally generated traffic consists of fresh citrus, citrus juices and by-products, vegetables, rose stock, wine, cattle, canned goods, petroleum, petroleum by-products, aircraft parts, scrap metal, processed foods and paper products.  Inbound freight for on- and off-line customers consists of lumber, building supplies, box shook, cement, bulk wine, farm equipment, fertilizer, chemicals, pipe, paper, grain, automobiles and parts, electrical equipment, petroleum by-products, processed foods, beer and can stock.
At the end of the day, the Prez reported that he really enjoyed his visit Ron Varnell's Railroad


On September 27th, the Prez visited Jeff Smith's diorama display at RailMaster Hobbies in Bellflower, CA.
Later that day, the Prez was the guest of Bruce Hendrick's HO Scale Mesa Grande Railroad in Brea, CA
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This privately owned layout is club size, occupying a 1,400 square foot space in a light industrial complex.  It is a UP-oriented layout featuring both standard and narrow gauge operations. Set in the 1958 to 1970 era, industrial activities include oil extraction, logging, strip and gold mining plus numerous other businesses which rely on railroad freight service.  Railroad facilities include a twenty-three stall roundhouse, two turntables and an operating hump yard.  Four trains normally are operated simultaneously using train order and timetable authority and DCC controlled power.  Also housed in the layout room is a very large collection of brass locomotives, including many rare and limited production models.
Shortly after arriving at the Hemet Depot, the Prez's Business car Alaska was placed on the rear of a local.  After traveling only a few hundred feet, several of the rear cars along with the Prez were uncoupled from the train while the crew attended to some switching duties up ahead.
After some delay and several rather ruff switching moves the Prez is once again on the move, traveling through the rather seedy parts of town by a hobo jungle.
After many more switching moves, the Alaska is finally shoved into a seldom used storage track in the maintenance yard.
The Citrus Built Railway features several scratch built structures.  Here we see the National Orange packing house which stood for many years in Riverside, CA.  The model which was built by Kevin Barnett of Corona and is authentically based on the prototype.
Here we see the Prez passing the Sunkist Corona Citrus Association packing house.  This shallow relief structure was scratch-built by Bob Chaparro and is based on an existing structure as it looked in 1956.  The model measures a scale 171 feet long, the actual length of the prototype.
After mouthing off to the train crew about their ruff switching, the crew threatened to shove the Alaska along with it's mouthy occupants into the Sanford & Son Truck Salvage Company. The name was taken from the television show featuring the father and son junk dealers.
Here we see the Gone With The Wind trailer park and a group of retired railfans watching the trains roll by.
The Messecar citrus packing house is a shallow relief structure and was scratch-built by Bob Chaparro.  This model is loosely based on the Sunkist Gold Buckle Association citrus packing house in East Highlands, CA.
New York's Genco Pura Olive Oil Company was a business started in the 1920's  by Mafia Godfather Vito Corleone.  Eventually growing to become the largest olive oil importers in the nation, the company was also the business front for the Corleone family's criminal activities.

The brick Genco building on the Citrus Belt Railway is the company's Southern California warehouse and distribution center. Genco is a good railroad customer, receiving boxcar loads of canned and bottled olive oil and bags of cement (for "cement tennis shoes").  They ship out loads of oil drums filled with "waste products".

As the Prez's visit to the Citrus Belt Railway draws to an end, he was heard to comment that he might be able to take advantage of some of Genco's services.  (Leroy take heed)
On November 15, 2014 the Prez had the pleasure of visiting and touring the Orange County Module Railroaders. 

This group was originally started in the early 1970's as the Southern California Modular Builders with their first operating display of modules in 1973.  Over the years they have several name changes including  Orange County HO Modular Group and Module Railroaders - Orange County Division .

Above we see the Prez visiting the La Habra module for his viewing pleasure.  Monica was quite impressed with structures and their detail.
The goal of the club is to take the Model Railroading Hobby to the public with displays at shopping malls, municipal facilities, mobile home parks, model railroad shows, such as NMRA conventions and Model Railroad event around Southern California.
Just to make the Prez feel right at home, the Alaska was pushed into the back of the roundhouse for a while.  (When at home on the CSWRR, the Alaska is usually parked in the back of roundhouse to keep the Prez from causing  problems.)  Unfortunately this was not well received by the Prez as he was really mouthing off to the Shop Forman.  Shortly the shop switcher was brought in to remove the unruly guests and shove them down the track.
After a visit to one of the local farms, it was time for the Prez's visit to the Orange County Module Railroaders visit to come to an end.  The Prez once again thanked club members for their hospitality.
At the time of his arrival at Highgrove, there were no trains scheduled by to pick-up the Prez and the Dispatcher called 2418 from the B Yard to make the pick-up.  Having been on duty for over 10 hours, the 2418 crew would barely have enough time to make the trip to Highgrove and return with the Prez.  Shortly after departing Highgrove, the Dispatcher called the crew and requested that they set the Alaska out on the nearest siding and proceed to Colton Cement to switch some cars there.  The 2418 hastily shoved the Alaska into the B&J Metal recycling yard and headed back to Colton Cement where they went Dead On The Law.  The Dog Catch crew not knowing about the Prez being stranded at the junk yard returned to the B Yard leaving the Prez to cool his heals for a while.  It wasn't until the following Operating Session that the A Yard Crew was spotting cars at the junk yard that the Prez was discovered and returned to the Round House.
Once again it is time for the Prez to go back into his little black box and return home to Alaska.  As in the past he let it be well known that he did not like the box as it was way below his dignity to travel in that way.  On November 26'th the Alaska was coupled to the rear of the San Jac local and returned to Highgrove and CSWRR Rails.

I would like to thank Mr. Robert Chaparro of Hemet CA for his hospitality and patience in escorting the Prez around Southern California.

On December 18, 2014 the Alaska with the Prez and Monica  arrived at the Texas Northern Railroad in Mesquite Texas.
From December 2014 through April 2015 the Prez with his beloved Monica had the pleasure of visiting the Texas Northern Model Railroad Club in Mesquite Texas.  The Prez was the guest of Thomas Stephens.  Roomer has it that while in Mesquite the Prez had a minor problem with the local law. Monica reported that she enjoyed the accommodations at the Route 66 Motel while the Prez was spending time at the Gray Bar Hotel.  However we have not been able to verify this as the Prez is tight lipped and his e-mail server has been "wiped clean."  The Texas Northern occupies 3000 square feet and features Cites and industries such as Steel Mills, Ethanol Plants,  Refineries, Cement Plants and a Cemetery with funeral.  The club operates long Freight and Passenger trains using Steam and Diesel power.  For more information on this club, please visit their Web Site at http://www.modelrailroadclub.org/
Upon returning home, the Prez reported that he was very impressed with the two Dallas railroads and their operations.  I would like to thank Mr. Thomas Stephens for hosting the Business Car Alaska and the Perez.
On April 16, 2015 the Alaska was spotted on the rails of the South Side Railroad Modelers.  This 1950's Era Club features Steam and Diesel, with Large Cities, a Steel Mill, Coal Mine, Logging Saw Mill and many other industries on two levels.  The club is located in an old Sears Warehouse just South of the Dallas Convention Center.  The Prez and Monica said that they were impressed with the railroad and wished that they would have had more time there.
Goto the Prez Visits Salt Lake City Utah.

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