Model Railroader June 2020

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Conquering the Cascades
by Lee Marsh
When I was kid in the 1960s, I first saw photos of John Allen’s HO scale Gorre & Daphetid in the pages of Model Railroader. Since then, I dreamed of building my own mountain railroad. The journey to achieve that goal started with a Christmas layout, progressed through several more “plywood Pacifics,” and then endured a 20-year hiatus from the hobby.

My interest in mountain railroading and Pacific Northwest scenery was also fueled by participating in mountain sports, which my wife and I immersed ourselves in when we moved to Washington in 1985. Our activities often took us to the Stevens Pass area, where we encountered the Burlington Northern RR main line over the Cascades. My railroad interests resurfaced, and after reading Charles Wood’s Lines West (Superior Publishing Co., 1967), a book that chronicles the Great Northern Ry.’s construction and operation of this main line, I was hooked on building a GN-themed mountain layout.

Subscriber bonus: Great Northern Ry. Cascade Division track plan

Model Spring Creek Trestle in N scale
by Dan Lewis
At over a quarter-mile long, Spring Creek Trestle on the Milwaukee Road’s North Montana Line is one of the longest wood pile trestles in the Big Sky State. Located nine miles northwest of Lewistown in the central part of Montana, the full-size bridge was built jointly by the Milwaukee Road (MILW) and Great Northern (GN) in 1912 to cross Big Spring Creek. Since I model the North Montana Line in N scale during the steam-to-diesel locomotive transition era, I needed to model this signature structure.
The full-size bridge is 1,391 feet long. Though largely constructed of wood, there are two steel sections with deck girders. In its early days the bridge had a gantlet track so the MILW and GN could each have its own line between Spring Creek Junction to the west and Hanover to the east. The gantlet track was later removed in favor of a single-track arrangement. The Spring Creek Trestle isn’t used today, but the structure still stands.

Ride the Frisco to St. Louis
by Patrick Hiatte
From John Peluso's home in suburban St. Louis, you can hear trains passing on BNSF Railway’s line between
St. Louis and Springfield, Mo. Inside his basement, though, the trains are HO scale versions of those that ran over the same line when it belonged to the St. Louis-San Francisco Ry., also known as the Frisco.
John’s layout is a collection of familiar scenes in the St. Louis area and along the line, such as the Arsenal Ave. overpass that cuts through the middle of Lindenwood Yard, the gasworks and McCausland Ave. underpass at the west end of the yard, and the Meramec River bridges and limestone bluffs, which were so much a part of the Frisco that the railway featured them on its timetables.

Subscriber bonus: Frisco Lines track plan

A winter's project
by Andrew Dodge
The rotary snowplow was probably the most important piece of maintenance equipment a railroad needed during winters in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. In 1888, one year after beginning operations, the Colorado Midland Ry. bought a rotary snowplow from the Leslie Brothers Co. of Paterson, N.J. The brass hats in the main office had realized after the first year they couldn’t solely rely upon what would become known as the “Midland Snowbirds” to shovel the snow by hand.
The plow had a 9-foot rotary blade with a shroud extending out an additional foot on each side. At 11 feet across, the machine would clear a path wide enough for any Midland equipment. An interesting aspect of the Leslie design was that the carbody resembled a greenhouse, with large windows along both sides and in the operator’s area just behind the rotary and impeller blades.

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