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Friday morning at the 2014 West Coast Regional Meet, the first day of three in the Sacramento area. The back patio shields visitors from the already warming sun, and offers a wide view of Rich Nelson's "Alpine Railroad." The layout, still under construction, represents a Colorado Railroad in the 1930's & 40's. The back yard slopes in two directions at 12% and 18%.

A reverse angle, showing some of the extensive switchyard.

Rich uses Sunset Valley pneumatic switches and is very pleased with them.

Another angle, showing most, but not all, of the right of way of the Alpine Railroad. You can see here how the roadbed is laid on concrete block.

This makes for very stable roadbed, but it occasionally created problems with the pneumatic actuators powering switches. They're ordinarily designed to rest underneath the ties, but the concrete blocks made it necessary occasionally to mount them on the top. You can see the modification here --

Rich Nelson surveys his right-of-way as he pictures what it will become.

This 'Crow's nest' is the most immediately striking element of the feature-rich "D&P Lines," built by Darrell & Pauline Crawford. Not only does it offer terrific views, it acts as a true control tower, with two remote control switch boxes mounted on either side. See the young fellow there who's opened the green lid to one of the switch boxes? He's one of the grandsons who are actually operating this railroad, which easily handles 2-3 long consists at a time.

Judging from the architecture, I'd guess that this steamer is passing through the German village of 'Pfozen'...

...while this container train is heading up the grade. The Crawfords describe the track plan as a 550 ft. loop that doubles over itself 4 times, going through 9 tunnels and across 14 bridges!

Okay, here's some 'eye-candy' shots that SWMTP took from the control tower. First, here's a reverse angle looking down at our P.o.V. from the first photo.

And this one is looking down to the other side of the layout.

And this one just because...

Rod & Joyce Hopkinson operate the LOP division of the AT&SF during the 1940's to 60's. It's pretty much a ground-level layout that just about circumnavigates their house. This Santa Fe Station rests on a slight berm at the front of the house, and you can see in the background that a two-track bridge is raised to allow pedestrians access to the property.

A reverse angle, showing the entry way and "Pentland Portland Products."

Just follow the trackside industries, like "Maki Manufacturing" and the "Dodge Oil Company" (here with a work train passing in front of it.)

No, it's not a peacock looking into a mirror -- it's simply a bush and a pond. But it's striking, heh? (SWMTP thinks the plant may be an Azalea? )

Same pond, same double Eagle-wings bridges, now with a train.

The train passes by the coaling, sanding & watering utilities. It is, after all, a diesel!

And a quick look at the switching yard before we leave...


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Thanks for posting your great photos and stories! And it was nice meeting you at my layout! I only made it to three of the layouts on Friday since I was busy preparing my layout to be open on Sunday, but I’ve been to some of these in the past. It’s nice to see all the progress Rich Nelson’s has made. There's a lot of new progress since I’ve been there! And I’m really glad to see all your photos of the Crawford’s railroad. It looks great, I hope to get the chance to go see it sometime. The Hopkinson’s have an incredible layout too, and often host events for us at the Sacramento Valley Garden Railway Society.
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