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Southern Pacific Model Railroad Gerber Subdivision in 1926.

About the Gerber Sub of the Shasta Division

The Southern Pacific Shasta Division ran thru the fertile farm fields of northern California and then climbed thru the mining and timber regions to Ashland, Oregon.  The ruling grade up thru the Sikiyous mountain range had a 3.3% ruling grade with 157 of its 218-mile mainline being helper territory.

The Gerber Subdivision starts in Gerber, California, and ends at the division headquarters in Dunsmuir, a distance of 108 miles.  My original Gerber Sub had LaMoine as the last town on the layout, 22 miles short of Dunsmuir which was represented by staging tracks.  The mountains after the valley town of Redding contained many mining and timber operations and some were incorporated into the layout.

About The Layout

A move meant a new version of the Gerber Sub would be constructed, this time only including the valley towns, a distance of 44 miles.  Downsizing the layout was necessary if there was any hope of finishing since I was 76.

I chose the summer of 1926 to include all the traffic generated during the harvest season as well as all the typical traffic at a time that most freight was handled by the railroad, not trucks.  The California State Highway (now Interstate 5) was just beginning to be paved as well as very few local roads.

I chose 1926 because it was just prior the completion of the Natron Cutoff to Klamath Falls that changed operating patterns.  The first F-5’s (2-10-2) showed up on the division in 1920.  Until then, Consolidations (2-8-0) handled a large portion of the workload.  1926 appealed to me because this time period had shorter cars and trains along with all steam locomotives.

Southern Pacific (which became the operating company for Central Pacific) finished the Shasta Division in 1887.  At times, the Shasta Division was absorbed into the Sacramento Division.  It ceased to exist as a division in 1964 due to modern technology.

Layout Progress & Recent Posts


Frog Cleanup

Gary, I thought you were modeling 1926.  What is that diesel doing? I had not…
July 16, 2024

About The Builder

Birthdate ~ 1946

I’m a retired elementary school teacher and have taught grades K through 5.  My love of railroads started at age 5 when my parents enrolled me in a private kindergarten in Tucson, Az.  They had a large train set we could watch.  Growing up in Los Angeles in the 1950’s, I enjoyed seeing trains at Travel Town and the scale railroad at the Pomona fairgrounds.  Of course, riding trains at Knott’s Berry Farm and later when Disneyland opened was a special treat.  About the same time in 1955 I had my name drawn to appear on the Engineer Bill children’s show in L.A.  The studio sent a model to be built and then it would be run around on the set’s layout.  At about the same time, my dad built a fold-down American Flyer layout in my bedroom.

We moved away in 1956 and Tyco and Mantua trains replaced American Flyer.  I did a little modeling while in the Army in the late 60’s, but then became an armchair modeler until I built my own house in 1984.  The 1990’s saw the start of a large 28’x32’ railroad with an 8 loop helix, but progress was slow due to work and family.  It never became operational.

During that time, I enjoyed weekly operations sessions at Dallas Gilbertson’s layout in Chico, CA.  He had briefly been a conductor on the Santa Maria Valley RR.  I knew I wanted my next layout to support operations, especially switching.

After retirement at the age of 62, I built a large 24’x60’ mushroom layout with 550’ of mainline that eventually had an operating crew of around 10.  We moved Azle in September, 2021 after the 2018 Camp Fire in California destroyed most of our town.  We have grandchildren in Clovis, NM, and decided to move closer but still find an area that supported our hobbies.

I’ve been an NMRA member for around 40 years and a member of the LDSIG and OPSIG almost from the beginning.  I created and edited a quarterly 30 page PCR Sierra Division newsletter for 5 years and served as Contest Chair for about 10 years.  My other hobby is photography and I won Best of Show at the 2019 PCR convention.  After moving, planning and building switches for my new layout has put photography on the back burner.