La Garita Hills Railroad



La Garita Hills Railroad is an On30 scale American outline layout comprising of three scenic boards giving a total scenic area of 3.6 metres by 1 metre. An additional which incorporates the turntable fiddle yard at one end adds another 1.2 metres to the length. The layout has free standing timber and metal frames for each board, making assembly quick and simple. The open frame boards are made from plywood, with Space Board high density polystyrene used to generate contours and embankments. This keeps the boards lightweight but strong. All boards have dowel locators to aid alignment as well as multi plug connectors for electrical connections.The scenic boards have a connecting upper and lower track level, making operation more interesting, as all trains enter at the upper level from the fiddle yard. Access to the lower level allows trains down to the station as well as the loco turntable, ash pit and coaling crane.


Trackwork is all Micro Engineering code 83 On30, laid onto a cork roadbed which is glued to the plywood surface. Ballast is a mix of coarse, medium and fine Woodland Scenics Buff coloured, fixed with dilute PVA. As the layout was always intended to be DCC control dropper wires were soldered to all rails and fed through the boards to bus a bar wiring loom that runs the length of the layout. Control is NCE Pro-Cab, with various plug in points around the layout to allow operation from the front or rear of the layout. Point control uses Tortoise slow action point motors, with the turntable using an H&M duette controller recycled from an old layout.


Rollingstock comprises of Bachmann ready to run loco's, freight cars and passenger cars. All loco's are DCC, some factory fitted and others which have been retro fitted with DCC chips and sound systems.


The layout portrays a fictitious railroad, in the 1940's, although the city of La Garita does exist in Colorado.  It has been assumed that a spur line has been constructed from Moffat, on the Denver Rio Grand Railroad after mining in the area struck it rich in the 1880's. Biedell Mine, 8 miles north of Garita City contained large deposits of gold, which was mined until the late 1920's. By the time of the 1940's the railroad handled traffic from a brewery and also livestock, with the addition of tourists and hikers making the area popular.


Its is planned to build to build an extension to the layout, where a cattle dock will be incorporated, and further sidings installed to aid storage of freight cars.