© 2017 Verryl Fosnight and Wyoming Division Historical Society. All right reserved. The Wyoming Division Historical Society Photo Page Modeling the Union Pacific from Cheyenne, Wyoming to Ogden, Utah. A Track Upper level of track plan in a 50 x 75 foot dedicated building. WYOMING DIVISION RAILROAD START HERE Click on icons listed below to enlarge photos and read additional track information.
The Union Pacific was the eastern part of the Transcontinental Railroad, the 1,907 mile long road built between 1863 and 1869 from Council Bluffs, Iowa from the western shore of the Missouri River west across Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, and California.  A principal reason was to connect the booming lands of Oregon and California, to further open the US interior to settlers, to maintain the US position on the Pacific, and to speed the overland route to the west over the Great American Prairie Desert, considered at that time unfit for habitation.  The actual start of the new Transcontinental Railroad was in Omaha, Nebraska.  There was no existing technology (steel construction was needed) to bridge this mighty river, so all people and goods were ferried across it to connect the tracks on either shore.  All the UP railroad supplies were also ferried.  Those for the eastward construction came around the Straits of Magellan to San Francisco, then east to the end of the Central Pacific.  This was an enormous construction project, and most work was done by hand and with horse drawn wagons.  There were few machines with steam engines in existence.  Blasting was done with black powder, as there was no dynamite, and the early trials with nitroglycerine proved too deadly.  It was the equivalent in the 1860’s of the Panama Canal (1904-1914) or the Apollo Moon program (Apollo 11, July, 1969).
B Track Roll of ¼” cork flooring underlayment on a vacuum hold down box for cutting with a razor knife.  A shop vacuum hose fits in the hole of the box that is glued and sealed except for the peg board top which holds the cork in place, IF the vinyl strip of flooring is used on top of the cork to prevent air from filtering through it.  There is a straight fence on the right hand edge to guide the knife.  Cork is cut with a square edge with a spacer to guide the knife, then the spacer is removed and the rectangular cross section piece 48” long is split on a sharp bevel much less than 45 degrees.  If you are careful the halves are interchangeable. Click on icons listed below to enlarge photos and read additional track information.
Early explorations to find a route.  Beginning as early at 1832 there was much controversy as to the route.  Theodore Judah, an early explorer and activist for a northern route lobbied for the “obvious best” route starting on the western shore of Missouri River to connect to the existing network of rails on the eastern shore to the eastern US and to build to the Platte River Valley and follow it to Wyoming and over a high, but broad “pass” in south eastern Wyoming over the Rocky Mountains.  The original name was Evans Pass after the Army surveyor who found it.  South Pass north near Casper, Wyoming, the preferred emigrant trail for the Oregon, Mormon, and California Trails, had a lower elevation, but was more steep in places, and followed more rugged canyons with sharper turns, and added 150 miles to the route, and it was about 150 miles farther from Denver.  Building east from Oakland to Sacramento would be the Western Pacific Railroad Company between Oakland and Sacramento, California (132 mi), the Central Pacific Railroad Company of California from Sacramento to Promontory Summit, Utah Territory (U.T.) (690 mi), and the Union Pacific Railroad Company westward to Promontory Summit from the road's statutory Eastern terminus at Council Bluffs on the eastern shore of the Missouri River opposite Omaha, Nebraska (1,085 mi).
WYOMING DIVISION RAILROAD NEXT STOP C Track Wycon Chemical west of the west Cheyenne industrial area with Plains Corp. (building supplies), City Coal and Ice (fictitious, but who is going to turn down Raymond Kukulski’s nifty model?), Puma Steel, and more.  These are all served by an intra-city local. Click on icons listed below to enlarge photos and read additional track information.
