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Great Model Railroads By Allen Keller Vol. # 35


Volume 35 - Jim Providenza's Santa Cruz Northern
The Santa Cruz Northern is an operation oriented HO layout set in the early 1970s. Jim Providenza built this double decked railroad as a way to railfan his favorite spots in northern California. The railroad, a subsidiary of the Santa Fe and the Southern Pacific, was built in a double car garage where it shares some space with the family car. To make the most of the available space, the scenes are only 12" to 18" deep. Jim has plans to expand along the only vacant wall.

Operation brings the railroad to life with full crews, a dispatcher, and over 12 trains per session. There are no switching puzzles, but only trackwork designed to move freight over the road. Jim and his operators work the railroad much like professionals with paperwork, radios and lots of coffee.

Jim is a pioneer in using double decking and command control. When he started on the original SCN in 1977, double decking was a speculative design. Jim proved it practical. In the late 1970s only a few brave souls were using command control, Jim was one of those who found that the old Astrac system met his needs. Now he's using modern Digital Command Control. You will enjoy how-to segments on detailing and weathering cement hoppers, painting a backdrop, using track warrants to control train movements and selecting heights for both decks.

The Santa Cruz Northern is a Great Model Railroad because Jim models specific equipment at a fixed time, is willing to try the new and inventive, and enjoys helping others advance in the hobby.

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