Portland Area Layouts

Layouts will be open for tours starting at 8AM and remain open until 1PM. Some of the layouts are listed below; more will be added later as pictures and descriptions of the layouts become available (still a work in progress on that). Feel free to visit them in any order you desire on the days they are open for tour. Buses will be provided for touring these layouts. You can sign up for tour bus rides during registration for the convention (strongly recommended as seating is limited).

Click on the Railroad name or the picture to see more pictures or a video

Baker and Grande Ronde Railroad

See the 2015 Summer Tour Garden Time news clip for this railroad at https://www.youtube.com/embed/TIHTpmJ7YV8.

Engineer: Gary Lee
Scale: 1:24 (½ inch)
Power: Battery and steam

The Baker & Grande Ronde Railroad is a fictitious 1:24 scale narrow-gauge railroad that connects with the Sumpter Valley Railroad at its terminus in Baker City, Oregon. Circa 1890, at the glory days of mining and lumbering in the Oregon Blue Mountains, this small railroad ambitiously crossed the Elkhorn Range to reach its western destination of Ukiah. The 1:24 scale trains traverse six trestles and bridges that cross three rivers. A twenty-foot long, five-foot tall curved trestle near the summit transverses Freezeout Creek. There is 600 feet of mainline on the 175’ x 60’ point-to-point railroad in its 15th year of existence. The forest of dwarf Alberta Spruce are pruned to represent large mature conifers; herbs and succulent ground cover create a lush forest floor, and locally gathered rock complete the landscape. All track is hand- laid; all structures and bridges are scratch-built. Engines are battery or live steam with remote control. This is a “must see” railroad that was featured in the April, 2013, issue of Garden Railways Magazine.

No Public Restroom. Handicapped accessible.

Bearspaw Southern Railroad

See the 2016 Summer Tour Garden Time news clip for this railroad at https://www.youtube.com/embed/9nLSOb3EG4U.

Engineers: Warner and Brooke Swarner
Power: Battery and Steam, Radio Control

Fantastic use of a crawlspace and the entire front and backyard make this a very entertaining railroad.

A recent addition to the mainline now traverses two waterfalls and streams in the backyard division of the Bearspaw Southern.  This garden layout has over 1300' of track, more than 100 switches, and encompasses nearly the entire residential corner lot.  It can take up to 15 minutes or more for a single train to cover the entire length of the outdoor line without traveling the same track twice. This is a model of a fictional railroad connecting several imaginary Northwest towns to a region called Bearspaw.  Trains are controlled via radio control by individual operators walking along with their train. Towns in different areas serve as sources and destinations for both freight and passenger operation.  The railroad begins in the front yard garden with miniature trees, a logging scene and a waterfall.   It winds around the side and back yards, through more mountains, under grape arbors, across two streams and ponds. Much of the backyard portion of the railroad runs in the shade of high trellised grapevines, blending agricultural function with miniature trains.  The two ponds in the backyard are home to large Koi fish.  After traversing the yards outside, the tracks tunnel underneath the house into what was once a basement “crawl space” that has been excavated and lined with stone.   The outdoor section is open and viewable from sidewalks, garden paths as well as covered porch decks.  The indoor division, although having somewhat limited access down a stairway, provides year-round railroading with scenes of towns, industries and switch-yards. The Bearspaw Southern serves as proof that large-scale railroading can be done in places other than just a garden and has something for every railroad fan.  

The layout is Not handicapped accessible.

Camp Creek Railroad

Engineers: Hal and Ellen Beighley

Camp Creek Railroad was started in 2007 under 3 large Scotch pine trees. It took less than 6 months to realize that this location was a bad idea because of the sap and lots of needles. The Grandchildren let Poppy know in no uncertain terms that the cleanup was difficult—the trees had to go in their minds. They had no idea I would take them to heart and remove the trees in the summer of 2011. The road bed was re-configured to allow one track loop to run through the biggest stump.
Opening the area up to more natural light was great for the survival of the existing plant material and the addition of Stepables (ground covers). Our neighbor installed a row of Emerald Green Arborvitae along their property line to provide an evergreen backdrop for the Camp Creek Railroad. Plant materials, like grandchildren, do grow if they are fed properly. During the spring of 2012, the existing driveway was re-configured to allow for the expansion of the railroad. We now have two closed loops. We now have a double trestle bridge that allows both trains to pass one another side by side. All together we have 390 feet of track and two spurs. A 54” tunnel was added made out of 10” diameter drain pipe. Also Camp Creek was added.
Camp Creek is a work in progress and will always be just that. Thanks for coming by this year to see what we have been up to these past couple of years.

Handicapped accessible.

Cedar Grove Railway

Engineer: Doug Watson
Scale: 1:29
Power: Track

Situated in a grove of five large cedar trees, Cedar Grove Railway gets its name from the small town and environs displayed on the layout.

Cedar Grove is a fictional small community situated in the Canadian Rockies on the Canadian Pacific mainline during the transition from steam to diesel power.

