VIRGINIA Nn3 Pictures and Article by John Paganoni, MMR
The layout is a modular/sectional representation of the Colorado high
country in the early 1950s. The intent of the modular/sectional
approach in Nn3 is to show narrow-gauge railroading as it was in
real-life--one track of narrow gauge crossing the countryside between
towns and rural areas.
The narrow-gauge railroad line provides a whistle stop to people living
in the vicinity of Rocky Flats, and serves the Denver and Rio Grande
freight house in Thompson Valley, and the Silver King Consolidation
Mine in the town of Silver Springs. These are not real locations, but
create the feel of the narrow-gauge country in the Colorado mountains
traversed by the Denver and Rio Grande and the Rio Grande Southern in
the mid-20th century. The river meandering on one side of the
layout, with the railroad following its curves, shows how such features
add interest in the linear world of portable model railroads, something
also enhanced by viewing trains cross three bridges over the river. The
scale also enables the addition of grades, such as to the mine, within
a reasonable distance.
This layout truly captures the essence of the Colorado High Country
both in the spectacular rocky terrain and the sparse high desert
vegetation. Looking down on this modular model railroad allows one to
visualize what it would be like flying over this part of the country at
about 400 feet in the early 1950’s! The use of Nn3 trackage and small
scale period steam locomotives pulling passenger and freight cars of
the same era makes this comparison possible. Everything blends together
just as the prototype would in the golden years of railroading.
Modules on display were built by Marc Sisk, John Drye, and Jim
LaBaugh. This portable layout is part of the Nn3 Division of
Northern Virginia NTRAK.
If you have not seen this layout and get another opportunity to do so,
do not pass it up!