Finally, Santafewillies layout thread


Same Ol' Buzzard
Good Day All. After years of prodding from many members, including Bob the Admin, I am starting a layout thread. I have been documenting parts of the layout in the Coffee Shop over the years, but I am aware that not all forum members visit over there. Some of my work has been on display in threads such as Santa Fe Sunday, Mini Scenes Monday and Front End Friday. Much of this thread will be structures and scenes, some with trains in them.

First, a little background. I built the current climate-controlled train shed in 2010-2011, about 150' from the back porch. It's a dedicated space 20'x32' shared with a tool storage room on one side with a separate entrance. The layout itself is two levels, however they are not currently connected. The plan is to connect them with an outside helix like Brian (beiland) has done on his layout. Will it happen in my lifetime, maybe, maybe not. Meanwhile it is two separate layouts. All of the main lines and passing sidings are in place including the 1/3 of each level that hasn't been scenicked yet. I am a fan of switching and there are 70+ industries in place for me to switch. There will be more. There are currently 11 towns/cities in place, but not much wide-open running room between some of them. Scenery is a bit over 60% completed on the 2/3 of the layout that is considered scenicked. I am filling in the gaps currently. The lower level is point to point, and the upper level has a stoop-under bridge in front of the door, for continuous running, which I rarely do. I do have a general idea of what I intend for the part that is not scenicked and I already have a lot of structures built and tentatively placed.

The layout itself is an around the walls with a U-shaped peninsula in the middle of the room. Most of the layout is 24"-32" wide and most aisles are 32"-34" wide. Since I am a lone operator, this is sufficient for me. I am also old-fashioned and use code 100 Atlas track and over 115 switches, since that's what I started with over 30 years ago on past layouts. Each main line is approximately 330'-350' long and there is currently over 1300' of track. All of my passing sidings (currently 10) are long enough to hold 2 engines and 24 freight cars, except the longer intermodal cars which are limited to 17. All of my motive power is double-headed, like the prototype. About half of my operations are switching runs, the rest are run-through freights from one end to the other. I also use DC, since outfitting over 80 engines with decoders would get expensive. If I was starting anytime in the last 15 years I might go DCC, but sound doesn't interest me and I can only pay attention to one train at a time anyway. I do have two throttles (1-walkaround memory, 1-fixed) so my grandkids can run on the lower level while I run on the upper one. For simplicity of construction, I model generic "flatlands USA", so I have no grades or tunnels to deal with. I do not have a drawing or pictures, as I built benchwork with a general idea of what I wanted, and fitted everything in using cut-out cardstock templates for the 30”-34” curves. It's hard to get overall pictures since the aisles are not wide enough to stand back very far. But there will be a few.

I model a broad time frame from 1978-1994, so I get to use Santa Fe motive power in both the yellow/blue warbonnet scheme as well as the more modern red/silver scheme. Lots of SD40-2's and Dash9-44CW's. Cabooses are on the earlier yellow/blue trains, but not the red/silver ones. I do still have a few “cigar band” ATSF locos that I can use for early era runs. There were a few still on the roster into early 1980.

I will be starting along my east wall on the lower level and working around the layout. Some parts are not fully scenicked and I may skip parts here and there. I hope to add additional posts 2-3 times a week, but I promise nothing. I may also jump to the upper level occasionally if the mood strikes me.

While most structures are plastic, I also have 35-40 laser-cut wood structures and a few Hydrocal (Downtown Deco) kits and I use a handful of cardstock buildings for variety where appropriate. 99% are kits, kitbashes or scratchbuilt. I do not have enough vehicles in my opinion, parking lots require a lot. There are over 1000 figures currently on the layout, 70% are hand-painted by me from Preiser (and others) bulk packs, the other 30% are a mixture of Woodland Scenics, Walther's and painted Preiser offerings.

