One of the layouts I had the pleasure of operating was Doug Tagsold’s Colorado & Southern. It is essentially in 1:72 scale, kind of halfway between HO at 1:87 and S scale at 1:64. Doug uses HO track and many HO structures, but also uses some S scale figures. An advantage of 1:72 is that it is a military modeling scale and accordingly has really a lot of accessories available. But the scale complication fades into insignificance when you look at the stunning scenic job Doug has done. I will show a few of my snapshots but for anyone wanting a deeper look, there is video on Marshall Stull’s blog, which can be found at: http://smallmr.com/wordpress/doug-tagsolds-colorado-southern-narrowgauge-modelrailroad-modelrail-train/ . Doug’s era is 1925.
One thing I really liked about Doug’s layout is the use of actual Colorado photos for backdrops, instead of the snowy Alps backdrops sometimes used for Colorado layouts. This photo at Idaho Springs is a good example.
My job at this session was to operate the local from Denver to Silver Plume. This train works through Idaho Springs and Georgetown to the end of track at Silver Plume, then return to Denver. But before reaching the local switching to be done, it is a long run from Denver to Idaho Springs, with gorgeous scenery along the way, as in this view of my train.
It is easy to understand Doug’s statement that this layout, the latest of several he has built, reflects his realization that his heart is in Colorado.
The second layout I operated on is the remarkable Chesapeake & Ohio of Mike Burgett. Mike is a professional signal engineer for CN and that is reflected in his 1964-era layout depicting parts of the C&O Clifton Forge Division. It would take an awful lot of photographs to convey the superb appearance of this layout, so I will just show a few views. It is a double-deck layout, and the trackwork is everywhere impeccable and, naturally, fully and accurately signaled. The photo below at Alleghany shows this. The railroad here is double track and also has eastward and westward sidings on either side of the two main tracks. The sidings have darker ballast.
A complex piece of trackwork a little east of Covington also is a good example, shown in the “aerial” view below. The train here is on the eastward main, if I recall correctly, and will continue to its right onto the lower track into Covington, en route to Clifton Forge.
The photo above shows how the main tracks divide here. From track level at the left of the photo above, one gets the view below, and you can see some examples of the signaling involved.
Operating trains on this layout is a real pleasure. I did the Covington yard job to start, a local switching job which is completed by returning to Clifton Forge yard. I then ran some through trains, and thus had a chance to run over the entire layout, staging to staging. A great experience.
I will come back to the other layouts I was able to operate, but these two are good examples of how high the standard is in this area. This was a great meet, fun to experience, and attended by many of the best-known operators in the nation – not that I am one of them. I just relished the chance to enjoy these fine layouts and the company of all the attendees.