Okay, I had some sort of brief fantasy of just calling people up one day and saying “Come over and operate” and having them show up to discover that I had done something completely different than they though I was doing.
I am no longer building the Washington, Idaho & Montana. The railroad in the basement will now be the State Belt Railway of California.
The Belt serviced the waterfront of San Francisco, from the south edge of downtown (where the ballpark now is) along the Embarcadero to Fisherman’s Wharf and on into Fort Mason (an Army shipping depot). It was owned by the State of California (along with the entire port infrastructure of San Francisco), and operated more as a public utility than as a normal railroad.
No waybills were used on the Belt. Someone shipping to/from the area serviced by the Belt would call one of the connecting railroads to arrange the shipping details. That railroad would then direct the Belt to move the car as needed. All billing was done on a per-movement basis, not as a partner in the billing tariff.
I’ll be modelling 1952, when the Port was once again busy shipping men and materiel to the Pacific Theater, this time to Korea.
Bill Kaufman, of San Rafael, Calif., introduced me to the Belt when I operated on his railroad back in January. I was intrigued, and when his book came out, that sealed the deal. So I’m back to an urban railroad, instead of the hills of North Central Idaho.
I’ll be keeping you all posted here.