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732Dennis Ivison's New NCNG Layout

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  • Bob C
    Apr 24, 2010
      One of the layouts on the June tour in Orange County, CA, will be a layout never seen before on our tours. It belongs to Dennis Ivison of Garden Grove. Dennis' previous railroad was a very large and well-detailed N scale layout. Dennis now models O scale narrow gauge.

      This tour will be our twentieth layout tour since 2006. If you would like a schedule for this tour or the San Luis Obispo layout tour (an official event of the Central Coast Railroad Festival) in October, please e-mail me directly at:


      Bob Chaparro
      Model Railroads Of Southern California

      Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad

      Called the "Never Come, Never Go", by the locals, the NCNGRR began operations 1876 to provide rail service from Nevada City to Colfax, where the 22 ½ mile route interchanged with the Central Pacific. During it's 66 years of operation, it transported $200,000,000 worth of gold from local mines to the U.S. Mint in San Francisco. Other exports included lumber and produce, while the NCNG brought in mining machinery, petroleum products and all of the essentials needed by the local populace. At the outbreak of World War II the U.S. government forced the closure of the gold mines and, with its major customers gone, the railroad was scrapped in 1942.

      I've always loved steam engines and narrow gauge trains, so after 35 years in N-scale I tore down the SP of Arizona and moved into O-scale. The new narrow gauge layout is in the same 20'x 28' train room and after about 9 months was up and operational.

      At first I was going to do the SP Slim Princess, but really wanted to do something other than the desert again. I was heading towards doing the Virginia & Truckee in narrow gauge (their original Charter), even though it is still kind of desert like; when I picked up a copy of the, "Winter 2008 Modelers Annual" and discovered the NCNGRR. It interchanged with the SP/CP (a big plus for me), had an interesting mix of traffic, and was in a great setting- I had my prototype.

      The bench work is built almost entirely out of blue foam, and the hills out of white beaded Styrofoam. I've gone to DCC with the MRC Prodigy Advanced Wireless system, and Soundtraxx Tsunami sound decoders. The layout is lighted for either daytime, or night time operations; with corresponding sound tracks provided by "Fantasonics Engineering" and localized sounds by "Innovated Train Technology" modules. I have just recently started the scenery.

      The 3 turntables are Walthers excellent HO models that I will rebuild into O-scale, while the track and turnouts are Micro Engineering code 83. The locomotives are Bachmann and have all been kitbashed, weathered, or personalized, while the rolling stock is still (temporarily) OOB. The layout is currently populated with several MTH Rail King buildings that will all eventually be extensively "kitbashed, weathered, or personalized" also, with the remainder of the structures to be scratch built. The layout is set in the fall of the 1910 to 1912 time period.

      After 10 years of very complex operating sessions I wanted to do something different this time, so I simplified the process. The car cards and waybills of a big railroad are gone, and have been replaced with a more relaxed system befitting a narrow gauge railroad. The train movements are prototype based, and keep 2-3 crews busy for a couple of hours.

      Dennis Ivison
      Garden Grove, CA
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