Eagle Rock Railroad

Built by Howard Pidd

Howard writes:

"The year is 1932 and the USA is in the depths of the Great Depression..."

"Life has always been tough for folks in this remote corner of the wild North West where the lumber business has traditionally provided hard, but steady work. But with demand for just about everything - including timber - now drying up business is bad. However, the Eagle Rock Railroad keeps going - just!"

"Thanks to its young owner, ‘Crazy Jack’ McDougal the 3’ gauge line continues to serve the settlement of Eagle Rock. Jack, heir to a considerable fortune made by his lumber magnate father, has dug deep to keep the line running."

"An enthusiastic supporter of Governor Franklin Roosevelt’s bid for the White House in the Presidential Election that fall he believes that only FDR’s policies offer real hope of economic recovery. And through a series of election posters he shares his political enthusiasm with both his workers and passengers on the line."

"So as other railroads go to the wall Jack continues to look to the future, buying up surplus railroad stock and equipment at knock-down prices. And so the story of the (fictitious) Eagle Rock Railroad begins..."

"Being English and having no previous first-hand experience of US railroads either real or model I had a steep learning curve to negotiate when I decided to abandon British railway modelling after 30+ years and begin building Eagle Rock."

"That was about a year ago. I was inspired to take this leap into the dark by Bachmann’s wonderful 0n30 models; I loved the size, detail and above all the sound of these strange and wonderful machines. I also wanted to enjoy the freedom using my imagination and modelling what I wanted, to escape the stuffy ‘rivet counting’, ‘you can’t do that it’s not strictly prototypical’ culture that unfortunately still pervades much of the British modelling scene."

"I’ve now built three modules each measuring 2 feet by 4 feet. The centrepiece - and the first thing I built - is the trestle bridge. It’s based on a slightly modified Evergreen Hill kit, and spans a gorge with plaster rocks cast in Woodland Scenic moulds."

"On the highest rock nest two Bald Eagles (caring for two eggs!) - hence the name of my layout."

"While way down below a lonely moose approaches the river and prepares to drink."

Editor's Note:The figures of the moose and eagles are from Nigel Ford's Rabble Figures. Check out his website for some interesting figures in both 1:43 and 1:48 scales.

"To one side of the trestle we have the Eagle Rock depot and to the other the logging area."

"Adjacent to the depot is an engine house (Banta model) and - rather over-ambitiously - a turntable. The turntable is the one thing salvaged from my previous British layout and is actually a modified HO scale motorised model."

"The water tower I scratch built using a Lo-Salt container clad in coffee stirrers, with additional parts made from basswood and bits from my scrap box."

"At the other end of the layout is the log loading area. Here both trunks and pulpwood are loaded for onward shipping. It’s an area earmarked for future development."

"At the moment Eagle Rock simply runs end to end, but I intend to extend it to include more forest areas and even a USAAF airfield featuring the colourful bi-planes and mono-planes that were such a feature of the inter-war years."

Track and turnouts on Eagle Rock are Micro Engineering Code 83 with Blue Point Turnout controls. Environmental sound effects are provided by Innovative Train Technology HQ series sound modules. Figures are Woodland Scenics (mainly because of the difficulty getting any other make here in the UK)."

"Locomotives consist of two Shays, a Climax and a Consolidation and a variety of stock all by Bachmann, but modified and weathered in most cases."

"I exhibited it for the first time back in May at the Trent Valley North American Modellers Show near the cathedral city of Lichfield in Staffordshire, England."

"It’s been a great experience ‘going-US’ and has certainly re-invigorated my passion for railroad modelling!" - Howard Pidd

Editor's Note: Just a word of thanks to Howard for sharing his excellent layout with us.

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This page updated July 7, 2010
Webpage © Lawrence Rickert
Title and contents © Howard Pidd