“Hi Al. Thanks for the kind words. Here is some more info. Feel free to edit it for size and reader interest.
The layout, physically located in the Las Vegas, NV area is a freelance fictional short line RR “Sweetwater & Thunder Mountain” which shares track rights with the Union Pacific, Southern Pacific and Western Pacific Railroads. The time frame is roughly from the 30’s & 40’s which allows Steam operation through approximately the late 70’s for medium Diesel Power (depending on what I feel like running at different times) The inspiration comes from the Sierra Nevada Mt. Ranges along with the Alaska RR. Lots of tunnels, bridges, granite rock, trees, vegetation, sheer cliffs etc. It has five major towns, Sweetwater, Eagle Mt., Sheridan Yards, Thunder Mt (which is the connecting point to Dunsmuir, CA) Boyd City (hidden) and several whistle stops – Red Rock Station and Camp Carroll. There is an operating turntable and roundhouse in the SW Yards.
The layout is in an area approximately 22’ x 20’ which includes the workshop area. The construction is open grid with risers starting at 4’ and rising to 5’ for track and just over 6.5’ total for scenery. It is basically an around the wall scheme with a free standing 4’ wide peninsula which allows operators to “walk the canyon”. The scenery is all done using plaster cloth over pillows of newspaper and using real rock from my back yard along with some molded and rubber rock. There is one elongated helix and one standard helix both hidden under mountains. Our favorite saying here is “What happens in the Helix, stays in the Helix”. However, I do have emergency access. I have some guys over and we can actually run timetable operations with a full passenger service in about 6 hours Fast Clock Time or 1 hour real time.
Electrically, there are five control panels located in strategic areas so local switching can be accomplished along with mainline passenger and freight service. Nickel-silver, code 83 rail is used throughout with a minimum 18” radius (this fits the smaller wheel base equipment timeframe) All turnouts are electrically thrown using Tortoise machines and most coupling/uncoupling is done with under track magnets. Control is accomplished using North Coast Engineering, is all radio controlled DCC with hand held throttles. 98% of all motive power is DCC and Sound equipped.
One really cool feature is that the Sweetwater Yards are designed to not only function as an operating yard, but can also be used as a John Allen inspired “timesaver switching puzzle” You’d be amazed at how moving 4 boxcars around into proper locations with a stopwatch running and bring grown men to their knees with exhaustion! Model Railroading is FUN!
An amazing layout. Hope you enjoyed that as much as me.
PS Want three times the content? And to search through the archives – that’s every post since day 1? You need the Golden Key.