Rebuilding the Virgin Creek Trestle on the (G Scale) Mendocino Coast Model Railroad & Navigation Co.

The Virgin Creek Trestle was the second of the five Trestles on the Ten Mile Branch which were needed to get Union Lumber Company’s (ULC) trains from the mill opposite downtown to the Ten Mile River basin.

We have only one photo of the real Virgin Creek Trestle – this one:

virgin Creek Trestle

This picture was taken after a severe storm in 1949. The trestle was not repaired but shortened and the remainder turned into a berm with a culvert. We believe this took place in  in 1959.

A picture of our first model of the Virgin Creek Trestle is shownj below:

Virgin Creek Model Trestle

As you can see from the picture we built the model of the trestle with no cross bracing (just as in the picture). We have been told that the trestle MUST have had cross bracing. However NO-ONE produced a picture. So …… the model had no cross bracing!

A decision was made to replace the eight year old trestle which had suffered the ravages of the Fort Bragg salt air (the layout is but a half mile from the sea), the UV and the winter rains. Here’s how we did it:

The old concrete and trestle has been removed ……..

The old trestle is gone and the support for the new concrete scenery is in place

The footings for the new trestle are in pace:

The old trestle demolished

Here you can see the south end abutment and footings for the bents:

The new south end with the footings for the new bents

The new north end abutment and bents:

The new north end of the Trestle

Here’s the new trestle virtually complete:

The new Virgin Creek Trestle virtually complete

The new trestle (unlike the old) even has Virgin Creek:

The new trestle even has a creek


West Wall – Hillside Construction

Our layout is within half a mile of the Pacific Ocean. Between us and the sea is empty land once the site of the largest mill in Mendocino County – the Union Lumber Company. As they say, we are exposed to the elements. Our initial efforts to build hillsides used paper, cardboard, chicken wire and plaster. Diaster.

The method which works best for us is to make forms for the contours of the hillside or gullies, cover the forms with plastic sheeting, cover that with steel mesh and then make concrete the consistency of plasticine and work it into the mesh. Once dried you can paint it.

In these pics you can see the forms being put in place along the west wall for a hillside with a gully coming down and under the railroad track. We use plywood – mostly scrap and some new. We do NOT use nails – too difficult to get out if we change our mind – which we do – a lot!!!!.

Outside North Wall Backdrop

Using material salvaged from Club Member Dan Fesslers defunct  garden railroad, mistints acquired at modest cost from Norvells – our local paint store and the artistic skills of Club Member Ginny Cooper the first of three layers of the backdrop for the scene to be on the north wall of the building that houses our layout has been put in place.

The panels awaiting installation

Frank Davis and Roger Thornburn installing the second panel

Frank and Roger installing panel number 5. Jim Williams, on the right, is the foreman of the ground crew.

Frank working on panel 5.

What the visitor will see.

The finished backdrop will be 22 foot six long and 5 foot  high.