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Layout Tour: The Yosemite Valley Railway.

July 7, 2008

One of the top five model railroads on Earth lives in the sleepy town of Newark, Ca a couple of dozen miles from San Francisco. In this town a non-descript 1970’s era tract home built on what was once vast farm fields that supported the long-gone South Pacific Coast 3′ Narrow Gauge Railroad. There’s nothing unusual with the facade of the house, no hints to the what lies inside, until you ring the doorbell. Suddenly, two long blasts of a steam whistle notifies Jack that we have arrived. Once we were invited inside, a well-furnished house with all the tastefully modern appointments of a home were present. At the end of the hallway, a Yosemite Valley Drumhead gives a major clue, but it’s nothing until you step inside the former two-car garage… Suddenly, it’s as if you’re in a small plane flying over El Portal at the entrance to Yosemite National Park. Deatiled exactingly from photographs, over two dozen what easily could be award-winning models sit in El Portal. It’s the Summer of 1939, and you’ve just stepped back into a time machine like no other.

Sitting under a tree in Beautiful El Portal, Yosemite Valley’s #23 pauses for a moment before contunuing onto it’s duties in the yard. #23 is a brass locomotive, and ALL of the buildings & bridges you’ll see are 100% scratchbuilt. No exceptions.

 

A Brakeman gives the “slow to coupling speed” hand gesture as #23 approaches this 40′ Double door boxcar. Most of Jack’s freight cars are resin kits, although he has scratchbuilt a great deal of his roster as well, something that has to be seen to be believed!

Over in the middle El Portal Yard, a piece of farm machinery sits on a flatcar next to the Depot. Look at the lush, accurate California hillsides!

TOMORROW: We Follow a Local Freight aound the layout, Stay tuned!

 

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