Sunday, November 24, 2013

Diablo Valley Railroad - Model Trains and Miniatures

The Walnut Creek Model Railroad Society has opened its doors to the public, this weekend and next (otherwise open most Friday evenings throughout the year while members work on the line) and is a good experience for all ages. I've written about this permanently housed model railroad before, so this is mostly a photo post. I am such a sucker for a finely detailed miniature world. And this HO scale railroad line is teeny-tiny and very detailed.

First, the layout. I don't have the most advanced of digital cameras, so my flash tends to blow out foregrounds on wide shots in dark spaces (what a fascinating sentence to draw you in). Anyway, this is just to give you an idea of the space. You circle around the building to see the entire layout (4,300 feet of track) and at one point enter a tunnel-like hallway (where little trains tunnel along the wall with you). The other side of the building has a Jurassic Park diorama and a model of the only "real" place represented, featuring a miniature of the only electric train ferry to exist in the U.S., once based in nearby Pittsburg, California.

Guys up in the mezzanine running the show, like model train Gods.

I was really drawn to the teeny-tiny circus with working Ferris wheel and carousel. I think they've added more circus-parade train cars this year.

Feel free to use this close-up of "The Largest Blood-Sweating Hippopotamus" as your Google+ profile banner. I'm putting it out there in the public domain.

Yay! Going to the tiny circus!

Tiny sideshow!
Tiny elephants!

Every half-hour on the hour, the overhead lights slowly dim until it's "nighttime" on the set. Lights come up in all the tiny railroad towns and lightning and thunder effects start happening. Then it rains on you—for real. Water pipes overhead drop rain down. It really surprised me, especially when it landed on my camera. The circus looks like this at night:

Hey, let's go to town.

Town during the day.

Town at night. The Olympic Theater marquee advertises My Little Chickadee, starring Mae West and W.C. Fields. My kind of town.

I noticed a little building off the beaten path during the night sequence. All its windows were lit red. Is that what I think it is?, I thought. Come the daylight a few minutes later, I had my answer.

Yes, it's a tiny whorehouse—The Scarlet Slipper. And it looks to be a popular destination for tiny-town dwellers, even though it's tucked away outside town limits, and there's no visible road leading to it. Hey, every little western town had at least one, and more likely half-a-dozen of these. Don't kid yourselves.

Turn away, children!

Where are more family-friendly environs? How about Jurassic Park for camping, fishing and hiking aplenty.

Another great potential Google+ banner from me to you. Happy holidays.

Stay on the path, Timmy.

Train guys behind (and underneath) the scenes, doing their engineering.

I think the railroad baron lives in this tiny castle. Either that, or a tiny vampire.


Merge Divide said...

I like your blog. A lot.


Miss Lisa said...

Thanks, David. :)