Well, the wayback machine is sticking a bit; probably a spot of rust. But that's okay, because we're still going back to [/i]
Wednesday, July 13th[/b]
Russ Miller's Stanton Canyon Railway[/b] is, IMHO, an excellent illustration of the idea that you can build a layout anywhere, even in the most topologically challenging location. This establishing shot makes the point: you'll see a steep slope to the left, the Miller's back yard (part of it) is at the right background; Russ has built a 'viewing deck' over the garage -- you can see the steps to it climbing up to the right -- and SWMTP took this picture from a bench on the slope behind and adjoining the garage.
Russ has basically built a massive 45' X 15' terrace behind a 5 foot retaining wall. And he's built it for easy access and various points of view, as well. Notice the placement of stepping stones which allow a visitor a way 'into' the layout. And as you approach from the backyard, you're getting a 'ground level' view.
That reflecting pond is a recent addition to the layout. It allows you to easily get a dramatic, low-angle shot like this --
If you glance back at shot number 2, you'll notice a young man sitting on the stairs. That's Russ' son looking back at the switchyard to select the next consist for the main line. Here's what the switchyard looks like from wall level.
That beautiful old-time engine with Disney animator (and train buff) Ward Kimball at the controls is a limited-run Hartland edition of Walt-Disney's "Lilly Belle," which itself was a ride-on gauge version of Central Pacific No. 173. It's become a bit of a collector's item, and I'm pleased to see one out on a layout! Note also the nicely weathered water tank.
Here a Big Hauler is dragging Denver & Rio Grande varnish around the high line and out over the reflecting pond, while a logging train is on the inner loop. In the background you can see the switchyard again, where a tank engine is preparing to haul a load of gravel or ore, it looks like.
This 'aerial' shot gives you a better view of all three tracks. The logger has come around again, but the varnish is long gone. Meanwhile, the gravel train has come onto the mains and is on the outside loop. None of this activity bothers the moose in the shallows.
The logger heads under an impressive arrangement of trestle and bridges; and we've found that varnish run.
The Shay makes its way slowly through this tight pass. I forgot what kind of stone Russ said this is, but he has a standing order for some whenever his local rockyard can get it. This consistency is one of the elements that gives the layout's topography an authentic, 'you are there' feel.
Emerging from the pass...
...and rounding the bend, revealing the Stanton Canyon logo..
We haven't forgotten about that passenger train on the trestle.
A couple on the observation platform enjoys the view as we say 'goodbye.'
Pat and Ken Martin's Somerset Pacific Junction Railroad[/b] is a large layout with 800 feet of track in two lines. If you come up to it from 'the swimming pool side', you'll see this 'bayside boardwalk' diorama that's been scenick'ed right into the edge of the pool.
The high line travels back and around this high, nicely planted hill. Everything you see here, even the track at 'ground level', is actually raised an additional foot or so behind a stone retaining wall.
Did you notice the corner of that building behind the hill? It's actually a 'depot' that Ken built himself. He put it on a gravel foundation, he says, to avoid a conflict with the local building codes.
It even has a ticket window and a 'refrigerator style' freight door. Inside, of course, it's a workshop and storage yard.
If you look closely, you'll notice a little paddle-wheeler by the window. When we visited several years ago, it was actually paddling around in the pool, to everybody's delight!
Behind the depot, this Western Pacific streamliner passes through the yards...
...then circles behind the roundhouse and goes off on the left.
Here the Streamliner takes a wide loop through the countryside after passing the harbor and the high line.
The first thing you see as you approach young Scott Kennedy's East Bay Union Railroad[/b] is this island at the corner of a garage. It's lushly planted with a variety of succulents and features a single large stone as a centerpiece.
A close-up of the stone reveals an Indian village in and surrounding it. None of that rock is carved; every ledge and cave in it was formed naturally.
The steam & diesel double-header that we saw in the first picture has turned the loop and is snaking down the line alongside a garage wall. When Scott started this layout at the age of seven, it was a simple loop with a siding. Scott's a teenager now, and the layout has undergone two expansions; it now encompasses almost 330 feet.
I admit it; I'm a sucker for Burma Shave signs. Used to see them all along the highways when I was a kid and the family would go on a road trip. This series says:
and tried to duck it.
Kicked first the gas,
and then the bucket.
The original loop went around that 'car barn' in the background. Now with 14 swtches and the design help of Nancy Norris, there are several options in routing the train around the yard -- including around this nicely planted island with a waterfall. (In fact, Nancy has a few pictures of this layout in her new "Miniature Garden Guidebook.")
There are several nicely detailed vignettes scattered throughout the layout.
Scott, here in the dark t-shirt, looks over a Ruby with his friends. They're preparing to steam it up as we take our leave...