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1st, 2nd, & 3rd D&RGW Divisions, 1926 - 1955

Scenic Line Club Operating Session Design

We are now in the process of developing our operating sessions to represent D&RGW trains a particular day in the fall of a particular year, between 1926 and 1955. Why these years? Several reasons:

  1. Our layout accommodates the changing of the Grande well over this 30 year period, with minimal modeling changes.
  2. Our club members continue to acquire a range of locomotives and rolling stock representing different years of the Grande.
  3. The D&RGW changed significantly over this 30 year period, transitioning from steam to early diesel, with several upgrades to rolling stock, changes in heralds, & liveries, among other things.
  4. Limited types of locos and rolling stock permit members to have duplicate specific locos or cars with varying paint schemes through the years.
  5. The opportunity to model the operations, as they changed over time, a unique perspective of the history of the Grande.
  6. Although the layout was designed for late twenties trackplan and scenery, few changes and exceptions are necessary to transition through the 30s, 40s and into the mid 50s.
  7. The first year modeled is 1926, when the Barrel Transfer became operational in the fall.
  8. The final year is 1955, when the NG rails were finally removed from 3rd Division and the Monarch Branch became standard gauged.
  9. The scenery is modeled in the fall to take advantage of the variety of beautiful changes of Aspen, fall colors, and the early patches of snow. Also in the fall, is the Fall Stock round-up, providing the opportunity for the operation of stock trains.
  10. Due to the changing of the years, modeling the change of prototype structures requires that some structures may be removed and/or replaced with updated structures. This feature permits the opportunity to model several additional structures or the same structure at different stages.

Operating Sessions

For each fall (between 1926-1955), one or more separate train operating schedules are being developed. This allows us to have different operating sessions the same inventory of locos and cars, representing different operating days of the week and different prototypical scenarios.

For each operating session, the best available rolling stock and locomotives from our club membership will be selected to represent that particular year. This requires the careful and lengthy inventorying of our club members' equipment which is listed in our Club Equipment Roster.

Our "Dreaded Roster of Shame," is a list of our equipment to help point out prototype features and poke fun at us. The "Shame" all came about with a member discovering that he had placed an F9A number an a F7B unit, and jokingly remarked "he was so ashamed!" Spreading the love all around, we hope to continue to have some fun "shaming" each other, putting together prototype equipment for prototype running in prototypical scenery.

Previously, our operating sessions were only set up for the late 1920s and restricted to SG. Our SG staging has been extended to enable us to run longer trains. Our staging tracks will hold up to approximately two 6-10 passenger car trains and two 18-20 car freights.

We are close to beginning some NG operations mixed into the Operating sessions. Operating sessions typically are two and a half to three hours. Currently, the role of Chief Dispatcher has been relegated to that of an overseer/traffic director, with minimal interaction with crews and generally provides help with Train Orders. It is anticpated that the Chief Dispatcher role will only be necessary with inexperienced or visiting operators. Standard Gauge Operations require the operation of 4 Trains and a Yardmaster simultaneously. It is expected that NG operations will require two yardmasters, two operators for the Monarch branch, one for the Crested Butte branch, and a sixth for the mainline from Salida to Gunnison.

Road Crews Yard Crews Yard Rules

Steam Era Operations

The D&RGW Scenic Line layout was designed to model prototype operations for the D&RGW narrow and standard gauge trains, during the late 1920s, on primarily the D&RGW's Second and Third Divisions.

In 1926, the Mechanical Transfer was built and erected 1 mile from Salida, at what was to become known as "Barrel". The core of the operations revolve around Salida and Barrel. Salida features dual gauge tracks where the narrow gauge met the standard gauge.

Anthracite, obtained from the mines from the Crested Butte Branch, was fired in ovens to make coke, and hauled (originally in box cars) over Marshall Pass to Barrel, where narrow gauge high sided gondola cars were locked in the MT, rolled over with their ore dumping their contents into a standard gauge gondola. Limestone arrived from the quarry on the Monarch Branch via narrow gauge cars as well, going through the MT to also deposit the ore into standard gauge gondolas. The ore was picked up on the Second Division and hauled to the Colorado Fuel & Iron (CF&I) steel works at Pueblo, via the famed Hanging Bridge through the Grand Canyon of the Arkansas, or the Royal Gorge.

Besides the ores, it is the fall, and time for the annual fall roundup. Narrow gauge stock trains from Gunnison country climbed over Marshall Pass with drovers to the primary stockyards at Cleora, a few miles east of Salida, where the stock were transferred from the narrow gauge cars to standard gauge cars and then shipped east to Pueblo for slaughter.

Passenger trains were at their peak during this era, operated daily in each direction, as outlined below.

Steam Era Passenger Trains
Fall, 1928
Train No.NameDirectionGaugeRoute
No. 1Scenic LimitedWestboundStandardDenver - Ogden
No. 2Scenic LimitedEastboundStandardOgden - Denver
No. 3PanoramicWestboundStandardDenver - Ogden
No. 4PanoramicEastboundStandardOgden - Denver
No. 15San Franciso ExpressWestboundStandardDenver - Grand Junction
No. 16Colorado/New Mexico ExpressEastboundStandardGrand Junction - Denver
No. 315ShavannoWestboundNarrowSalida - Montrose
No. 316ShavannoEastboundNarrowMontrose - Salida
No. 215San JuanWestboundNarrowSalida - Alamosa
No. 216San JuanEastboundNarrowAlamosa - Salida

Diesel Era Operations

Although the layout era is modeled to the late 1920s, we also feature Diesel era operations, by stretching into the early 1950s. The ores continue to be produced from Monarch and Crested Butte and are still shipped along the narrow gauge, but the narrow gauge rails will exist for only a short time longer. It is still the fall, and that means the fall roundup again in Gunnison country, and narrow gauge stock cars bring the herd in to transfer into standard gauge cars at Cleora. By now, Salida's original stone Depot and Monte Cristo hotel are long gone, replaced with the WWII vintage Rio Grande art deco depot, but Salida has much less passenger traffic. But occasionally, as in the case for our operations, Moffat Tunnel is closed for maintenance so we see the California Zephyr and Prospector re-routed through Salida and over Tennessee Pass. The Rocky Mountain Railroad Club ran excursion specials frmo time to time, on the now defunct narrow gauge passenger line, but this is could be our lucky day!

Diesel Era Passenger Trains
Fall, 1951
Train No.NameDirectionGaugeRoute
No. 1Royal GorgeWestboundStandardDenver - Grand Junction
No. 2Royal GorgeEastboundStandardGrand Junction - Denver
No. 7*ProspectorWestboundStandardDenver - Salt Lake
No. 8*ProspectorEastboundStandardSalt Lake - Denver
No. 9*Yampa Valley MailWestboundStandardDenver - Craig
No. 10*Yampa Valley MailEastboundStandardCraig - Denver
No. 17*California ZephyrWestboundStandardChicago - San Francisco
No. 18*California ZephyrEastboundStandardSan Francisco - Chicago
No. 19*MountaineerWestboundStandardDenver - Montrose
No. 20*MountaineerEastboundStandardMontrose - Denver
SpecialRocky Mountain RR Club SpecialWestboundNarrowSalida - Montrose
SpecialRocky Mountain RR Club SpecialEastboundNarrowMontrose - Salida
* Moffat Tunnel Route

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This page last modified 26 August 2007.