BNSF Scenic Subdivision - HO - Austin White

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Hello everyone, and welcome to my page.

First and foremost, I would like to thank Mark Lestico for designing this railroad for me, and helping me with everything I needed help with. I would also like to thank my parents for funding part of this. Without them, the railroad wouldn’t be where it is right now.

Below i have posted the almost "final" trackplan, this was designed and drawn by Mark Lestico.

The reson i chose to model the Scenic Sub. is because, one day, i was just watching videos on youtube, when all of the sudden. I saw this amazing video Both of the videos thatinspired me to build this railroad are both below. They are copyrighted by Andrew Kim.

2006-2007 Train Slideshow (Youtube)

Summer/Fall on BNSF Scenic Subdivision (Youtube)


Railroad At A Glance

Era: Always modern

Scale: HO (1.87.1)

Minimum Radius: 28 inches

Minimum Turnout: Number 6

Room Size: 24ft x 14ft.

Control: Digitrax Zephyr, 6 DT300 wireless throttles, 1 DT90 Wireless ceiling mounted receiver

Crew Size: 5-9 operators (including Dispatcher)

Aisle Widths: 30 inches, 2 18 inch "pinch points"

Track Height: 51 inches throughout

Track: Atlas Code 83, #6 Switches

Staging: 3 20ft long tracks, more staging under layout (beneath Berne, see plan)

Mainline Length: 145 feet

Operation Style: Verbal Track Warrants via radio dispatch

Car Forwarding system: Car Cards/ Waybills

Construction Method: L brackets around the walls, with 3/4 plywood, plus 5 layers foam, leaving track at 51

Image:BNSF Scenic Sub Final.jpg

Significant Places Modeled: Seattle Yard, Everett, Snohomish, Scenic, Cascade Tunnel, Berne, Dryden, and Wenatchee

Room Preperation

Demo and Framing: I had started a previous smaller layout that occupied half the shed. So that had to be torn down, i spent about a month doing that, and about a month sweeping out dust, dirt, cobwebs ect. vacuuming, cleaning, and clearing out all the "junk".

Storage: All storage will be beneath the layouts benchwork.

Air Conditioning: It can get hot in the shed during summer days, so there is a portable air conditioner.

Arranging the Layout

Yard Location: The Yard was places at the longest stretch of benchwork

Everett, Snohomish: These two locations are more of the switching and industrial area just outside of the yard.

Dryden: Dryden is another switching area just outside the yard that will allow plenty of operations and traffic variety.

Scenic: Scenic will be modeled after the famous Scenic siding, this area will be lushly scenicked, and will have one industry.

Berne: Will have a siding, one industry, and will be lushly scenicked. Berne will be a good place to run a local turn. There will be plenty of action at berne.

Benchwork Construction

Around the walls L brackets: The L brackets that go around the wall were made from 1x2's they were cut to the size needed, and then screwed to the wall using 4 1 inch screws.

Pininsula Benchwork: The benchwork used to build the pininsula was made using 2x2's they are held in place using 4 metal L brackets on the floor, and 4 metal L brackets on the ceiling. To support the plywood, 1x2's were screwed to the 2x2's using 4 1 inch screws.

Leveling the Benchwork: The benchwork was leveled in one weekend using a laser light leveler.

Why I chose L brackets: The reason i chose L brackets was there cost, very cheap, yet very effective. I also learned this method from Pelle Soeborg's Moutain to Destert: Donner River and Daneville booklet.

Various Planning Considerations

Fascia Color: The reason i chose black as the fascia color is because, black draws the eye to the layout. Keeping operators and visitors focus on the trains.

Why HO Scale?: The reason i chose HO scale is because of the level of detail in it. They are perfect size for me too. The only thing i really like about N scale better is that you can fit more into a given space, and they look better at eye level. Although HO scale looks good at eye level.


The operations on the BNSF Scenic Sub are handled by Verbal Track Warrants, the crews are given 2 way radios. The radios keep them in touch with other crews and with the dispatcher. When the train is waiting to leave a given places, lets say staging. Depending on there lead locomotive number, lets assume its 2471. They would say "Dispatch this is BNSF 2471 waiting for a track warrant between staging and (any end destination) heading east/west" Then the dispatcher would reply by saying "BNSF 2471, are ready for the track warrant?" Lets assume that the tracks are clear between staging and Berne. So 2471 replies by saying "Affermative/yes/no/negative ect." Dispatch replies "Check Box 1, proceed on the mainline between Wenatchee Staging and Berne. Check box 5, stop on the siding in Berne Checkbox 6 and wait for further instructions in Berne.

The majority of the operations will be mainline "through freight" traffic. There are trains known as overhead traffic, that are used just for through freight traffic, these are not taken apart in any way during the session. The session will be split into two halves, with 3 locals running each half. And about 15 through trains running each half. Leaving us with 30 through freights total, and 6 locals total.

There will also be 3 amtrak trains running each session. 2 being during the first half, 1 during the second.

Crew Lounge

The crew lounge will be located at a big oval table outside of the layout room. There will be various model railroader and railroad model craftsmen magazines for crews to read while waiting for there next train. There will be one radio out in the crew lounge for crews to listen for there next train. While in the crew lounge, all throttles and radios must be turned off to save batteries.

Dispatch Room

The dispatch room will only have one person in it, the dispatcher. This will be located in the garage, where it is nice and quiet, with no distractions. The dispatcher will get 2 radios, incase one dies, a laminated track diagram, and a full size notepad for notes.

Items each Crew Memeber should bring

I advise that you bring your own 2 way radio that is fully charged, there will be radios here you can use, but there will not be enough for everyone to use one. You will not need to bring your own throttle, those are provided. you can feel free to bring your own throttle if you wish. But it must be digitrax. You will also need an apron with pockets, uncoupling skewers (these will be provided if you forget) pencil, and a small handheld notebook. All of these things will be provided if you forget some of them, but it would help if you could bring some, incase someone else forgets something. You can bring your won drinks, but they are not allowed in the layout room. There will be water provided, if you wish to have something else, you must bring it on your own. There are no food or drinks allowed in the layout room, these are allowed in the crew lounge only. After eating food, please wash hands before handling trains, thank you.

UPDATE: As of April 26th, 2008

Well, I cant find my camera, so no pictures just yet. But anyways, got all the benchwork done, trackwork has started as of this weekend. Quite a bit of modern BNSF equipment on the railroad so far. still need more before the first op in August. So far i have 14 BNSF locomotives, 12 of them athearn, 1 kato, 1 atlas. Planning on having around 25 locomotives for the first op session, not all mine. About 10 of them will be leased to me by Zak Gardner, who models BNSF and MRL.

The benchwork consists of wooden L brackets around the walls, and for lazy pininsula, there are 2x2's down the middle, and 1x2 wooden L brackets coming off that. The L brackets are spaced 2 feet apart. On top of everything is 3/4 inch plywood, with 5 layers of foam on top of that. plus cork roadbed for the track. leaving the track height at 51 inches.

UPDATE: As of April 27th, 2008

Got a bit of track laid last night, still no camera, so no pictures just yet. Most of the yard tracks are laid, and about 1 percent of the mainline. Went over to the train stop and got some new wheelsets, couplers, and a few new cars, which include an Athearn RTR 50' plug door Union Pacific box car, and a set of 5 Athearn RTR tank cars. Was going to pick up the new Athearn Genesis SD60M in either UP or Conrail, because theyre not available in BNSF yet. But the shop didnt carry them yet.

I will try and get some pictures soon.

Ill post more when time permits.

Thank you for checking out my page, to contact me, email me here.

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