Vandals ripped up about 25 feet of railroad line and uprooted decorative bonsai trees at the Stout Mountain Railway in Stout Park in Brookings on Halloween night.
Stout Mountain Railway Club President Tony Parrish found the damage Wednesday morning and reported it to police.
The miniature G-scale railway features three lines of track with bonsai trees and other vegetation resembling shrubs, and a tunnel through which the train runs and a gorge it chugs over to get to the other side of the hill at the east side of the park.
Damage was limited to the upper part of the system that goes through the tunnel and over the gorge.
“That part is the most vulnerable,” Parrish said, noting that it still would have taken two or three people to pull the track off its span over the gorge. “We’ll have to rethink our engineering and make it tougher. We tried to make it stupid-proof, but you can only go so stupid.”
If the club had to hire someone to repair the line, Parrish estimates it would cost more than $500.
“But it’s club members,” he said. “We’ll scrounge around, dip into our inventory and replace it out of that.”
This is the second time the popular G-scale railway has been vandalized since it was built 10 years ago. The first time, switches were damaged, so the club remodeled the railway to make three separate lines. Parrish estimates there are now about 200 feet of rail in the system.
Parrish removed the track that was damaged this week, but can’t replace it until the club’s presentation at the Chetco Community Public Library book sale Nov. 10 to 12 and the holiday display in Harbor in December.
And he still holds out hope the city will install the last of three lights that were supposed to go in at that end of the park for security.
“We’ve been pretty lucky,” he said, adding that normally he operates the train on Halloween, but was unable to do so this year. “At lea st it was only damage to one line. It’s not the end of the world.”
The railway club will again erect an entire city in the space formerly occupied by the antique store in the Brookings-Harbor Shopping Center mall this Christmas.
With that much room, they’ll be able to display an array of different scale trains, complete with buildings decorated for the holidays. That free event typically draws hundreds of children and train enthusiasts each year.
For more information about the club, or to participate in the holiday displays, contact Tony Parrish at 541-661-0551.