Sierra Railroad 1955

Modeling the Sierra Railroad in Twain Harte, CA

What’s New

January 2011,

Can’t believe another year as come and gone. As in 2009 the primary focus of work on the layout was adding the brown paper bag scenery. The scenery base was added in the following areas, east of Cooperstown,  Melones, Fassler and the Standard area, from Draper Trestle to east of Ralph and finally at Soap Creek. There were three areas where the scenery was completed, East of Warnerville, east of Sullivan Creek Trestle and east of Ralph, see the photos below. Ron Core continued to work on the backdrops completing the the work east of the Peeled Onion, Melones, Soap Creek, the Sierra mainline in the Hetch Hetchy area and between Draper Trestle and Ralph and finally the WSLCo line east of the River Bridge to Camp 24.

The scenery at Warnerville looking east as the mainline disappears around the scenic divider on its way into the Crew Lounge.  01/5/11

The Sierra mainline just east of the Sullivan Creek trestle (still not built but getting closer) as it head towards Fassler in the Crew Lounge. This area still needs  more lighting.

The Sierra mainline leaving Ralph and heading towards Tuolumne. The Sierra mainline can be seen just to the right of the mock up of the Phone Shed.  The trackage in the front of the photo is the Pickering mainline  as it heads up the hill towards Schoettgen Pass.

Camp 24 on the WSLCo. Although the foreground scenery is not complete the backdrops painted by Ron Core really makes the scene.

Another photo of Camp 24 on the WSLCo. This one shows the scenery block that helps hide the Camp 24 balloon track. There is still a lot of work do be done on the scenery but it’s looking better.

To view more photos of the work completed in 2010 go to Photos -> Layout Photos and then select the section of the layout you want to view.

Plans for 2011 include the following:

>       The trestles at Sullivan Creek, Draper and Black Oak still need to be built. The wood has been cut and stained so its only a matter of finding the time.

>       Finish the base scenery in the remaining areas,  primarily on the Pickering line from Ralph to the Peeled Onion.

>     Continue to upgrade the lighting system for the layout.

>     On top of all of this I hope to have more scenery completed by July and the National Convention in Sacramento.

December 10, 2009

The primary focus this year was on scenery. Ron Core, a retired BNSF conductor, started painting backdrops. Over 200 ft of brown paper bag base scenery was added, Oakdale to Warnerville and HH Jct to Chinese. Three trestles were completed, River Bridge on the WSLC, Chinaman Creek on the Pickering and Turnback Creek on the Sierra. But the signature piece of work was the Peeled Onion on the Pickering.


We used a 3′ x 6′ casting that we made using Joel Bragdon latex casting mold and resin to make the actual casting. We used 3 separate molds to make the complete Peeled Onion. There is still some finishing touches to be made, mostly adding foliage to the casting.

Here’s an example of the painted backdrop work that Ron completed during the second half of the year.


The lower level here is Lime Kiln on the Sierra. The trestle is the River Bridge on the WSLC. On the right side of the upper deck is the Pickering line to Soap Creek. The snow cover peak in the middle of the picture is an intermediate backdrop, the clouds are approximately 2 ft behind the snow covered peak.

To view more photos of the work completed in 2009 go to Photos -> Layout Photos and then select the section of the layout you want to view.

On the schedule for 2010 are the following projects:

>      Complete the Beardsley Flat bridge and trestle approaches on the    Pickering

>     Complete the short trestle over the Spring Gap Incline on the Pickering

>    Complete the remaining three trestles on the Sierra:  Black Oak, Draper and Sullivan Creek

>   Complete the brown paper bag scenery base on the remaining portions of the layout

>    Continue backdrop painting


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Sierra Historical & Modeling Seminar

The Sierra Seminar is normally held the 3rd weekend in April, the Sunday after the West Side Loggers Convention, in Sonora, CA. For information on this year's Seminar please visit the Tuolumne Historical Railroad Association website.

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