In the late 1940’s in the twilight of the steam era, many roads pushed their war-weary mainline steam onto the branches as diesels took over the majority of mainline name trains. In many cases, the crews that manned these smaller shops were instrumental in making sure that these once-proud steam prime movers were in tip-top shape until the very end of the era. It is in this context that the Lincoln branch layout was designed loosely on the operations of the GN at Fargo, North Dakota, in 1949.
The layout was designed for Dick H. woods of Prairie Village, Kansas. It is designed for multi-train operations utilizing System One, digital command control from Wangrow Electronics. It is also designed to provide hours of switching in a very small area the entire operation being only 3 feet by 12 feet. Much of the operational interest is created by the use of 3′ X 30″ traverser section which allows cars and locos to be moved from track to track and new consists introduced by simply sliding a new string of cars into alignment with the appropriate track.
The traverser that allows Dick Woods to shift cars and locos from track to track and insert new consists for operational interest.
Above the traverser, on its “lid” is the town of Lincoln which includes such interesting businesses as Custer’s Last Stand Cafe, the Lincoln House Hotel, and of course, law offices of Woods & Woods. All structures are fully lit and bedecked with custom signs. As seen from the night shot, the front of the traverser is hidden by a simulated roadway viaduct (Railroad Ave.) which overlooks the yard below and the industrial area.
One can see the viaduct that hides the traverser entrance just to the left of the factory and freight house. Note that the buildings, streets, the whole of downtown Lincoln is on the “lid” of the traverser.
The Lincoln Branch incorporates many details which help to capture the feel of the the late 40’s. Signs, vehicles, the attire of the figures and things such as street scenes in Lincoln all focus to create a time capsule in 1:87 scale.
Mack and Andy from the Outdoor Advertising outfit are taking a lunch break, not much left to finish the new board on the new 49′ Olds… she’s a honey, eh?
The Lincoln Branch layout is designed for eventual connections to a complete mainline once Dick can garner more of the basement from his family of boys. He hopes to soon have the chance to have the Empire Builder call at the wood frame station down by the freight house. Dick also plans on having some interchange locals of the Northern Pacific calling in Lincoln as well, and he has acquired some NP steam locos for this purpose.
The layout utilizes Circuitron Tortoise turnout motors controlled by Wangrow turnout control function decoders. This allows the entire model railroad to be operated from the hand control, and eliminates the need for a complicated control panel.
Early evening brings some a few intercity passengers waiting for the eastbound Empire Builder, bound for business and home in Minneapolis and beyond…
The depot is an American Model Builders LaserKit. Behind the depot and across the yard is the McDonald Packing Company and its stock pens.
The afternoon sun is setting and shadows are getting long. Smitty, Hank, and Bob are unloading a flat bed at the Farmer’s Co-op and looking forward to a tall cool one up at Custer’s to wrap up a long hot day. Steve, the engineer of the switcher in town hollars that he will join them there after he spots the last couple of cars …