See us on Facebook

Here are some of our Club Members

Club members Basil Casabona, Earl Craighill, Roger Thornburn (with a young visitor), Tony Phillips and Jim WilliamsAlthough most of our members are model train enthusiasts, this is not a requirement. Our members have a very diverse range of skills and backgrounds and all enjoy using these skills building a wonderful tribute to our area and our past. Above all we appreciate the camaraderie and time spent with like minded people.

I asked each member to provide a short bio about themselves and below are those from members not too shy to share it!

Club members Basil Casabona, Earl Craighill, Roger Thornburn (with a young visitor), Tony Phillips and Jim Williams, taking a rest outside the barn (click to enlarge)

| Chuck | Earl | Mike A | Mike T. | Roger | Steven |

Chuck Whitlock

Mike Aplet

My love of trains started like many others as a child who had a Lionel train under a Christmas tree. I later built and collected HO model trains as a teen-ager. In the 1960's I had the pleasure of living and working deep in the redwood forest of Mendocino County. My wife and I lived 7 miles from the nearest paved road and in the winter depended on the Skunk train to take us into town for supplies. We had our own station called "Rest Haven" on the Skunk line. We would flag down the train (usually one of the Skunk Railcars) in the morning and ride into town, shop, do errands, have lunch and return home on the train that afternoon.

My children, now grown, talk fondly of those years in their early lives with no commercial electricity or dial telephone. Some years ago I retired from business and had the opportunity...

...to train to become a conductor and engineer on the Skunk train. One of the highlights of my life has been working with the members of the Mendocino Coast Model Railroad group. Our shared love of local history and trains fuels my desire to share with the many folks who come to our layout, ride the Skunk train, and say Hello.

Earl Craighill

Earl Craighill

I have been a model train guy since I was 14. I built a O-gauge Lionel-based layout in the basement of the house where I grew up in Billings, Montana. I actually have one of the original Lionel accessories from that layout (a auto coal loader). I toyed at doing some HO and N scale layouts, but found those scales to be too difficult to deal with (too small), especially if you wanted to do anything besides just buying ready-made trains and buildings. So, in 1994, my wife (at that time) and I started building a model garden railroad layout in our backyard in Sunnyvale, Ca.

I joined the Bay Area Garden Railroad club (BAGRS) and created a layout called the Butte, Carrie and Walkerville. I called it the "Be Carried aWay" Railroad, that was on...

...the tour at the 1998 and 2006 Garden Railroad National Conventions ( see here. and I plan to do a history of this layout on here ). I moved from the Bay Area, first, to Windsor, and finally in 2009 here to Mendocino.

I was in the process of restructuring my life, having retired from SRI International (I worked there for thirty years), and truing a few startups. I just got a lot of expensive wallpaper (at one time it was stocks) and moving up here alone. I met Debbie Smith who was the conductor on the Skunk train on Father's Day 2011. I asked her if there was any model train clubs in this area, and she mentioned MCMR&HS. I talked to a few people and got "roped" into cleaning up the old Carpenter's Barn by Tony Phillips. I have been doing MR things ever since. Tony Phillips has discussed some things I've been doing in his blog, and I'm going to do a blog at http://earl.mendorailhistory.org that will have more information.

Mike Aplet

Mike Aplet

I learned of the MCMR&HS in April of 2013 while doing historical research for an overnight hiking outing with a group of Willits High School students and teachers in Jackson State Demonstration Forest. We planned to hike Old Trestle Trail, an historic railroad trestle used by Caspar Lumber Company in the early 20th century.  Turning to the internet for that research., I found an incredible historical website produced by members of this club. I was so impressed that by July of that year, I had become a member of the club. Since then I have been involved with a project building an entire G scale mountain with log trestles, rail incline, logging camp and a seaside chute modeled from local historical photos.

My background is in carpentry and heavy...

...construction. Much of my career was spent working on the flumes, dams and canals of PG&E's hydroelectric power generation system in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. The close similarities between the real life wood flumes that I worked on and railroad trestles of yesteryear are not lost on me.

I wouldn't consider myself a model train guy as such. I hadn't owned a model train since the American Flyer set given to me by my parents for Christmas in 1957. It is my interest in history, especially local history, that attracts me to this club. For me, the trains are just one part of a larger story, albeit a very significant part.

The folks that make up this club are a wonderful group who are funny, caring and are very talented in a wide assortment of fields. Each person has a niche that is encouraged to flourish by the group. I am very happy to be a member.

Mike Tadlock

Mike Tadlock

I am a forester by profession and work in the local woods around Fort Bragg.  My grandfather worked for Southern Pacific Railroad and I grew up around trains.  When I moved to Fort Bragg in 1997 one goal I had was to make an outdoor model railroad layout of a logging operation that would include live trees grown and harvested as part of the operation.

The rigors of work and life forced me to give up my dream of my own model layout, for now at least, because it just took too much time that I didn't have.

However, my involvement with the MCMR&HS gives me the opportunity to be around model trains without having the full responsibility for the construction or maintenance.  It has been enjoyable to see the layout in the barn come to life.  I find it especially rewarding because I can see the remains of the actual operations in the woods and the layout is an excellent representation of the local historic logging activities.

Roger Thornburn

Roger Thornburn

I first saw the model train layout at the Botanical Gardens when my wife, Nancy, and I visited Fort Bragg to escape the heat at our home in Grass Valley.  Just as we decided to move here permanently, the model train club was evicted from the Gardens.  That's when I offered to Tony (the club historian and fellow ex-pat from England) to create and manage a website, when they found their new home.

Well, since then, not only has the club found a new home in the old Carpenter's Barn by the Skunk...

...Train Depot, but Tony has continued to research and write wonderful content for our website, for which I'm webmaster. It's now grown to over 400 pages, 5,000 photos and 150 videos.  We get 8 million hits, 300 thousand visitors and download 500 Gigabytes of information a year.

I have to confess to having not being a model train enthusiast (at all) - just a website designer (retirement hobby), but I do appreciate the wonderful comradeship, diverse skills and patience of our club members and have come to enjoy model trains.

It's a long way from when I graduated as an Electronic and Electrical Engineer and designed radar systems back in the UK. But I'm loving it.

Steven P. Worthen

Steve Worthen

My first recollection of railroads and steam engines occurred when my father brought home the beginnings of his Maerklin HO collection. Originally Merrill Worthen placed the metal German trains in his upstairs bedroom, but upon remarriage, my step-mother had the trains relegated to the colonial basement of Merrill's Massachusetts Ship Captain's home.

Real steam was soon experienced on the “Cranberry Belt” of Edaville Railroad, a two-foot line around cranberry bogs of South Carver, equipment formerly from defunct narrow gauge Maine lines.

Relocating to Fort Bragg, California, from Heath, Texas, in 2003, I took up music and theatre hobbies (which I still actively pursue), taking me, via arts advertising sales, to the then “offices” of Tony Phillips of the MCMR&HS at Fort Bragg's Botanical Gardens. Noticing...

...the various train model and railrodiana laying around, it was agreed that a TT scale layout would be made for a winter/Christmastime train display, as I had sets of German TT trains stored with my Maerklin at home.

Years later MCMR&HS is now in the historic Carpenter Barn of the California Western “Skunk Train” Railroad, a soon-to-be completed fully operational logging railroad! You can often see and hear me in local operas, musicals and shows, as well as spotting me in a costume on the Skunk Train, entertaining wine lovers on Mendo Wine Tours, and, of course, pointing out historical dioramas to visitors at the “Barn” layout.

You can contact Steve through the club, or at actinn@comcast.net