Cliff Powers’s Mississippi, Alabama and Gulf model railroad runs from Chattanooga to Houston. Allen Keller asks how much of that route Cliff actually modeled. Cliff has a division that runs from Meridian to New Orleans, which is the main part of the route he modeled. There’s a section south of Haddiesburg, that runs from the fictional town of Wharton down to the Pearl River.
The third level picks up again in New Orleans. What appealed to Cliff about this area was that he grew up there and has lived there all of his life. It is not an area that is modeled much. He chose to model the time period in 1955 and not later because, like so many modelers, he loves the transitional era from steam to diesel. The nostalgia of the 50’s also appealed to Cliff. He admires the vintage advertising, music, automobiles, and laid back pace of the time.
To Cliff, the most difficult part of modeling the South is the scenery. The vegetation is very specific, especially the trees which cannot be bought easily from hobby stores. For his rural setting, trees are the primary view block that he uses, so he has to make a lot of the trees himself. Cliff has extensive modeling experience, the MA&G being his 8th model railroad layout.
The MA&G is really a culmination of all the techniques he learned from working on his other layouts. His goal with the current layout was to create something that was worthy of being published in model railroad magazines. Cliff goes on to tell Allen how he has been able to create portable buildings to house his layout to save space and convenience.