As work progresses on the loft space, I keep getting better ideas for the track plan. The thought that I will certainly be, some day in the not too distant future, committing this plan to reality can bring all kinds of things to light. Today I totally redesigned the town and rail facilities at Durango. I realized that the area of the plan that I might have to reach into the most often, the yard, was the furthest area from the edge of the layout. (See older drawings below) This didn't make sense, so I brought it forward to within two feet of the edge, easily within reach of the 0-5-0 switcher. I also put one of those little hand operated trolley turntables next to the station like the ones that are used in San Fransisco where the lines terminate by the waterfront. You can click on this photo to enlarge it.
Here is a recent version of the track plan. I have used a program called Empire Express to do the drawings. It works well on my MAC, and has as many features as I need, without being too complicated. I keep working over the plan to conform to prototype practice, as my research continues. If you have seen earlier versions of the plan, you will notice some changes. If you are looking at the plan for the first time, the total space is 23 feet by 10 feet, and the little gray squares on the plan are one square foot each. The scale is On30, which means it is O Scale (1/4″ to the foot), but runs on HO Scale track, which represents 2.5 gauge or “narrow gauge” in O Scale.
If this is the first version you are looking at, my railroad, the Denver, Durango & Silverton, will be modeled on the narrow gauge operations of the Denver & Rio Grande Western and the Rio Grande Southern in the southern part of Colorado. These narrow gauge lines flourished in the late 1800s, and gradually died out in the mid 1900s, as the resources they carried, primarily lumber and silver and gold ore, decreased. The advent of better highways to serve these areas also contributed to their demise. Some sections of the line are still run as tourist railroads, notably the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, and the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad.
My railroad will model the line from Durango up to Silverton, about a 45 mile run through the amazingly beautiful Animas River Canyon. I will also have an off-line hidden return helix that will lead to a hidden yard representing Denver if entered from an eastbound direction, or Farmington, New Mexico, if entered from a westbound direction. Basic traffic on my line will come from Denver to the yard at Durango. From there trains can go on to the yard at Silverton, or run through to Farmington. Return trips go the other way. The locals will serve the various on-line industries, as well as taking loads and empties between Durango and Silverton or to Denver and Farmington. The mines and the lumber camp will be served by (2) little 0-4-0 and 0-4-2 Porter steam engines. I also have (2) two-truck Shays that will bring logs down to Durango from the lumber camp. Two other Porters will serve as yard goats, and the main line will be served by two 4-6-0 Moguls, two 2-8-0 Consolidations, and a 4-4-0 American. A newly purchased DCC/Sound Porter will replace one of my old non-sound Porters. Eventually the goal is to have all locomotives equipped with DCC and sound. The larger locomotives will handle the local duties, and the run to Denver and Farmington. These lines also carried passengers, mostly miners and tourists, so I will be modeling the D&RGW’s famous San Juan Express, a short train for passengers, mail, and small shipments that can fit in the baggage express car. Eventually I will be running two sections of this train each day, one Eastbound and one Westbound.
One unusual feature of the layout will be what I am called a “roll-under”. As opposed to the traditional “duck-under”, access to the west (or right hand) side of the layout on the plan will be via some kind of a seat on rollers that goes under the central cross-over section.
The small numbers in parentheses on the plan refer to reference photos I have in digital files that I use for modeling. See the posts on the Reference Photos for Plan Sections.
I hope you enjoy looking at this, and I welcome comments. You can enlarge photos by clicking on them.
- Town of Durango, railroad yard, entrance to helix to Farmington.
- Center roll-under section between Durango and Silverton representing the Animas River Canyon. This area will be rendered to be viewed from both sides.
- Silverton and Cascade Canyon Lumber Camp area of layout.
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