The Great Lakes & Western Railroad captures the essence of railroading  in the American West in HO Scale. The imaginary route of the GL&W  runs from Superior, Wisconsin to Salt Lake City where separate lines continue on to San Francisco and Seattle. This route permits us to model an incredibly diverse array of scenery and industries including the largest HO scale model of an oil refinery in the world. Virtually every scene and structure is based on a prototype. The prototype information and modeling plans are kept in a permanent construction log.

The current incarnation of the GL&W has been under construction for more  than thirty years at its present location. The layout is about 2,000  square feet and features almost 800 feet of mainline.  As of the first of 2007 the whole layout has been DCC operating with hand held radio controlled throttles or smart phones. We have no duck-unders or fixed mainline throttle positions, so mainline engineers follow their trains around the layout, simulating the closest thing to a real cab ride that a model railroad has to offer.

For our current system we are using Railroad & Co. software with detection for train control. The mainline is completely signaled so the dispatcher can select the route on the computer and advise the train crew to proceed as indicated by the signals. We also use JMRI for locomotive programming and with Wi-Fi so smart phones can be used as throttles. For our transition era (1940s, 50s, 60s, and early 70s) operating sessions we do not use the computer except for the Wi-Fi throttles. Track authority is by Timetable and Train orders and the signals are not used or are used in an advisory manner. Hand held radios are used in situations where the train crew communicates directly with the dispatcher. This is model railroading the way real railroads do it both past and present.

What follows is a map of the Los Angeles Model Railroad Society's Great Lakes & Western Railroad.


Click map to enlarge