Overview

The inspiration for our central California garden railway is the “Happiest Place On Earth.” Not one you may visit today, but one you knew growing up – or might have known, if plans had developed as intended.

Cascade Peak & Buena Vista Railway No. 248 descends the grade while a visitor looks on from below at Horseshoe Springs (Mark Edwards, image).

Layout Specifications

This freelance 2300 sq. ft. layout is sighted above a “counter height” retaining wall. LGB track is used throughout. LGB locomotives and rolling stock from the North American steam era are featured. Structures include POLA and PIKO kits, some of which are kit bashed.

As most projects of this scope, ours will never truly be finished, but the Main Street Trolley (Jan-2014), perimeter loop (Jun-2016), and new Mine Train (Sep-2018) are now complete and operating. Placeholders exist so visitors may visualize future additions. We invite you for an early preview of these lands, in the hope you will return and share the excitement as our story unfolds.

Scale1:22.5
Track gauge (mm)45
Code330
Total length (ft.)738
Mainline (ft.)365
Maximum gradient (%)2.0
Minimum radius (ft.)7.7
Control systemDCC

Highlights

Highlights (will) include a typical American Main Street flanked by Liberty Street, a journey around Cascade Peak through Nature’s Wonderland and Rainbow Caverns, and a showcase of future transportation alternatives, including PeopleMover and Monorail systems. The entire site is encircled by passenger and freight steam trains on a “grand circle tour” climbing through Horseshoe Curve over the Cuesta Grade, clinging along Carrizo Gorge, passing in the shadows of Dos Cabezas rocks, precariously traversing Goat Canyon trestle, and descending over the falls feeding the Rivers of America before returning to the Main Street Station. Locomotives and rolling stock collected from Denver and Rio Grande Western still operate under that historic herald on this tourist destination line. 

Cascade Peak & Buena Vista Railway No. 251 fills her water tank at the western limits of the line, while the engineer promptly returns to the cab (Mark Edwards, image).
Folks onboard the Mine Train Through Nature’s Wonderland sit real still while they are crossing the ol’ trestle. No telling how long she’s gonna last (Mark Edwards, image).

Plants

The layout is oriented east-west with full southern exposure. The current collection includes plants that tolerate full sun, have a reduced water needs once established, and are not preferred by plant predators.

USDA Hardiness Zone (2012): 9a

AHS Heat Zone: 4

Sunset Magazine Zone: 7

GROUND COVERS
Creeping lemon thymeThymus spp.
Archer’s golden thymeThymus x citriodorus ‘Archer’s Gold’
Lemon thymeThymus x citriodorus ‘Lemon”
Highland cream thymeThymus praecox ‘Highland Cream’
Red thymeThymus serphyllum
Red creeping thymeThymus serphyllum ‘Coccineus’
Elfin thymeThymus serphyllum ‘Elfin’
Magic carpet thymeThymus serphyllum ‘Magic Carpet’
Pink chintz thymeThymus serphyllum ‘Pink Chintz’
SUCCULENTS
Peanut cactusEchinopsis chamaecereus
Hens and chicksSempervinum spp.
CONIFERS
Miniature common juniperJuniperus communis ‘miniature’
Compressa common juniperJuniperus communis compressa
SMALL TREES, SHRUBS
Dwarf Kingsville boxwoodBuxus microphylla ‘Kingsville’
Dwarf rosemaryRosmarinus officinalis ‘Blue Boy’
Dwarf lavender cottonSantolina ‘Little Nicky’

Acknowledgements

Efforts such as the Cascade Peak & Buena Vista Railway do not occur in isolation, or through the efforts of only one person. We are grateful to our many friends who have contributed this project. We would like to specially recognize:

  • Jim Davis
  • Jamie Foster
  • Dave Hayes
  • Charlie Kleeman
  • Jay Rennilson
  • Bob Treat
  • Walt Wajda

The western station is decorated for the Christmas season, while fresh cut and tied trees wait on the platform to be delivered to undisclosed remote locations (Mark Edwards, image).
Scenes from CP&BVRy Christmas Twilight 2019