Rick Fortin's ATSF 4th District in HO scale.
Rick's ATSF 4th District HO scale layout represents a proto-freelanced extension of the Santa Fe in the mid 1970's from the San Francisco Bay Area to Portland. The modeled portion runs from the Central Valley town of Chico to McCloud just south of Mt. Shasta. Constructed in a purpose-built 30' x 49'room, this double deck point to point plan includes a mainline that is about 75% complete with approx. 650 feet of mainline track in place, all hand laid. The layout is about 30% sceniced.
This layout is being built for operations. On the 3rd Saturday of most months, Rick hosts an all day operating session for 16 to 18 guests. The goal of these sessions is to replicate several hours of activies performed by a Class 1 railroad, from delivering and picking up freight, to sorting cars and building trains in the two yards, to moving traffic on the mostly single track route. Jobs inculde a dispatcher who issues Track Warrants that give each train authority to move from one location to another, an interlocking tower operator who controls traffic from four seperate routes to and from the large classification yard, where two switch crews and yardmaster/hostler remove and add cars to trains that stop to deliver or pickup freight cars on their way to their final destination, and the full time switcher for a small yard at the midpoint of the route. Engineers are also needed to operate the 30+ trains that work on the layout during a session. These trains include through freight trains, some with work to do in one or more of the towns on the layout, to passenger trains with station stops, to locals that leave the main yard, switch a town, and then return.