IGM Kaarst, Deutschland
IGM Kaarst, a community of interest engaged in model railroading, is known through (inter)national model railroad exhibitions for its large modular layout based on a German model. The layout echoes the two major districts of North Rhine-Westphalia called “Niederrhein” and “Bergisches Land”.
Six years ago, a small group of IGM Kaarst club members started focussing on the United States of America as a subject matter, partly influenced by travels abroad and, last but not least, by inspiration coming from the model railroad layout ”Slim & Short Guild”. The model railroaders are now both occupied with OUTLAWS CORNER and continue their work on the German layout together with the other club members.
The “Outlaws” have picked the 1960s as a temporal setting for the US layout, which was a time when, unlike today, the North American railroad had not been subject to many fusions and, accordingly, was not controlled by only four or five major companies. What makes the 1960s especially attractive is the fact that during that period the trains were still composed of many different and multi-colored types of railroad cars. There were not yet these pretty uniform, predominantly “unit trains”, consisting of double stack container cars, tank cars, or coal hoppers.
The friends of the South-West came across the track system of Chama in
the North of New Mexico and decided to take it as a model for the OUTLAWS
CORNER track layout. Chama is a depot on the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic
Railroad leading to Antonito, Colorado.
OUTLAWS CORNER is a segment layout consisting of unnormed parts from 1.00 to 1.50 meters in length, each with a depth of up to 60 centimeters. For about 8.50 meters, the double-track main railroad line slightly winds through the industrial area of OUTLAWS CORNER in the show-case styled front part, passing under a bridge - the city`s Main Street being located at the right edge of the layout.
There are some sidings that branch off the main railroad line, providing routes to industrial areas and an ore mine. On the left hand side of the layout the main line appears out of a Colorado/Arizona rock tunnel to disappear again between the red rocks of Utah on the right hand side, leading towards the rear and hidden part of the oval layout. This is the place where the trains are made up in a fiddle yard and put on the track in both directions. Afterwards the trains can be directed from behind or in front of the layout by a manual gear – they can be run either analogly or digitally. The track material is by PECO, Code 75.
OUTLAWS CORNER is a fictitious small town close to Four Corners, an area in the South- West of the United States where the four states Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah meet at a common boundary stone. The surroundings of OUTLAWS CORNER are marked by the scenic characteristics of all four states, by the red rocks of Utah, the dry and dust-laden Arizona desert ground with its Saguaro cactuses, and the fresh green of both Colorado and the North of New Mexico, whose mountains are gleaming bluishly in the distance - far beyond the vast, yellowish-green prairies.
OUTLAWS CORNER with its typically American fronts of row houses in Main
Street - once a colorful and vivid town in the wild South-West - has turned
into a small place of minor importance aside one of the major railroad
tracks that are crossing the states of the West. Union Pacific-, Denver
& Rio Grande Western -, Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe -, Southern
Pacific – Railroad – many an engineer hardly ever notices
OUTLAWS CORNER. Its small industrial area along the tracks outside the
town or the beer jars on the shelves of the Main Street saloons are frequently
caused to tremble due to the long freight trains that are slowly passing,
rumbling through the city day by day.
OUTLAWS CORNER, unlike many cities that used to be crowded during the period of the great cattle trails, is not a ghost town. It attracts railfans from all over the world during any season of the year. “Chuck Wagon”, a restaurant located in the red rocks high above OUTLAWS CORNER Main Street, is the railfans` favorite place for a get-together and an excellent view point. Their cameras do not stop clicking here while the long and multi-colored trains are showing up from East or West, passing nearly without making a halt, and, despite the sound of three or four locomotives rumbling by, every now and then you will be able to hear a railfan shouting:
“(MODEL) RAILROADING IS FUN!”