The Scenic Line Modelers became incorporated 24 February 1998. This club evolved from the Martin Marietta Model Railroad Club born in September 1991.
Originally, the club adopted standards for modular layout construction, and began building modules which could be mated with modules from the South Suburban Model Railroad Club, performing annual shows at various malls and Children's Hospital. In '94 the company awarded us permanent use of Building M-41E, behind the softball fields which once housed exercise equipment (relocated to EMF).
In October of 1997, the club did some soul searching and decided that the experience with modules was not the most beneficial for us as a club and presented several drawbacks. The club decided to abandon the modular railroad theme and embarked on a route to building a new layout geared to prototypical operations and representing railroading in Colorado. Our circular modular layout was subsequently stripped and finally scrapped.
During the months following the decision to begin a new design, layout plans were developed for a narrow and standard gauge model of the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad circa 1920s. The time period enables us a variety of steam consists from passenger service, coal & anthracite, stock, limestone, and general freight. We chose to model where the narrow gauge and standard gauge of the railroad crossed paths, specifically, in Salida Colorado. Features in Salida include a dual gauge yard and rotary ore dumper (Barrel Transfer). The narrow gauge hauled ore (often limestone and coal) by gondola to Salida. Approximately 30% of the new layout would be standard gauge and 70% narrow gauge. The standard gauge line models a portion of the D&RGW First Division mainline from Hanging Bridge in the Royal Gorge through Parkdale (west), to outside of Cleora, the original townsite when surveyed by the AF&SF. Outside Cleora, standard gauge mainline continues, beginning the D&RGW Second Division past the stockyards at Cleora, past the Mechanicla Transfer at Barrel to the Salida yards, then suddenly we jump (north) to Tennessee Pass, entering a hidden helix and staging area to represent Pueblo and Grand Junction, terminataing our standard gauge loop. Salida was the D&RGW Headquarters for both the Second and Third Divisions. The Third Division is all narrow gauge, and originates from the dual gauge tracks in Salida, crosses the Arkansas River, and enters Poncha Junction. From Poncha Junction, a branch line splits to Monarch (west) while the 3rd Division mainline continues south to Mears Junction. From Mears, the narrow gauge mainline climbs past small RR towns to Marshall Pass, descending past several more RR towns to Gunnison. From Gunnison, a line extends for the Crested Butte Branch.
Scenic Line Modelers was selected as our name to reflect the area we chose to model (the Denver & Rio Grande called the line "the Scenic Line of the World") as well as for the "genericness" of the name if our future modeling pursuits expand beyond the D&RG.
In late summer of 1998, we were fortunate to have help from Employee Services and Facilities in completing the renovation of our clubhouse, Building M-41E. The building is approximately 26 x 38 feet square inside, giving us an excellant environment for building and housing a model railroad. We had the walls painted white (greatly enhancing our already excellant overhead lighting), and factory epoxy flooring installed (replacing the old outdoor carpeting which was impossible to keep clean). We have electric heat to keep out the cold, and fans for the hot summer days. We also have a chilled water cooler, coffee pot, and microwave available for long sessions.
On January 9, 1999, we finally began "groundbreaking" for the new layout as the first lumber was cut for new benchwork. The basic framework was complete and put on temporary legs January 30th, and measured approximately 20 x 32 square feet. The benchwork is designed with 3 foot aisles extending around and into the framework. Construction of the standard gauge roadbed was begun in February and completed in April, including the helix from the staging deck to Tennessee Pass. Code 83 flextrack for the staging deck with opposing reverse loops was put in place during May - June. Ties were laid in the Salida Transfer Yard beginning in June, and as of now ~5000 SG and a few hundred narrow gauge ties (Salida Narrow Gauge Yard) have been laid.
The helix track laying was completed in August. We spiked down the first rail on 23 September 1999. We will continue with the Code 70 rail through the gorge to Code 55 dual gauge rail in Salida. All the track laid through scenery will be handlaid. I would say visible track; however, the staging deck which is 100% flextrack is visible.
The narrow gauge roadbed, consisting of two layers of spliced thick plywood, was attached to the benchwork on risers around 2002-2003.
In 2003, the narrow gauge track was laid on cork subroadbed, using Micro Engineering code 70 flextrack and Shinohara No. 6 switches.
In the spring of 2004, we were on the NMRA Rocky Mountain Region Convention Tour, so we installed our backdrops and applied our Grande Gold themed fascia. In the fall of 2004, we began the painfully huge project of replacing all the dual gauge code 55 track (which was the only code rail available previously), to Code 70 (& rebuilding all the handlaid dual gauges switches). We had too many engines with the older wheel flanges bouncing and grinding over the spike heads, which was annoying and embarassing! We made this decision earlier, but it was time to go for it and bite the bullet! It was a big decision, but we knew we didn't want to regret having not made a change to code 70 rail before scenery was added.
During 2005, we finally added our first significant elements of scenery at Cleora and Parkdale, and started painting some of the backdrop scenery at Salida and Parkdale. (Initial painting was done left-handed, while the right arm rested in a sling). Some Shinohara dual gauge switches have been installed along the double mainline in Salida. The snowshed for Marshall Pass, the largest single structure on the layout, has been built.
It is now the year 2006. We have completed most of the scenery between the east porta of Red Hill tunnel to Parkdale. The Salida
transfer yard, completely removed and now all completely relaid by hand, including switches. The Gunnison turntable and
roundhouse has been under massive construction. Continued piecemealing of rock molds applied to the Royal Gorge canyon.
All the terrain around Parlins has been installed and all major structures built. The construction of the Monarch
Colorado Fuel & Iron (CF&I) mine nears completion. More areas of the backdrops, including Salida, Crested Butte,
and Parlins have been painted.
The club is organized with a president, secretary, and treasurer who are elected
Officially, the club meets every Saturday of the month at the clubhouse from
about 8:30 till 12:00. To maximize participation and increase the level of work
getting done, meeting dates were increased at the beginning of 1999 from twice a
month to every Saturday. In addition to the Saturday work sessions, those who
can, also come out Thursday afternoons/evenings. Attendance is casual,
not mandatory, and is expected whenever convenient to the member. The objective
is to come out, and join in and have fun, whenever your schedule permits.
Dues & Requirements
The dues are $15 per month per member with an additional $20 initiation fee the first month. Members are also required to eventually contribute 4 pieces of rolling stock during their membership. Membership is open to Lockheed Martin employees, their families, and retirees.