& Missouri River Railroad
B&MRR - One Scene After Another
Written in 2001 for Railroad Model Craftsman by Douglas Harding
modelers and railfans can instantly rattle off one or more names when asked
about a favorite railroad. Asked to name a favorite scene and again the answers
come quickly. Think about your favorite railroad. Which scene comes to mind
first? It may involve a depot, or bridge, perhaps an engine or a spot of natural
wonder. It may be the shops or a famous landmark trackside.
Dave Lotz, of Saint Louis, there is no question what his favorite railroad is,
the Chicago Burlington & Quincy. He is a past director, president and
current vice-president/archivist of the Burlington Route Historical Society, as
well as proprietor of "Q Connection", a manufacturer of HO scale
CB&Q models and detail parts. Dave has also authored two BRHS Burlington
Bulletins on his favorite subject: the Burlington Railroad's namesake town,
Burlington, Iowa and it's West Burlington Shops. (Bulletin Issues #23 & 26,
available from the BRHS Company Store at www.BurlingtonRoute.com)
love of the Burlington Railroad led Dave to design a HO scale layout which will
recreate specific "scenes" that he hopes people will immediately
recognize, yet keep the scenery generic enough to allow for multiple-era
operating sessions. One design goal was to keep certain features true scale
while selectively compressing others to allow duplication of specific scenes of
the Burlington in his basement.
These key scenes include:
River Bridge - compressed to fit space, but still convey the massive size in
relationship to trains - this is to have an operating drawspan.
and service facilities - true scale
- true scale (both 1883-1943 & 1944-present)
Burlington Shops: build to true scale - but model only the
Burlington Hill complete with the Perkins Monument sitting in Burlington's
Aspen Grove Cemetery
K Line (the Q's St. Louis, Keokuk & Northwestern line between St. Louis
plan and design his layout Dave starts with actual history and then, as he says,
"warps" it to fit his vision of the ideal model railroad.
One of the Q's predecessors, the prototype Burlington and Missouri Rail
Road Company was incorporated on January 15, 1852, to build a railroad from
Burlington, Iowa on the Mississippi River, across Iowa to the Missouri River.
Construction began in 1854 with the first train running on track in Burlington
on January 1, 1856. The Mississippi River was bridged by the CB&Q in 1868
creating the first physical connection to the CB&Q already on the Illinois
side. In 1869 the line was completed to the Missouri River at a location called
1873 the B&MRR was leased to its parent company the CB&Q and in 1875 the
B&MRR was consolidated with the CB&Q. In Dave's "Warped
History" vision the CB&Q RR becomes a wholly-owned subsidiary of the
B&MRR in 1873. This version of the CB&Q, maintains it's own equipment
roster and numbering and all .
- Denver & Burlington - St. Louis trains operate as CB&Q trains across
the B&MRR. Thus one will see CB&Q equipment, authentically painted and
lettered, operating on the B&MRR. However,
you will see equipment that may not be protoypical, lettered for the B&MRR.
model B&MRR, with it's focus on Burlington, Iowa, started with a layout
design Dave first created in 1985. After two moves, redesign for the current
B&MRR to fit a large basement in St. Louis, began in 1998. Construction
began in January 2000, with the following crew providing much needed assistance
for a layout of this size; John Lee, Richard Schumacher, Richard & Venita
Lake, Tom Engle, Ken Thompson, Randy Meyer, John Schindler and Hank Kraichley.
Dave is part of a round robin group and enjoys the comradery of sharing talents
and skills on other layouts. As this is being written benchwork is in place,
most of the trackwork is complete and scenery has commenced.
acquisition began back in 1977 and today Dave has a nice selection of HO scale
CB&Q motive power, freight and passenger equipment, from several time
periods. As construction continues Dave is looking forward to operating his
B&MRR depicting several different multiple eras. Equipment is on hand and/or
still being acquired to allow for the following eras and trains:
1930's Steam Heavyweights, Freights and Early Zephyrs
1940's Early Diesel Freights - Late Steam - WWII traffic
1950's & 60's 2nd Generation Diesels & Zephyrs (Including
1970's BN Rainbow era - Early Amtrak
1980's BN's Prime - Coal & Intermodal - Amtrak Superliner CZ
as every layout builder faces limitations (read walls) Dave established basic
Design Parameters to accomplish his goal. His list includes:
Bi-level for long runs and West Burlington Hill helper district
Around the wall for more viewer space (Dave reports he hates cramped
layouts & duck-unders for visitors)
Stand-alone framing to be used for mounting backdrops
Folded dogbone design with helix for coal trains
Train assembly at Burlington Yards - industry switching
2 staging yards: Eastbound (Creston) - Westbound (Galesburg).
Allow for physical exchange of both era's roundhouse & depot
Allow for future Rock Island/B&W connection
with his Design Parameters, Dave also established Construction Standards. They
Follow all NMRA standards as applicable
32" minimum mainline radius
24" minimum branch & siding radius
West Burlington hill > 2% and < 3% grade
Helix < 2% grade
Commercial Code 83 track laid on cork roadbed (to facilitate rapid
No. 6 minimum turnouts on the mainline
on the B&MRR are also taken into consideration with the following goals:
Simple enough that one person can operate
Challenging features for group operations
DCC to allow for future computer operations
my visit I found the layout construction included some innovation.
The helix is an oval which allows for more "human sized" access
inside and the longer run allows for a less demanding grade. The stand-alone
framing built of 2x4's listed in Dave's Design Parameters may appear to be
"overkill", but it allows both layout levels to be cantilevered from
the framing using plywood gusset plates. The gussets are tapered to allow
maximum viewing with minimum fascia "thickness" at each level. Note
how the photo shows this technique allows for different depths on each level.
two level staging is open and accessible via a narrow passage way. It includes
some scenic details, especially at the yard throats where servicing facilities
are located. While not having room for all of his desired depots, Dave's oldest
son Joshua is using prototype photos to paint the depots on the backdrops for
the staging yards. This gives operators a "feeling" of really
leaving/arriving at Galesburg and/or Creston.
a fellow CB&Q fan I enjoyed my visit to the B&MRR while it was still
under construction. I am looking forward to seeing what Dave and his talented
crew have accomplished in the months leading up to this summer's NMRA National
Convention in St. Louis. The B&MRR is scheduled to be open for the Layout
Design Special Interest Group (LDSig) tour on Wednesday afternoon/evening and on
the Green Diamond layout tour Thursday and Friday mornings.
Gateway 2001 NMRA National Convention is July
8-15 (see www.gatewaynmra.org for more details).
sure and sign up to watch the different era's of the CB&Q pass through some
very recognizable scenes on the Way of the Zephyrs.