Some pictures taken 10/13/05 showing several views of two of very many early built, but still in frequent use,  light rail size switches on the Santa Maria Railroad, CA. The SMR is an independent short line, dating from before the turn of the century, still actively linking the small Guadaloupe interchange yard on the Ex- SP west coast main line, with the industrial and agricultural sites of Santa Maria.

Travelling around the road, the small rail size is consistent throughout the railroad, except for heavier use sections that have been upgraded. The HO equivalent rail size appears closer to code 40 than code 55 for modeling purposes. Much surplus track and switches have been removed in the past few years from around what were originally steam loco support, abandoned spurs, yards and even trolley facilities. Which may explain the availability of replacement small size rail for maintenance.

The local climate is temperate coastal, with large stretches of dunes and a fair amount of wind which could be the reason for most of the trackwork not silting up with live and dead vegatation, leaving the various spikes, tieplates etc. well exposed and noticeable, even after 100+ years.

In fact, as can be clearly seen, the visibility of the tieplates in the first switch depend more on the lighting and direction of view, than the ground conditions.

General view looking North

Switch only looking North

Close up Looking North

Same Switch, only looking South - now the tieplates are very obvious.

Switch 2 General view looking West

Switch only west. Again lighting is showing up the tie plates

Side view close up of lighting showing up tieplates under frog and guard rails

Ditto close up of typical planed frog style with open throat, continous wing rail filler blocks and split hook plates