Interessengemeinschaft Modellbahn Kaarst eV


US-Layout / general


Model railway based on US model

IGM Kaarst, Deutschland

In 1999 a small group of IGM members who - up to that time like all of the members - had focused exclusively on the “Rheinisch-Bergisch” district of North Rhine-Westphalia, turned to the USA as their main area of interest and focus of work/activity. Therefore the group now – mockingly - was called “Outlaws”.

The “Outlaws” were partly inspired by travels abroad and particularly by their look at the layout “Slim & Short Guild” when visiting a model railroad exhibition.

The IGM model railroaders both work on the OUTLAWS CORNER layout in a separate part – the corner - of the clubhouse and continue working on our German layout together with the other members of the club.

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.
C&TSRR: narrow gauge – even in the 21st century steam-engines with observation cars are cruising the most beautiful mountain scenery on these tracks. It is a visitor`s must – not only for railfans who are travelling this part of the USA.

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.

This element ( Main Street) can be replaced by ones with a different design/shape.
So on this part of the layout you can also find a big auto repair shop with an adjacent meeting spot for bikers. Another layout element is dedicated to the theme “Ice Dock for reefers”, reefers which, for example, approach from the meatpacking factory “SWIFT´s” at the left side 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.

This track is frequented by engines and cars with both RP 25-wheels and NEM wheelsets. Rolling material came and comes from nearly all model railroad companies offering U.S. rolling stock.

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.

No longer is there any streamliner passenger train making a halt at OUTLAWS CORNER. Nevertheless, once in a while there is a Rock Island or Santa Fe doodle bug – or there is a Utah Railway local picking up or carrying a box car, a hopper for “Utah Crops”, or two reefers, refrigerator cars for the “Rio Grande Fruit Company” or “SWIFT´s”.

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 two, three or even four locomotives rumbling by, every now and then you will be able to hear a railfan shouting:


©Text: Horst E. Bischoff, Duesseldorf