New State Belt Railroad Book

New State Belt Railroad Book

Postby Shipsure » Mon Jun 02, 2014 5:59 pm

Just got my copy of Bill Kaufman's new Signature Press book on The State Belt Railroad. I'm a huge fan of the line having lived and worked around the Embarcadero in the early 1980's and watching it operate first hand, from the luxury seats at Red's Java Hut during lunch breaks. It was amazing to watch those old Alco S units weave in and out of traffic hauling short consists to the piers and industries to the West Side of the main line.

Over the years I've collected all the information I could find on line, in libraries and in the pages of Model Railroader and Model Railroad Craftsman hoping someday to have the room do model the SB. There's plenty on line especially a good selection of old Sanborn Maps from the 30's that have most of the track and yards that were in place for much of it's life before the building boom of the late 60's. Pier front property went from Hobo Junction to High End Condos and fine dining. The book it's self is a nice companion to information published elsewhere and definatly shows Bill's knowledge and affection for the railroad he models as well. His site is and there are a number of videos there and on line showing the layout as it was back in 2011 for the NMRA Nationals in Sacramento. Bill currently lives in Marin County across the Golden Gate from The City. Back to the book...great to have and for someone who hasn't been rooting out information on the road for the past 10 years, it is a treasure trove of new and interesting information. There are a number of maps and diagrams to keep you oriented as well as a nice drawing of the engine house that still exists near the main ferry building.

For me the book adds to what I already have and there are a few area I hoped would be covered especially the San Francisco Rock Company that still exists. This is off the main line near the 4th street passenger complex, but considering it's history and uniqueness to the Urban environment there, it would have been nice to get more information...if it exists. A search on google maps showed it's location and basic layout remaining unchanged. No rail service (SP did the main switching there) these days, but an interesting spot I want to model.

For anyone who loves short lines, Marine/rail lines, urban lines or San Francisco I urge you to pick up a copy. This book is a real gem and a must on any railroad reading list if you are a West Coast Modeler.

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