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July 2002 - Page 34

J i m R o l l w a g es

by Jim Rollwage
Photos by the author

The LaSalle local arrives at Henderson to begin switching industries. This is somewhat of a hot spot with the local having to clear the main for other through trains. The foundation is from an old abandoned gristmill by the stream. This is a typical local that takes at least 30 minutes to complete its run and tie up at LaSalle. I think this was inspired by a trip through Denvers new airport.


HE UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD chose the easy route and crossed the Rocky Mountains in Wyoming, well to the north of Denver. The citizens of Denver soon realized that without rail service, they would be left behind. The Denver Pacific Railroad was chartered and built to connect with the UP near Cheyenne. That is the prototype for my railroad. Now a part of the UP, this line has been an important feeder to the mainline and a connection with the southwestern railroads. When I was in high school a friend gave

me the book, L ast of Steam . To a young steam fan, this was a window into a fascinating world of railroading, and I proceeded to nearly memorize it. I always liked big steam and the chapters on the Union Pacific really caught my interest. From then on, the choice of a prototype railroad was never in question. I grew up reading the wonderful series of articles on operation by Frank Ellison. He was one of the pioneers in operating model layouts like real railroads and helped to bring the hobby out of the toy train men-

tality. Because of my interest in railroad operations, this layout was planned from the beginning to provide for realistic operations. This piece of the Union Pacific doesnt have the long Streamliners and Big Boys like the mainline, but it does have many more opportunities for interesting train operations. The Denver Pacific has always been single track, which adds interest to an operating session with most trains having to use the passing sidings for meets with other trains. The Platte Valley is a large agricultural area, which necessitates many local freights to


JULY 2002

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