The Elk Canyon &
The ECW&RR is a portable
switching style layout using a track plan inspired by D&RGW trackage at
Ouray, Colorado. The layout
you are looking at is an “S” scale narrow gauge (Sn3) layout.
The layout is powered using digital command control provided by
EASY DCC from CVP Products.
The layout is a “Narrow Gauge”
layout. Narrow gauge means the
distance between the rails is less than the 4’ 8 ½” standard gauge
measurement. Here, narrow
gauge is 3’ between the rails.
Prototype railroads, such as the Denver & Rio Grande Western, Rio Grande
Southern, Colorado & Southern and West Side Lumber Company, built their
railroads using narrow gauge track.
This allowed these railroads to be built faster using lighter
weight equipment with tighter curves.
Narrow Gauge railroads were in a hurry to get into the mountains to
haul out valuable gold and silver ore. They also brought timber down from
the mountains to build towns in the expanding western United States
between 1875 and the 1950s.
‘S’ scale is 3/16” to the foot
or a ratio of 1:64; thus, the real object is 64 times larger than the ‘S’
scale model. ‘S’ scale is
larger than ‘HO’ scale in which the real object is 87 times larger than
the model. ‘S’ scale is
smaller than ‘O’ scale in which the real object is 48 times larger than
Sn3 is frequently described as
the “perfect” scale. Details,
such as steam valve gear, handrails and grab irons, actually become
visible but are not oversized as often happens in smaller scales.
Besides the bonus of being 36% larger than HO scale equipment, an
Sn3 layout can be constructed in virtually the same space as an ‘HO’
standard gauge layout.
The ECWRR is powered using a DCC
system. Each engine contains a
decoder, which receives a signal transmitted by the command station.
The signal is carried through the rails to the engine.
The beauty of a DCC operated layout is that you are no longer
limited to running a train in one direction based on the polarity of the
electrical voltage. Each
engine is operated independent of track polarity.
Using DCC means you can have two engines move toward one another if
you want to risk an old-fashioned cornfield meet.
Engines on the ECWRR house a Tsunami decoder produced by
Soundtraxx. Tsunami decoders
provide a variety of steam and diesel sounds.
In today’s world of model railroading, you can now operate with
realistic sound and movement just like the prototype.
The ECWRR uses engines imported
by PBL with rolling stock manufactured by PBL.
Each engine or car is an exact model of the real thing.
Construction of the ECWRR began
on September 6, 2009. Being
the third layout built by the NTxNG, a lot of thought based on lessons
learned went into the design of the layout.
The layout was designed to be transported by a small number of
group members. We wanted the layout to be of furniture grade quality in
order to convince spouses to allow the layout to be set up inside a home
rather than out in the garage.
Finally, we wanted the layout to include its own lighting.
The goal was to illuminate our modeling for all to see.
Group members cut and milled
maple for the woodwork in the layout.
The design of the module box includes a self-supporting roof.
This design allows unobstructed photography of the layout.
Each module is joined together using pattern makers steel dowel
pins imported from Great Britain.
This makes set up a simple matter of plugging the modules together.
Lighting on the ECWRR is a
combination of fluorescent and low voltage halogen bulbs.
Gerry Cornwell, a professional lighting designer and owner of Mt.
Albert Scale Lumber did the lighting design.
The layout utilizes undercounter T5 fluorescent fixtures.
The bulbs are color-rated for 3500 Kelvin.
The fluorescent fixtures provide a neutral illumination to the
layout. The low voltage (12
volt) halogen lighting is from an outdoor garden lighting system.
These halogen floods provide warmer lighting to accent structures
and other features on the layout.
Another idea from Great Britain
is the transfer table on the left end of the layout.
Most modelers in Great Britain have very limited space in which to
create their layouts. By
necessity, British modelers developed a transfer table or “fiddle yard” to
allow them to move trains on and off “ stage”. The transfer table
represents the “off stage” area of the layout.
Please see the Gallery pages for images
of the Elk Canyon & Western.