Missouri Central Railroad
(HO Scale layout)

The model Missouri Central Railroad is actually an HO scale model railroad layout in my basement. The layout was originally built by my father in 1975, and has received several facelifts over the past 30 years. Through this time, it has been a constant source of enjoyment for the great hobby of Model Railroading, and provided a terrific learning tool for various hobby activities.

Due to time and basement space constraints, the layout has not physically grown past its small borders yet. However, what initially was a simple HO scale train layout has evolved (with a lot of "imagineering") into a small piece of a bigger transportation system, as detailed under "Prototype Considerations".

Layout Details

The layout sits on a 4' x 6' sheet of plywood which is atop a sturdy wooden cross-frame. The table legs consist of 2" x 4" studs at each corner. A wooden control panel was also created and is attached to the front of the layout, supported by two more legs. The table legs and control panel are held onto the main framework by bolts, allowing the layout to be easily taken apart should it ever need to be moved.

Electrical power to the layout is handled through two Model Rectifier Corporation Ampack power packs, along with Atlas turnout switches and a block controller switch. Trackwork consists of standard Atlas sectional track and Snap Switches. Although the layout originally had all brass trackwork, it is slowly being replaced by nickel silver track as time permits.

The structures on the layout have varied over the years, but have been mostly plastic model kits with the occasional Campbell Scale Models kit in there too. Right now the majority of the buildings are from either Design Preservation Models or the Walthers Cornerstone kits. Scenery materials are almost exclusively from Woodland Scenics, with a goodly amount of their ground foam products providing the grass and weeds. Old 1/16" floor tile was used to make the roads, which have many cars on them from Con-Cor, Herpa, Monogram, and Bachmann.

Like most model railroaders, I have far more railroad locomotives and cars than will fit on the layout at once. Most of the cars and diesels are by Athearn, but there are a number of Model Die Casting cars and all sorts of oddball diesels I have stored away. Steam locomotives are by a variety of companies including Broadway Limited, Mantua, IHC, and Rivarossi.

Prototype Considerations

Sometime in the 1980's, I named the layout the "Missouri Central Railroad", and started lettering some locomotives and cars for the new railroad. I decided that the Missouri Central would be loosely based on the old Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific line across Missouri from St. Louis to Kansas City (the "St. Louis Subdivision"). This line had mostly been abandoned after the Rock folded in 1980, except for the easternmost portion (which went to the Cotton Belt, and today is run by the Central Midland Railway).

The Missouri Central interchanges traffic (in theory) with the Union Pacific in Kansas City or St. Louis. Because of the era, some UP and C&NW locomotives may show up on the Grafton Turn too.

The City of Grafton

The layout is set in 1995 and represents the fictional town of Grafton, Missouri, which is located somewhere in mid-Missouri near the real town of Freeburg. I have tried to use Grafton to capture some of the essence of the many small towns in Missouri (not easy to do in 4 x 6 feet!). Grafton even has its own city web site, which I made for fun and use for web testing and development. Just click on the highway sign above to go to it.

Some photographs of the town are shown below!

Around Town
A view looking towards Main Street.
This picture of the layout provides a better view of Main St. in Grafton (older photo).
The Christmas Tree that is placed in the city park every year. (Yes, some of the "leaves" have come off over the years!)
This picture of the layout is from a few years ago. Can you spot the differences between this picture and the one at the top of the page?


Last modified: October 6, 2007