S R & R L Western Railroad
Owned & Operated by
David & Marliss Rohrer
Welcome to our Home Page. We hope you enjoy this tour of our Railroad.
Click on the letter to see location on the track plan.
Use your "Back" key to return. (See A)
OLDER PAGE LINKS
The railroad is located on 10 acres of land 30 miles outside Yosemite National Park at the 3,000' elevation.
Pine trees, oak trees, squirrels and deer are a common sight (except when you want to take their picture). (See B)
These first three photos are of the preliminary grading. It took about four years to grade the entire railroad
including the possible expansion. Grading can only be done during the winter months between rains.
The timing is important as the red clay is sloppy when wet, yet hard as rock when dry (summertime).
This is a small cut at the front corner of the property. (C)
This is the first big fill on the single track. (D)
As you can see in this photograph, the property was quite overgrown. The preliminary surveying was done
on hands and knees crawling through the brush. At the same time wife Marliss was crawling through
the brush spraying poison oak. Poison oak doesn't affect her, while David can get it just by looking at it.
Once a route was determined, we (and Marliss helped!) cleared a path wide enough for the tractor with
nothing more than chain saws. The tractor then moved the cut brush to burn piles. We have been
clearing ever since to reduce potential fire hazards.
After the grading was completed in 1997, we bought 1,000 lbs of rail (about 2,800') from
Paramount Extrusion. Railroad ties were made from used grape stakes acquired from a vineyard
in Madera. It only took four months to lay the first 1,000' of track and we celebrated by inviting
some neighbors over for a ride in December.
The remainder of the track was laid almost to the driveway by the summer of '98. It soon became
apparent, however, that backing up a single track wasn't much fun. It was about this time that David
discovered he could have a better time at Train Mountain in Oregon. A five-year period of decay
began for our fledgling railroad as he tried to spend at least one week up there every summer.
David wanted to move to Oregon and couldn't see investing any more time or money in our project.
The SW1500 below was bought so David would have something for a quick run in the evenings
at Train Mountain after working all day at their enjoyable, summer work party.
Bet your wife wouldn't let you put an SW1500 in the back of her Chevy Tahoe! This was purchased from
Rail Systems in Oregon in May 2003. It is the first locomotive we ever actually bought as David
and his friend Matt Swain made the Sandy River themselves .
Just look at our beautiful, green, grassy, future, summer, fire hazard... (E)
After the meet in 2003 at Train Mountain, David realized he wanted to run more often than just
once a year. He devised a practical way to put in a reverse loop where the track had
previously ended at the driveway.
The project was put on hold while David went to Africa for work on The Flight of the Phoenix
between August of 2003 and March of 2004. Once he returned, grading began and 600' of rail
was purchased from RMI. The railroad was then completed in less than three months.
The tractor came in handy for loading the hopper car. Can you spot the pile of gravel in this photo? (F)
Here we see ballast being dumped. That's our equipment, storage trailer back behind the trees. (G)
The fill above is 6' tall. (H}
The lower loop was completed just in time for Memorial Day 2004, so we can now
run without having to back up the hill. The upper loop is 710'. The lower loop is 420',
and the single track is 490'. There is a continuous 2 3/4% grade from the middle of the
lower loop to the middle of the upper loop.
The following photos were taken that same weekend.
This is the other side of the fill. Obviously this is not a flat land project. (H)
This large cut is located on the lower loop. Notice what a nice dog walker the train makes. (I)
The largest cut is actually located on the horseshoe bend of the proposed expansion.
It is over 200' long and 11' deep with a large fill before and after.
The caboose is now exiting the large cut. (G)
Here are David, Bettina, our daughter, & Maggie, our deaf Dalmatian,
shortly after exiting the lower loop. (J)
Maggie has finally given up running alongside in favor of riding with Marliss. (K)
To see a view of the entire 10 acres and the proposed extension, click here.
If you are ever in the area just give us a call. Our phone number is (559) 683-0847.
This file was updated: 9/22/2006