photos by Dale DeWitt
Patrick brings first-hand railroad experience to model railroading. During college, he worked for the Cotton Belt Railroad holding three different positions: Switchman, Engine Foreman, and Yard Master. His firsthand knowledge permitted him to design towns, and the sidings that served them, in a realistic manner. There are no switching puzzles on this railroad!
Patrick’s HO scale Cotton Belt is a point-to-point railroad designed for operation. The yard represents Jonesboro, Arkansas with hidden “East St. Louis” staging behind the yard. There are two additional staging yards, one to the south representing Pine Bluff, Arkansas and the other to the east for Memphis, Tennessee. The layout has a 455’ mainline on one level with benchwork heights ranging from 54” to 60”.
The towns and cities feature realistic scratchbuilt and kitbashed structures. The modeled firms vary in size and generate demand from 1 to 50 cars per day. This provides sufficient work for the train crews and plenty of demand for the 660 cars and 55-60 locomotives that populate the railroad.
The layout operates using both plug-in and radio throttles. A crew of eight operators, using general railroad practices, apply them to model railroad operations. The railroad operates using a Dispatcher who directs the movement of all trains. You can learn more about how to implement an operations plan for your railroad on our website.