Model Railroad Ideas & Design Inspiration for the BNSF

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In Part Four of his series on Bruce Carpenter’s BNSF, Allen Keller sits down with Bruce to discuss the reasons and rationale for the model railroad ideas and design he incorporated into his massive layout.

Bruce explains that he wants to represent the heavy density traffic on just a small portion of the sprawling Western prototype, and so he selected a stretch between Chicago’s Corwith Yard and Strongville, IL. In order to store and assemble 50 different trains during a typical four-hours operations session, Bruce designed four yards into his layout through four-way connections which move up to 900 cars.

But following the old adage that “it’s your railroad,” Bruce freelances industries along the lines which provides him the most freedom to model what he likes. While he draws inspiration from the prototype’s real customers, Bruce selects industries that best serve his operations needs. Nor is he afraid to make changes in his initial model railroad ideas to better serve his system. Industries have come and gone as his needs evolved for greater efficiency and activity; a golf course, for example, now occupies a space which used to host heavy industry.

Another requirement he’s met accommodates seven different interchange railroad lines so that his operations buddies can run their “foreign lines” equipment on the BNSF during his sessions, so everyone has fun and stays engaged. Bruce’s BNSF is a fine example of how preliminary model railroad ideas and designs evolve along the way to producing a first-class layout.

For more model railroad ideas, check out these videos full of tips and tools for model railroad designs!

Tags: Allen Keller, model railroad ideas, model railroad layout