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Ralph Alexander's Wyoming and North Western  (N Scale)

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Mica Tipple Mica Crossing Tunnel at Mica Crossing Above Mica Mine Mica Trestle When I was in my early teens, my parents took me along for a visit to their friendís home in Levittown, New York for a pre-Christmas party.  What I believed would be a very boring evening actually turned out to be the inspiration that started me on my way to become a model railroader.  To my surprise there was a small HO layout at the home we visited, which got my undivided attention for the rest of the evening.  Our host was so taken by my enthusiasm that he arranged for some of his surplus rolling stock and track to find its way under our Christmas tree.  Although I was overjoyed by the gift, it did present me with a problem.  How was I going to start building my railroad?  It seemed the first thing I needed was a platform to build it on.  It just happened that there was some highway construction going on several miles away.  I was sure that there would be some old sheets of plywood lying around that werenít needed any longer.  Since there was about a foot of snow on the ground and no one working at the site there was also nobody to ask if my assumption was correct.  So with the help of my sled I managed to bring home my sheet of plywood and began building my first layout, and yes every kid in the northeast has a sled. 

After leaving New York to join the Air Force I had a long absence from model railroading due to various reasons.  Then one year, now residing in San Antonio, I learned of the growing interest and availability of N-scale models.  Since I had a limited amount of space available and had wanted to get back into model railroading I began building a small layout.  After moving to a new house, my layout found a home in the corner of the garage where it remained never to be reassembled.  Again family and a young business took priority over modeling.

It was around 2000 when I stumbled across a small neighborhood hobby shop.  I was so intrigued with advances in technology that I had to find a way to start building another layout.  After convincing my wife to allow me the use of a portion of a spare room which was mostly used for storing craft supplies, the construction of the next N-scale layout began.  It wasnít long before I became dissatisfied with the layout and it seemed the only solution was to take over the entire room.  After some bargaining and a promise to build some storage cabinets in the garage for all the craft supplies, permission was granted to build layout #3.

Construction moved along slowly for about seven years.  That year I became a member of SAMRA and after admiring the quality of the club layout I quickly became discouraged with mine.  At the same time I became more and more interested in operations and was fortunate to be able to take part in an ďOperations 101Ē clinic held at Tom Crosthwait's Mogollon & Southwestern Railroad.  I was so impressed with Tomís layout and operating sessions that it sent me straight to the drawing board.  And so began the design phase of layout #4.

I knew my new layout required a lot of industry to provide me with the ability to run interesting operations.  After seeing Tomís shelf layout, I decided that was exactly what I needed to maximize the use of my limited available space.  The next thing to decide was what era and location should I model my railroad after.  The first part was easy, considering I wanted to have both steam and diesel locomotives on my railroad, the transition era of the 1940ís and 1950ís was the only fit. I wanted to have a great deal of latitude in selecting the industries and the terrain I would model.  Therefore, I decided to build a fictitious railroad located somewhere in the northwest.  All I needed now was to come up with some names to use for my fictitious towns on my railroad. It is no secret to those who know me that for more than 20 years I have spent extended visits to Grand Teton National Park in western Wyoming.  I decided to use the names of some of the many glacial lakes located in the park for various locations on my railroad.  Finally I decided to name my railroad the Wyoming and North Western and along with my other name selections, it will always remind me of my favorite vacation spot.

Construction began by building my first helix.  Rigid testing followed to make sure the helix functioned flawlessly.  Had this not been successful there would be no reason to continue with the construction of the layout since the helix was the vital component to connect the two levels.  At this time track work on the upper level and the island that contains the helix is complete.  Also electrical panels that control the tortoise switch machines under the completed track are fully functional.  Because I want this layout to be of a quality I can be completely satisfied with, I am moving slowly with the Scenery while getting a lot of good advice from the many expert modelers at SAMRA.  I hope to share my progress by updating this web site periodically as more of my railroad is completed.