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the Continental / Trans-Continental Connector, Layout Theme

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  • Member since
    February 2009
  • 1,760 posts
the Continental / Trans-Continental Connector, Layout Theme
Posted by railandsail on Monday, August 5, 2019 12:24 PM

I just like Model Trains,...of all sorts....the scale miniaturization.

I'm particularly fond of steam engines, and particularly the large ones. I'm a fan of C&O, B&O, NW, etc, etc.

And as a kid of course I had the ubiquitous Santa Fe diesel engine,...those famous worldwide recognizable colors.

I had recently returned from Asia and was living in the Wash-Balt area when a company in Balt called Life Like made the bold move to really upgrade plastic trains to nice scale models. They introduced their Proto 2000 line. They introduced a whole line of detailed diesel locos, then they introduced that superb 2-8-8-2 steam engine.....WOW. They set a standard in plastic scale model trains that the others quickly followed. Bachmann, Athearn, etc all jumped on the band wagon to introduce their premium lines as well. Plastic detailing became an art that eventually was a rival to brass locos.

I was collecting a little of everything. I would buy some stuff that eventually got superseded by even better stuff, so I would attend the Great Scale Train Show in Balt and sell off older stuff and try to upgrade to the better stuff coming out. I would visit John Glabb's Peach Creek brass shop in Laural, Md, and droll over the brass locos which I considered beyond my reach, but then look what was coming out in plastic a few months later.

By this time I had collected quite a few steam engines of various lines, and principle a number of diesels from Santa Fe.

So when it came to planning my new layout, how could I choose just one time frame, or location, .....if I wanted to collect and run all of those type trains? I wanted to run steam and diesel, and I wanted to run east coast and west coast lines.....on one layout??

I've decided my trains are going to run from the east coast to the west coast,...Balt to Calif. I'll call it the Continental Connector. Balt will be on the lower deck and Calif will be on the upper deck.

Since I am not a stickler on time frames I'll be able to run both modern and older style freight and passenger cars on my layout, and of course steam and diesels. I'm going to have lots of staging that will present any number of variations,...including a few European trains I've collected. Yes it won't be prototypical, but it will be fun. And I hope to get a considerable amount of industry in this space as well.

Continental Theme
There were 2 things that inspired this west coast to east coast model rr theme.
1) My affection for both the Santa Fe and the B&O/C&O trains that I wanted to run all on a single layout.
2) The interesting fact that a lot of container traffic from Asia comes into the west coast to get loaded onto trains that bring it across to the east coast for further shipment to Europe.

So the lower deck represents the east coast, while the upper deck represents the west coast,...well not exactly as only about half of the upper deck will represent the west coast.



  • Member since
    June 2007
  • From: Grew up in Calif, left in 84, now in Virginia
  • 7,218 posts
Posted by riogrande5761 on Tuesday, August 6, 2019 5:48 PM


Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

  • Member since
    January 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 6,215 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Tuesday, August 6, 2019 6:18 PM

I have seen this done on one home layout, but not a double decker.


The layout was Miami on one side and ended in Los Angeles.


In between there was about a thirty foot section that trains went through an interesting series of folded figure eights, and up and down. This increased run time quite a bit. trains passed through this section 5-6 times on various levels.




Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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