My favorite railroad for over a decade has been the North Pacific Coast RR, a 3 foot Narrow gauge line that once ran from San Francisco to Sausalito (via steam powered ferry) then north to Cazadero, CA. I have most of the books and many of the articles that have been written about this prototype. I have track layouts of most of its yards and photos of most of its locomotives and rolling stock. On a memorable birthday trip my wife Chari and I drove the route of the line.
In roughly 100 miles of mainline, the NPC packed commuter rail, passenger service to resorts along the Russian River, lumbering, general freight service, you name it. Its locomotive lineup was mostly made up of Baldwin 4-4-0s, two Mason Bogies, and miscellaneous other equipment. You’d think that would be enough for a prototype railroad.
Yet there is a part of me that wants to run a more diverse set of motive power. My favorite engine was the 2-4-4-2 Baldwin that today is referred to as the Skookum. I want to run Shays and Climaxes. And I love critters. Beyond that, I want to incorporate a small mining operation in the layout. And the logging locos fit in with the northern part of the NPC where the logging operations occurred.
So I have modified the name of the railroad and will present it as a freelance railroad, the Pacific Coast and Northern. But the heart and soul will be based on all the research i have completed on the NPC – yard layouts, a couple of magnificent bridges, a sampling of NPC rolling stock, and particularly the lumber operations along the Russian River. And a HOn30 mining spur for a Magnesite mine close to Cazadero will become part of the layout.
I’m going to break the materials down into sections.
- Railroad design and track plan – this section will begin with plans then provide posts of the progress of construction as it occurs.
- Motive Power – Each engine will be kit bashed in one form or another. This section will lay out each engine project along with a series of posts showing construction progress.
- Structures – Structures will include bridges, tunnels and buildings. This section will introduce each structure along with the step in its construction.