The idea for this layout was to depict the rugged terrain that the American railroads had to conquer when planning their way to and through the Wild West. The routes took them across raging rivers, through immense forests and spectacular mountain ranges. One of the methods of gaining height to climb over the mountains was for the track to loop over itself when the gradient was too steep for a straight run. The layout does not represent a particular location but just gives an impression of the loops. There are several loops on the US railroads with the Tehachapi Loop in California being the most famous. In reality the track circled for about a mile gradually gaining height before crossing over the lower track, on my layout the scale distance is probably a quarter of a mile.
The model’s loop is an eight foot circle and rises 2 inches which equates to a 2% grade. The layout consists of eight modules and measures 4m x 1 m, is DCC controlled and all points are electrically switched. The track is Peco and the point motors are Seeps. The ‘mountain’ is made from insulation board so it’s not too heavy when carrying the layout.
Most of the model locomotives are from Kato although the Challenger steam loco 3985 –a UP preserved engine – is an Athearn model. The rolling stock is from a variety of manufacturers but primarily Micro trains and all fitted with magnetic couplers.