The Denver Front Range & Western of Doug Tagsold encompasses two lines – the Denver and Rio Grande Western from Denver to Grand Junction, Colorado and a joint line with the Denver & Rio Grande Western, and Santa Fe Burlington Northern from Denver to Pueblo. As a little kid, he would look through train books.
The first time he saw a picture of a Rio Grande locomotive going through the mountains he fell in love. Although he was a midwest modeler, in 1989 they took a family vacation to Colorado and that changed things very quickly. 10 years prior, he was modeling a freelanced railroad based on the New York Central prototype. He enjoys railfanning, so his model is a way to railfan without traveling outside of Michigan, where he lives.
The time period of the railroad is 1986 or 1987. He wanted to keep cabooses, which limited his time period to about 1986. He tried hard to have this railroad operate as the Rio Grande did, which was in the mid to late 80’s with the same kind of trains, a lot of bridge traffic, a few locals, and a lot of coal trains. This double deck layout is rather large. This can be a problem, so it took a little while to develop the benchwork to support it.
Doug discovered he needed to leave the isles wider, allowing more room for operators since there could be twice as many operators working in an area at a time. The double decking was also the best use of the space. It creates a longer main line run, and more scene to model – something he wanted to do to include as many scenes on the Rio Grande as he could. This is his second double deck layout, so it wasn’t a big struggle for him to build. To learn more inspiration and techniques, watch the full video.