Plantation railways are fun, might want to google CANESiG and have a look around, especially Australian ! (don't get lost, sneaky little rabbit hole).
As a fellow logging freak, I would recommend looking at the disconnects that Wiseman Model Services sells, considers changing out the Kadee knuckles and using link 'n pins from Wiseman or Foothill Model Works.
My logging interest is oriented toward the redwoods, the books that I uses for inspiration are "Logging the Redwoods" and "Steam in the Redwoods".
Since you are oriented on the Sierras, you might want to have a look at Bachmann's Climax and Heisler lokies. Those were quite common with the Sugar Pine loggers.
If only I had an update! I am waiting on my order from FastTracks...I guess they are backed up. Can't wait to start laying some track down. I'm a big canesig fan and I've visited their site many times. There are a ton of really cool layouts that provide a ton of inspiration....just hard to concentrate on one theme!
I'm actually really digging the little Bachmann Porter, so I am probably going to start with that. For this little micro layout, I'm also sticking with scratchbuilt rollingstock, so shorter wheelbases to handle the crazy curves.
Finally some updates! I changed my mind...again! Going back to my original CA Sierra backwoods logging theme, just in a smaller, diorama sort of scale. A simple oval, with a switchback in the middle. Two buildings, and lots of trees. It's essentially a working diorama, but I think it will be less intimidating to get into On30 this way. Hoping to post some photos soon!
Progress is moving along nicely. Laid down most of the foam core I am using as a sub roadbed, and I applied the plaster layer down for the first part of the track I will be laying. I'm planning on painting the plaster parts tonight, and hopefully start gluing down ties.
I finished up the benchwork for the 2'x4' section. I broke down and got the Sievers benchwork kit. Very easy to put together, and lets me concentrate on doing the fun stuff! I've added in wiring, hooked up the DCC, and test ran a new Bachmann On30 0-4-0 Porter. I started installing my first switch, which technically should have been a wye. Progress is slow on this point, but I think it's almost done - whether it works or not after is a totally different story! I am stuck trying to create a throw bar with no PCB ties...and getting the gauge right throughout the turnout. Hoping to post some photos soon!