Overview of the Southern Railway

Duration: 2:09

In this video, Allen Keller will provide an overview of the Southern Railroad of Bob Lawson. This HO scale railway in Kentucky is Bob’s vision of small town Appalachia. Bob is an architect, engineer and builder who is known for creating dioramas that tell stories of life in the 1940’s and early 50’s. As a child, Bob wrote fan letters to the Southern and finally wound up designing freight cars for the railroad and others. He is so dedicated that he even has a real southern caboose that he plans to restore. The layout is full of eye catching scenes based on years of observation, notes, and photos. His scratch built structures are some of the best you’ll ever see. Trains run from Somerset to Danville, Kentucky through scenes that Allen Keller touts can only be called artistic.

Allen Keller is with Bob to touch on the layout’s famous diorama-like construction. Allen Keller asks why he built the layout in the series of dioramas. For Bob, having all the intense detail work in dioramas that are portable and can be moved with him, they are ideal. Bob’s railway has its own building, a former 3 car garage that is 24 by 30 feet. Most of the railroad is built on styrofoam. The track plan is complex due to the many loops that are used to gain running time. The trip begins and ends at Somerset, Kentucky. For more Allen Keller overviews or some of the best tips for great model railroads, visit the Model Railroad Academy archives.

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