It was a railroad town and a centre for three local industries, namely grain, lumber and canning and was known for freight trains specializing in serving those industries. In addition, its location on the mainline made possible a much more regular and prestigious passenger service than its small size would warrant, including the transcontinental “Canadian”.

Cedar Grove Railway has about five hundred feet of stainless steel track laid in a manner that allows trains to pass and to cross over each other. The layout is track powered with separately controlled blocks, with power supplied through a 25 amp power unit, sufficient to run three long trains at once. Construction began in September 2005.

Handicap accessible.

Coeur D'Alene branch of the Northern Pacific

Engineer: Bill Derville
Scale: 1:24
Power: Battery, Remote Control

This 1925 layout loosely represents Northern Pacific’s Coeur d’Alene branch line to Wallace Idaho and the surrounding area, which is the richest silver mining area in the world. The railroad climbs a 2 percent grade up Canyon Creek through Gem to the town of Burke, ID. To keep the grade at only 2%, engineers had to drill 3 tunnels (totaling 90 feet) through the hard rock and cross the Canyon Creek (a 50 foot river with 200 gallons per minute of white water) to reach the mining town. The 10-track classification yard in Wallace is in the middle of the layout. It has a seven stall round house, engine servicing facilities, and an ice house. Leaving Wallace, the track passes through Mullan, ID, before climbing Lookout Pass on its way to Missoula, Montana. The climb to Lookout Pass is actually off the layout. After leaving Mullan, trains move into the staging yard in the train shed where equipment is stored. (When running trains for visitors, the trains will pass through this staging yard, and come out on the Nine Mile Creek branch, returning to the Wallace Yard in a large loop for continuous running). Four passing sidings are necessary to allow trains to pass in the opposite direction on this single track layout. A logging branch line begins in Burke and leads to a logging camp where the Heisler is turned on a wye before returning with its loaded log cars destined for the lumber mill at Gem. The layout was built for operations with a dispatcher, a yard master, freight cars with waybills, and a time table for a passenger train. The layout was started in 1997 and has about 800 feet of track with 60 turnouts.

A bathroom is available. Layout is handicapped accessible.

Crooked River Railroad

Engineers: Alan and Nola Olson
Power: Track

The 200 feet of the Crooked River Railroad is set in The West, circa the 1890s, when horses are starting to give way to automobiles. It services the needs of the small town of Mapleton and its environs. This includes Brook’s Mining Company which has a trestle connecting it to the Silver Lining Mine, Dyal Lumber Company, Hickory Farm, and Cascade Mill. These are inhabited by 100 to 150 people and animals. Laid out as a dog bone, the railroad crosses two bridges and passes through a tunnel. The landscape is varied, with two mountains, hills, and flatlands lush with many deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs—some bonsai—and, of course, the 30-foot Crooked River with its waterfall, pond, and lake. Buildings are a mix of scratch-built, kits, and modified bird houses. Train engines are powered through the rails via a 10-amp power supply and are remote controlled.

Handicapped access is limited. No wheelchair access.

Lone Pine and Western Railroad

Lone Pine and Western Railroad

See the 2015 Summer Tour Garden Time news clip for this railroad at https://www.youtube.com/embed/QR2umQL60ss.

Engineer: Tom Gaps
Scale: 1:20.3 (Fn3)
Power: Battery and steam

This layout was featured in the June 2014 issue of Garden Railways Magazine. The town of Lone Pine is a mythical crew change point on the transcontinental railroad. In the late 1800s gold was discovered in the near by Lone Pine Mountains. A branch line needed to be quickly built into the mountains to service the newly established mines. This branch line initially achieves a water level grade by following the Clear Water River into the mountains. At Headache Falls, the railroad diverts from following the river but the surveyors were able to maintain the same 1% grade into the mountains by blasting a series of tunnels. Due to the rugged nature of the mountains, this branch line is limited to single track operations with occasional, short passing sidings. The town of Half Way is located part way up the mountain. It consists of a small switching yard, a freight company, and a small wood products manufacturing business, all of which help to provide additional revenue for the branch line. Continuing on past Halfway, the branch line again follows the upper reaches of the Clear Water River for a short distance before again diverting to follow a canyon further into the mountains and more tunnels. The line eventually arrives at Summit Station, located near the gold mines. A small yard was built near Summit at Windy Ridge to turn the trains around for the trip back to the town of Lone Pine.

Here's some interesting specifications regarding the construction of this layout you might find handy.

Item Quantity Units
1-1/2" to 2" Drain Rock 142 Yards
3/4" Crushed Rock 36 Yards
Landscape Fabric 4,000 sq ft
Small Mossy Wind Mountain Boulders 9 Tons
Iron Mtn Slate 4 Tons
Item Quantity Units
Soil Mix 94 Yards
1/4" Crushed Rock 8 Yards
Pond Liner 500 sq ft
Hand selected Mossy Twin Creek Rock 6 Tons

Handicapped accessible.

