The Soo Line – Working on a Model Railroad Together

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In this final episode, Ray and Renee Grosser speak with Allen Keller about what they enjoy most about working on a model railroad, sharing their Soo Line layout with others at train shows? Ray professes he gets the most fun out of collaborating with his wife on structures and scenery. He also gets a lot of gratification out of designing a layout with features that recreate the old Soo Line, and always gets a kick when someone will come up to them at a show and say they recognize the area that’s being modeled!

The layout has earned kudos and also official recognition at NMRA national conventions, taking first place in the sectional layouts competition at the Kansas City show in the mid-1990s as well as the Chairman’s Award in Madison, WI, in 1997.

The layout was carefully planned, not just from a portability standpoint, but also from a track plan perspective. A friend designed it all on his computer, with a key stipulation that the curves have a 48-50” radius, and that it will all still fit in their trailer.

Most of the rolling stock is plastic, but sturdy versions of the prototype; a few passengers cars are brass. All of his engine power is brass, most of which have been rebuilt to closely resemble Soo Line engines. His skills are derived from his training as a tool and die maker, so working with brass is almost second nature; his rebuilt models have won several NMRA Merit Awards.

His fantastic rendition of the Glenwood roundhouse never fails to garner attention at the shows, but it also pays homage to the essence of the very same roundhouse in which his father labored. The model brings back the pleasant memories, views and even the smells of that nostalgic time in his childhood. Both he and Renee says that, while working on a model railroad, patience and persistence have paid off, and they’re grateful for the chance to share their miniature world with others in this series on Great Model Railroads.

Tags: Allen Keller, Layout Planning, Model Train Shows, Premium Videos

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