Rio Grande Southern


Photos of Bill Scobie's Sn3 scale railroad.


As you step down into the layout room you are presented with the an all encompassing view of the Rio Grand Southern's engines struggling to move freight up the high line from Ophir towards the summit, the sound of the lead engine reverberates off the mountain walls, nearly drowning out the helper on the tail end.
Bill is modelling 66 miles of the RGS from Ridgeway and the interchange with the Denver and Rio Grand Western to Rico, halfway to it's eventual end point. The layout includes Placerville on the San Miguel River, Vanadium and it's mining complex, Vance Junction, the branch line to Pandora, Lizard Head and it's snow shed covered wye, Telleride, trout lake Ophir and finally Rico. 500 feet of torturous travel to arrive across the aisle!
The layout features many fine running locomotives, most sound equipped to pull strings of authentic freight cars past the finely scratch and kit built structures appearing in the wilderness. Recent efforts have resulted in the appearance of thousands of trees along parts of the route.
While significant areas of the layout have only reached basic scenery stage, Bill and his team, consisting of some of the best local modellers are well on their way to producing an awesome experience for the visitor to this realm.

Scale: Sn3
Size: 30ft x 50ft
Prototype: Rio Grande Southern
Locale: Ridgeway to Rico, Colorado.
Period: Warm weather, 1940.
Layout Style: Double level.
Layout Height: 36 to 60 inches
Benchwork: Box framed, some cantilevered.
Roadbed: Homasote, pine spline.
Track: Handlaid.
Turnouts: Hand laid ot fit, some 2 & 3 way stub.
Minimum Radius: 34+ inch
Length Of Mainline: 500 ft mainline.
Scenery: Hardshell over wire.
Backdrop: Painted on backdrop.
Power System: Lenz DCC with sound.
Operations: Currently under development.
Typical Operating Crew: 5 to 10



Photos from Dec'04.


Engine 268 had a verious illustrious career and now resides at the Gunnison Museum.

One of the many private mine operations along the line.

The town of Ophir was built in the upper end of a valley where the line snaked back on itself to assend the mountains. Here the station and mine tipple share close courters.

The station at Rico was scratch built from styrene by Grant Knowles.

The Rico engine house is a hive of activity today.

271 in the Ridgeway yard.

The caboose track and sand house at Ridgeway.




View of Vance Junction on the left and Ophir Loop across the aisleway, straight ahead.

View of the upper and lower tracks that lead into Ophir.



Run from Rico to Ridgeway.


Our run starts at Rico. The train is assembled and awaits last minute orders before we leave the station. We have four cars and a caboose in tow.

Our train is being pulled the the 4-6-0 #20. Number 20 . . . . .

Soon after leaving Rico, we begin our long assent to Ophir.


Our ten wheler is working over time on our up up the hill. You can see the "upper" bridges in the back ground where we will be in due course.

We pass through a rock cut before crossing bridge 45A and stopping at the Ophir station.

After a short stop at Ophir we continue up grade and take the back track on the why to the upper Ophir trestles.


A water tank is located at Trout Lake to replemish the water in trains that have climbed up from Rico.

We pass at Trout Lake for a well deserved drink. Stock Cars used for the fall rush lay in storage on the adjacent track.

There is wye at Lizard Head that is totally enclosed in snow sheds. This ensures the track stays clear during the winter months at the high mountain pass.


We stop briefly at the section house before commencing our down hill run to Vance Junction.

Our train approaches Vance Junction.

Vance Junction's facilites include a station and old coach whose trucks have been removed.


There's also a section shed made from an old boxcar lcoated on the other side of the station.

We now do some switching in the Vance yard, picking up cars destined for Ridgeway.

The coal tipple is on the right.


We have to pull out onto the Gallagher Trestle to clear the last yard turnout.

We're just about ready to leave.

A few short blasts of the whistle and we're off to Vanadium.


The sheep scatter as the cylinders are cleaned and couplers pull tight.

We're just about ready to leave.

Pedro minds his sheep as we dissappear around the corner.


Our first stop after the Gallagher Trestle is the tank at Deep Creek.

Now's a good time to visit the biffy behind the shed.

It doesn't take long to top off the tank.


The ore tipple at Deep Creek is serviced by the north south bound way frieght.

The Engineer blows the whistle as we approach the first of two road crossings before Vanadium.

On to the second crossing.


We now start to see some evidence of urban life.

Vanadium is the largest mineral producer on the RGS.

It actually takes a few minutes to pass the complex.


Vanadium has their own substantial repair facility to service the local switcher and motor vehicles.

Over all view of the Vanadium complex.

Leaving Vanadium, we now pass over a series of trestles, which are numerous on the RGS, before reaching Placerville.


We arrive at the Placerville station. We decided to head into town for something to eat as the train had some switching to do.

Number 20 set about her tasks to drop off some cars and pick up others.

View down the tracks.


The Doctor has to wait a tthe crossing as we leave town.

We took the right leg of the wye that leads to Brown.


Remember the biffy at Deep Creek? Guess where they are made!

On our way into Ridgeway.

Upon arriving in Ridgeway, our first task is to remove the caboose.


The van is placed on the caboose track with it's colleagues.

The road engine then makes its way to the roundhouse.

Onto the turntable.


Number 20 enters the roundhouse to await her next run.



This Web page is written and maintained by Grant Knowles.
This page was last updated on January, 2006.

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