View Full Version : C&S Clear Creek and High Lines

7th Oct 2019, 02:18 AM
I’ve begun to realize just how long it’s going to be, and what an uphill climb it’s going to be to before I break ground on Transcontinental PRR 2.0. At the same time, the pull of the narrow gauge has been having an effect on me. Some months ago, I drew up plans for an Nn3 Georgetown Loop that was 72”x25”, making it a 2/3 scale model of the real thing. It was a simple design in a reasonable space, which is something I’m short on right now. I knew I wanted a continuous run, which would require a bit more space, since there’s 4” of rise and 6’ of travel to counteract. As I began working out in my head how much space return curves and elevation changes would take, I realized that there was space for another scene behind the loop, and perhaps a small scene on each end. I finally got back to the computer this week and came up with this:


The Gunnison branch from Como (behind the roundhouse) is a continuous running contingency. The layout would be operated as in the late days of the C&S. One train one day from Leadville over Boreas to Como, one train the next day to Denver, and then back the other way over the next two days. On the layout, a train departs from Como as the Denver bound train around the turn back toward Idaho Springs and comes back over the Loop and Boreas Pass as the inbound train from Leadville. The train would then be traded off for one waiting in the yard, and the layout would run in the other direction, with the outbound train to Leadville becoming the inbound train from Denver.

It’s grown quite a bit. It’s no longer an HCD, but rather a full 4x8 sheet of plywood. This was a proof of concept draft, and it proves that it can be done in the space I have. It definitely cannot go any bigger, since even at this size, it would mean one of the short ends gets butted up against a wall, and it might not make sense to do Idaho Springs. I’m not sure if I’m actually going to build this bad boy, but there’s definite potential, especially if I can work out a way to make it less than 8’ long.

7th Oct 2019, 06:22 AM
That's one of my favourite railroads and I draw heavily on it for influence in my freelanced mining RR, although I'm standard gauge. The other two railroads from that region is, of course, the D&RGW and the Colorado Midland. I'm looking forward to seeing your progress....

7th Oct 2019, 06:59 PM
One thing I don't like about this plan is how it tucks the big loop bridge up against the backdrop on the left side, restricting viewing angles. I think a possible fix would be to take the backdrop for Idaho Springs and flip it vertically, so that the angled portion ends up at the top left corner, letting the backdrop get out away from the bridge a bit and allowing a view from the left side. You might also nudge the bridge a few inches towards the right (a bit more selective compression). Even if you intend for the primary viewing angle to be from the right (i.e. from "inside" the loop), getting away from the backdrop will help because you'll have room for a few real trees in front of the backdrop, and any shadow from the bridge or train won't get cast on the backdrop, which could ruin the illusion.

That much hidden track gives me a bit of pause, but if you trust your Nn3 equipment to not stall down there, I guess it can work. Make some lift-off scenery segments so you can reach a stalled train. Though you said this is a 4x8 plywood sheet, because of the elevations, I would assume this is cookie-cutter or some similar joist-based method of construction, which maybe affords the opportunity to reach hidden track from below.

The passing sidings in Idaho Springs and Boreas pass are both rather short, due to them not beginning until a turnout that is at the tangent between the curves in the corners. If instead you use the diverging route of the turnout to comprise the last portion of each curve, the sidings could be a bit longer.

7th Oct 2019, 11:52 PM
I’m considering building this as a set of modules. In a worst case scenario, I could remove a module to get at the hidden track. I will keep access to the hidden track in mind if I do build this thing. The other thing that modular construction would allow is expanding Idaho Springs a bit. The goal would be to reroute the Gunnison runaround and open up the sight line up the lower track under the Loop high bridge. I do want to be able to look up that track under the bridge into the Loop.

Jugtown Modeler
8th Oct 2019, 09:32 PM
That looks like an entertaining and functional design.

As a fan of the gauge and prototype, I hope to see it it develop and become a reality.


9th Oct 2019, 08:29 AM
If you are in the Denver area, the 75 min drive up to Georgetown on I-70 and couple hour excursion is worth the effort. Warning the steam engine isn’t always in service for the trip so you have to get kind of lucky. You can head south-southwest from Denver on I-25 for about 2 hours and do the train trip through the Royal Gorge as well. Again, worth the trip.

17th Nov 2019, 06:31 AM
I loved visiting this back in 2012, I can't wait to see how this turns out!

18th Nov 2019, 04:52 AM
Itís been quite a few years and at least two owners since I rode the Loop. Iíve been on it many times over the years, and I always press my nose to the window (or at least glance if Iím driving) when we go by the High Bridge overlook on I-70.