Dave Stanley - Morada Belt
Featured in the January 2014 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman, the Morada Belt Railway is a freelanced HO railroad based in the west during the 1950s. Used by the four major carriers of the day (SP-WP-ATSF-UP) to reroute traffic when their own lines are congested, the MB Ry also hosts a variety of trackage right carriers (usually two per session) so an occasional local freight from the Central California Traction Co. or, perhaps, the Milwaukee Road may make an appearance during an operating day.
Housed in a separate 20x28 building, the layout is constructed on both two and three levels, connected by three single-loop helixes (blended into the scenery) providing a grade not exceeding 2.5% with a minimum mainline radius of 30 inches. The railroad was designed as a point to loop railroad due to space limitations but is run as a point to point operation (Palisade/Stockton staging yard to Morada classification yard). A separate yard (Junction City) is used by trackage right carriers to interchange with the "big four." A branch line, plus a quarry, cement plant, produce district, and lumber mill, all located on the main line, provide ample industry work for local freights dispatched from Morada Yard. The railroad is virtually completed with just a few structures to add.
Operating sessions require a train dispatcher (TWC-type train orders, transmitted by FRS radios), two yard engines at Morada Yard, one operator/switch engine at Junction City, and up to four mainline crews. Easy DCC is our operating system and sessions normally last all day. All mainline and yard turnouts are Tortoise-powered while branch line switches are push-pull using Blue Point machines. Aisle space is somewhat limited so five guest-operators plus my "coaches" will fill the room. We are not able to accommodate walkers or wheelchairs due to aisle width.