Justin Mitchell

The Layout

The Surf Line

The Surf Line is a prototype inspired HO model railroad of the AT&SF set in 1953 running from Oceanside along the California Pacific Coast northwards to Los Angeles. The layout features scratch built depots and structures for AT&SF.

Layout Description

For much of the 20th century, the Surf Line of the AT&SF serviced both passenger and freight. particularly citrus, other agricultural industries (walnuts) and oil. San Diego with a huge military infrastructure also found its way onto The Surf Line.  It was so named because much of the line is near the Pacific Ocean, within less than 100 feet (30 m) in some places. 

The route hosted AT&SF San Diegan passenger trains with up to ten trains each way in the summer months as well as a number of specials for race days. Citrus industry operations throughout the famous Orange County of Southern California. The San Diegan’s meet was at Oceanside, one of the signature towns modelled. 

Modelled locations

Based upon era specific research and examination of actual track arrangements there are many noteworthy depots, towns, industries and specific businesses modelled to showcase the diversity and best of the Surf Line. 

The mostly single main line is approximately 82m long with the capacity to run accurate full length name train passenger consists as well as all the various specials, mail baggage and freight of the day and night.

The railroad design criteria: zero elevation changes, longest mainline possible given desired minimum 36” radius mainline, preference to interesting and noteworthy locations, focus on citrus industry, efficient use of overall space (around the room with peninsulas), open staging which has since become Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal, generous walking aisles with no pinch points, DCC,  aesthetically pleasing environment and prototypical accurate settings without gimmicks.

c1953 selected as research identified this to be a most interesting and varied time for steam and diesel operations and it is within the perceived glory years of railroading in the USA. This decision has been critical in guiding and honing all subsequent matters into something meaningful and realistic.  Animation by way of sound, movement and lighting is/will be a feature, all structures have interior lighting and interior details. 

Site Information

Layout Owner:Justin Mitchell
Address:Suite 14, Level 1 87-89 Jones Street, Ultimo 2007
Phone contact:0418 831 698
Email contact:email@justinmitchell.com.au
Layout Details:Name: The Surf Line
Scale: HO with DCC
Size: 10 x 9m
Refreshments available:Yes
Special Instructions:Old wool shed, stair access to elevator for first floor. No wheel chair access. One hour street parking.

Layout Visits

The layout is open to guests at the following times:

Event TypeDateSessionLinkPlaces
Event TypeDateSessionLinkPlaces

The layout is not open for viewing during the course of the 2023 NMRA Convention on Saturday 30 September or Sunday 1 October.

*Places indicates the remaining spaces available for each session.

This will close in 20 seconds