Christopher Brimley updated September 27, 2011

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  • Badger Creek Lumber Co. Updated

    by Paul Templar

    Photos and trackplan by the author

    Heisler #10 treads gently over the trestle with a load of donkey engines destined to be put to work in the near future. High above, the new Pine Top and logging area can be seen.
    Model Railroading - November 2001 - Page 38 Model Railroading - November 2001 - Page 39

    Badger Creek Lumber Company, which was featured in the Aug/Sep 2000 issue of Model Railroading, has had a major facelift. The entire right side of the original trackplan was taken out and redeveloped to make the railroad 8" higher and allow for further logging maneuvers. With the advent of a longer run, it can now take up to ten minutes to travel from Badger Creek to Pine Top, load up the logs and then make the long journey back. That is only one journey; there a re many spurs to various freight depots along the way to handle freight and the occasional run for the Galloping Goose and the passenger rail bus.

    This is the first time I have not gone completely mad and taken everything down to start all over again. I have done this in the past, but thought better of it this time because I really like this layout and its operational working. The whole procedure took me around six months to complete from start to finish. I say finish in the broadest sense as it isn't and never will be completely finished.

    What model railroad ever is? However, the task of removing what had taken months to develop, took only three days to remove. After I had completely taken down the right side and part of the rear, I was mortified to learn that I would have to hack out more scenery from the upper left in order for the tracks to appear realistic in the climb. Undeterred, I hacked out more scenery than had previously been anticipated. However, the end results justified the grand tear down. Now the work could be started on the rebuild.

    Climax #7 waits for the logs to be placed on the cars while the donkey engine lowers one onto the second skeleton car.
    Model Railroading - November 2001 - Page 40

    It was rather comical at times to see the expressions of my modeling friends who visited while the big tear down was in progress. Some just stood in the doorway open mouthed and others would say something like, "You idiot!"...or words to that effect. Anyway, I knew what I was doing... or at least I hoped I did. Some even asked if they could photograph it as it was so they could have a good laugh later when it was all put back. These same people have since returned and were quite taken with the new area, as am I. I LOVE IT.

    Lets get back to the story. The first job was to reduce the grade of the climb from 8% to 5% so it would match up with the middle level once again. Next my attention was turned to getting the tracks up to the new fourth level which had now become Pine Top. I started the run from Camp #4, which is situated on the original top level, all the way through to the new Pine Top. The climb here was a 2% grade, much better and more pleasing to the eye.

    I did manage to salvage some of the old track and points, but an additional 15 yards of track plus additional points were bought to finish the new project. I also had to remake another control panel for the new area. That was fun in itself trying to keep all wires in a tidy state while the changeover took place.

    Once all the trackwork was in, I tried to visualize what the scenery should look like and how it would blend in with the existing scenery and coloring. The scenery was made with the usual interlaced-cardboard hard shell and plaster and painted. When it was fully painted, it looked far too new so I used a black ink wash over everything, including part of the old section. The results were very gratifying. Ground-up leaves from the garden along with various Woodland Scenics ground cover were mixed together for use as ground cover. Many trees were made, and another 40 are still needed. A Galloping Goose was built using a Model A Ford van and a Bachmann trolley mechanism.

    I also backdated Shay #1 using the long boiler. Also added to the roster was a Bachmann 3-truck Shay. I must say that this loco is one of the finest I have ever had the pleasure to own; its quiet as a mouse and runs like a Swiss watch.

    Galloping Goose #2 departs from Jack Coopers Barrel Co. and gives a wave to the fishermen on the far bank.
    Model Railroading - November 2001 - Page 41

    A third Heel boom was also scratchbuilt and added to the new area. Two high leads are also present.

    The little river by Jack Coopers Barrel Company on the previous Badger Creek has been extended slightly, and a footbridge for my little people to walk across and up to the new Pine Top has been scratchbuilt. Many little people just wander across the bridge to watch others having fun either fishing or taking a rowboat out for the day.

    As for the river and lake, I did redo both using high-gloss yacht varnish instead of the usual resin/epoxy, because I wanted to get ripples in it before it dried. This was accomplished by using a hair drier. Many coats were added to create depth and to enable the tiny rowboats to be in the water rather than on top of it.

    Although I havent built floor-to-ceiling scenery in my railroad, I have tried to capture and emulate this philosophy by striving to achieve ultimate realism with attention to detail in my scenic effects. Hours were spent carving the rocky strata effect with a knife.

    My favorite pastime in this hobby is scratchbuilding structures, and all but two small shops have been completely scratchbuilt. The most daunting task I have ever undertaken was making the McGiffert Log Loader. I was given plans of this huge beast from a friend of mine who lives in the USA. Well not plans really... more like a few drawings of the original. With the help of my computer, I drew my own plans, then cut card templates to make sure everything would fit together. When this was accomplished, I made the McGiffert out of stripwood.

    Having run around the skeleton cars, #7 is ready for loading.
    Model Railroading - November 2001 - Page 42 Model Railroading - November 2001 - Page 43

    The prototype McGiffert log loader is self powered and can propel itself into position around logging areas. It is lowered onto the sides of sleepers (ties) where its wheels are raised so skeleton cars can be moved underneath. It is probably one of the most versatile steam-driven machines ever devised. Most were wood burners, but some were later converted to oil. Loggers were soon using this beast as a skidder and dragging logs to the rails. The McGiffert gained a special place with the pine loggers of the Pacific Northwest. I had great fun making this, but thought better about motorizing it so I left it as a static eye catcher. The wheels can be raised or lowered depending on how I want it to look on the tracks. I couldn't figure out how to motorize it and have the wheels raise and lower on command.

    I suppose you might say that my layout is split into two sections with the advent of the upper level. Although one person can operate the upper level from Camp #4 and Pine Top while a second person operates the bottom and middle levels, I usually operate as an individual, sometimes using the car card and way bill system and other times just letting the trains run while I do something else to the layout. When you think about it, no matter which way one runs trains, its all good fun. At this time I am again thinking of a smaller modification to the sawmill area, which would add more track work, but this is a project for the future. I have just about had my fill of tearing down and rebuilding for the time being. Lets face it, the whole idea of a model layout is to run trains. Happy Modeling.

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