The Wind River Canyon is one of the two major scenic features I've specifically made room for on the layout. Wind River Canyon is the largest - the second, where the tracks of the Cody Branch cross over the highway between Powell and Cody, occupies a very small area indeed. 

The track for the Wind River Canyon is very simple:

As was the case for Casper, this diagram has been rotated 90 degrees counter-clockwise.

There are about 25 feet of track through this area, starting from where the track passes by the Boysen Dam at the bottom of the diagram, and ending about where the track crosses the road at the top, near Thermopolis. The curve in the corners are about 45 inch radii; all the rest in this area are 90 inches or greater.

The Wind River is, obviously, the lowest elevation in the canyon. The track is some 30 feet or so higher, across the river from the operator's aisle. The mountain extends upwards behind the track, sometimes very steeply. There is no upper center peninsula, so that the mountains can rise high up near the ceiling and properly dwarf the trains (though they still will be nowhere near their scale height). The mountains also rise up slightly towards the aisle, and sections of the road that is now US20 will be seen on the aisle side of the river. 

Wind River Canyon is one my favorite of all areas along the CB&Q line through Wyoming, and even though it will likely be a couple of years before I get to this part of the layout, I'm really looking forward to building this section.




The canyon in the 1930s, looking north. Imagine traveling through here in the winter, in a car or by rail!
wind river canyon40s.jpg (81417 bytes)Here's another view of some of the canyon's tunnels, this one from the 1940s.
Here's a pretty decent rendering of a CB&Q passenger train making its way through the canyon heading north.

Here, in December of 1995, is the entrance to the north end of Wind River Canyon. Behind us (a few miles) is the town of Thermopolis. 


We're at the south entrance to the canyon, looking at an abandoned tunnel. In 1948, the CB&Q realigned their trackage in this area, building the large combination bridge to the right, to make room for the new Boysen Dam and reservoir, a mile or so behind the photographer in this photo. In April 1995, when this shot was taken, the tunnel had partially collapsed.

Looking northwards in the canyon. In the center is one of the many rail tunnels through the canyon.

One of the tunnel portals near the southern end of the canyon.

The Canyon has always been something of an adventure to drive, even though the road has been straightened and widened substantially over the years. While no longer particularly hazardous, there is still the chance for occasional large rocks in the road from the adjacent cliffs. 













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On to Thermopolis!

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