Bluff City Southern has an operating scheme that is different from any other model railroad with five railroads interchanging in Memphis. Allen Keller’s wife, Janet asks him how that all works. Cars interchange in Memphis in Bluff City Yard, The Frisco comes in from Arkansas, and the Missouri Pacific comes in from Arkansas running on track owned by the Frisco.
From Mississippi is the Illinois Central, and the Southern and addition of the Frisco runs there on track owned by the Illinois Central. In the Tennessee Peninsula, is the Southern, the L&N, and the IC run through headed North to Chicago on Southern-owned track. They all interchange at Memphis, though not every train runs the whole length of the layout, in fact there is not a single train that runs the entire railroad. Instead, they cover different areas of the railroad and come together at Memphis. The Bluff City Southern is more of a system, than it is a railroad.
Allen picked 1950 to model, like so many other model railroaders, he likes to model the transition from steam to diesel. Allen believes this time was a much better time to live in than current times. There were also a lot of great trains and passenger trains. Tennessee is the new section of the railroad, but it was planned all along, since he started modeling the layout in 1997 and began construction. He had everything planned and laid all the benchwork down at once and later came back and added the track and the scenery.
Watch the full video for a complete understanding of Allen’s inspiration and techniques or watch more from Allen Keller’s Great Model Railroad series.