The steam engine and the highly specialized logging railroad formed an integral part of the Mendocino coast’s rich history from the late 19th century through the 1930s. Though now long gone, they have not been forgotten. In a barn just behind the Skunk Train Depot in Fort Bragg, the Mendocino Coast Model Railroad and Historical Society has built a remarkable model logging railroad layout displaying miniature structures and equipment from logging operations that existed along the coast here in Mendocino County. The model is set in the 1900 to 1940 period, when steam was still king and diesel power was just entering the scene.
The layout is built in G (Garden) scale, meaning everything is approximately 1⁄24 of life size. There are about 1,800 feet of 2-1⁄4-inch wide track, with seven model trains usually running on them at the same time. There is an incline, a switchback, tunnels, a re-creation of the existing downtown Fort Bragg depot and an engine house. Three of the five trestle bridges that existed between downtown Fort Bragg and Ten Mile River have also been re-created, and the club plans to add the other two to the layout as well. There are even scale models of the Point Arena and Point Cabrillo lighthouses, the latter with a working Fresnel lens and foghorn.
The model railroad is open Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday from 10:30am to 2:30pm. Admission is free with your Skunk Train ticket stub, or at nominal cost otherwise.
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