Ron Schmidt and Peter Moseley started the Flintridge and Portola Valley Railroad in 1991 in their adjoining back yards. Peter had inherited his father’s, Francis Moseley, 1" scale SP 1208 0-6-0 switcher and some nice cars and had just begun to lay some track when Ron and Lila Schmidt happened to move in next door. Entirely coincidently, Ron had an interest in trains and wanted an outdoor railroad. He had modified his house before moving in to create a space for his planned On3 layout. So when the subject of trains first came up we realized we had a mutual interest and the rest is history.
By 1995 we had been seduced by Bill Boller to work with Stan Marshall and Bill on a project to build four 2-1/2"/foot scale narrow gauge Consolidation locomotives. They had been started some years before but never completed. When Ron took a look he quickly realized this was an opportunity to construct well detailed live steam D&RGW C- 16 class engines. We each chose an engine to model. Ron chose 278 (circa 1950), Bill chose 268 Bumblebee (circa 1950) and Peter chose 268 Durango Switcher (circa 1939).
Stan elected to continue with a model of the Denver and South Park Cooke #45.
It took us 8 years to get first locomotive operating. It was Peter’ 268 Durango Switcher. In another year, Ron's 278 was running. Bill Boller was quite busy with his work and didn't complete the Bumblebee until 2009. Stan left the project around 2004 due to his age and his locomotive went to Ray Bjerrum who has it running as of April 2014 with some details yet to go.
Having started on construction of 2 ½ scale narrow gauge locomotives, we began building 7 1/2 inch gauge steel rail track on Ron’s property. After a little angst we removed the 1 inch scale track, which was giving us maintenance problems, and extended the 7 1/2 gauge track on to Peter’s property. This turned out to be a big endeavor. To date we have built ~ 1800 feet of track on our two yards with 4 scale trestle/bridges and one custom driveway crossing system. We have 3 car barns and one roundhouse and a model of the Sublette coal shed and a working Jack’s Cabin water tank. The water tank was started by Ken Johnson. Peter and Ron put the finishing touches on it.
Since the construction of the C class engines was taking so long, Ron managed to acquire Rudy Van Wingen and Loren Brown's C&S Mogul #10 to give us something to operate. Ron also contracted with Richard Ulin of Ulin Locomotive Works in Colorado to build a D&RGW K-27 "Mudhen" . Along the way Ron got Roll Models to build the first of the accurately modeled D&RGW #50 diesel switchers and later on acquired a Roll Models X-1 as the Flintridge and Portola Valley #1. Jack Sessums built RGS Goose 6 for Peter.
The F&PV’s rolling stock is a mixture of highly detailed D&GRW, RGS and C&S equipment which complements the locomotives. Around a third of the cars have been built in the F&PV’s home shops. A number of cars have been built by Richard Ulin. Terry Rider and Pat Garden also provided car construction service. Rich Ulin, Jimmy Booth and Paul Lavacote provided most of the castings required to build the cars.
Enjoy seeing the railroad!