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An offshoot of another project - an "interpretation" of the D&RGW in Denver Colorado, and heading West into the FrontRange, and South toward Colorado Springs, with a connection East through the plains of Colorado toward Nebraska.   Perhaps 1890-1920 time frame.

Just less than a 4% grade up and down the mountains to 8" in elevation.   Around Denver there is a passing track and reverse loop connections, allowing a train to head out of the yard turning south, then into the mountains, climbing up and down, then back toward Denver.   I imagine a couple of times around, then taking the reverse loop to change direction while passing the Denver yard, then a couple times around again in the opposite direction, and heading back into the Denver yard, where a turntable allows steamers to be turned and serviced.   


The mainline is O-48 minimum diameter with O-60 turnouts.   The yard has O-36 turnouts.

At about 14" in elevation is an On30 line, a figure-8 with spurs serving a couple of mines.

At the left there is a bridge for the Lionel Extended Truss Bridge.   There is also a 10" Lionel Plate Girder Bridge, and a couple of scratch-built short bridges, and a nice curved bridge or tall trestle.


There are three of Lionel's animated cattle pens, the yard tower, work-house with sound, and the barrel loader.   Then some OGR buildings including "Dot's Store".   And some Menards buildings re-purposed.   The mines are scratch-built, perhaps I will come across a kit or building that can be used.


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  • 6-82110-Bridge
  • 684388-gray-plategirderbridge
  • M1115_D&RGW_V4f
Last edited by Ken-Oscale
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Thanks, Peter, it is interesting to see how these ideas play out.   Fastrack has a pretty decent selection of pieces to work with (no flextrack of course), but I wish Lionel would add a #5 or #6 turnout, and O-84 1/3 section (7.5 degrees). 

For this design, I had to ensure that there was sufficient vertical clearance for the hidden track in the tunnels.  So I placed the hidden track so that it would NOT be directly beneath the lines running above.   Then, I only had to make sure there was sufficient vertical clearance where the lines crossed (including the spur at the bottom which crosses over the mainline beneath).   I added elevation and grade markers to this image:



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  • M1115_D&RGW_V5a
Last edited by Ken-Oscale

The latest versions of AnyRail are doing a better job with 3D.   Seems to be a few places where it picks up errors, and I will need to do my surfaces a bit different to pick up the canyon with the river running through the mountains.   I may work with this some more, but at least its getting usable.   I would be nice if the 3D picked-up the different colors of my terrain surfaces, that would be a big help.



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  • M1115_D&RGW_V5a_3D
Last edited by Ken-Oscale

I really like this design!

On30/O 3R designs are an interest of mine.  My own layout--though much more compact--makes use of similar elements.  I wish I had the room for something more like this one, for the routes are much more interesting than mine. 

I am eager to see this design translated into reality.  I would use Atlas O or Grargraves/Ross instead of FT because I prefer their look, but that's in NO way a criticism of the design.

Last edited by palallin

This looks really cool.

I'd love to get into O narrow gauge but coming from O standard gauge I expect steam engines to make smoke (and, of course, sound).  I've never seen an On30 model engine that has a smoke unit.  Has anybody ever seen that?  There are HO models that have smoke units so I don't see why one couldn't put a smoke unit in an On30 locomotive (should have even more room, right?).  But I've never seen it done.  Otherwise I'd gladly get a Bachmann On30 to start out.

BC1989:   I agree with you, On30 can be found with sound and DCC, and if smoke can fit in HO, why not On30?   Seems like a market/business opportunity for someone!   If I could have a wish, I would wish for Lionel to introduce On30 with LionChief+ sound/smoke/speed-control/bluetooth.   Perhaps they could partner with Bachmann to keep development costs down.   

Bachmann's On30 line is beautiful, well-detailed, and very smooth running!   My previous layout had a small On30 line in the mountains, and my enthusiasm persuaded my brother in Denver to change from N-gauge to On30.  He now has done a couple layouts in On30, including one on display and operating for the public at the "Big-Time" adult amusement/play center in Denver (adult-size activities including adult-size "Big-Wheel" trikes, trampolines and etc.).

