Category Archives: PCN Yard & Shops

NPC Machine Shop

This map is dated 1890.  Within 10 years the NPC was building its own locomotive and extensively modifying another (NPC No 21).  A machine shop would have been necessary to do so.


I’m placing  machine shop in the layout map in the upper left corner of the Sausalito Yard section of the layout.  While the layout map shows two tracks going into the structure, the actual drawing shows only one.

PCN Layout 7 Sausalito Yards

I came across the McCabe Machine shop on eBay.  It struck me as a reasonable representation of what might have been.  Note the single track.

McCabe 1

Because this is a machine shop model, the NPC facility might lay out like this.  The Corliss engine is a stationary steam engine that drives the pulleys for the machine shop.  the only thing I would modify from the kit is to extend the track further into the building so it would fit an entire locomotive.

McCabe 2

This is the rear view, showing the steam engine room.  The room is empty because the machine tools and other components are not part of the kit.

McCabe 4

Machine tools would be along the other side of the building.  Parts and raw materials would be staged outside.      The machine shop has an overall footprint of a scale 63′ x 84′ (roughly 9″ x 12″)

Interior Details

The objective is to set up a boiler and stationary steam engine that power a set of pulleys that drive various machine tools in the facility.  Rio Grande Models provides the following in HO or HOn3.

  • Stationary Boiler – 3010 – $8.00
  • Blacksmith Shop Equipment Set – 3020 – $20
  • Overhead belt drive set. -3021 – $15
  • Air Compressor – 3022 – $15
  • Wheel Borer and Press – 3023 – $15
  • Hack Saw and Metal Shear – 3032 – $15
  • Metal Flanger, Trimmer & Drill Press – 3033 – $15
  • Bolt Threader and Lathe – 3034 – $15
  • Metal Planer – 3035 – $15
  • Stationary Steam Engine – 3040 – $20
  • Wheel Lathe – 3046 – $15
  • Grinder – 3143 – $12
  • Derrick Boom – 3147 – $20

The entire set would run $197.  Some carpentry equipment like a table saw would round things out.  Locomotive shop trucks could be bashed from inexpensive wheel sets.  Lighting would be Woodland Scenics.

Bashing the McCabe Kit

Tracks would include a long track running down the left side of the building and siding that runs outside the building.

The BTS McCabe Kit came today.  It is a gorgeous set of laser cut wood parts and white metal castings.  I can’t wait to get started.

NPC Turntables & Roundhouses

Atlas Turntable Bash 1

This is an example of the turntable I plan to install in the Quarry section of the layout.  This is a bash of an Atlas HO turntable.  Douglas van Veelan sells the H Frame Gallows Turntable that is sitting on top of the Atlas turntable in this photo.  He also sells an A Frame Gallows Version.  I picked up the HOn3 version from him in kit form.  If you are interested, you can reach him at .

H Gallows Turntable

I also ran across an Atlas HO turntable including an indexing motor and a roundhouse in water damaged boxes for $35.00.

Atlas Turntable

The motor drive is continued in a cheap looking building enclosure.  The railroader who bashed the Atlas turntable bashed it into this.  The structure covers the power unit that powers the Atlas turntable.

Atlas Turntable Bash 2

I’m not sure I can match his craftsmanship but I’m sure going to try.

A second option for the roundhouse is the RDA Stone Roundhouse.  This would be more likely to be found in a quarry spur.  It is also spectacular.  Envision it with the roundhouse implementation pictured at the top of this post.

RDA Stone Roundhouse

RDA also offers a small stone engine house.  I may also consider working this in, possibly in the Mining area.

RDA Engine House

A third option for the roundhouse is the Banta Sargent’s Roundhouse.  Two of these would make sense in the Sausalito yards as they are similar to the actual roundhouses/engine houses that existed on the prototype.

Banta Sargents Roundhouse

The three stall roundhouse is perfect for the Sausalito Shops location.  Size fits.  Style fits.  Number of stalls fit.

As I work on individual projects links to builders logs will be shown below.

PC&N Machine Shop

The NPC actually built one locomotive and did a major conversion on another.  In addition Carter Brothers would have needed machine shop facilities to construct the cars it produced in Sausalito for the NPC.  This machine shop will be built to display a variety of  industrial metal working tools driven by a dedicated boiler, a steam engine, and appropriate drive belts.

Fortunately Sierra West produces a kit that includes the equipment …


as well as a vertical boiler, a steam engine, and related components and clutter.  Note that these images are used by permission from Brett Gallant.

The facility in which this equipment is placed will be open on one side and modeled after the NPC structures for which I have photos.