Jim La Baugh's N-Scale Narrow Gauge

August 11, 2018

Jim La Baugh's N-Scale Narrow GaugeJim La Baugh's N-Scale Narrow GaugeJim La Baugh's N-Scale Narrow GaugeJim La Baugh's N-Scale Narrow Gauge

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!