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.
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.
Jeff Pratt was a member of the club who has passed on. He was a superb model maker – he built the replica of the existing Fort Bragg Skunk Train Depot which can be found on the on the east inside wall of the Barn. We try to incorporate into the layout (the Mendocino Coast Model Railroad & Navigation Co.) a small tribute to past members. Hence Pratt Station:
The station is located opposite a MOW (Maintenance of Way) camp.
MOW camp replete with crosswalk
And guess what? Yup. A MOW consist!
MOW consist passing by Pratt Station
And for thirsty locos ……
Water tank and windmill pump to fill it
In the middle of the pic below you can see a small house and to its left the outline of a tunnel portal:
Wide angle of Three Chop Ridge
The homestead is sitting on a platform. This platform is strong enough to be stood upon so that we can reach the top of the ridge. The platform was the last piece to be installed of theThree Chop Ridge frame. The pics below show the construction in progress.
Frank Davis bringing in the plywood from which the platform will be cut after preliminary fitting. Tony Phillips is watching.
Chuck Whitlock scribing the plywood for the next cut. Frank Davis is holding.
Tony Phillips and Frank Davis helping lay the track on the platform
Work on Three chop Ridge continues apace as these recent pics from Mike Aplet show. Why is it named “Three Chop Ridge”? Because, it was an archaeological dig on Three Chop Ridge of a Pomo Indian village that, ultimately, led to the discovery of the wreck of the Frolic which in turn led to the opening up of the Redwood lumber industry along the Mendocino Coast.
Three Chop Ridge in the NW Corner of the layout
Tree trunks ready for tree tops
Mike Aplet in front of Three Chop Ridge. The hill rises some 10 feet from the floor