One of the treasures of the model railroading world
is the Black Canyon Model Railroad
. Never heard of it? A real shame. Well, few modelers outside of the Phoenix, Arizona, modeling scene have heard of the Black Canyon Model Railroad. The Black Canyon Model Railroad is the creation of the late Mr. Harold Shelton
, started 35 years ago in his house. However, that has changed and the layout now belongs to An Affair With Trains
hobby shop in Phoenix, to be preserved and shared. I thank An Affair With Trains for generously permitting me to use these exceptional photographs to share this phenomenal model with you!
First, the level of detail is phenomenal! Mr. Shelton's philosophy is If it existed, model it!
I have to tell you about the track: it's all handlaid with four spikes per tie!
He built his turnouts, too.
Mr. Shelton scratchbuilt most of the structures. His eye for detail could fill a book on historical structures and the transition to the electric age. Several buildings he built with board by board construction. Hand-carved brick and masonry stone work finishes many others. I only spotted a couple of commercial models on the layout, and those appeared to be kitbashed! I saw several with partial and full interiors.
His scenicking is truly inspiring. Most, if not all, rock castings are his creation; Mr. Shelton meticulously sought out his perfect rocks and made his own rubber molds from them. Many of his trees are handmade. Look around and you'll find lots of figures. Scale dogs, cats, birds, and even snakes will be found on the layout.
The system hosts ATSF trains and Mr. Shelton's own freelance Black Canyon Railroad. The rolling stock enjoyed his penchant for super-detailing -- I noticed all have separate grab irons and ladders. Some of the towns that grew along the route are Alpha, Exodus, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Jonah, Obadiah and Omega.
A visit to the Black Canyon Railroad Museum, Inc.
website not only is full of dozens of detailed photos and videos of the layout; it also reveals what it took to move this model (made out of "old school" plaster, not newer, lighter weight materials) to its new home.
Sadly, Mr. Shelton passed away in December 2014. Yet, his creation can be enjoyed with the website photographs. And remember that you can visit the layout at the store of An Affair With Trains