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Building the Yosemite Valley Railroad in Miniature

October 28, 2009

This will be the first post of a lengthy series on the construction of a model of the Yosemite Valley Railroad as it was in the late 1930’s.  The layout updates will henceforth be posted by Jeremy, our newest contributor. HO scale was chosen after his many years working in N scale.   Since I’m working with him on custom building rolling stock, locomotives and other details, there will be more than a few articles about modeling a variety of YVRR equipment in the near future. I hope you enjoy this interesting project as it takes shape. [-Editor]

Layout Space:

looking out the window on the Sacramento Northern Mainline


This is the do-it-yourself project of the month.  It was supposed to take us a few hours to put up this monster, but it’s been much more than a few hours.


It started with the need to change the floor plan for the layout room (read garage).  Animals, kids, and my wife all have uses for some of the space in the garage.  Then again, I bought this house with the intention of being able to watch trains from in the layout room, so I would not be denied.

studs for walls

 After some internet searching and reading of DIY websites about putting up walls, I drew up a materials list, checked it three or 4 times by making a drawing, and went shopping.  A month later, with the new shed up outside for the yard tools and bicycles, the wall is now under construction. 


The hardest part to this whole thing was drilling into the concrete floor  I had decided that I was going to drill holes for the shoe plate.  That used up three trips to the hardware store as I burned up a drill, and 5 bits (that’s some HARD concrete.  The rest has been pretty easy.  I’m no professional, but with the help of my wife (and the dog) we’ve gotten this thing up in what amounts to about 6 hours of work.  It’ll take another two or so to finish it to the point where I can mud the joints and paint.  The “inside” is going to wind up being storage shelves for my wife, so I’m not drywalling there.

Like I said, I’m no super-construction expert.  I’ve read some instructions, bought some materials, asked some questions at the hardware store, and just jumped in and done it.


In the end, I’m going to wind up with a layout room that will keep kids, cats, dogs, and other layout-damaging household occupants out.  That, and the pride of having built the wall myself.  The skills practices will help with the benchwork and other projects I’m sure.


Keep watching as my layout starts to take shape! -Jerermy

(*Also note the new tag to be applied to all related YVRR projects “Yosemite Valley”)

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