V5 Track Plan

The Version 5 Track Plan

The latest iteration of the layout, Version 5, is in my basement in Casper Wyoming. It has most of the same elements as previous versions of the layout, but like each version, there have been some additions and deletions. This plan incorporates these key elements:

  • "Operationally complete" modeled portion of the prototype
    • Staging yard provides off-layout carload origins and destinations
      • Also provides through train operations across the layout
    • Significant traffic both originates and terminates on the modeled portion of the layout
  • CB&Q running from Laurel MT through real locations along the real route in Wyoming
    • Locations in order passing through the state
    • Provision for continuous running via common yard representing both ends of the railroad
    • A single staging yard represents destinations off the layout to the north, east and south
  • Burlington branches and CNW lines included where space permits
  • Steam era - 1935-1945 (but not rigorous)
  • Train lengths as long as possible without overpowering the layout
  • Grades that take into account real-life model steam loco pulling power.

The version 5 track plan was basically complete in January 2020. It included all major locations, but without specific detail of most track arrangements at each one. The exception was Casper yard, which was transported in sections from the New Jersey. As the tracks were mostly already laid, that location was fairly detailed. Even so, re-routing of the mainline so that it did not curve back on itself behind Casper freed up real estate for more industrial trackage in the yard.

As construction proceeds, track layouts at each location along the lines are being developed in more detail. They will be posted as they evolve.

This layout has several different levels of track, and can be considered as having up to four decks, depending on how you define a deck. I consider it to consist of one main deck, with a narrow shelf-like upper deck of the the Chicago & North Western line, and a small lower deck for the Cody branch. Below Cody is the staging yard.

Here's the overall plan.

This view shows the main and branch lines. None of the auxiliary trackage, like sidings and spurs, is shown. The location labels, and the elevations above the floor (the boxed numbers) are color coded to the track.
Blue is the CB&Q mainline
Red is the C&NW branch to Lander
Light green is the CB&Q branch from Frannie to Cody
Dark green is the connecting line to the staging yard

It looks like a lot of stuff is packed into a couple of spots, so let me mention those.

First is the area to the right of Casper, where Riverton, Powder River and Vocation are stacked right above each other.
Riverton will have some industrial switching, so will see the bulk of the operator time there.
Powder River is a simple stock car siding, so will see an occasional train loading cars, but most trains over the line here will simply pass without stopping.
Vocation is a siding that will see no action at all. It is there simply as an acknowledgement of the real station, which was the stop for the Heart Mountain Internment Camp for Japanese-Americans in WWII. Again trains will simply pass through.

The second area is the Thermopolis / Cody / F/O Staging location.
Thermopolis and Cody will see some action at the same time, with industrial switching in both places. The operators here will have to coordinate their activities to some extent to complete their assignments. Helping this is that part of Cody can be worked from the Wind River side of the peninsula as well.
F/O Staging is located directly under Cody and will see some limited action. This is not a fiddle yard, so trains will be staged before operating sessions. Also, like Cody, the staging yard can be accessed from both sides of the peninsula.

The third area is Lander and Orin / Frannie.
As with the Thermopolis area, if an operator is working Lander at the same time an operator brings a train through Orin / Frannie, they will have to coordinate their activities to some extent.

The final area is Hudson / Douglas.
Neither of these areas will see much action, with Hudson being a simple passing siding / station stop for passengers (at least as it's planned at this time - 15 March 2021). Douglas also is envisioned as a small area with a station stop and maybe one or two small industries to switch. So there should be relative little interaction between operators working the areas here.

That track plan is a bit confusing, to say the least, with lines going everywhere. So broken it down to present each of the lines separately, starting with the CB&Q Mainline.

Basically the CB&Q mainline is a giant irregular oval squeezed and folded back and forth on the right hand side into the two peninsulas. Pretty simple.

Orin / Frannie is the connection to staging (and the Cody branch), so during operating sessions the oval will be broken at this point.


Here's the trackage for F/O Staging.

This line originates at Frannie or Orin, depending on which end of the mainline you're theoretically at, and proceeds along track mostly hidden beneath other benchwork to the F/O staging yard below Cody on the Wind River Canyon / Thermopolis peninsula.

Here's the Cody branch.

The branch originates at Frannie and proceeds through Powell and Vocation to Cody, below Thermopolis on the Wind River Canyon / Thermopolis peninsula.

And finally, here's the Chicago & North Western line to Lander.

The line leaves the Burlington mainline at Shobon (as it did in real life) and climbs behind the Wind River Canyon scenery (with access from below) along the peninsula, looping back on itself behind Thermopolis. It continues on hidden trackage around the right-hand wall of the room (accessible by reaching over the backdrop behind Shobon, the curving into view at Riverton. It then runs on visible trackage above Casper to Hudson, then on around to Lander.

I've broken the plan down into more detailed (and easier to digest) chunks for each of the different lines shown above. Click on one of the buttons below to take a closer look at each one. You'll find more in-depth information on locations along each of the lines, plus links to the prototype history of most of the locations. There are also a few planning notes scattered here and there, discussing what issues and some of the compromises I had to make in planning the layout. There's probably more there than you ever really want to know!

You can also click on "System Schematic" for an end-to-end schematic of the entire layout.