LOCATION: Wier, TXMike Bourbon began building the layout in 2018 with help from Emory Lehman and Mark Dixon. One of the largest layouts in the Austin area, it is a freelanced transition-era railroad based in West Texas with equipment from the Santa Fe, Southern Pacific, and Texas and Pacific. All the bench work is complete, with 2x4, 16 inch on center, 3/4 inch plywood for the base, with Homasote as the track base.
SIZE: 2200 sq. ft.
SIZE: 2200 sq. ft.
About 80% of the track work is completed. The lower level industry spur and the logging spur are still being designed and worked on. 80% of the switches are hand built with Fast Track fixtures. All the track is Code 83 flex track, except for the logging spur. Minimum turnout is #8 on the main lines, #6 in all the yards, except for the #5 ladder system by Micro Engineering that is on the east end of the main yard. 95% of the turnouts are controlled by tortoise switch machines. Each area has a control panel, with LEDs for switch indications. There are many bridges. Most are hand built using Micro Engineering parts. The wooden piling bridges are handmade.
Last car count for the layout was well over 2300, with about 80 locomotives. All the cars are required to have metal wheels and Kadee couplers. There are well over 500 cars and over 20 locomotives stored off the layout. 90% of the locomotive fleet are equipped with SoundTraxx decoders. The remainder are “stock” decoders, such as Broadway Limited Imports and Athearn Genesis. All programming of the decoders is done on the workbench, thru JMRI. The DCC system is CVP Products Easy DCC with 6 wireless controllers. There is also access to JMRI running on a Raspberry Pi that interfaces with the DCC system, allowing more operators to use Wi Throttles.
The layout is built on 3 levels. The main level, or middle level, is a minimum of 53 inches off the floor. The lower level is 28 inches, and the highest point on the upper or branch line is close to 60 inches. About 10% of the scenery has been worked on, trying different techniques. Some parts from another layout and 2 modules have been integrated into the layout. An addition to the building in 2019 allowed for the addition of peninsula to the south end of the layout, adding the “City yard” and more main line around the perimeter of the add-on.
The main level is a continuous loop that runs around the perimeter of the building and has 3 separate peninsulas. On this level there is the main yard, roundhouse, city yard, feed mill, branch line yard, saw mill up the hill, and a few more sidings and house tracks. It is designed to run continuously with many locations to meet and pass trains. The main yard is a 16 track yard with the longest that will hold about 85 cars. There is a 21 stall roundhouse with a turntable, and a diesel service facility between the main yard and the city yard. The feed mill is a scratch built, with parts from Walters and other suppliers.
The branch line begins in a yard in the sawmill area, and it works its way around the 2 main peninsulas to the north side of the building. The branch line has a few cities and places to work. At the end of the line is a yard, a wye, and a stub yard.
There is a duck under to enter the layout.