The Sierra Western Railroad is designed and operated to emulate a real railroad. Although not based on any prototype railroad, where feasible, the SW is operated following real railroad practices and standards. Although we donít have TV sets in our box cars or grain in our covered hoppers, the railroad runs trains to serve itís customers as timely and effectively as possible.
Due to the modelerís severe lack of real-estate, four off layout staging areas are utilized to represent the rest of the world. East staging, Butte, and west staging, Boise, represent the ends on the Sierra Western main line. North staging, Cascade (ultimately Spokane), and south staging, May (ultimately Pocatello), represent the ends of the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific and the Union Pacific respectively.
Four large cities/towns and two smaller towns (Particular and Prospect Falls) are found along the SW main. From east to west trains pass through Summit, Prospect Falls, Wendover, Cimarron, Particular and Red Bluff. Summit is the start of a SW branch line to Mackay and a connection from there with the Union Pacific (to Pocatello). The UP has trackage rights, to Summit. Wendover is the start of a short branch to the town of Jackson Grove. Jackson Grove is itself a gateway to the mineral producing region of Furnace Creek (a staging area). Cimarron is the largest city on the road with a major classification yard and engine facility. North Cimarron, adjacent to Cimarron, is the terminus of the Milwaukee Road (x Elk River & Southern). Particular, the main portion of the town by-passed by a line relocation, is reached by a short spur. Itís quaint, multi- level passenger depot, is also served by the Milwaukee Road. Red Bluff is the third largest town on the layout.
Cimarron is the hub for nearly all the activity on the railroad. Two switch crews work here; one handles the freight work, the other the mail/passenger switching. Most division through freights stop here and are switched with cuts moved on and off. Local way-freights start and stop here as most of the on-line tonnage funnels through Cimarron. Likewise, through passenger/mail trains routinely have cars switched and several local passenger trains originate here. To the west of Cimarron, the line is double track and to the east is single track and the start of the mountain territory. Accordingly, drag freights swap out motive power at the engine facility.
North Cimarron has a yard and small engine facility. A resident switcher handles freight and passenger/mail switching duties. All Milwaukee Road through and local freights either originate or terminate here. Interchange runs to Cimarron of both freight traffic and mail cars occur as needed.
Wendover has a resident switcher that handles all local duties as well a scheduled mixed train to Jackson Grove. Way-freights stop here with cuts delivered or picked up as necessary. One or two sets of helper engines are based here to assist heavy trains up the grade. There is a yard and also a small engine facility.
The remainder of the towns along the line are served by locals and way-freights. There are roughly 30 trains a day across the division.
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