undated 1

Victor Shattock's Basement Railroad was an amazing live steam model railroad built by long-time Southern Pacific employee Victor Shattock. It was at 1877 - 38th Avenue.

Written by Ken Shattock in 2013:

My paternal grandfather was the late Victor T. Shattock-- a longtime Southern Pacific Railroad employee, a Nationally-known builder of scale miniature Live Steam locomotives, the Founder of the Golden Gate Live Steamers in Oakland (now in Tilden Park, Berkeley) and the builder of the most famous Live Steam  miniature railroad (ever), operating in the basement of his old Victorian home in East Oakland's FRUITVALE District.  Imagine, if you will, STEAM-powered locomotives pulling various freight cars around a scenic railroad INSIDE someone's home!  Unheard of, some said!!  But, it was TRUE!!  All constructed and totally scratch-built from raw materials by my grandpa !  I'd like to share some general facts about this amazing East Oakland attraction......

Oakland, California

Location:    1877- 38th Avenue, corner of Foothill Blvd;  Fruitvale District—Oakland…
Total trackage:  Approx. 400 feet.
Scale and Track Gauge:   ½ inch scale; 1/24th full size; 2 ½ inch gauge. 
       (Known in the United Kingdom officially as “Gauge Three”)
Fuel:   Denatured Alcohol (wood alcohol)
       (Known in the United Kingdom officially as “Methylated Spirits”)

Burner Method:   Vaporizing Burner of Vic Shattock’s personal design.
Boiler construction:  Standard fire-tube boiler construction (all copper) using staybolts
      Asbestos boiler lagging, and other accessories.
Boiler pressure (operating):  85 to 100 psi …
Feed Water:  Axle-driven pumps;  Horizontal feed water pump, steam operated.
Lubrication:   Steam cylinder oil via Mechanical Lubricator
Direction of travel:   Standard johnson bar in the cab on engineer’s side.
Throttle control:  Manual…   Throttle handle extended just a little thru the cab roof.
Radio Control:   NO…  Not available…
TWO (2)   2-8-2  “Mikados” :  # 3217 and # 3254
TWO (2)   4-6-2  “Pacifics”  :  # 2422  I   and # 2422  II   (# I built in 1929)
ONE  (1)   2-8-0  “Consolidation”  # 2753
ONE  (1)   0-6-0   “SP Switch Engine” # 1207   (Stolen from basement in 1946)

Rolling Stock:
Twenty-two (22)  freight cars of various types.
One (1)  Central Pacific “Harriman-style”  Chair Car  (coach)

One Turntable:  SP 110-foot common standard (55 inches long) containing 2500 rivets.
Three tunnels
One ballast deck trestle
One steel girder bridge
Two signal bridges
Three two-track stub end yards
Twelve turnouts plus One double-slip switch
Roundhouse with Five(5) stalls and electrically operated turntable.
One water column standpipe (operational)
One water tank with spout in Roundhouse (operational)
Fully automatic block signal system

Notable Guests and other visitors:
Various Southern Pacific Officers
Various Southern Pacific Division Managers
Al Kalmbach, Publisher,  Model Railroader
Linn Westcott, Editor,  Model Railroader
Bill Walthers,  The Walthers Company
John Allen,  Gorre & Daphetid RR, Monterey, CA.
Eddie “Rochester” Anderson (Jack Benny Show)
[[Walt Disney]]
Dick Bagley, Publisher, The Miniature Locomotive
Whit Towers, Editor,  NMRA Bulletin
Bob Bast, NMRA
Various civic, school district, and other community leaders
News Media (various)
Movietone News
Lloyd Combs, Professional film maker…
Ray Maker, Amusement Park Train builder
Billy Jones,  Los Gatos
Louis McDermott,  Overfair Railway builder
Charles “Budge” Garbett,  local oldtime modelmaker
Rollin J. Lobaugh,  Model Railroad Manufacturer
Jack Collier,  Jack Collier’s “Toys for Men”, Oakland.
Walter I. Brown, founding member,  Eastbay Model Engineers Society
Plus hundreds and hundreds of other visitors.

All railroad locomotives, rolling stock and accessories totally “scratchbuilt” from raw
materials in Victor Shattock’s workshop…  No kits of any kind were used…

Notable Events:
Founding location and Headquarters:  Golden Gate Live Steamers (1936)
National Convention Layout Tour (NMRA)--  Oakland, CA. (1947)
Radio Appearance:  The Old Craftsman, KFRC, San Francisco (1938)
Radio Appearance:  Hobby Lobby, New York City (1938)

In the 1940’s ,  Victor Shattock and his friend and fellow club member, Walter Brown,
were National Co-Chairmen of the NMRA’s “Live Steam Standards Committee” …

Victor Shattock was employed by the Southern Pacific Railroad for thirty-six years !
Within the railroad’s maintenance of way department (Western Division) he was the “Water Service Foreman” (railroad plumbing//HVAC) ,
responsible for anything on the railroad having to do with plumbing, HVAC, tinsmithing, train and ferryboat fueling, and so forth.
He was a member of the Brotherhood of Maintenance-of-Way Employees (BMWE) and was Secretary—Treasurer of Subordinate Lodge #407
at West Oakland.  He was also Division Grievance Chairman and Asst.Chairman of the Pacific Federation.

Links and References

  1. Victor Shattock's Basement Railroad International Brotherhood of Live Steamers