Bear Creek Redwood Estates in On30 is an American logging layout set in the present day.
Well that’s odd, I hear you say…?
Well not really as a recent trip to California showed… The Roaring Camp and Big Trees Railroad in Felton, near Santa Cruz (a short drive from San Francisco) is a ‘preserved’ tourist railway using equipment from several US logging lines and now providing a great trip into the redwoods at impressive grades and with some mighty motive power – shay, climax, heisler… and in my case a thrash with a Plymouth diesel!
So, my line is a fictional version, closeby in the Bear Creek area. The line is 30 inch (2 foot 6) which is prototypical of many Californian logging lines, whereas most US narrow gauge lines were 3 foot (bar a key network of 2 foot lines in and around Maine).
The equipment is assumed to have been regauged and kept in a variety of liveries for historic interest (but the three main railroads which are shown are D&RGW, C&S and OR&W). There are also demonstration logging trains run for both re-enactments and the occasional order of high quality redwood for building projects.
The layout benefits greatly from Bachmann and Precision On30 ready to run stock and also from the series of ‘dress up kits’ by Backwood Miniatures, which give the locos their own look and feel.
Motive power is provided by:
- Shay (soundtraxx sound)
- Climax (tsunami sound)
- Forney (tsunami sound)
- Porter 0-4-0 (tsunami sound)
- Rio Grande 2-8-0 C16 (Broadway sound)
- Consolidation 2-8-0 (zimo sound)
- Silver RGS Galloping Goose (Precision craft sound)
- Davenport Gas mechanical to be improved with the backwoods dress up kit (not sound, but to be installed if possible)
- Railtruck (not sound, but to be installed if possible)
Rolling stock consists of:
- Various passenger trains with obs, carr, combine and bagagge cars
- Log carrying ‘skeleton’ wagons
- Flats with and without stakes
- Tankers, hoppers and gondolas
- Pulpwood cars
- 4 different cabooses
- V tippers and wood side dump wagons
Track with be micro engineering On30 code 83. The plain line comes steel coloured, but turnouts need treating, so all of it will be treated with a woodland scenics rail pen (steel colour) and gently rusted where appropriate.
The first stage to this project will be the refurbishing of the previous Quahog lumber company layout and work has started to construct a new bridge as the key foreground feature of the revitalised layout.
The track plan will be a ‘switchback’ – a ‘Z’ on its side and a major feature of the Roaring Camp and Big trees railroad, since the origional trestle bridge burned down. This allows for operational interest, whilst keeping the layout small enough to be housed in a bedroom. Fiddle yards will be installed both sides of the layout for exhibitions.