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Castle Rock and Pacific Railroad (HO)

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    Castle Rock and Pacific Railroad (HO)

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    Welcome To The
    Castle Rock & Pacific
    Railroad Company

    The new Castle Rock and Pacific Railroad Company is a 2500 sq.ft. "L" shaped HO scale, proto-freelance model railroad constructed on two levels. The mainline operates as an ATSF and D&RGW Joint Line from Castle Rock, Colorado to
    Galveston, Texas. There are branch lines supporting connections to the MKT and NdeM as well as an active interchange with other east/west railroads. Towns along the line from Castle Rock to Galveston include (in order) Carbon, CO;
    Trinidad/Marble, CO; Santa Rosa, NM; Melrose, NM; Mule Shoe, TX; Sweetwater, TX; Tuscola, TX; Indian Gap, TX and River Oaks; TX. The MKT has trackage rights from Galveston to Sweetwater where it joins MKT home road rails. The NdeM operates a mixed train daily from Galveston to River Oaks where it leaves CTC and continues in dark (unsignaled) territory to Brownsville, TX and across the Rio Grande to Matamoros, Mexico.

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    This image shows the basic route of the Castle rock and Pacific with rail served population centers indicated by "stars" and "small circles". Obviously there is a lot of modeler's license and compression involved.

    There are double ended, staging yards at each end of the point-to-point railroad. A separate “sneak track” joins the two staging yards to support continuous running for open house events. Castle Rock and Galveston each support major, double ended, classification yards with capacities of 173 and 202 cars respectively.

    Construction began in the spring of 2016 with basement preparation including the installation of wall studs, suspended ceiling and some drywall & carpet. Construction of the railroad began in October of 2016. The first train traversed the entire mainline in the Fall of 2018. Built with operations in mind, the Castle Rock & Pacific hosted its first operating session in January of 2019

    Every railroad needs a reason to exist. The Castle Rock and Pacific is no different than the rest…

    The Castle Rock & Pacific was conceived to support the U. S. Navy's Top Secret Project X-Ray in the early years of WWII.

    Bats were equipped with incendiary devices and released from bombers in aerodynamic cages fitted with barometric locks. As the "bat bombs" neared their targets, the doors were opened releasing the deadly bats. The bats would then roost under the eaves of enemy buildings. When the timers on the incendiary devices expired, the flames would set the bats free while simultaneously starting fires on the roofs of enemy structures.

    The Castle Rock & Pacific Railroad was originated as a covert means of transporting the bats from the mountain caves in Colorado to the secret test site of Project X-Ray.

    Project X-Ray, though successful, was never deployed; however, the Castle Rock & Pacific survived not as a bat hauler but as a guano hauler. The bat guano, high in nitrates, was found to be useful in the manufacture of high explosives during the conflict and was later used in high quality fertilizers during post war recovery.

    The Castle Rock & Pacific has been in high cotton and deep shit ever since...

    On the model railroad, the Castle Rock and Pacific (reporting marks = CRAP, rather appropriate for a guano hauler don't you think?) was only a short line interchange with the larger Santa Fe and Denver & Rio Grande Joint Line from Castle Rock, Colorado to Galveston, Texas. Eventually the C.R.A.P. got swallowed up by the larger railroads though some lingering evidence of its existence remains. Major industrial themes are the livestock, mining and textile industries. Many other industries are present and more will appear as real estate and trackage allow. The era is a rather broad and loose representation of the late steam period.

    When complete the railroad will include over 2500’ of track. Track is mainly Atlas code 100 and PECO turnouts. Minimum mainline radius is 30” on the mainline and slightly tighter in some cramped industrial areas. There are currently about 40 locomotives and 500 cars on the railroad. Train control is via NCE wireless throttles using an NCE command station/booster interfaced with nine additional Digitrax boosters. Track detection, turnout control and CTC signaling are done by a standalone Digitrax LocoNet using SE8cs and BDL168s interfaced with JMRI/ CATS. Dispatching is via JMRI/CATS displayed on dual monitors. Communications between crews and dispatcher are via ten station, simplex, telephone style intercom. Crew calls between dispatcher and crew lounge are passed through Alexa. Traffic management and switch lists are generated by JMRI/OperationsPro. Four hour Operating sessions are run end to end with the next session starting where the last session ended. A full crew includes one dispatcher, two yardmasters, three yard engineers and up to eight train crews. Operations are usually held monthly on the second Saturday of the month.