A portion of my rolling stock (800 freight cars) are older Athearn Blue Box cars, some Walther's, P2K and Atlas kits, many Accurail kits, and a bunch of Intermountain, Atlas and Athearn RTR from after the time kits were no longer readily available. I have maybe three dozen cars from smaller manufacturers who no longer exist. Lately I have been replacing Athearn Blue Box locomotives with Scaletrains products (13 so far). Kato, Athearn RTR and P2K, make up the bulk of the rest of the fleet.

Please feel free to comment, good or bad, or ask questions as we go along.

So much for the lengthy intro. Let me begin with a couple of pictures of the previously mentioned staging yard along the east wall.
01-18-20 003.JPG
01-18-20 004.JPG

Of the 12 tracks, 7 of them are 16' long and the other 5 are 19'. The two along the aisle, left in the last picture are interchange tracks with the Frisco (SLSF) railroad. I could change motive and caboose power and use them as branchline staging instead. I can comfortably fit over 300 cars here, but I always leave a few tracks open for fluidity.

Next post will find us in the town of Budville.
The first town on the lower level is a small place called Budville, after a late friend. This town is actually served by the Frisco (SLSF) railroad. It is home to just two rail-served industries and a small interchange yard with Santa Fe. There are also two homes, a small business and a switch tower; all of which we will get to in further posts. We begin with a highway bridge providing a view block/scene divider from the staging yard. Here it is before scenery.
01-20-20 001.JPG

Current state.

Next to it to the south (railroad-wise) is the Lone Star Feed & Fertilizer complex.
IMG_3673 (2).JPG

On the right is the retail outlet and the mixing/bagging operation, on the left is the grain elevator.
The retail side is a Walther's Sunrise Feed Mill.


Out back is two loading docks for freight car loading of pallets of pre-bagged grain.

Next to it is the grain elevator and storage bin.
09-05-20 003.JPG

The elevator, rigging and bin all come from Rix Products.
The structure itself is from American Model Builders and is one that they originally sold in plastic before converting it to laser-cut wood a few years ago. For business reasons, it is called Farmers Grain Co.
08-04-20 016.JPG

There is also a chute out back for loading grain directly into covered hoppers.
This scene is mostly complete, but lacks some weeds and brush to complete it.
See ya next post.
What they said, plus I applaud the first post. It lays out the plan and motivations really well. Sets a good tone and reference point. As your thread lengthens, anyone can later on say: "Go back and read the first post to get the basic idea."
Aka "If you wanna bitch or complain or criticize just for the purpose of being an a**h***, start there."


Allan McLelland, Tony Koester, Jim Kelly, John Nerich, Jim Hediger, David Barrow and...Gordon Odegard...(you know who you are) are my own best "infulencers." I think--would guess anyway--you, yourself, follow or pilot the somewhat the same ideals those guys did or do. But you are clearly following your own river.

Very cool. Your river moves fast--you get things done. Would that I could say the same for myself.
Back by popular demand. The next structure to the south of Lone Star Feed & Fertilizer is Majestic Hardware and Feed. It is a laser-cut wood structure from Bar Mills that was a complex yet fun build to do. The first three pictures are from the build stage, and were taken before I added the porch railing last month.
Majestic's business is more geared to smaller customers, while Lone Star's is geared to bulk farmers and ranchers. Plus Majestic sells hardware.
01-08-20 001.JPG
01-08-20 003.JPG
01-10-20 001.JPG

There's a few details included with the kit and a few that I added from my details cabinet.
01-10-20 003.JPG

01-10-20 006.JPG

The truck & dog came from Woodland Scenic; the shovel & pallets I added.



I recently completed the scene with the porch railing and some figures.

As in many scenes on my layout, parking and/or streets out front are off the layout and one just has to imagine them.
That's my picture limit per post.
If anyone wishes to see additional pictures of any of these structures/scenes, just ask because I probably have more or could take some more.
Next post is going to be "Ma & Pa Kettles trailer".