Set in the 1960s-70s, the five-level layout filled every inch—from top to bottom—of Ray’s 1,250 square foot basement.
Although Ray is Canadian, the layout featured mid-west U.S. railroads in a Chicago-like setting, with lines branching into nearby states.
According to Ray, there was no real plan for the layout—he just made it up as he went along.
“My interest in urban railroading and passenger train operations are what drove it,” he says.
“My keen interest in U.S. mid-western railroading sort of pushed aside the Canadian prototype in my mind, and frequent visits to U.S. hobby shops made modeling American prototype so much easier.”
Ray doesn’t know how many feet of track were in the layout, but there were between 700-800 turnouts, almost 80 of which were double-slip.
“I am fascinated by track design and trackage arrangements,” he says. “On the layout I tried to portray multi-track junctions and yard and station layouts as they existed in larger cities.”
As for scenery, Ray had scenicked a few areas before the dismantled the layout and built a number of structures. But there was lots more left to be done.
Ray used walkaround DC to power the trains. His hope was to have it operated like a club, with many operators, but ran out of time to complete his dream.
Ray moved to larger home in 2005, intending to rebuild it in larger quarters. Unfortunately, some health and other issues prevented that from happening.
Ray moved to a smaller house a few years ago, and intends to build a new layout—a much smaller one, this time.
Like his previous layout, this one will also be multi-level, with comfortable viewing and operating areas.
The top deck will feature a large passenger station with supporting coach yards and engine terminal, along with an adjacent major freight yard and diesel shop.
The two lower decks will have four towns or industrial switching areas on each level. Staging tracks will be under the layout. Unlike the previous layout, this one will use DCC to power the trains.
For Ray, who is soon to retire, this feels like more than enough to keep him occupied.
In the meantime, Ray and anyone else can still enjoy photos of the old Twin Lakes Terminal & Transfer.
For more photos of Ray's layout, go to my Flickr page.
Photos by Ron Einarson.