DPIE Dan began his model railroading career in 1960 when his uncle gave him one damaged boxcar (Toronto, Hamilton & Buffalo) and several pieces of 3' flex track, all in HO scale. That modest beginning led to a life-long love of model railroading. Over the next ten years he built table top HO layouts that reached 128 square feet in size. Meanwhile he went to college (RPI), graduated with two engineering degrees and an MBA degree, got married, and bought a home in Alexandria, VA.
He began his professional career in management consulting in 1976 and started writing state rail plans for Delaware, Oklahoma, Mississippi, and South Dakota. He also participated in numerous strategic planning studies for the ICG, Soo Line, Milwaukee Road, and Conrail railroads. He collaborated with the late Jim Sullivan of New York Central/Penn Central/Conrail fame in preparing a profile of the former Milwaukee Railroad's Hiawatha Line from Minnesota to Montana that eventually led to the Burlington Northern's acquisition of this abandoned mainline as a second route for use in moving high quality coal from the mines in eastern Montana to utilities in the Midwest. He also led consulting teams responsible for the nation's first Urban Rail Study for the North Central Texas Council of Governments and a major study to assess the potential breakup of Conrail in the late 1970's. He also wrote the 1983 Report to Congress on the Commuter Rail Industry in the United States and Canada.
In 1978, he built a 64 square foot N-gauge cookie-cutter layout in his basement, that included a 2' by 7' rail classification yard. He never got to add landscaping to the layout but bought over 100 freight and passenger cars and 17 locomotives, including Cab Forward, Big Boy, Consolidated, 2 GG1s, Pacific, 2 PA1s, Alco Switcher, Alligator, 4 RDCs, and GP 9 and GP 40. In 2003 he moved to Florida and kept only the rolling stock and the classification yard. Upon moving back to Northern Virginia in 2012 he began to plan the next layout. He built the 3.5' by 14' N-gauge table top layout in 2014-2015 and incorporated the classification yard from the earlier layout. The latest layout includes a mountain, lake, waterfall, numerous buildings, 3-span steel bridge, 9-bay roundhouse, and a clothing optional beach. The layout is named the Alpine & Burlington Railroad.
For the past eight years he has worked for a local county government and periodically tweaks the layout by adding selected structures and lighting to the buildings. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he has build two N-gauge structures but has no place left on the layout to put them. But it helps keep me busy while teleworking from home the past 19 weeks.