Hays Open House – February 2018

February was a month of “firsts” for the Central California Coast Garden Railroad Society (CCCGRS).

The first open house of our ambitious 2018 calendar was generously hosted by Mark and Lori Hays, two of our newest club members. This was the first CCCGRS open house held at the MNL Railroad, located in scenic Arroyo Grande. Mark and Lori have constructed an impressive hillside railroad that takes full advantage of the topography with steep cliffs, deep canyons, expansive water features, tunnels and a wide array of spectacular bridges. In fact, only days before, Mark returned from an Arizona birding trip, during which he just happened to pick-up a new Eagle Wings Iron Craft bridge. We understand when you are in the neighborhood, you have to make a road trip count. Seriously, we cannot wait to see the bridge fully integrated into the existing track plan.

CCCGRS members enjoy an unseasonably warm Saturday in February at the invitation of Mark and Lori Hays for their first CCCGRS open house.

Lori and Mark have detailed the layout with creative vignettes that illustrate some of their other hobbies, interests and personal heritage. The DCC layout easily accommodated visiting analog DC, DCC and battery-powered locomotives with the expansive track plan. At one point, five people were running six trains on the same line!

Mark and Lori have exciting plans for the layout, as it continues to develop and mature. As in 2017, the MNL Railroad will again be one of several garden railroads open to the general public for the Central Coast Railroad Festival, held 5-7 October 2018 . For those that do not live on the central California coast, we suggest you start planning your road trip now!

The weather for the event could not have been better. We had an excellent turn-out for this open house, which included the other important “firsts” – our first open house to share with John and Will, our two newest CCCGRS members. Please join us in making them feel most welcome.

MNL Railroad overview
From the deck, guests can get a nearly unobstructed view of the expansive MNL Railroad. The white “operations tower” is a unique feature that serves as a central location for layout controls and storage.
CCCGRS members and guests at MNL Railroad
On the lower level, CCCGRS members and guest discuss the finer details of layout construction before operations commence.
Train crosses dry creek
Dave Hayes’ battery-powered mogul passes over one of several impressive bridges while visiting the DCC MNL Railroad.
Santa Fe F-units pass storefronts
Numerous detailed scenes are located throughout the MNL Railroad. These LGB Santa Fe F-units pass the store fronts as they climb the grade to the Alpine village on the upper level.


Train crosses bridge with Arroyo Grande Valley in background
John Albin brought his locomotive #25 out of storage to operate as one of six trains running at the same time (on the same track) at the MNL Railroad. Here the locomotive is seen crossing one of several high, curved bridges with the scenic Arroyo Grande Valley in the background.