October 2008

I haven’t written much lately but I’ve been building a LOT. As I mentioned in July, We moved to a new house with a workshop . The plan was to use the shop space for the layout (of course) and a workshop space for model building.

So much for plans. We’ve started teaching “build stuff” workshops on weekends for
teenagers/young adults. We started with a three month class meeting for four hours on Saturdays. That filled so we added a Sunday section. The projects are really great and since part of what the kids are doing will be blogging about their work I’ll just show a sample of what they are doing and I’ll provide a link to their blogs once they are up.

Ian is building an Airbus 380 in 1/144 scale.

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Nick is building a micro layout in HO with a bridge and tunnel – the only model railroad project!

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Sarah is building a fantasy diorama of a bed flying over a city at night.

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Peter is building a super complex Gundam kit with a bagillion pieces.

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Phoebe is making a ¾” scale room box of a Vamire’s Steampunk style home.

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We’re all taking turns practicing airbrush and other painting techniques on my old model of the Millennium Falcon.

Millennium Falcon model

Kris is building a 1/48 scale tank for a diorama.

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Not pictured: Reggie’s free-lanced 12” Globe, Devon’s Manga stage model and Steven’s world of eraser people.

It’s a huge amount of work but also tremendous fun.

The Carquinez Model Railroad Society is having its annual December Open House on December 6, 2008. The open house will be 10am to 4pm, December 6, 2008. A donation of $2 per adult, $3 per couple or $5 per family will help them keep moving forward.

The Carquinez Model Railroad Society is located at 645 Loring Ave., Crockett, CA, across from C & H Sugar.

The Carquinez Model Railroad Society’s layout is HO scale, DCC operated, and is inspired by the Southern Pacific line from Oakland to Truckee.

In less than two years the club has completed the bench work for all three levels, installed track, and wired the mainline on the first two levels. We have about 500 feet of double track mainline currently operating. Trains move between the levels via the two large helixes. Work continues adding more track to the second level and planning for the third level.

Also please check out their new web site at: www.carquinezmrs.org

Thank you,

Greg Ockander


Corte Madera Creek trestle. Facing east, north is to the left.

One of the clearest remaining artifacts of the Northwestern Pacific Railroad in southern Marin County is the Corte Madera Creek trestle and bascule span.

I’ve always been attracted to the railroad-to-water interface and this captures a lot of that charm and has a lot of small elements that could be incorporated into a layout.

Built in their current form in 1923, these were designeted by the railroad as two bridges: the North and South Corte Madera Creek approaches and both were specified by the railroad as structure number 14.61 with a combined length of 1,252 feet.

The bridge was originally two side-by-side bridges (the trestle is one track but the bascule may be seen to be two-track) for the orginal dual track main line but was single track for as long as I can recall, back through the 1970s.

I assumed the number 14.61 referred to miles from either Tiburon (SF&NP mileposts) or maybe Sausalito (NPC or NS mileposts) but this location is about 5.6 rail miles from Tiburon and 8.5 rail miles from Sausalito so I’m stumped. The mystery was solved when I found that Milepost 0.0 is the San Francisco Ferry Building, south across the bay so the 14.61 signifies “miles from San Francisco.”

Google Earth kmz file to the location

The bridges are largely intact other than the recent removal of the rails and 165 feet of the north end that crossed East Sir Francis Drake Blvd — thanks to damage caused by an idiot colliding with the bridge in a too-tall truck.

There is a foot/bike path nearby which is a nice spot to take pictures. The bridge is climbing a short sharp grade leading up into the tunnel number 3 on the way to San Rafael.


Almost the same view in 1949 with NWP 178 and leased SP 2336.

Corte Madera Creek







Note the galvanized steel caps on the piles. This is where the truck-damaged section of the bridge was cut away.