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Old 07-05-2014, 08:26 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Western Regionals Day 2, Pt.2

[First, an Editorial "excuse me please." When I first posted "Day2, Pt.1" of this series this morning (July 5th) I ran into a brand new administrative limit of 25 Jpegs per post. Because of that limitation, I could only post a part of the Crawford's layout. This didn't really make a lot of narrative sense, so I took that layout out and am posting it here. I also made some changes to other portions of that thread.

To the great majority of you, this will make no difference. But the half-dozen or so people who were trying to read Day 2, Pt.1 at the same time that I was tearing it apart might now be confused at seeing some stuff here and not there. I can only apologize and suggest that you look at Day 2, Pt1. again.

Thanks for your patience. Now where were we? ..)

Ken & Elaine Crawford wrote in the tour booklet that their railroad "started as a simple loop around a pond, stream and waterfall. We then had a car crash into the yard and rebuilt, with expansion, twice!" Ken is explaining the control panel for the Pyramid Lake Express; we'll start our tour looking at the long leg behind him.

The PLE travels past a succulents forest headed for the town at the base of the mountains (charmingly painted onto the fence all around the yard.)

As we pass the village, the main line travels along the foothills and enters one of two tunnels under "Triangle" mountain. A shortline runs a service loop that uses the second tunnel and parallels the mainline around the bend.

Agriculture is the main industry served by the PLE, but it also makes a stop near the Chateau Hotel by the stream.

The automobile bridge near the ranch is closed for repairs today. This second "water feature" uses glass pebbles in various shades of blue, violet and clear to simulate the shimmer of water.

The Pyramid Lake Express heads toward the engine house...

...but passes the turntable siding on this trip...

...to make the return loop headed back to pick up the next photographer or tourist.


And what do you do with scraps of redwood fence left after a crash? If you are Ken Crawford, you mill them into lumber and build a trestle loop in the front yard. The ELF line (Elevated Light Freight) specializes in seasonal trains and holidays. The "Independence Day-Light" was running during our visit.

A mobile home presents unique challenges for the garden railroader; yard space is at a premium, so Doug & Julie Fuller's Royal Crest Circle Route of the Rancho Cordova Community Railroad circles completely around their house. That railroad crossing sign applies anywhere you step on their lot.

The walkway track is protected by Walk-On Roadbed from Split-Jaw Products. This work train is headed off to check out the mainline.


This railbus serves the foothill homes and ranches scattered among sloping meadows.

There's even a tunnel (hiding a hose reel) when you reach the mountains.

The main line starts at this turntable and heads to the back of the lot passing around and under the back steps. A straight run along the back sends the mainline out to the street...

...where it runs past industrial, commercial and residential properties that can be seen from a passing car, although the details are best appreciated on foot. The buildings are mostly hand-built by Doug. An excursion train had pulled into the station just before we arrived.


We finish our trip around the Royal Crest Circle Route back where we started on the corner. Don't let anyone tell you they don't have room to put in a train. This railroad, started in 2003, is proof otherwise.

We'll end with this dance hall that Doug's wife, Julie, pointed out on the counter of Doug's workshop cabinet. Those dancers inside are positioned on a record turntable mechanism and spin and turn along with music and disco lighting when the sun goes down.

There are more layouts to see, so we're heading off to assemble WCRM Day 2, Pt. 3. Thanks to all the hosts and volunteers from the Sacramento Valley Garden Railway Society (and environs) for their hospitality at a great group of layouts.
-Gary the Garden Rail Hobo-
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