Pepper Valley Division

Bob Ginger: Pepper Valley Division – N Scale

The Pepper Valley Division occupies a unique time and space where the locales of central Vermont and the northern California Sierra Nevada intersect each other. The valley was settled by a party of settlers who lost their way in 1877 while searching for Moosebutt Flats. Unfortunately, their travel pamphlet turned out to be only a dime novel and the party soon found themselves wandering in circles in Pepper Valley. Being too embarrassed to explain their predicament to anyone, they decided to stop and establish a settlement on the Spring River.

Good fortune was with them as the adventurous souls discovered coal and various ores in the nearby Big Rock mountains. It wasn’t long before their small mining camp grew into a lively mining town named Bellows Falls. The town of Coyote Springs was founded in 1883 a few miles down the river, becoming the local center of commerce and home to shopkeepers and professionals.

Rails were laid in the mid 1880’s to serve the area’s mines and ranches as well as new industries in the fledgling towns of Pepper Valley, Silver Lake, and Roseville. The easy access to the land around Pepper Valley made it the natural choice for a railroad junction and engine facilities.

VR photo is 360, Click on VR to make Full Screen, Use mouse to look around.

Publications: Where the Pepper Valley Division has been featured:
Nrail Newsletter September-October 2023 (article)
Walthers catalogs 2008, 2010, 2012, 2017 (Photos)
Model Railroader Magazine June 2019 (Article)

1: A local freight pulled by ATSF F7 #227 rolls across the Bellows Falls bridge above the westbound Empire Builder.
2: ATSF Pacific #1372 rolls up along side Mooney’s Plumbing Supply loading doc.
3: Overall view of the Pepper Valley Division with Roseville in the foreground.
4: Early evening outside Woolworths in downtown Coyote springs. Notice the building’s interior detail.
5: ATSF Consolidation #2516 rests comfortably on a garden track adjacent to the Pepper Valley roundhouse.
6: Coyote Springs Cider Mill along the Spring River.
7: Unloading at Greene’s Feed & Seed in Silver Lake.
8: Scratch-built coaling tower and extreme kitbashed Bachman water tower.
9: ATSF Consolidation #1955 running light after dropping reefers at the MooCow Creamery.

Jumping ahead about 70 years, we find both the Great Northern and Santa Fe operating freight and passenger trains over the N scale Pepper Valley rails in the shadow of the Big Rock Mountains. By the mid 1950’s, steam along the Pepper, as the locals call it, is already an endangered species with both roads running a colorful mix of steam and diesel.

Steam power still on the roster includes ATSF Consolidations, and Great Northern Mikado, Pacific, and Mogul locomotives. The roads sport a combination of EMD F7 A/B’s, SD7’s, E8 A/B’s, NW2’s along with Alco PA1 A/B’s, RSD-15, and an RS2.

Both freight and passenger trains move over the division through the towns of Pepper Valley, Bellows Falls, Roseville, Coyote Springs, and Silver Lake. The division’s engine service facilities including roundhouse, water tower, sandhouse, diesel fueling, and RIP track are based in Pepper Valley. Local Pepper Valley industries including Rusty’s Metal Shop, Arnie’s Widgets, Ralph’s Materials, and Earl’s Oil, a machine shop, cannery, paint factory, and paper products supplier depend on rail service for their shipping needs.

Roseville is home to a freight yard, car shops, icing facility, and several local industries. Those industries which include Jendrzejek’s Polish Sausage Factory, Milne Bros. Furniture, Rite-On Pencil Company, MooCow Creamery, Brown’s Transfer, Roseville Freight Station, and the Icing Platform keep the drill crews busy six days a week.

Many PVD locals live in the burb of Coyote Springs which also hosts the area’s largest passenger station. Mooney’s Plumbing Supply sits adjacent to a track that also sees trains entering and exiting the Roseville Yard.

Bellows Falls, situated in the higher mountain elevations, is home to the Crown King Mine, Shaw’s Grist Mill, Whispering Oaks Ranch, Herb’s General Store, and a small passenger station.

The town furthest down the Spring River is Silver Lake along with its namesake body of water. The town’s rail industries include Greene’s Feed & Seed, Fuzzy Udder Cheese Factory and Dunrite Fabricators and Hardware. Silver Lake is fed by the Spring River and is a popular recreational spot for swimmers, fishermen, and lovers. The lead into the staging yard is located in Silver Lake.

I started PVD layout in 2000 and it has been “complete”, whatever that means. There are always projects, expansions, and modifications to keep one busy. Recent projects include updating power distribution expanding Pepper Valley, moving from switch list to car card / way bills, weathering rolling stock, and scenery changes and spruce-ups.

OwnerBob Ginger
LocationNorthwest Phoenix
EraMid-late 1950’s
LocaleMagical confluence of northern California and Vermont
Control SystemDigitrax Wireless UT6D /DT602D
Size9’-6” x 7’-6”
StyleSingle Level Walk-in ‘L’
CommunicationVerbal, visual rules
AccessNo issues, No Stairs
Jobs4 (Roseville Yard & Industries, Bellows Falls, Pepper Valley, Silver Lake)
Crew Size4