Back to Fatjack's Home Page This is a new department for Fatjack's Place. Dave is in the process of building a really unique Model Railroad. He is documenting the process with photos and comments and these will be posted in these listed departments as work progresses. Please check back soon. Track Plan
Back to Fatjack's Table of Contents Construction
Concept Scenery
History Structures
Timetable-All Rules

Operation - You are here

Locomotives Finished Layout
Rolling Stock Benchwork
Miscellaneous Back to Model Railroad Intro Page Trackwork
Southern Colorado Land Navigation & Transfer Co.


Colorado & Western Railroad Co.


Southern Colorado Land Navigation & Transfer Co.


Operating sessions on the C&W and SCLN&TC shall be performed under the jurisdiction of a 10:1 ratio fast clock.  This may seem as an extreme fast clock, but it works very well for a small railroad.  For ease of reference or remembering, a 10:1 ratio breaks down to the following:

A:        One (1) actual minute equals ten (10) fast minutes.

B:        Five (5) actual minutes equals fifty (50) fast minutes.

C:        Fifteen (15) actual minutes equals two and one-half (2.5) fast hours.

D:        One (1) actual hour (60 actual minutes) equals ten (10) fast hours.


            All trains shall be operated under the jurisdiction of track warrants.  Track warrants shall be filled out and issued in real time, but the fast clock will be running.  This will replicate the time it will take the crews to get to their train.


Unforeseen situations, circumstances and miscellaneous happenings will occur from time to time, thus creating an operating atmosphere that is more conducive to “Hands On” type of procedure(s) than “Hands Off.”  Such conditions(s) shall include, but not necessarily limited to; derailment(s), a stuck Kadee coupler, couplers not lining up properly, and/or the need for emergency track cleaning.  The fast clock shall keep running during these procedures, unless something has happened that requires more than 5 minutes in real time to fix.

Coupling and uncoupling power units and rolling stock, including cabooses, shall not actually be timed, but the fast clock shall continue to run.  It shall be understood that all switching duties be performed in a “common sense” manner, this being construed as taking the time to do it right the first time without violating any safety or work rules, or being concerned with the fast clock.

The railroad is a very simple single track point to point design, therefore the operating sessions are very simple.  Locomotives cannot be turned at either end, but the locomotive shall be at the head end of the train at all times.  Passing sidings at Durdy Dawg and Westcliffe will allow for the locomotive to be positioned properly on the train.


            A copy of C&W Timetable No. 4 and SCLN&TC Timetable No. 1 shall be available at all times during an operating session.  The timetable IS the rule book for the railroad and shall be used whenever necessary or for whatever the reason.



Per Timetable No. 4 my operation in theory is much larger than I’m actually able to do in model form.  Over the years I have built several C&W model railroads, but always a section of the railroad, not the entire railroad due to the size.  My current model railroad is built at the south end of the railroad, something I have never done before.  So it runs from Durdy Dawg to Westcliffe.  Westcliffe is at the north end of the railroad, so there are a lot of areas deleted due to the physical size of the model railroad.  One place deleted is Pequop Hill and Pequop Pass, but I did get Cumbres Hill worked in to my design.

A big part of the operation on the Colorado & Western Railroad is run-through intermodal trains, all of which are expeditors.  These run-through trains originate on the C&W at either Pueblo or Prewitt Junction.  The originating Pueblo trains come off the Colorado Joint Line, and the originating Prewitt Junction trains come off the Santa Fe, and the same in reverse moves.  Many of the intermodal trains come from the Burlington Northern, and some come from the Santa Fe and Rio Grande.  In theory these trains are short cuts between Denver and California, or in reverse moves, short cuts between California and Denver.

Most of the run-through intermodal trains are carried by C&W motive power, although home railroad power can frequently be found also.  Local crews run between Pueblo and West Pueblo.  Road crews run between West Pueblo and Prewitt Junction making a crew change at Durdy Dawg.  Upon arrival at Prewitt Junction the inbound cars are cut off on a pick up track.  If there is a cut of cars to be picked up the inbound road crew couples to them, then they go on layover and a fresh crew goes onboard.  If there is no train at Prewitt Junction to be picked up when they arrive the crew will lay down at Prewitt.  Whenever an eastbound Santa Fe train is coming into Prewitt Junction with a cut of cars to be dropped off, a fresh C&W crew is called out two hours in advance of the arrival of the Santa Fe train.  This gives the fresh crew time to get themselves going, get something to eat, etc.  This assures there is no delay in getting coupled to the train and getting it moving as quickly as possible to Durdy Dawg, where they will make a crew change.  Neither C&W nor home road motive power is exchanged at Prewitt Junction.

With all this said, there are a lot of intermodal trains in operation on the C&W

Another aspect of the operation on the C&W is local switching.  I have always liked switching and have always worked in some switching in the track plan on all of my model railroads.  In fact, I even built one model railroad that was nothing but switching.  I have a removable section on the railroad for the run-through intermodal trains, but this removable section is not in place when running a local.

I have always operated with straight DC and hand-held throttles, and that tradition continues today.  Straight DC works great for me, so why change.  I use GML throttles, which in my opinion are the best hand-held throttles available.

For my narrow gauge operation I simply run between Durdy Dawg and Westcliffe, switching both yards.  The switching at either end is the same as it is with the C&W, so I’m not going to show any photos.