Old, very large American Model Railroad

In the 70's I recall reading an article in a model railway magazine about
what was thought to be the largest model railway in the US/world.
I think it was HO scale, American outline of course, and featured huge
rugged mountains and canyons and loads of sweeping curves, viaducts, tunnels
etc. Lengthy train consists were the norm.
At that time it was the largest model railroad ever, built by a very keen
modeller in his house or very large garage.
I cannot remember the name, but it was a funny double-barrelled name
something like "Old Grumpy & Eerie".
I'd love to re-read about this layout, google is not much help when one
doesn't know the name it went by. Likewise searching for "largest model
railway" doesn't really help. I don't have access to archive railway model
magazines so cannot browse them for pointers either.
Does this ring a bell with anyone?
I also vaguely recall that the owner was moving house and so the layout was
going to be torn down. I wonder if it survived in the end.
Regards
GOG
Reply to
GOG
Loading thread data ...
Gorre and Daphetid?
The owner, John Armstrong, dug out a basement under his house in Monterey, California. The floors above were no longer supported properly so visitors had to be told where they could and couldn't walk. He never used the central heating, and only turned the hot water on for a short while because the boiler was behind a papier mache mountain.
After he died, some visitors turned it on and forgot to turn it off, and the house complete with layout burned down.
formatting link
Reply to
Christopher A.Lee
I went to London once and went down some steeps just outside the Station. Dont know whose basement it was but he had the biggest train set I have ever seen
Reply to
Trev
That's the one! Thanks. I knew it had an odd name. Terrible shame it never survived, it looked stunning.
GOG
Reply to
GOG
There are slide collections that have done the rounds of the model railway clubs in the USA, which I think have been transferred to video.
Reply to
Christopher A.Lee
Off Topic but there is a very large model railway at Fort Albert near Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight. It claims to be the biggest in the UK.
Reply to
Keith Willcocks
You're thinking of John Allen.
John Armstrong was a layout designer who pioneered pretty well everything we take for granted in good layout design these days. He especially promoted the notion that one should design a layout for protoypical operation, and advocated the then new for N. America concept of staging tracks (fiddle yards). His skill in hiding closely spaced mainlines from each other was amazing -- his trackplans looked like spaghetti bowls ate first glance, but close study showed that one would rarely if ever see more than one mainline at a time.
Allen's Gorre & Daphetid (pron. "gory and defeated") was designed for just such operation. Allen was willing to just run trains around for the enjoyment of non-railroady visitors, but when he operated with his regular crew, he was reportedly a tough boss.
Allen was also a professional photographer, and demonstrated new concepts and standards for model railroad photography. He was a bit of a joker, too, and liked to build "tea kettles", some of which vaguely recalled Emmett's wonderful inventions.
Reply to
Wolf
There used to be a pretty big one at Scarborough when I was a kiddie, featuring Sammy the Shunter. O Gauge, IIRC.
Reply to
MartinS
I'm increasingly convinced that Switzerland isn't really a country, but just a giant layout designed by Faller, Pola et al. It's a bit unrealistic though, as there isn't much weathering, the landscape can be a bit cliched, and the track plans aren't very realistic - too many "rabbit warren" lines cramming too much detail in.
Reply to
Arthur Figgis
All 100% electrified and running bang on time. The electric trams, trolleybuses, funiculars, rack railways and aerial tramways are a bonus.
Reply to
MartinS
John Allen's Gorre and Daphetid was a big railroad for an individual, but I don't think it was ever the largest (indoor!) model railroad in the USA or World. For a number of decades, there was a very large O scale layout in the Chicago Museum of Sciency and Industry, and I am fairly certain that several Gorre and Daphetids could have fit inside its area. I think the Chicago layout was built in the 1950s, making it a contemporary of the Gorre and Daphetid.
If you include such operations as the 1/12 scale live steam outdoor railroads, the Gorre and Daphetid was easily eclipsed by quite a number of contemporary outdoor layouts, and today such operations as the Train Mountain near Chiloquin, Oregon make it look smaller than the period at the end of this sentence. It's 13 miles of 7.5 inch gauge track make it longer than several standard gauge railroad companies operating in the state.
Reply to
gl4316
In message , " snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com" writes
If you are going to compare railways on the basis of size, shouldn't you multiply the length of the track by the scale, to get a uniform measure that can be compared?
So, for instance, my garden railway in American or Australian mode is bigger than when it's in British mode.
Reply to
Jane Sullivan
Arr, but the 'track miles' stay the same, just because you run a narrow gauge version of your British models.... :~)
A more serious point is, when does railway modelling become model engineering, I would argue that anything over Gauge 1 is model engineering - the rational being that above that gauge and scale passenger hauling is possible, even if it is in some cases only driver and light weight passenger, whilst (most) models can't be boxed up and carried under ones arm.
Reply to
:Jerry:
Actually, many people in the US nowadays have indoor layouts larger than Allen's.
Must be a fulltime occupation just to maintain the track. Just like a real railroad. :-)
Would the RH&D qualify as a model railway, then?
Reply to
Wolf
The Chicago layout (which in fact was originally built to "Q" scale/gauge - 1:48 with track at the correct gauge - and later the layout was converted to standard O scale) measured 50 feet by 60 feet. Allen's layout, as magnificent as it was, occupied maybe about half of that, with some considerable space consumed by aisles.
And, as it turns out, the layout was completed in 1941, so that John Allen's big railroad came after it.
formatting link

