Most of the A-Frame bridges along the Redwood Coast were on the California Western’s (CWR) Skunk Line. There was one across Little River and there is one today outside Roots of Motive Power in Willits (although we are not sure why or what it does).
Once there were 115 bridges on the 34 mile-long California Western’s Skunk Line from Fort Bragg to Willits. Only 30 remain today – and they all have been “modernized”. Of the 115 original bridges it is believed that 37 of them were A-Frame type. Most of the 37 were built from the 1890’s to 1911 to cross the rivers on the route. The redwood timber for construction of the A-Frame bridge was abundant and handy. The design distributes the weight of the bridge onto supports/pilings at the side of the river. No supports were driven directly into the river below since they could be ripped out by the surging water and debris (including uprooted trees) caused by heavy rains.
Alas, these wooden bridges became prime targets for arsonists and that, apart from straightening the line, accounts for their replacement.
Club member Santa Cruz Frank Smith is a dab hand at bridge construction. These pics show one of his beauties installed on soon to be River Noyo.
The real thing crossing the River Noyo
Santa Ceuz Franks A-Frame Bridge
Looking up River Noyo which is under construction
Close up of the Bridge
Archaeologists excavation of a Pomo Native American site on Three Chop Ridge set in motion a series of events which led to the discovery of the wreck of the sailing ship The frolic off of Point Cabrillo. We have, for a long time, wanted to include a flume on the layout and the changes being made to Three Chop Ridge will enable us to add a flume.
The first step in the re-working was to put sky over over the window at the north end. Here you see Mike Aplet and Lonnie Dickson installing the panel I painted.
Mike and Lonnie covering the window with a panel to make it look like sky
A backdrop had previously been installed in the north west corner. Installing trees along the backdrop was the next step.
Just one tree near the post when work began
Dead tree added to the left
Trees added along the wall
Concreting the forest flooor will be the next step.
Nothing stands still at our layout. We have, and soon to be had, a niceish backdrop on the outside west wall of the layout. Then we – I use the collective we ‘cos I really can’t remember who came up with the idea – that it would be grand if visitors/members could plonk their phone/camera on the front or back of a consist and take a movie of the engineers’ or conductors’ view of the layout. That idea invited an inquest as to the existing scenery and how good it would look and did we have 360 degrees of scenery.
So, I opened my mouth and inserted both feet by suggesting that we make the outside west wall much more “real.” After consulting with our computer guru Roger Thornburn we came up with the idea of tootling down to Big River in Mendocino and taking a 360 degree set of photos and stitching them together and then cutting the circle and sticking the 40 foot long photo on the wall. Just like that!!!!!!
Well, the project is well under way. VP Lonnie Dickson got sheets of high quality plywood and sliced them up. I sloshed on some paint on the slices. Roger had the photos printed on sticky paper in 4 foot lumps. Then Lonnie and I, with a GREAT deal of trepidation stuck the first two sections on one of the pieces of plywood that Lonnie had sandpapered as smooth as a baby’s bum.
One of the strips of plywood after it had been sloshed with undercoat and the sky added
The first section – Lonnie showing off our handiwork to the president, Chuck Whitlock
Four more sections to agonize over.
Our Museum/Library is located in a 40 foot container. Bill Shepherd installed all the wiring we will ever need. Next was the turn of our genius cabinet maker, Joe Cooper, to bring the abfab cabinets and desk top that he has constructed and install it.
Joe Cooper, Lonnie Dickson and Jim Williams installing the book shelves base
ANY housewife in Mendocino County would be over the moon at the quality and workmanship of Joe’s cabinetry. Just look at the two pics below.
The helpers – Chuck Whitlock (with his back to me), Jim Williams and Santa Cruz Frank Smith helping install my soon to be work desk
Bill Shepherd and master cabinet maker Joe Cooper making minute adjustments
The club can’t thank yo enough Joe.
These photos span a period of months largely because we can only access the interior walls of the barn when the CWR is not running. Here you can see the back wall with just sky:
The starting point
Painting of the hills in progress
The hills all painted as far as the post
The backdrop awaiting installation
The backside of the backdrop that will only be seen from the outside of the Barn
VP Lonnie Dickson specking out the location for the backdrop
VP Lonnie as seen by his delightful wife
Lonnie carefully placing the backdrop in place
Progress but a ways to go – more painting and then installation of trees.
We (me?) have been storing a lot of all rhubarb in our new 40 foot container. That fateful day came when we had to clear the rhubarb out to make way for the highly anticipated interior being built by our cabinet maker cum genius Joe Cooper. I thought if I posed Basil Casabona at the far end of the space soon to be occupied by gleaming white cabinetry readers be able to see the total transformation.
Basil Casabona demonstrating the size of the new museum and library
Waste not, want not. After we had rebuilt the Holiday Season diorama we were left with a very usable base. Frank Davis said it would be ideal for a Lionel O Scale “Bump and Go” trolley. Brilliant what?
Frank Davis laying and testing the track
Scenery? No prob. Dame Stella Martin had let us have a whole bunch of houses. They are not quite O Scale but ……. from three feet who can tell?
Mendo Trolley scenicked
Different view …..
View from the north end
Still a bit bare – add lots of trees.
Johnny Appleseed at work
Lots of work to get it finished – take out the snow as much as poss, add more trees, add an enginehouse and improve the wiring circuitry to name a few. Watch this space!
After we had installed a 200 scale foot (seven foot in real life) on the inside north wall of the layout we stood back and admired our genius.
After the installation of the 200 (scale) foot tree
We were trying to TOTALLY obscure the pillar which supports the roof. 100% failure. You can still see the pillar behind the lolie and the small tree.
The new 200 (scale) footer to the left and the gap at the bottom of the pillar
Back to the tree factory. President Chuck Whitlock scrambled up and “planted” four new trees.
New trees installed and the pillar hidden
Look at that. Pillar obscured and room for the new logging trucks Chuck is working on.
The Homestead Diorama sits at the bottom of Three Chop Ridge in the north-west corner of our layout. The original diorama was deemed inferior and Chuck Whitlock set to and rebuilt it. These photos were all taken either in the workshop or just outside it.
The outdoor biffy
The Skunk Train whistle stop
The Swing and Veggie Garden
Great detail work Chuck.
Our pres(ident) is a stone bonkers genius at taking “mundane” railroad items and arranging them into abfab pieces. Here’s an example – a common or garden flat car with a MOW on top.
Here’s the flat car:
G Scale flat car gussied up to make it look used
All the action is taking place on Chuck Whitlock’s workbench in our Workshop (a converted 20 foot container).
MOW placed on top of the flat car
Here you can see the details that Chuck has added to the wee truck attched by a link and pin to the workers car:
Detail on tool car
Chains have been added to keep the MOW on the flat car
Ready to go out on the layout:
Mini diorama ready to rock and roll
Great work Chuck!