KB208: Case Study: Texas & Southwestern Part 2 of 11 - Background

This article was last updated on Oct. 18, 2010, 12:30 p.m. | Print Article | Leave Feedback

With this section, we will talk about the practical realities of building a model railroad with DCC. We chose Dallas, Texas as our locale, in part because so many great model railroaders came from Dallas, names that may not be familiar to you but people who helped make the hobby into what it is today.

Texas is big; any Texan will tell you so. But even when allowing for Texan pride, the ordinary outsider develops an appreciation for Texas size. From the piney woods of Lufkin in the east to the rough mountains of Big Bend, from the high plains of Pampa to the palm trees of Brownsville, Texas is big. Within this great state are a varied number of regions, all with their own unique character. And, for many coming to Texas from the outside world, their port of entry was Dallas. Dallas was big city New York; to the immediate west, Fort Worth was cowboys and cattle. To the south was Houston and ships. Southwest from Dallas was sleepy San Antonio. But Dallas was the first port of call for arriving visitors, and it was the stopping point for a wide variety of railroad passenger trains at two stations. Some famous named trains called there; their names are now becoming distant memories. They were trains such as The Texas Special, the Texas Chief, the Sam Houston Zephyr, the Lone Star Limited, the Bluebonnet, the Texas Rocket, the Sunbeam and the Texas Eagle, to name but a few. Amtrak still calls at Dallas Union Station, which at one time accommodated forty plus trains stopping there daily. Our model railroad pays homage to the memory of those trains, and the countless freight trains that worked there, too. This railroad also pays homage to a great group of model railroaders who called Dallas home. Some of their names are still familiar, such as scenery expert Bill McClanahan. Others, such as C. B. Baird, Clint Grant and Terry Walsh formed the nucleus of an active group of model railroaders in Dallas who encouraged and assisted each other, leading to a large number of well executed model railroads. They all contributed to the development of our enjoyable hobby, and we honor them with this railroad. The layout’s name itself refers to McClanahan’s Texas & Rio Grande. Let us introduce you to the Texas & Southwestern.

Many thanks to Mr. Riley O'Connor for sharing the Texas & Southwestern with us!

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