The Inside Gateway Online


Paul Scoles'

"Pelican Bay Railway & Navigation Company"



The Pelican Bay Railway & Navigation Co. is a period free-lance Sn3 layout, set in coastal Northern California in 1895.  Inspiration largely comes from the North Pacific Coast Railroad, and the South Pacific Coast Railroad.  The line extends from the coastal communities of “Redwood Country” east to the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains.  The line interchanges with 3 other railroads, via staging yards.

The PBR&N fills most of a 22’X 46’ basement.  Paul has been modeling in Sn3 since 1980, and this layout was started 11 years ago.  All track and other elements of the “physical plant” are complete, and the layout is fully operational.  Scenery is about 75% complete.

Formal operating sessions are held once each month, with typically 6-7 operators.  A fast clock with multiple read-outs is used, along with a schedule.  Car movements are governed by a car card/waybill system, and typically more than 100 cars are moved during each session, in 10-12 trains.

The “Morrison’s Mill at Klamath”, PBR&N Part II, shows the latest project on the railroad.  Paul is very open to having visitors if the proper arrangements are made ahead of time.  Contact Steve Depolo at The Inside Gateway and he will be glad to help in making the arrangements.

Our coverage of the PBR&N will generally cover the railroad from Silverado west to Big Trees and then north to Klamath.  All photographs by Paul Scoles


 Locomotive servicing facilities at Silverado are minimal.  Although most of the PBR&N locomotives are coal burners, a pile of cord wood is still maintained here for the few remaining wood burners.


PBR&N 2-8-0 #17 is on the head end of today's Train #11.  Train #11, a third class freight, is scheduled to arrive in Silverado, from the south, at 7:30 in the morning.  The schedule allows only 15 minutes for the crew to make their set outs, on the passing track, and get under way for Pelican Bay.


West of Silverado (Timetable North), the PBR&N threads its way through the Diablo Canyon to reach Big Trees.  Speeds are restricted to no more the 20 miles per hour through the canyon.

  Built in 1883, PBR&N 2-6-0 #13 is one of the last wood burners on the line.  Baldwin Locomotive Works classified her as an 8-22D.  Several other narrow gauge railroads, to include the South Pacific Cost, had nearly identical locomotives.  Paul kit-bashed this locomotive from a Railmaster kit.  The conversion is described in the March/April issue of the Narrow Gauge and Short Line Gazette.

PBR&N Timetable #10, dated January 1, 1895


PBR&N #14, a husky 2-8-0, has Train #21, the afternoon northbound freight, making "track speed" at Big Trees.  During the late spring, summer and early fall the giant redwoods around Big Trees attract lots of tourists.  Paul built #14 by starting with a PFM D&RGW C-16 and swapping the original boiler for that of a PFM RGS 20 along with replacing most of the details.  Paul also detailed the cab interior and installed a NWSL gearbox and motor.  Paul described this conversion in the March/April 1994 "Gazette"


Pelican Bay Part II





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