Friday, January 31, 2014

Finding Waldo Part 3

The last section to be built will be the connection to the Cougar Ridge Lumber Co. Railroad main line.  This will be a section of hand laid track and a trestle joining the turnout from CRLC up to the first switch back.  I thought about building the two trestles at the first switch back for a while.  It would have been much easier to have no trestles at all.  However, there is a nice valley there and I like trestles.  This also allows me to model in the old wagon road to Waldo through the valley under the trestles.  It is still up in the air if the road will be still in use (bridges in the trestles) or just a few overgrown sections still visible.

building the deck for one of the trestles

putting in new road bed

some of the ties to be glued down

project completed

trestles look good, glad I went with them

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Finding Waldo Part 2

The second section will hold the turnout for the last switch back, a transfer/freight and passenger station and the siding for unloading/loading freight and passengers.  The tail track of the turnout will be on a trestle as will the track joining the two turnouts of the switch backs.
Hand laid tracks and turnout

Test fitting the pieces

Most of the lumber required for the trestle

Trestle built and installed

Station and bunk house installed

Friday, January 17, 2014


The real history of Waldo. Just north of the California state line, Waldo was first known as Sailor's Diggings. In 1852 some sailors, hearing rumors of gold in southern Oregon, jumped ship and found gold in a gulch in the headwaters of the Illinois River. It was later named Waldo in honour of William Waldo, the Whig Party candidate for governor of California (oops they thought it was in California). By 1850 the town had several hotels, saloons, school, a boarding house, blacksmith shops, a livery stable, a butcher shop and a brewery. Outlaws were also drawn to the area and in 1852 the Triskett Gang shot up the town, killing men, women, and even a few children, sixteen bodies lay on the street that afternoon. Law arrived years later when Judge Mathew P. Deady sat at the bench, in a log cabin in 1856. Waldos population swelled to hundreds at the height of mining but declined when gold was discovered elsewhere. When the Redwood Highway bypassed it in 1926 the end was near. Soon after the townsite itself was hydraulically mined. Family names in the cemetery include Baker, Bennett, Childs, McIlwain, Scott, Waldo is now considered a ghost town. My version of Waldo is an early mining town. There is a freight station to transfer cargo to the Waldo Gold Mine RR as well as workers, with a bunk house near by. Back down the gulch is the main street if one can call it that. At the end of the cliff is Graham Lumber, Wire and Nails which is just a shack, the Grocery Company, John Munro Boot and Shoe Maker which also repairs harness and the TL Ranch Boarding House. On the wrong side of the street is the Gold Rush Saloon and Hotel, where the miners and lumberjacks unwind. Down the road is an open depot situated on the main line of the Cougar Ridge Lumber Co. RR.

Tail track extension

The tail track at Waldo was too short so a short trestle was built with a short piece of track on it.  A reinforced bumper was attached to the end of the trestle to keep trains from plunging into Sucker Creek Gorge.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Finding Waldo Part 1

Waldo up till now has only been suggested by the Waldo mine.  The Waldo mine narrow gauge railroad has never had any real connection with the Grants Pass Railroad nor any kind of a town.  I have often thought about extending the narrow gauge line, using switch backs or a tunnel down to Jackpine or Happy Camp.  If it went to Happy Camp that would require the logs being reloaded some where, possibly at Jackpine.  If it goes to Jackpine the tie and plank mill would have to move (already done), and the lumber camp might be in the way. Well as lumber camps go, it was moved to Happy camp, nearer the present logging area.  With a more or less a clean slate where Jackpine was, the planning starts.  First I played with the idea that the line that held the logging camp cars could be elevated and a narrow gauge switch back could connect into this track (with a dual gauge track, something I have always liked the look of).  The town of Waldo would be located there also.  However, after a couple of days of trying different track arrangements, it just didn't work.  This did require that the run around be removed.  After some more thought  the idea occurred to me that the turnouts and track just removed could be used to switch back the Cougar Ridge Railroad up to the Waldo Mine Railroad but not actually have a physical track attachment but just a reloading area and freight station. Let me see, a three tier switch back, a spread out town site, an old road to the Waldo town site, now replaced by the railroad sounds interesting.  Well the code 70 #6 switches I had were too long so I got out my hand laid ones I saved from some time ago.  Two of them fit the bill, so I decided to hand lay the whole new switch back area. Because it is high and awkward to reach I will build it in sections.  One section will be the area of the first switch back, which will include the turnout with the tail track, extended by a short trestle so it is long enough to hold a Shay and one piece of rolling stock.  There will also be a few buildings in this area.
hand made turnout cut into a ceiling tile with hand laid ties on it

turnout cut into the old scenery

most of the lumber camp moved to Happy Camp

city of Waldo laid out and scenery started using old rock castings

I think this will be a general store

dirt road through town