I would have thought On30 would be a natural fit with O-gauge rather than Lionel's re-entrance into HO. --Ken

Last edited by Ken-Oscale

I worked on the grades and minimum vertical clearance in this revision.   Grades are now consistent at either 4% or 3%, which makes it easy to build smooth and consistent grades with Woodland Scenics risers and inclines.   The crest is now at 8.25" on the Fastrack mainline, just north of the curved trestle, which should give a nice scenic view.  Minimum vertical clearance is now 6", which will be just fine for this layout of traditional and Lionchief type locos.

I have considered making the On30 an "up and over" rather than figure-8, but the grades will be quite steep.   I may work on it to see.



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So I tried the On30 as an "up and over" rather than figure-8, and the slope turned out to be 4.2%, reasonable for On30 trains and locomotives, so I did this new version.   The On30 crest is at 17", for a vertical clearance of 5" from the lowest point at 12".  A greater height is possible, as is a flat stretch at both the underpass and overpass, and still have a grade of around 5%.



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Last edited by Ken-Oscale


How about an ore transfer facility to transfer ore from the On30 line to the standard gauge line for transport to a smelter?  This would be a gravity-feed holding bin that dumps into your standard gauge ore cars.

I was thinking that a Plasticville coaling tower could be cut down and modified to receive ore at the top.


Last edited by Jan

Here, I thought to add a grade along the two parallel loops on the right-hand section, to give the area a bit more scenic interest with a height difference of 1" and 2" around the right-side edge:  creating a kind of "bowl" from the yard outward toward the right.   Its hard to see with a small color difference around the edge, but you can see the grade and elevation markers.   

I would appreciate any feedback as to whether this is worth doing in the resulting layout.



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  • M1115_D&RGW_V6f
Last edited by Ken-Oscale

Dave, I use both layers and surfaces.   The surfaces to represent the different levels of terrain, piling one atop the other to build mountains.  And layers are a great way to be able to remove and replace entire portions of the layout to see and manipulate the items at lower layers.

It takes a while to remember to think in terms of layers, I am always forgetting to change layers when I change from working on one aspect to another, but even so, its a great tool/concept.

For me, Anyrail is a great system to get good looking plans and complex track plans designed in a modest amount of time with any track system.   Often, getting the Fastrack fixed sections to align and join is a real time-consuming pain, requiring lots of time in experimentation and adjusting track and curve diameter here and there and combinations of small track sections, in order to close the shape.   I set my limit at a small 3/32" tolerance across even a long section of track (and zero degrees of curvature deviation - this has to be perfect in my plans), even when a larger "gap" would be fine across the length of a long runs of say 10' of track.  And then more time going over the layouts to optimize the curvature and alignments.   This is a result/aspect of using Fastrack that requires tight tolerances in order to close nicely. 

Other sectional track systems with rail joiners have much more play, and with flex track, even more flexibility, and go together more quickly.  But I stay with the same tight tolerances that I use with Fastrack, as I am a bit of a perfectionist.   But flextrack helps a lot.   Or even using custom cut sections of straight track, and occasionally I cut curved sections in half or thirds, but that is a multi-step process.


Last edited by Ken-Oscale

Okay, that is a big help Ken. I haven't got too much into layers being that I've only tinkered a couple ideas out. And you're right with track not meeting, that is always FUN and takes a while even days sometimes as you may have to rip up everything leading up to that point.

One thing I do when I have made some track sections with switches or so odd stuff going on, I'll get the measuring tool out so I have numbers to compare. I find that very handy as it mostly cuts down on reassembly of track that had to be torn up. With a quick measure, I can just add up the opposing track sections and be able to close the gap(most times I've used that method anyway).

I'll have to see what I can come up with. May take a few days to get something out, but see what comes since I've got all day.

Nice job, as always, Ken......

By the way, I purchased a digital copy of your layout book.....and, it's great! I have come to realize that many of the features of my new layout are clearly "Ken-derived" or "Ken-inspired" from your generous outpouring of layout plans......your plans always have me thinking....


Last edited by Putnam Division
@Profuse posted:

Hi Ken,

I too am using AnyRail and Fastrack.  I also just purchased a Lionel Extended Truss Bridge (6-82110).  This bridge is not currently in the AnyRail library, that I know of. How did you model the bridge in the program?  Is that an exportable/sharable library piece?

thanks, Tim

A single bridge with the piers (which are required) is 39" total length according to the Lionel website. I use a 30" straight with a 4.5" straight on each side to represent the bridge and the piers when planning and it worked perfectly on my layout when I put it together.

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