Depends on the type of station - rural, urban, commuter, major terminal,
A lot of platforms between tracks were paved with asphalt. The ones
alongside rural stations were usually built of 2" to 4" thick planks set
on square timbers, which in turn might be supported by timber posts,
depending on ground levels. High platforms (level with the vestibules)
were used almost exclusively on urban commuter lines, and even on those,
the outlying stations would usually have low platforms. Larger stations,
where diners or sleepers might be serviced, had service platforms
between double tracks served by passenger platforms. These service
platforms were narrower and lower.
Since you're modelling S. California, I assume it's based on the S.P.
Look for photographs of S.P. stations. The ones I've seen showed
concrete next to the station buildings, and concrete or asphalt between
the tracks. A few had hard-packed crushed stone between concrete or
timber curbs, by the look of it. Hard to tell, usually.
'Just because it's true doesn't mean it's the right answer.'
Concrete for anything over an old/tiny station. The only wood platforms
I ever was on was in Willard, Ohio in 1968, where we had to wait after
the train hit a pickup truck at high speed. The lead loco had a huge air
leak, so another one had to be brought in to finish the trip to D.C.
That truck lit up the whole area when it exploded. The driver was dumb,
and ran the gates for one last time.
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