The ATSF in Roswell layout has been heavily revised. I love the Santa Fe and hope to occasionally run a little ATSF action, but I recently had an epiphany.
This epiphany led to a significant change in the layout.
There are five and a half reasons (actually many more as well)–
1. See this post. (Selecting an era)
2. See this post. (Perlite and scoria post)
3. See this post. (The half reason — The beauty of the DRGW scheme)
4. The Union Railway of Oregon
5. Life experiences (Probably the biggest)
6. Pursuit of a less complex but more diverse operating scenarios.
Here it is—
I guess I had signaled the change in recent blog posts. Here are some iconic photos (to me) prompting the shift.
Below is why these images are iconic to me.
I grew up in Houston, TX in the 1970s and 80s. There were Southern Pacific and Missouri Pacific and Missouri-Kansas-Texas rail lines near my house. I would hear their horns whenever I was outside playing baseball, football or yard golf, which was most of the time! (It was before computers.) I would visit a number of places around town that featured Santa Fe, Rock Island, Burlington Northern and Houston, Belt and Terminal action. I had a GREAT railroad childhood. Later in life in New Mexico and other parts of Texas I would frequently see Southern Pacific and Santa Fe action in the 1990s.
I saw the tail end of the Alcos in Houston as a kid. I distinctly recall seeing an RS-11 servicing the line near my house about 1975. The Southern Pacific was almost always near most of my life.
The Denver and Rio Grande, Frisco and Illinois Central were my mystical lines that I only saw occasionally while on vacation. Of the three, the Rio Grande was the most mystical. I still vivedly recall seeing Rio Grande action as a 12 year old. For a kid growing up in flat Houston, mountains and trains were almost too good to be true! Especially, with an exotic name like “Denver and Rio Grande Western!”
Lastly, my experiences in Arkansas gave my an appreciation of short lines as I poked around the Prescott and Northwestern and actually rode on the Graysonia, Nashville and Ashdown. There was something very appealing about the simplicity of these operations. See this post about the “Mystical Mine.”
As I looked at photos to help design the ATSF in Roswell layout, I stumbled upon a few photos of the SP, DRGW and Union Railway of Oregon. I realized that if I modeled a generic western setting in the late 1990s, I could pull many of these special railroads and even a shortline operation onto my layout. For many years, upon their merger in 1986, the SP and DRGW railroads used each others equipment throughout their respective systems. By modelling the late 1990s (after the Union Pacific acquisition), you could have the bonus of “home road” freight cars from the Union Pacific, Western Pacific, Cotton Belt, Missouri Pacific, Missouri-Kansas-Texas and Chicago and Northwestern. That means it is entirely plausible for empties to be spotted with any of the above reporting marks plus SP and DRGW! You still see many of these reporting marks on Union Pacific trains across the country.
Along with the addition of a short line which will also likely switch the scoria and perlite operations (as well as serving a number of industries off the layout), I wanted to insert a few turnouts to simplify operations and avoid a few painful bottlenecks. The off layout industries give you the option of running occasional “oddball” loads, such as scrap metal, sand or anything you’d see at a team track. I see wood products as the primary loads–wood chip cars, loaded flats and lumber boxcars.
The track is now in place along with an extension that will serve as the “off-stage” staging track.
In Part II of this post, I will share photos of the new track configuration on the layout.