The Florida East Coast Key West Extension model railroad of Cal Winter follows the Key West extension from Miami to Key West on January 31st, 1930. He selected this particular part of the railroad because the Key West extension captivated him ever since he first learned about it. How a railroad went across the ocean down to Key West was fascinating to him. Cal and his son thought it would be really nice to build a railroad to preserve the memory of the extension.
They chose this specific time period because it was the earliest date for which Cal could enough photographic evidence to reproduce the railroad. FEC got rid of a lot of rolling stock in 1928 and 1929 and the cars that they were able to get pictures of were those retained after that day. He has been in the hobby since he was a child starting with American Flyer, so Janet Keller wondered why he hired someone to build the layout for him.
Cal wanted to build a layout in time to enjoy it with his son. He was working many hours and he would have never had the time. Most of the traffic was seasonal: on the passenger side, it ran from January through March or April, and on the freight side, all the produce that was shipped on the FEC was shipped up in the winter from Cuba or south Florida. This meant that in the summer the railroad died, and there wasn’t much traffic at all. Cal goes on to discuss how they made the railroad seem so realistic.