Jim Providenza

Owner Inspiration & Techniques on the Santa Cruz Northern

Jim Providenza
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Duration:   2  mins

The Santa Cruz Northern model railroad of Jim Providenza runs from San Jose, California over the Santa Cruz Mountains, and to the Pacific Ocean. Jim lived in this area, and Allen Keller asks if this is why he decided to model it? Yes, he answers, it is. Jim grew up spending summers in the Santa Cruz area and has always had a love of the Redwoods and the ocean. This model railroad gave him the opportunity to model an area he enjoys. His layout, the Santa Cruz Northern, never existed in real life, yet it still fits together with the area and the railroad’s history.

Back about 130 years ago from the time of this video, there was a railroad called the South Pacific Coast. It was a narrow gauge railroad that ran from Alameda down the East Bay to San Jose and over the Santa Cruz Mountains. It was eventually taken over by the Southern Pacific and then a big portion of it was abandoned in about 1940. Jim’s revision to the history is that the line was taken over by a jointly owned subsidiary of the Western Pacific and San Jose.

There are three instances in the greater Bay Area of multiple large railroads owning a subsidiary and jointly sharing in the operating. This is what he theorized occurred with his railroad. The Santa Cruz Northern moves from a connection with the Western Pacific and San Jose which does exist, and down over the Santa Cruz Mountains to Santa Cruz. When he began planning his layout in 1984, double decking was considered a risky and experimental endeavor. Watch the video to learn more about why he decided to create a double deck layout. For more model railroad tips and tools, visit the Model Railroad Academy website.

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