Santa Ana & Newport Railroad

Chris Jean


Layout Scale: HO

Layout Size: Double Deck approximately 350 square feet

Layout Concept:  The Santa Ana & Newport Railroad (SA&N) is a proto-freelanced layout of this small regional railroad that served portions for Orange County, California. The layout models a "what if" scenario that assumes the SA&N remained independent and operating with small second-hand steam locomotives provided by the AT&SF, at least through 1957.  Built by the McFadden brothers in 1893 to transport lumber arriving by ship at McFadden Wharf (now Newport Pier in Newport Beach) to a connection with the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe (ATSF) in Santa Ana, California.  Over the years, the line expanded to serve other businesses around Orange County, and connection with the Southern Pacific and Pacific Electric in Huntington Beach resulted in a large looped track plan (yes, there is a prototype for everything). Traffic consists of sugar beets, processed sugar, oil, produce, pleasure boats, machinery, paint, fertilizer, chemicals, raw materials and finished goods. 

Layout Description: The approximately 350 square foot double-deck HO scale layout is constructed with Code 83 Model Power flex track and manually thrown hand laid turnouts, MRC Prodigy Advance DCC with MRC WiFi module to allow smart device throttle use.  The layout consists of a squashed "S" shape with cantilevered around-the-walls benchwork plus a central peninsula.  The continuous loop of the prototype is achieved using a helix at each end of the "S" but only the Merry-Go-Round train uses both helixes.  Staging tracks for the ATSF and SP (3 stub tracks each) are provided on two levels of a swing out extension attached to the "north" end of the "S".  A single level extension off the "south" end of the "S" contains the Newport Yard section connecting to McFadden Wharf and the remainder of the Balboa Peninsula.  The two main aisles are 48" wide with the aisle between the end of the central peninsula and the swing out staging extension being 30". Scenery typical of coastal Orange Cunty is about 90% complete and includes modeled portions of the towns and customers in Santa Ana, Costa Mesa, Newport Beach and Huntington Beach. 


Operations Description: The layout uses Timetable and Train Order (TT&TO) for traffic control, and a 6:1 fast clock. All freight trains are Extras, and crews utilize Switch Lists. One passenger train prototypically called the “Merry Go Round” train, is the only scheduled train and makes three laps of the loop per day with stops at Santa Ana, Costa Mesa, Newport Beach and Huntington Beach.  Freight trains originating from all four railroads traverse the layout, under TT&TO.  Turns operate out of Santa Ana and Huntington Beach yards, and the PE runs a local between the Long Beach branch and Newport Yard. Additional turns originating in the ATSF staging and the SP staging work specific industry locations. At the writing of this description, yard work is handled by each train crew, but Yardmaster positions are being incorporated into the operations scheme.   One unusual feature of operations on this layout is due to the prototypical “loop" configuration. Traditional compass directions for traffic flow are not used; train direction is indicated as either “clockwise” or “counter-clockwise” instead of the more traditional compass direction.


Crew Jobs:

  • Huntington Yardmaster
  • Santa Ana Yardmaster
  • Road Crew
  • Road Crew
  • Road Crew            



 Updated 1/24/2021