Design And Inspiration For The Layout

The lumber companies that operated in New Mexico during the territorial years and up to WW II practically destroyed the forests. At one point the Cibola was almost completely clear cut. The damage has taken a century to repair and is still ongoing in some areas. This did not occur in a vacuum. Unscrupulous businessmen, crude technology and insufficient over site from the Forestry Service and the Department of the Interior all combines to cause an environmental disaster.

I will not recount the entire tale but you can read it for yourself here:

This series of books were produced by the New Mexico Historical Society at the request of the Forestry Service. It is an objective publication with excellent research and documentation featuring lots of photographs and maps. A very good read for those interested in the politics and administrative side of logging railroads.

My garden railroad does not follow any of the companies as an exact model but rather takes inspiration from the era and the economy of Northwest New Mexico. Neither do I follow the roster of rolling stock or actual points on the line other than Albuquerque. The largest divergence of all is the gauge. Only the Zuni Mountain Railway Company was narrow gauge all the others were standard. I did borrow one person from history, George Breece, owner and operator of several of the lumber companies in New Mexico. Rumored to have been a first class bastard I think it would be more fair to say his business ethics were typical of  moguls in the era of unrestricted industry. He was therefore no different than Vanderbilt, Rockefeller or Carnegie. Which makes him the perfect character to be president of the Cibola Lumber and Mining Railroad Company, more on the people of my layout in another section.


Like most garden railroaders I have to work within the available space. So even though I have an entire acre of land only a small chunk is in the right location. Here is the track plan. It is only of working quality and not an exact drawing.


The solid black lines represent the mainline. It is a double track route which was rare in the narrow gauge railroads but I did it because I wanted to be able to run multiple trains simultaneously. Right now two trains of 30 feet (about 10 cars) can operate on each loop. I look at it at as the inner loop is the East bound line from Cibola to Albuquerque and the outer loop is the West bound line to Farmington. The black dashed loop is for the mine. It serves all three mine-heads and a yard containing the office, shops and stamp mill. This is the section that is track powered and has only 2′ radius curves. The red dashed line is the under construction branch line. With all of the moisture we have been getting I am having good luck at moving the dirt and rocks to install this loop.

Here are some pics of the layout from this past year.

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