When a friend of mine uses his G scale equipment to assist in small excavation work in his garden (moving earth from point of digging to point of disposal), does it cease to become a model railroad and in fact become a mine tramway, because it is suddenly being used to accomplish useful work?
Such operations as the RH&D and a few others that I know of blur the line between model railroad and real railroad.
Reply to
gl4316
It might do in the US but in the UK the RH&D Rly has always been a *narrow gauge* railway, it's not a miniature railways and certainly not a model railway!
Reply to
:Jerry:
As a kid I rode on what is now the Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway (who also operate the North Bay Railway in Scarborough). They had battery- powered diesel outline locos, but they have gone back to live steam.
formatting link
Reply to
MartinS
I was under the impression that the equipment on the RH&D was built as scale miniatures of standard gauge equipment. If that is the case, then at least one aspect of the line (equipment modeled after a full size prototype) is something I would consider to be part of being a model railroad.
Actual narrow gauge equipment, particularly for such a small gauge as 15 inches, tends to have oversize cabs and overly tall passenger cars for the rail width. This is because the equipment was designed to be operated on such a small guage from the start, rather than being a scale model of something already operating on standard gauge.
Therefore, I would consider such narrow gauge operations as the Volk's Electric Railway a narrow gauge railway because it doens't operate scale model versions of standard gauge equipment, but was designed from the start to be exactly what it is. Several USA operations on 15 inch gauge that are scale miniatures of standard gauge equipment and provide no useful transportation besides riding around a park or zoo are in many ways large scale model railroads.
The RH&D blurs the lines between the two, in my opinion, because of the "scale" nature of the equipment (and please correct me if I am wrong) which makes it a model railroad, but provides useful transportation and has incorporated itself as a common carrier company.
I consider the zoo railroad in my own city in the same category. It operates on 30 inch gauge track, but some of the equipment are scale models of full size trains. The fact that people can still comfortably fit inside an approximately half-size replica of standard gauge equipment is a happy by-product: it is still a scale model of standard gauge. The fact that some conventional narrow gauge mining equipment is also in use and the fact that the line operates a special "railway post office" (the last surviving example of that in the USA) and that one can ride between two destinations and therefore have useful transportation provided help blur the line between "scale model" and "real railroad".
But, since there isn't a very good definition of just what exactly the difference is between a model railroad, miniature railroad and narrow gauge is, it is of course all a matter of opinion.
Reply to
gl4316
Well taking that rational it would mean that a 4mm scale model could be described as a real railway....
No, it's actually a matter of fact and regulation, at least here in the UK.
Reply to
:Jerry:

Site Timeline

PolyTech Forum website is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.