Model Railroading is Fun

That simple slogan inspired and promulgated by Al Kalmbach the founder of Model Railroader magazine nearly 80 years ago is as true today as it was back then. Model railroading is a creative, diverse and pleasurable activity that cultivates an individual’s talents in design, carpentry, electrical work, artistry, scenery construction, detailing, operation to name a few. There is no hobby like it when it comes to variety and unlimited creative potential.

Our members have modeled in Z scaleNHO, Hoe, On30, TT and G. Our club layouts have been in G scale – where the ratio to the real thing is about 1:24, that is about a half inch to the foot. In G scale a 6 foot person is about 3 inches high. The other word you hear when talking about model railroads is “gauge” – that is the width between the rails. In real life “standard gauge” is 4 foot 8 and a half inches (the width of a Roman chariot!). There are other gauges and logging railroads were often narrow gauge because they were cheaper to build. For a history of scale and gauge click here.

Check out the layouts we have built and our current layout by selecting and clicking on the list to the left.

Playing with Trains by Sam Posey
Published 2004 ISBN 0-8129-7126-4

In this book, motor racing legend Sam Posey tells how, as a boy, he was enthralled by his first train set. As an adult he was convinced that building his son a basement layout would be the highest expression of fatherhood. After 16 years and thousands of hours of work the project was finished. This book tells the story of how his incredible layout came to be. In addition he tells of the layouts he visited and the history of model railroad design and building. A great book which candidly tells of his errors and frustrations that are real to all model railroaders.

Property of Tony Phillips

The Model Railroader’s Guide to Logging Railroads by Matt Coleman
ISBN 978-0-89024-702-0 Published by Kalmbach Publishing Co. in 2008

This book was bought this book to assist in planning our club’s G Scale layout, The Mendocino Coast Railroad and Navigation Company – read all about it here.

This book “covers the waterfront” in terms of the period covered and the types of logging. The text is to the point and there are copious photographs. The section of the book that was of particular relevance to our planning effort was chapter six. The preface to the chapter is true …. Matt Coleman writes ….. “The subject of layout planning has inspired countless articles and many books over the years, but I’ve seen very few plans that effectively capture the track layout and atmosphere of a true prototype logging operation. Designing a logging layout requires a thorough understanding of the purpose and limitations of handling large logs in the middle of a forest, both on the ground and on a railroad. ……. This chapter is designed to help modelers create a logging layout based on prototype practices.”

The first thing we learned was that even though we had a 55 foot by 25 foot building there was not a whole lot of room for all aspects of logging when modeling in G scale. We spent a lot of time poring over the sample layouts trying to figure out what the lessons were for our layout.

The preceding chapter (five) also gave us a lot of headaches. It deals with the typical mill and pond layout and high-lead logging systems. Both mill and pond and logging system need a lot of room to not look “silly” in a layout we quickly discovered.

How well did we learn? – well you can see the plan we adopted here. In the near future we plan to draw the plan of what we actually built and describe the difference between it and what we planned.

Property of Club Member Tony Phillips

Our Layout
Christmas shows ’07
Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere
Blackberry Inn
Butte, Carrie and Walkerville
Digger Creek
FB Lighted Truck Parade
FB Ordinance Depot
Jersey Central
Maribill Layout
North Pole
Pizza Layout
Scale and Gauge
Southern Pacific