Photos by Dale Dewitt
Herb’s Cordite & Flatriver is a freelance 3-foot narrow-gauge and standard-gauge HO scale model railroad set in the beautiful Colorado Mountains. The standard gauge line models a bridge route through the Rockies used by several class 1’s via trackage rights. It has a “dog bone” configuration with a hidden reversing loop and four-track staging yard for made-up East-West trains. The standard-gauge line joins the narrow-gauge at Flatriver.
The narrow-gauge line climbs the Rockies via a scratchbuilt Georgetown Loop Devil’s Gate Bridge to reach the rich gold mining area. The railroad uses several switchbacks to get to the mines above the town of Cordite. A wye beyond Cordite is used to turn engines for the return trip down. There is also a branch line to the Red Mountain mining district located in the entry room.
The logging base camp contains a sawmill, office, repair shop, and a turntable. Dual-gauge trackage connects the sawmill to the standard-gauge railroad. The route to the logging camps crosses a seven-foot long curved trestle, several other bridges, and switchbacks. The logging area uses a high line to pull logs to the railhead.
The lumber and ore are taken out of the mountains to the Flatriver yard which contains a dual-gauge transfer crane, a transfer shed, and warehouse with sidings on both sides for narrow-gauge to standard-gauge transfer. There are also passenger stations and servicing facilities for both gauges.
The beauty of the Rocky Mountains is recreated with scenery that reaches from knee-level to above eye-level. The layout is 30’x18’ and uses Digitrax Digital Command Control. The trains operate on handlaid code 70 rail for the standard-gauge, and code 55 rail for the narrow-gauge. The exquisite backdrop was painted by the famous local artist Greg Gray and ties the various scenes together.