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Great Model Railroads By Allen Keller Vol. # 13


Volume 13 - Gil Freitag's Stony Creek & Western
The Stony Creek & Western is the work of master structure builder, Gil Freitag. Gil has won many, many NMRA National Contests for his scratchbuilt creations, and you'll learn some of his successful techniques.

This Master Model Railroader believes in prototype operation. So the layout and equipment perform flawlessly on handlaid track. His Santa Fe and Denver & Rio Grande Western trains operate over and through beautifully colored Colorado scenery.

The HO scale SC&W has been changed, expanded and updated so many times that Gil has lost track. When a better idea for operation comes along Gil is never afraid to rip out entire sections and improve them. He's not afraid to try new aspects of the hobby including a computer that keeps track of all cars and generates switchlists.

Gil will show you how to build your own electro-magnetic uncoupling ramps, and how to make scenic landforms using sand instead of plaster.

The 26-year-old SC&W is a Great Model Railroad because of its superb operation, gorgeous scenery, and award-winning structures.

Howard is one of the partners in the Great Scale Train Shows, and he knows this hobby . . .from brass collecting to scratchbuilding. His skills as an industrial/architectural designer let him build a super-detailed city or landscape a gorgeous rural scene from a plan that's never put on paper.

This free form approach to the hobby has resulted in a railroad that is 3-D art. Structures, signals, and trees are selected and placed for color and aesthetic enhancement. Howard loves to share the hobby. He and his friends will show you techniques for building spline roadbed, maintaining locomotives, and painting a scene with ground cover. You'll also get a close-up explanation of the incredible amount of detail on this layout.

This Great Model Railroad is one of the hobby's landmark artistic achievements. It is one of the few layouts with such close attention to period detail.


By George Ardwin
Mr. GIL FREITAG is an NMRA member, and has achieved the MASTER MODEL RAILROADER status. He started while still in high school, and it has been a life long hobby. His wife even has her own large-scale layout in the backyard, PLUS there is a full size semaphore AND a wigwag crossing signal. Now, my friends, THAT is devotion to ones hobby.

Gil's STONY CREEK & WESTERN R.R. is HO scale and has SANTA FE and RIO GRANDE motive power. There are both steam and diesel locos, and they run on standard and narrow gauge track. The track is all hand laid.

The topography is located in Colorado, so a LOT of mountains are involved. The time line appears to be around 1960 or so. It wasn't mentioned, but I guessed at it from the vehicles on the roads. I'm also guessing that the season is summer.

The backgrounds included some beautiful mountain and sky scenes. The structures are mostly scratchbuilt and Gil has won many awards from entering them in competition. Everything is pretty well weathered. The scenery is hard shell, painted with acrylic paints.

This layout is located on the second floor and covers an area of 28 X 45 feet. As his children grew up and left the house, Gil had extra room to expand. He also mentioned that he is not afraid to take out complete sections of the layout, and rebuild it to suit the needs of the day.

I might also mention that the late great JOHN ALLEN was a friend of Gil's and helped to influence him and what he wanted to do with his trains.

A computer is used to make up switch list.

Here are the demos shown:

It is AMAZING how different we are in our lives, and how we build are layouts. The MAIN THING is IT'S FUN.

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