photos by Dale DeWitt
Jerry created this freelance N scale model railroad which was 10 years in the building. The Great Empire layout is an enormous 22’x46′ with a 17’x6’ addition that serves as the passenger/freight yard. The double-track mainline is a scale 15 miles in length and the curves are a broad 30” and 36” radius. The layout is surrounded on three sides by mountains reaching a height of 6 feet. There are 18 tunnels, a snow shed and over 7,200 trees on these mountains. The design criteria for this layout was refined through a succession of three previous layouts. The layout is DC powered with the capability of switching to DCC control.
Jerry loves to watch prototypical length trains that normally run from 70 to 80 cars with an occasional 120 car train! To support these enormous trains, the layout has four yards with a total of 1,100 car capacity, four roundhouses, and a massive reserve of freight cars. The Great Empire operates a total of 380 ore cars that shuttle to and from the 26-foot long ore dock equipped with 27 loading shuts on each side. The demand for electricity is addressed with 137 Wisconsin Electric bathtub gondolas transporting coal. Grain is another high-traffic commodity servicing three grain elevators, one of which is a 16’x24′ 15-silo complex scratchbuilt by Jerry. Import traffic is addressed by 70 double-stack cars and over 700 containers.
This layout truly is Jerry’s Great Empire and a beautiful one at that!