"Howdy Folks! Welcome to the little mining town of Rainbow Ridge, the gateway to Nature's Wonderland"

This is my documentation of my miniature re-creation of the long-gone Disneyland attraction: Mine Train Thru Nature's Wonderland. This is a selectively compressed model railroad, in On30 scale at 5' X 7.5' that has been in progress since 2005; even after almost 10 years of work, it's still not finished.

I started the layout when I was a sophomore in high school with basic skills and over the years the layout has been improved and reworked in drastic ways to match my ever improving model making skills. In fact, since I started rebuilding the sections to better quality and standards, I've actually created a whole new layout, piece by piece.

This is a stand-by basis project without a deadline, so it tends to hit the back-burner a lot due to other things with higher priorities. But whenever I can, I'll give an update when there is something worth talking about. All of my updates since day one are here, which include photos, videos, and plenty of rambling notes and descriptions.

Progress Report: 7/14/09

Well, Nature's Wonderland has had yet another set-back--Balancing Rock Canyon. I hoped the day would never come, having to dig up scenery to fix gears and such. Apparently, after having the rocks turn and move for pretty much half a year has put some wear and tear on the mechanism. The axles drenched in lubrication, stress and even the changing weather has affected how the rocks operate and they eventually they stop moving. But that is something that is suppose to happen; when something gets caught in the gears and causes them to stall, I've got a gear that will slip on purpose so that the obstruction doesn't stall out the motor. so when something stops the rocks, the motor keeps running. Now it's gotten to the point where the rocks don't want to move anymore because they're putting to much stress on the slipping gear. And to make matters worse, the axles for a couple of gears and rock column gears gave way because they were surface mounted with hot-glue, and you through in over-lubrication, time, weather, stress and weak points. Also, once the hot-glue finally loses it's grip (what was I thinking using hot glue!), the gears start to shift a little which results in gears binding more, putting more stress on the motor.

So now I've gotten the whole area pretty dug up, with holes cut in the scenery (I've kept the "plugs" so I can make them into access hatches) and a lot of gear axles being replaced. This time I've actually drilled into the wood layout base and inserted longer axle rods, instead of gluing a shorter rod to the surface of the masonite. This way, the gears won't move at all. I've had to remove some of the rock columns, which was a bit painful to do since sealing around them into the surrounding scenery took a lot of time. One column is getting a total refurbishment. Now that I've replaced most of the axles, the whole mechanism runs a little smoother and quieter, so I know the work made a difference.

Hopefully I'll be able to patch the area back up in the next week or so, I've also need to do some patching from the re-grade I did a couple days ago. In the meantime, while everything is still kinda dug up, I might install a sensor used for security lights so the rocks will start moving automatically when the train hits a certain point. I'll have to do some experimenting.