Glacier is a model railroad essay inspired by visits to foreign parts; this time to the Canadian Rockies, Alaska and Colorado. Inspired is the operative word because the model is based on no place in particular and makes use of ready to hand kits, track and materials. The name was chosen because glaciers are common to all three places and fits neatly into my alphabetical layout sequence without duplication. I didn’t originally find a town named as such, although it would seem there is an habitation in Washington State that had a population of 211 in 2010 (Wikipedia) and there are depots at East Glacier Park and West Glacier (platform only) on the route of Amtrak’s Empire Builder through Montana.

Available “baseboard” materials were a 3ft x 4in balsa plank, some sheet balsa for back and sides that was covered with flooring paper on both faces for a better decorative finish and to reduce warping, and an offcut of thin ply cut to provide a fascia. Within these limitations, the track plan had to be simple, and a Peco right hand turnout and some lengths of flex track were united with some Gaugemaster granite covered foam track underlay to give a basic fork. Power from a Medvend Blue Line battery controller is fed into the toe end of the turnout from a double phono socket and frog polarity is controlled by a sub-miniature micro switch. Hopefully, there are other connections for improved running but like most of my layouts it has been in the build stage for some time and I do not recall the details.

There is nothing remarkable: the setting was chosen to be a continuation of the “main” beyond a terminal depot with a spur to serve local industries which are situated on a side road off Main Street. We can thus see downtown businesses merging into industrial premises and an overall roof on the depot building serves as a view blocker as well as to keep snow off the travellers. An urban setting means lots of people and a few hours were spent repainting a mixed bag of 100 pieces, although there are many duplicates and about 30 have been used.                                                                     

Operation is the switching of cars beyond the depot. Whether these are pushed up the line or are run round on the other side of the depot is not known because we cannot see. In model form the benefit is a saving on the length of a fiddle yard, although it would have been nice to have run an RDC in between freight movements. It can be supposed that the cars arrived and will depart as parts of mixed consists, with the passenger car(s) parked on the (possible) unseen loop or a spur. Micro-Trains couplers are used with a single magnet set as a railroad crossing.

An InterMountain EMD FP7A and Kato SD70MAC in Alaskan Rail Road liveries provide the motive power to give slow, controlled switching.

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