Operations on the Southern Railway

Duration: 1:34

In this video, view the model railroad operations on Bob Lawson’s Southern model railroad with Allen Keller. Bob modeled the Southern railway in the steam to diesel transition period of the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. Allen Keller asks why he chose this specific railroad and period to model. From a child, Bob wanted to work on a railroad, so he would frequently write to them. The Southern was the only one who would continually answer his childhood letters. As he was transitioning out of highschool, some of their officials contacted him since they knew he was interested in freight car design. They suggested he go to Georgia Tech, take mechanical engineering and come back to see them, which he did! He ended up working with them in freight car design.

Bob continued to learn and enjoy more and more about the Southern. This is eventually how his modeling shifted totally to focus on the Southern. He chose that time period because he always found it very interesting. When he worked on the railroad, he had only been interested in the older equipment and steam locomotives versus the newer diesels. The Southern through the 1940’s was heavily dieselized but because of WWII, there was still a lot of steam locomotives in operation. The late 40’s turned out to be perfect for Bob to model because they still had a great deal of steam locomotives and some diesels – an interesting mix. For tips on designing a model railroad control panel or more Allen Keller videos, visit the Model Railroad Academy archives.

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