Mat Thompson's Oregon Coast Railroad - Gainesville, VA

March 24th 2018



Pictures by Marshall Abrams, Gary Mason, and Mat Thompson, MMR

Mat Thompson’s Oregon Coast Railroad

by Marshall Abrams

Mat Thompson’s HO scale Oregon Coast Railroad (OCRR) smacks of authenticity. As you approach it through a sliding glass door, it's easy to think that you're going out from the house and looking at a real world scene—the mountainous and very heavily forested areas of Oregon west of the Cascades. Actually, the layout is in a 36’ X 32’ room. The time is the mid-1950s. The configuration is walk around loops where everything is readily accessible and well equipped for DCC operation using car cards and following Time Table Train Order (TT/TO) switching operations. Hosting and attending operating sessions are among Mat’s current hobby activities.

There are numerous beautifully executed scenes, including lumber and paper mills, seaside fishing towns, highlighted by a Swift meat packing plant. You can find the instructions for switching the plant online. As Bob Rosenberg wrote on a previous visit, “the weathered seaside buildings, commercial businesses assembled from kits as well as kit-bashed and scratch built depending on the requirements of the site, look typical of structures found in cold, windy coastal areas (think Maine), with freighters and tug boats docked around them, even a small car float operation, and trees; enormous numbers of trees everywhere - mostly spruce trees – so many that you have to look carefully to see the intimate scenic touches that Mat has included in his layout; the colony of seals on the small, rocky beach, or the saw mill and its logs in the adjacent mill pond being rounded up by two mill workers in a small, steam powered boat, the cattle in pens waiting to being shipped to market, and the older wooden box cars parked on a siding nearby. It’s this devotion to the details that enhances any model railroad, regardless of the local being modeled.” 
Since the Potomac Division last visited the OCRR in March of 2016 there have been several additions and changes:

    The biggest addition is a large harbor in Tillamook. The six by six addition holds a three track oil depot, a two track spur serving a lumber dock and four more tracks serving a freight house.
    Details, tanks of all sizes and kinds and signs have been added to paper mill in Tillamook.
    Passing under the paper mill is a track that leads into another room which now holds Wheeler, a combination staging area and interchange yard.
    Adding the harbor in Tillamook eliminated space for the passenger station that had been there so that model has been moved to Hoyt Street.
    Several stock pens have been added to the Swift Packing Plant.
    Modeling in the town of Astoria is complete.  Besides several commercial buildings, one rail industry has been added, Western Wax Paper.