It's sorta' hard to see how extensive this village is, since the weathered wood and rusted tin roofs of this Western Dogpatch blend so well into the red dirt and rock around it. Welcome to Chuck Maley's "Coyote Pass Railroad," which he very accurately describes as "a standard gauge mountain division line with narrow gauge characteristics."
To get a sense of perspective, let's get in a little closer to that building on the far left with the green (copper?) roof. It's called "Grumples."
Here's a shot of the town and industrial complex that's on the other side of the layout.
There's so much wonderfully detailed, eclectic modeling going on on this layout that I hardly know where to begin. How about this old mine with the rusted ore train in front of it? (I know it's not abandoned, because the workers are grabbing thrill rides down the track!)
Then there's this flume. I don't know where the water is actually coming from -- there are a couple of pistons down near the ground which are rigged up to what appears to be a modified hand-crank pump; but that whole apparatus may be cosmetic. However it starts, the water runs down the flume...
And heads to the mill, where it...
...drives a jury-rigged wheel, which is connected to a jack-pole, which actually moves a vertical sawblade up and down!
I'll leave you with this shot of a lumber train coming out of the logging camp...
And then we gotta' hurry up to the next stop...
...which is Mike Falkenstein's "Mistiridge Railroad." There are actually two layouts here. The first is an on-the-ground layout which started in 1992 and evolved along with the hobby, from 1:22.5 to 1:29 to 1:20.3 narrow gauge.
Alas, Mike discovered Friday morning that after 20 years, the track and weeds had settled in to the point that he couldn't guarantee a complete circuit without de-railing. This Mallet derailed right here on the curve. Note the airwire controller on the tender -- it appears that at least half of the trains involved in this 'Regional' are battery-powered and Airwire controlled.
But not all! Mike's newest addition is an elevated layout where he and friends run live-steam engines. It has about 240 feet of mainline and another 180 feet of siding. When we arrived, Mike's friend, Chuck Sanfilippo, was driving an Accucraft Mason Bogie and a Roundhouse Billy, both under radio control.
I was especially interested in how Chuck had set up the Mason Bogie, since I have one and I'm interested in R/C'ing it. A problem with the Mason Bogie is it's prototypically complex reversing gear. Chuck decided, as have several others, to leave the Johnson bar alone and simply R/C the throttle.
It's almost 4 O'clock -- we have time to see one more layout before closing. The closest is the Maple Rock Garden Railway, hosted by Scott, Lisa & Colin Paris. The railroad was designed & built by Earl Martin.
The Maple Rock Garden is a very large estate which grows plants and vegetables for the family's High-Hand Nursery and Cafe in Loomis, CA. It is also a very finely landscaped garden, where folks can wander along well-kept pathways from courtyards, to terraces, to hidden sculpture gardens. Although it is a private garden, there are facilities and arrangements available for public visitation days. Here's the view shortly after entering one of the gates -- that long shade cloth roof is where we're headed.
Just as we get to the shade cloth 'tent', we spy this control shed/workshop in the corner. It's manned by Colin Paris and Earl Martin. It's a very hot day and we've arrived late in the operating session. Because of these two factors, they 'warn' us that there is only one train operating under the shade cloth. There is a lot of track which climbs the terrain via loops and switchbacks, normally allowing the trains to visit other areas of the garden. But by this afternoon, their batteries are pooped.
Here's the train now, an older LGB Mallet which Earl has converted to battery. It's headed down one leg of a wye.
A better shot of the train -
This beautiful, shallow creek runs through the central "island" of the layout.
There are many other vignettes hidden throughout the island. Here are a just a couple --
But gee, I wish we'd been able to see the trains climbing up into the other garden areas! This RR Crossing sign indicates where the track leaves the tented area -
And as you walk up the garden paths, you run into stretches of track and bridgework like these --
Note the train tracks and station running along the right edge of the walk above.
We realized that had we started here, we might never have left the gardens when there were invitations to explore everywhere you looked...
So I'll wave good-bye for now. Look for Sacramento Day 2 coming soon.