The year is 1950, gold has recently been struck in the mountains of Colorado, and an industry is ready to explode. There’s a major need for a means of transporting gold, silver and other forms of ore from mining facilities in the hills to production centers in nearby cities, and thus enters the D&RGW. Conveniently, the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad had already been operating main lines that headed south through Colorado since late in the 19th century. All it needed was branch lines that reached up into the Rockies and Rio Grande to retrieve the mass quantities of gold spilling from the shafts.
In this series, we take a look at an On3 scale train layout of the stretch of D&RGW Railroad that leads from Silverton to Durango. This was once one of the key branch lines that made D&RGW perhaps the busiest railway in the west during the ’40s and ’50s. The On3 scale train layout we will explore was constructed by modeler Doug Tagsold, who will walk you through his model from its first stop to its last, beginning in the town of Durango and closing out the tracks at Silverton. In this video, we kick things off by getting a behind-the-scenes look at the construction and operation of Doug’s On3 scale train layout of Durango.
Making an On3 scale train layout of Durango
First things first, Doug introduces you to his On3 scale train layout of D&RGW Railroad by giving a brief overview of the construction, including his reason for choosing D&RGW and particularly the stretch that runs from Durango to Silverton, known as the Silverton Branch.
This model was his second big endeavor in model railroad, so he wanted to pick tracks that have always held a special place, and he chose the On3 scale train layout for its ease of use for beginners. With slow-moving locomotives and a simplified timetable, there’s little to worry first-time conductors when operating Doug’s impressive On3 scale train layout. He used kits and scratch-built components to construct the downtown and surrounding areas of Durango from the ground up, including authentic water tank, coaling tower, hotels and locomotives.
In keeping with historical accuracy, viewers and operators of Doug’s On3 scale train layout will find Extra 464 West in charge of powering the Silverton freight train as it embarks on its journey out of Durango, as was the case when full-sized trains made runs along this branch of D&RGW. See what else Doug’s scene has in store as Extra 464 West leaves the hangar and makes way for Silverton!