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Boulder Creek & Western Railroad
History / Background
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Looking backward...

Background of the Railroad

The Boulder Creek & Western Railroad is currently under construction in my backyard located in Redding, CA. being built by us, Matt & Koby. As well as in conjuction with the Assabat Valley Railroad. We are completed in the merger process, Boulder Creek & Assibone Valley Railroad. BC&W runs Narrow gauge while AV runs standard gauge; Companies jointly owned yet Locomotives+freight cars still lettered for AV and BC&W along with a few BC&AV cars

Our slogan says it all about the railroad's location: "The Oak Tree Route!"
The railroad is Gauge 1 (45mm) and 1:20.3,and 1:22.5 scale narrow gauge. Why did we go with narrow gauge? Because narrow gauge has the true "railroad in the backwoods" feeling. Narrow gauge railroads often provided connections to towns and industries not accesible by their standard gauge counterparts. Also, this type of rolling stock is readily availible and fairly low priced.

The railroad's setting is a tourist line set in present day operating vintage narrow gauge equipment in the northern California foothills just east of Redding, California. The railroad operates between the towns of Oak Grove and Boulder Creek. There is also freight service to local industries that are still around and delvivered to the Union Pacific (Former Southern Pacific) junction. The railroad was originally founded in 1903, and complete in 1907. It went bankrupt in 1991, after not having been used for about 40 years, but was saved by Matthew Starman, a local millionare and huge railroad fan, and he prevented the railroad from fading into the history books and being torn up. Most of the locmotives and rolling stock are the originals, although, some have been scraped.; but there is also equipment from other narrow gauge lines around the country and the world. The BC&W has become one of the most successful narrow gauge lines west of Colorado.

Eventually, the railroad will be 2 complete loops, one about 130' long, and the other roughly 60-80' in legnth. After both loops are complete, I am roughly estimating that we will have over 200' feet of track which includes the mainline, but not sidings and spurs! Loops (or divisions) are numbered 1, and 2; traveling northbound or southbound. This information is essential when we are running more than 1 train as we will not be having double track. Once all the loops are complete, one operator will be at each town, Oak Grove in the north, and Boulder Creek in the south. We will then use radios to control train traffic, just as real railroads do.

Control will be track power controlled by Aristo-Craft's Train Engineer system. This will allow us to run multiple trains at a time with one reciver which has a 300 foot range. This system will be added when the electrical connections are completed on the first loop (Division 1). I also want to create a "control stand" at one end of the railroad to house all the controls, tools, etc. in one place. Now that the 1st loop is complete, this system should be added soon after joints are jumper wired.

We are using a combination of Aristo-Craft, LGB, and USA Trains code 332 (this means the rail is approx. .332" high) brass track. The track is then set on on crusher fines (3/8" crushed rock) which is used as ballast. It holds the track very well, and looks very realistic. This is one of the most common types of ballast in garden railroading.

All the buildings will be scratchbuilt from either Redwood or Cedar wood. These will be built in the shops. I will be building towns shops, some type of roundhouse (to store locomotives just as the real railroads do) among other things. Of course, this will happen over time.

Most of the trains are from Bachamnn Spectrum's narrow gauge G scale line. Hopefully, we will be adding a LGB narrow gauge diesel to the roster soon. To see the collection of rolling stock, see the rolling stock page.


In 2004, I recived a Bachamnn Tweetsie Set for my birthday. It consisted of a Bachamnn 4-6-0 (Ten Wheeler) and tender, a flat car, a box car, and a combine. This is when I got hooked on large scale trains. That April, my Dad and I Built a small 8' x 12' box out of 2x4's and filled it in with mulch, laid the track and ran trains into the night. The following summer, I bought $145 worth of new brass track and laid an even bigger loop which I would have for the next 2 years. Also during this time, I hardly ever used the line. Why? Well, because I did almost everything that you should not do in garden railroading...I did not conect the screws to connect the joints, I ran an extension cord for a power supply, I used sharp radius curves (which is not bad at all if you have 4 axle rolling stock), used pea gravel for roadbed, etc.

In 2006, I visited my local garden railway society's annual monthly meet, which I am now a memeber of. I got a lot of ideas. When I got home, my brother and I disassembled the current track plan and moved it to another part of the yard and found a track plan we liked. All this got him hooked on G scale too! So he agreed to pay half for all future purchases, and I agreed that the railroad is half his.

If you read above, you see that I really screwed up my first railroad. That WILL NOT happen again! I am really slowing myself down (no matter how much it kills me) and planning the railroad out good and making sure that I do everything right, and to ask a lot of qustions.

Now our railroad is being built correctly and is turning even better than we excpected.