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Missouri Kansas & Pacific Line

This is a freelanced rail line extending from the industrialized Mississippi valley of eastern Missouri westward through Kansas into the Colorado Rockies. Fictionalized history would have this lineís 19th century origins in the construction of a railroad from the west bank of the Mississippi River to a connection with the Union Pacificís transcontinental line in Utah. While moving manufactured products from the east to the west the railroad was to tap the resources of the agricultural regions of Missouri, Kansas, and eastern Colorado as well as the mineral riches of the Rocky Mountains. This line came under control of the AT&SF early in the 20th century and today is part of the BNSF empire.

Design principles:

Reliable operation is the prime directive. This will be accomplished by attention to quality of construction and creating areas capable of independent operation within the larger layout.

Emphasize viewer involvement by 1) bringing track near eye level, 2) keeping viewer close to the trains as often as possible, 3) injecting the viewer into the midst of scenes.

Provide generous width viewing aisles to accommodate the public

Daily operation for the public will be fully automated and controlled by computer with minimal direct supervision.

The primary function of the layout is public entertainment and education, but we also want it to be a layout that can be enjoyed by volunteers with prototype operation after hours.

This will be a freelanced layout but will draw upon prototype scenes and operations to create realistic and believable models.

A train will pass through each scene only once and maintain a consistent direction of travel.

Scenery and structures will model contemporary scenes, however, individual trains even though historically correct within themselves might represent any era or geographic region.

Layout construction:

  • Steel stud & extruded foam benchwork
  • Woodland Scenics foam sub roadbed
  • AMI Instant Roadbed or Woodland Scenics roadbed
  • Geodesic Foam scenery base
  • 48" minimum mainline elevation
  • 24" minimum radius mainline curves
  • 18" minimum radius secondary line curves
  • 15" minimum radius tourist steam line & hidden curves
  • 10" minimum radius curves industrial track
  • 60" minimum width public aisles
  • 24" minimum width crew service aisles
  • Fluorescent illumination supplemented by track lighting
  • Approximate area occupied by the layout is 30 by 87 feet

Layout Overview:

The layout will be arranged in an east to west right to left sequence. It begins with a shelf on the east wall representing an industrialized urban setting and occupied by a terminal railroad. In addition to itís own trains, those of first class railroads operate over these tracks. Tracks on the shelf will in reality be the exposed part of an oval with holding tracks in the workshop completing the oval. Also in the workshop will be a reversing loop and staging track for the terminal railroad. The throat of this staging will be visible before penetrating the separating workshop wall but the entrance is screened by engine service facilities of the terminal railroad. An auto assembly plant, a brewery complex and perhaps a barge terminal will be among principle industrial/commercial rail customers in this region.

The MKP mainline diverges from the terminal railroad and moves to the left through an interchange with a regional railroad occupying a peninsula. This regional receives unit coal trains it then transfers to a power plant. The tracks of the power plant and transfer yard are connected for a "loads-in-empties-out" operation. Additional customers such as a soybean oil processor provide on-line traffic for the regional. The scenery of the peninsula occupied by the regional typifies that surrounding Augusta.

The mainline moves on to a division point yard. This is also a scenic transition point marking separation of rugged eastern woodlands from agricultural prairies. A few local customers in this town are served by the mainline and a loop of the regional railroad. The mainline moves onto a U-shaped area traversing in long tangents western Missouri, Kansas, and eastern Colorado before entering a gateway city to the Rocky Mountains. This second industrial area will emphasize the utilization of the mineral resources of the area. A steel mill and a refinery are the dominant industries here. As the mainline continues into the mountains not only does the scenery change the track is characterized by curves and only short tangents.

In the mountain area weíll find a tourist steam line operating on an abandoned mainline route which formerly crossed over a mountain pass before the current tunnel route was opened. The mainline will also pass through a junction with the Union Pacific. The UP makes use of track rights on a BNSF branch line servicing coalfields. This coal branch must traverse some pretty rugged terrain before reaching a towering coal flood loader featuring "empties-in-loads-out". The UP route featuring orbiting empties and loads will be a partially hidden loop including the track shared with BNSF. In addition to coal, soda ash and lumber will be industrial customers in this region. After passing deeper in the mountains the mainline will disappear (screened from view by the mountains, but with adequate access space) into a staging yard along the west wall of the building. From the staging yard the mainline returns to the eastern terminus via a hidden track along the north wall its passage screened by scenery and scenic backdrops.

Around two dozen trains will run in a complete show sequence. Many of these trains will be operating simultaneously. There will also be interactive elements, animation features, and environmental sounds. Informative plaques will explain the functions of various modeled locations and recorded narratives activated by the passage of a train will describe something about that train or explain itís activity. Train movement may also activate a video monitor with a taped engineerís eye view from any train passing through that area.

In addition to the layout, Augusta Station will feature other model railroad exhibits that will change from time to time. These exhibits will have a strong interactive character. Some will be computer simulations such as Microsoftís locomotive simulator but many will give visitors a "hands on" experience with model trains. The will also be a small gift shop offering railroad oriented products.

The targeted opening date is Memorial Day weekend 2002. Completion of the N scale MK&P layout will take much longer but we plan to have many of the small exhibits and gift shop completed for the opening in the Spring of 2002.

If you would like to participate in the construction of the layout please contact Jerry Smith 636-828-4750 or David Senften 636-928-2998. Or you may send an e-mail to

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