The Ten Mile Branch – the MCMR&HS second HO layout – – Part 3 – Building the Little Valley Lumber Company Tramway

Remember when reading this that it all took place in 2002 and 2003. Club members did not have computers. Then Club President, Phil Miller, used to make telephone calls to members to advise them of club meetings. A different world indeed. Back to the story ………

When the main track was complete there was a 12 foot diameter turn around at the far end of the point to point track. You can see this in this picture:

Looking across the turnaround

What to build in the space?

At a club meeting the idea was broached of making the space into what we now know as McKerricher State Park. No prob – masses of concrete and trees. Then someone remembered that there used to be a mill that had a tramway that ran through McKerricher Park.

Mckerricher State Park was called Cleone Point in the late 1800’s. Little Valley Lumber Company built a tramway which ran two and one half miles from their sawmill back on the hill east of Cleone. At the Point was a chute from which lumber and forest products were loaded aboard ships.

Laguna Point pier and chute

The tramway was unusual because no steam locomotive ever ran on its rails. The rails were wood to which metal straps were spiked. Gravity-propelled cars loaded with lumber or tanbark. Leaving the mill, a “train” comprised of two to four cars rumbled though downtown Cleone (known then as Laguna). The grade from the mill was sufficient to propel the lumber-laden cars out to the ship loading chute. Horses hauled the empty cars back up to the mill.

Horses pulling cars past the Mill Store in what is now Cleone

Having made the decision to build the chute some bright spark noted that the tramway never crossed the Ten Mile Branch. The tramway was abandoned before the Ten Mile Branch was conceived. The answer was, poetic licence. Who would know except those that were in the know?

As I soon discovered, replicating the spindly pier and chute in HO scale was no easy task. The first version collapsed in a heap of sticks when I accidentally knocked it on the floor in my workshop. The second one was also fragile and I decided it would only appear on high days and holidays.

The winch house on the pier

The completed model of the pier and winch house

Fortunately you cannot see the great gobs of hot glue that hold the legs to the base!!!!!!!