The Chicago, Denver & Pacific Railroad
Want to double- and triple-head Union Pacific Big Boys and still look good on curves? How about run trains with over 50 cars coupled behind a consist of locomotives? All coordinated by operators with radios and controlled by a CTC operator. Welcome to The Chicago, Denver & Pacific Railroad
The Chicago, Denver & Pacific Railroad Company is a massive HO layout that models a transcontinental conglomeration of prototype railroads connecting Chicago to Oakland and Los Angeles, via Denver. The route also includes several other notable terminals along the way, including Pueblo, Colorado; and Ogden, Utah. The Chicago, Denver & Pacific is the Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe
; Chicago Burlington and Quincy
; Rock Island
; Southern Pacific
; Union Pacific
; and Western Pacific
railroads, centered in Denver, Queen City of the Plains, circa 1960s.
By my count it fills seven separate rooms. I have not tried to pace it off but Denver Yard can build trains of more than 40 cars, hauled by MUed locomotives consists, plus a caboose! The layout has two main levels, as well as several hidden staging areas and routes below the benchwork. DCC controls the trains and several pre-programed track routes. Working signals protect blocks of track.
I first came to operate the CD&P with The Southern Switchmen, a super group of model railroaders I met while operating the Bluff City Southern. Serious model railroaders they are, yet serious fun is always had during ops sessions! Back when I first came aboard, we ran a session with 5-8 men. Now it takes over a dozen! Many operators from the Apple Valley Model Railroad Club (AVMRC, located in the historic Hendersonville, North Carolina Depot) drive up to crew the layout. Each of the main yards require an operator, with a crew manning Denver, Pueblo, and some of the mills.
The layout is a model railroad
, not collection of train model: yard masters build trains from manifest cards; the built block is sent to the dispatcher, who assigns the train to an operator. The operator must contact the yard master and CTC controller for clearance to run the train. Enroute you may have to switch, or pick up or drop off cars. Trains are held by CTC at check points by operating signals until they can advance.
Definite challenges confront operators who strive to successfully accomplish these feats in the allotted time. In a recent 6-hour session, 16 trains were run. That included trains delivered Zephyrs and freights assembled, broken apart, and reassembled for later trains. This is more than just írunning trainsí.
CD&P is engineered to excellence. Scenery in this dynamic diorama is exceptional and a great inspiration to me! Many of "The Brass Hat's" structures are scratchbuilt, and few are built out of the box. Most of the operational area is fully sceniced, and high detail abounds. I spotted several industries named in honor of Southern Switchmen: J.B. Coke (with a corporate emblem honoring J.B.: a career U.S. Marine Corps officer), and Judd's ice plant are two very obvious ones. The Brass Hat loves to build models and has hundreds of built structures on the layout, or waiting on shelves for placement as more of this massive endevour is sceniced.
A picture is worth a thousand words, so Iíll leave it to the photos of this layout to inspire you with what is achievable with this hobby--this art form! And when you are through looking at the photos, visit this video of: Running trains on the CD&P