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Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad in HO Scale - By Dan Goins

The layout is in a 32 X 15 foot room. The bench work is L girder. The track is code 83 on cork over homasote which is on 5/8" plywood. The double tracked main line is 220 feet long. The branch is about 85 feet from the junction to the resort. A large part of the main line is hidden track (about 55 feet) with three passing/holding/staging tracks. Most of the Rio Grande trackage is hidden. All of the turnouts except those in the hidden area are hand thrown. The control is by walk around Hogger throttles by StarTeck. Each control panel (7) has take over rotary switches so the proper cab can operate through an area. The railroad is designed to be operated by one person, however, up to 7 crewmembers can be involved during an operating session.

Woodland Scenics products are heavily used. The rock areas are made of broken ceiling tiles. The tiles are broken and reassembled in random fashion. The tile is painted with acrylic paint that is thinned quite a bit. A drop or two of detergent helps the water-based paint soak in. The paint is applied with a rather stiff brush. This weathers the rock as you go. When the tile rocks dry, washes of alcohol and India ink are sprayed on them. I have used different colors of ink with success too. The rubble is kitty litter stained with the same acrylic paint as the tiles. The litter is spread on a screen to dry and then sifted to get the different sizes needed. I find that the ceiling tile looks great as rock of all types. It is all in the paint and the amount of weathering as to what kind of rock you get.

The grade up from the hidden track is 3.5%. The branch line has a 4% grade and nearly an 18-inch radius curve at one point. A short tunnel hides this sharp curve. This keeps 3 axle units off the branch. There is a scale 660-foot long and 125 foot high trestle on the branch line too. This is curved on a 24-inch radius. The tourist train stops so the passengers can photograph the train on the trestle.

The bench work is 48 inches at the lowest visible portion to 54 inches at the summit. I usually run 40-50 car freights with 4 powered F units for visitors. At the same time on the other main line I run the Super Chief / El Capitan with about 15-17 cars and 4 powered F units. It looks great! Scenery blocks forces one to move from scene to watch the trains.

Most of the structures are craftsman type kits. These were built over the years when there was no railroad to build. Some have complete details inside. This is a thing of the past however. Unless a building is going to be viewed close up the interiors will not be seen and the extra work is not worth the time.

The layout is about 90% finished. More details and some building backdrops are in the works.

Contents of this website 2002 Dan Goins unless otherwise noted.
Web layout and design by RTS Shops and is 2002 Tom W. Carter
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