    Note: Yes, project X-Ray was real. See: Bat Bomb

    I will make additional posts here but you can also read the history and track current activity on the Castle Rock and Pacific by following our blog here: Castle Rock and Pacific Blog

    Room and Track Plan Overview:
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    This cut-away graphic show the general layout of the new Castle Rock and Pacific. The crew lounge is in the lower right. Castle Rock Classification Yard is on the lower level, foreground center. The peninsula cross the aisle from the Castle Rock Classification Yard hosts Castle Rock Staging Yard on the near side and Galveston Staging Yard on the far side of the lower level. These two yards differ in elevation so that their return loops, at the the end of the peninsula, can be stacked one on top of the other. Galveston Classification Yard is on the lower level on the upper left. The single level portion of the railroad directly across the aisle from the Galveston Staging Yard in the center of the image hosts the dark branch line to Brownsville, TX and Matamoros, Mexico. The doorway to the right of that single level area is the door to the dispatcher's office.

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    The lower level track plan shown above is flipped 180 degrees from the cutaway above. You can see both staging yards on opposite sides of the center peninsula. Castle Rock Classification Yard is top center. Galveston Staging Yard is on the right. Crew lounge is upper left. The peninsula on the left is a two turn no-lix leading to the upper level. The double track circle in the middle bottom is a 6 loop helix connecting the two levels. The area just above the helix is Brownsville, TX and to the left of that is Matamoros, Mexico. Other than the various yards, most of the lower level is occupied by the industries of Galveston and Castle Rock cities. On the peninsula sticking up from the bottom, the left side hosts the Galveston Causeway Bridge. The right side is the Galveston Wharf area.

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    The upper level of the Castle Rock an Pacific overlays to lower level but the operating shelf is no as wide. This allow a tall operator, like me, to stand close to the fascia and still be able to see all the way to the back of the lower level below. There are no yards on the upper level. It is mainly open country passing through several small rail served towns. Only Brownsville, TX and Matamoros, Mexico are not overlaid by upper level railroad. In addition, there is no backdrop in the area of the no-lix so that operators sitting in the crew lounge waiting for their next train can watch the action.
    Last edited by Dave C; 11-27-2021, 12:04 PM.
    Dave C
    Franktown, CO
    Castle Rock & Pacific Blog



      Dave, welcome to RMR.
      I'm glad to see that you've created a build thread for your layout, it's always nice to see what others are up to and see were the updates to the layout have occured.
      Having had the pleasure to play on your layout a few years ago, it'll be nice to see update here and on your blog as well.
      The Little Rock Line Blog


        There has been an update to the Castle rock and Pacific blog titled, "Operations and more Scenery".
        The link to the current page is:
        This post to the blog features highlights from October and December operating sessions, discusses and demonstrates the progress you can make when setting aside time for some scenery work and also illustrates some progress made on structures for the Trinidad mining area. The example below is Matamoros, Mexico. Similar changes were made in Brownsville, TX. See the blog for similar photos of Brownsville.

        FROM THIS...
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        TO THIS...
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        Last edited by Dave C; 12-30-2021, 07:00 AM.
        Dave C
        Franktown, CO
        Castle Rock & Pacific Blog


          Holy smokes Dave! That's a major change! Matamoros looks great!
          You and Kathy make a good team!
          Thanks for the update! Heading to blog now.
          The Little Rock Line Blog


            Boy, that looks really nice. Love the saw-tooth windows on top that brick structure. I'll see ya at the blog Allen.
            HO Scale


            • Dave C
              Dave C commented
              Editing a comment
              Michael, the whole structure came from our scrap box. I told Kathy that we needed a fairly large industry to fit this location and suggested an "L" shape. I also made an off hand comment about a sawtooth roof line. The next day she had fabricated the roof out of sheet styrene and windows from the scrap box. If you aren't familiar with "Bimbo", it is the largest bakery in the world with HQ in Mexico in Mexico City, Mexico. Many products that you may be familiar with like "Sara Lee", "Wonder", "Orowheat" and others are Bimbo products.

            Very nice, Dave!
            Paul Schmidt


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              I have just published a new blog entry for the Castle Rock and Pacific Railroad. The main topic in this post discusses the need for an updated Operation Plan. The C.R.A.P. is a large railroad. The railroad is built with operation in mind. There are more than 40 trains on the daily schedule. Our old Operation Plan was 3 years old and created when we first began operations. Many new towns and industries have been added since then - we needed a new plan!

              The remainder of the post addresses current expansion projects of scenery, structures and track. Photos work well here for documentation.

              The last portion is a collection of photos taken by our chief dispatcher, Detlef Kurpanek. During our mid-session break, Detlef goes snooping and railfanning. I think you will enjoy his images. Here is a sample of his work:

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              The Ice Cream shop in Matamoros, MX was constructed and detailed by my wife Kathy. The factory in the background was constructed from our junk box - also by Kathy.

              If you want to see more go here:

              Dave C
              Franktown, CO
              Castle Rock & Pacific Blog


                Man, Dave, that is some nice scenery! A great setting for a 40 (!) train schedule.

                Thanks for the update. That's a nice blog you have created.
                Last edited by Paul S.; 03-07-2022, 07:07 PM.
                Paul Schmidt