Christmas Train Show

The Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens

See Photos

  • Photos and historical information about the layout for the Christmas Train Show
  • Construction info and photos of the layout

Permission to stage a train show was received from the local Botanical Gardens in late August 2007 for a show December 15th -24th 2007. Frantic planning by club members then ensued. The decision was taken to create as our centerpieces a 22 by 17 foot G Scale railroad raised 42 inches off the ground (the Big Layout). In addition we wanted to have as many “exhibits” and layouts as we could manage. Ultimately we had 16 working models/exhibits.

The show was a huge success – nearly 1,000 visitors (Fort Bragg has a population of 5,700) watched trains chuff, rumble and hoot though a model of a Logging Camp, across an old-fashioned A-Frame Bridge and over the long-extinct Virgin Creek Trestle. Click here or the links on the right to read the stories and see pictures and movies of each of the exhibits.

The layout when installed (with the aid of a fork lift) was approximately 22 feet by 17 feet.  There were 12 sections as can be see from the track plan. Click on the section to see photos of that section of the layout in operation as well as introductory and historical information and photos.

Our centerpiece, we decided, would be a contiguous scene built so that the “scenes” would form part of our (under construction) club permanent layout which will illustrate the history of the Mendocino logging railroads back when the California Western Railroad (CWR) was a working logging railroad some 70 years ago. The layout depicted scenes from the 1930’s when steam was king.

Today’s passengers who huddle together while rumbling through the CWR’s Skunk Line coal-black tunnel Number 1 know little of its history – that the use of Chinese laborers for its construction nearly sparked a riot in Fort Bragg. A model of this Union Lumber Company tunnel and the story of the riot was part of our layout.

  • Click here or the link on the left to see a movie of the layout in operation.
  • Click here or on the links on the left to see photos of the layout in operation.
  • Click here to see photos of how we built this layout.