Club Layout Visit To Erich Dokoupil

[singlepic id=266 w=300 h=233 float=right]On Sunday March 1st, the members of Emrig were kindly invited to see another model train enthusiasts home layout. This time it was the amazing HO Scale, Union Pacific empire of Erich Dokoupil. Erich explained that this is his sixth or seventh layout that he is in the process of building and that the progress he has made to the current layout so far has taken him approximately seven years to complete.

The layout is on two levels connected by a helix at each end to give a continuous run on a double main line in a train room that measures approximately ten meters by four meters. Erich is a true fan of the Union Pacific and gave the club members a small introductory talk about the history of the Union Pacific and in particular, the small area of the Union Pacific’s vast network that he has chosen to replicate. The top level is prototypical and features the Union Pacific Yard in Cheyenne Wyoming. The time period that Erich has modelled spreads over the 1950’s and 1960’s so the transition from the Giant steam locomotives to the first generation diesel locomotives is clearly evident.

Cheyenne was a crucial hub of the Union Pacific for freight crossing the continent and in its time housed one of Union Pacific’s largest steam locomotive repair and service facilities at the time. While we were there, Erich had four long freight trains running at one time, and needless to say, the trains ran flawlessly. The layout is controlled by a Digitrax system with DT400 throttles plugged in to control the locomotives. Equally impressive were the numerous train display cases on show in the pub adjacent to the train room that were filled with a huge collection of Union Pacific steam and diesel locomotives, young and old.

[singlepic id=267 w=300 h=233 float=right]Erich mentioned that the equally large and impressive lower level is free lanced. It was closed in at one point and was intended to serve as hidden staging. Erich found that the trains were therefore out of sight for too long while on this level and in the two large radius three to four turn helices, hence the decision to open it up and add lighting. There is still much scenery to be done on the lower level but this will come in time. The advantage of this lower level being open and well lit is that additional trains can be parked and staged in the open for future moves.

Apart from the two big yards positioned one above the other, the trains make their way through impressive country and mountain regions before cleverly moving out off sight as they go into the helices to make their way to the other level.

A visit to see a layout such as this one is an inspiration to start a layout of ones own, or to get back to work on an existing layout that has been standing idle for too long. A big thank you goes out to Erich from the members who attended the visit on the day.