MRT&T Railroad

Engineers: TJ and Renee Meyer
Power: Track

The MRT&T was established in 2013 and services the McCully/Powell National Forest, the small community of Rocky Top USA, and the restored gold rush town of Canyon City.
Rocky Top is nestled in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest. At an elevation of 4516 feet, it is well known for its skiing and timber exports. It is summer 1959 and a typical day in the lives of the Rocky Top people. Located a short distance to the East is the gold rush town of Canyon City and since its restoration Canyon City has become a very popular tourist attraction that draws visitors throughout the region. Tourists are transported from Rocky Top to Canyon City by rail where horseback riding, rodeos and wild west shows keep the visitors entertained.
Construction for the MRT&T railroad began in February 2013 and consists of approximately 480 feet of brass track mounted on 2x6 lumber. The forest and logging extension was added in 2016 and is approximately 390 feet of brass track and a 60-foot fast flowing river. Mt. Rocky Top is constructed from twenty- four 4’x8’ two-inch pieces of styrofoam and supports approximately 650 trees.
Track-powered trains are controlled from a central location while the battery- powered trains are remote controlled. The dispatcher handles route assignment and switch settings.

Very limited handicapped accessibility.

Nebraska Oregon Railroad

Chief Engineer: Mike Fisher
CFO: Randi Fisher
Power: Track

The Nebraska Oregon Railroad is a representation of the 1930s. At one end of the above-ground layout is the town of Huskerville, Nebraska, which is a small town near Lincoln. At the other end is the small town of Bates, which was a mill town at the end of the Sumpter Valley Railroad in Eastern Oregon. The name of the railroad was picked as these two places meant something to the owners. Mike was born in Nebraska, and Randi was born and raised in Eastern Oregon.
This line was started in 2016, but has been the dream of the owner for much longer than that. We wanted a layout that could show that a small intimate layout can be as much fun as a large one. A few buildings have been added and landscaping done since the tour last year.
Most all of the buildings have been designed and built by the Chief Engineer, Mike Fisher, with the landscaping projects being the design of the CFO, Randi Fisher. The railroad is still in the “construction” mode but we want visitors to see our love for the hobby of Garden Railroading. It is dedicated to having a great time and enjoying the fun the Nebraska Oregon Railroad has to offer.

Handicapped accessible.

Pine Valley & Western RR

Engineer: Frank Barberis
Scale: 1:29
Power: Battery

The Pine Valley & Western Railroad is a "G" gauge, X-Scale (1:29) garden railway located in the Pacific Northwest (Gresham, OR). It represents what might have been a small short line railway in the Pine Valley area of Eastern Oregon that is an affiliate of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway circa 1935 to 1955. Steam is king, but diesel is beginning to make an appearance..

The PV&W has been under active construction since 2008.

It is currently track powered and can utilize a traditional Variable DC throttle or Fixed DC and Aristo-Craft Revolution control. Plans are to eventually move to battery operation. Most equipment on the roster is Aristo-Craft (1:29) with some USA Trains (1:29) and a smattering of Bachman (1:20.3)..

Handicapped accessible.

Swiss Flats Railroad

Engineers: Jan and Rae Zweerts
Power: Track

Welcome to the Swiss Flats Railway (SF Ry.) a small Pike with a huge water feature. The SF Ry. can be multi-modal with short headways, intense rail traffic, 2 major junctions using air drive switches with up to 4 train operators fighting over the right-of-way controlled by 1 harried dispatcher. Or the SF Ry. can have 3 trains loop lazily each in its own circle of solitude. Or 1 train can traverse all 3 loops which is very handy for cleaning track.
The SF Ry. is loosely based on travels in Switzerland on the Rh B and other narrow gauge railways. Steam, diesel and electric motors may be seen negotiating European close quarters scenery with mountainous grades and overhead catenary.
The SF Ry. is built upon a 16’ x 48’ float attached to a member’s floating home on the Columbia River at North Portland Harbor. All manner of transportation may be seen here as the SF Ry. is within sight of the BNSF swing bridge (MP 8.8 Fallbridge Sub), I-5 Road Bridge with historical ships moored across the channel.

Visiting the SF Ry. will require parking inside the Jantzen Beach Moorage (JBMI) gated community, walking down a 20% grade ramp, and along 800 feet of floating walkways. Please wear comfortable shoes, secure your car keys, cell phones and other valuables because the water is deep and divers are not standing by.

WWWI Railroad

Engineers: John and Meredith Stiger
Power: Battery

Located on a steep slope overlooking a small lake located 70 feet below, the WWWI Railroad is the result of the owner’s determination to access the rich natural resources located at various locations on the slope. A large deposit of shale suitable for the production of cement was the first project. To access this deposit and the cement plant nearby, a series of bridges and a serpentine track route was constructed. Later, a large deposit of rich ore containing silver, zinc and lead were discovered, requiring a further extension of the track. Finally, in the valley below, grain farms that formerly had to truck or wagon out the products were now accessible to WWWI lines.
A series of bridges including a functioning Bascule type drawbridge 8 feet in length and a Howe Truss Bridge some 24 feet long and a total of over 1,000 feet of track have been necessary to create this railroad. Battery-powered diesel locomotives provide motive power. Structures are mostly scratch-built from plans from Brewer and others.

Not wheelchair accessible. Steep stairs could make access hazardous for those who are physically challenged.

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