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Winter 1971 - Page 74


" block" switches allow two or three engines to be operated, each with its own speed c ontrol, from the same panel. As the engine travels along the railroad its "engineer" simp ly walks from one panel to the next one nearest his locomotive. This closes up viewing and operating results in a feeling of really being inside the miniature scenes of the railroad rather than being outside looking in. The smallest details of operation l ike the locomotive's churning wheels, the action of the automat ic k nuckle

c ouplers , and the snap of the track switch points as they are thrown from m ainline to siding are all taking p lace righ t before y our eyes rather than twenty or thirty fee t away. I t's a most enjoy ab le way t o operate a model railroad and, like w e said , one that is rare on a large club lay out. The around-the-wall typ e of constru ction has yet another advantage that the T hu nder bird club has experienced; the layout can be taken apart into " modules" of roughly 4 x 8 feet or less and transported to the new location. The original club layout was begun in 1949 at the P hoenix Union S tatin. One of the photos shows a 1 " to the foot scale model of th e original lay out. I n 1 96 8 the nearly completed layout was moved to its p resent site at the Arizona S tate Fairgrounds. The new site had a considerably d ifferent shape but the group was able to combine the sections of the original layout, complete with, scenery , with short new sections of benchwork, track , and scenery so that all of the original work could be salvaged and encorporated into the n ew location. The present layout has over 16 00 fee t of track with nearly 100 switches. Most of the track is h an d-laid

Th is triangular cattle pen was built from scale "lu mber" by Bill Gay. The left side serves the narrow gauge and the right the standard 'gauge tracks. The entire structure lifts out to reveal an access pit for maintenance in this area away from the edge of the benchwork.

Bridges and rocks help to distract your eye away from the fact that the track and trains make more than a 1 80-degree turn on this end of the benchwork. The "concrete " supporting piers for the wood and the steel trestles' legs are cast from Plaster of Paris right on the hills.
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