Authorization of construction was made by the Pacific Railroad Acts of 1862 and the more lucrative act of 1864, during the American Civil War when southern Democratic opposition in the Congress to the central route near the 42nd parallel was absent. The southern states naturally wanted a more southern route before the war.  Other railroads were also authorized under much the same terms. The Union Pacific Company was incorporated by act of Congress on July 1, 1862, under the Pacific Railroad Act of 1862, which provided for the construction of railroads from the Missouri River to the Pacific, and significantly included the requirement to build telegraph lines along the way to supplement the  first rapid coast to coast communication system, the 1861 Transcontinental Telegraph just completed.  The Central Pacific Rail Road of California" was incorporated in California 13 months before the UP.  On October 8, 1864, “Rail Road” was changed to "Railroad" after the 1864 Pacific Railway Act amendment passed that summer.
D Track This is the view looking across Cheyenne over to Laramie, center, and on to Sherman Hill on the right and Medicine Bow on the far left past Laramie.  Then the tracks continue west past the Hanna yard, and mines with the terrain foam awaiting the hard shell (after signal wiring is in. WYOMING DIVISION RAILROAD NEXT STOP Click on icons listed below to enlarge photos and read additional track information.
Funding.  The two newly incorporated railroad companies, the Union Pacific Railroad and Central Pacific Railroad, were chosen by Congress to build and operate the "Pacific Railroad" from the Missouri River at Council Bluffs to the San Francisco Bay paid for by issuance of 30-year 6% U.S. government bonds. Congress, in the middle of a war, set up an ambiguous Union Pacific corporate structure that provided only "spotty" oversight and corporate leadership. These ambiguities allowed the Union Pacific Company to be manipulated by some for extra profits as it was being built. The government backed bonds were to be issued at $16,000/mile for track laid at level grade, $32,000/mile for track laid in foothills and $48,000/mile for track laid in mountains. The two railroad companies sold similar amounts of company-backed bonds and stock.  In addition the railroads were granted 400- foot right-of-ways plus ten square miles of land for every mile of track built.  The railroads were allowed to sell this land on any terms for three years, but after that it was to be made available for the prevailing government price for homesteads of $1.25/acre.  If the 30 year bonds were not repaid all remaining railroad property was to revert to the government for disposal, but all bonds were repaid on time.  Besides railroads and spreading the telegraph system west, the Homestead Act was a social effect of the Transcontinental Railroad.  The Act was passed to promote the expansion west once the railroad was in place to serve new emigrants.
E Track More of Green River, and Westvaco siding and bagging track spur to the left.  Allen closely followed the prototype track plan here and in all the yards, scaled way down in size, of course. WYOMING DIVISION RAILROAD NEXT STOP Click on icons listed below to enlarge photos and read additional track information.
The men of the railroad.  Most of the engineers and surveyors who built the railroads were engineering  college or US Military Academy trained Union Army veterans who kept the trains running during the Civil War—either northern railroads or captured southern ones.  General John S. Casement was the first Chief Engineer of the UP, but was succeeded by Major General Grenville M. Dodge in December, 1866 after about 240 miles were built through the new railroad town of North Platte.  Casement continued as chief construction boss and his brother, Daniel, continued as financial officer.  In 1864, an English surveyor and engineer named James Evans working for the Army discovered a broad natural pass at about 8,200 feet elevation through the first range of the Rockies, the Laramie Mountains.  General Dodge in 1865 found what he called the “gangplank,” a narrow neck of land, a 15 mile long ridge, broad and fairly straight without much erosion that crossed the mountains extending up and west from Evans Pass. Dodge named it after his commanding officer during the war, General Sherman, as Sherman Hill.  At 8,247 feet (2,514 m), Evans/Sherman's pass is the highest point reached on the transcontinental railroad and was for decades the highest point on any railroad in the world.  That point is marked by the Ames Monument to the Ames Brothers who were instrumental in the early history of the UP and the Transcontinental Railroad.
F Track Here is the Echo yard and coal tower for Park City storage of cars from and to the east, since the Park City Local only goes west to Ogden.  The Park City Branch junction is the turnout in the foreground, and the Branch continues near the edge of the bench and dives under this layer on the end cap as seen in the last photo. WYOMING DIVISION RAILROAD NEXT STOP Click on icons listed below to enlarge photos and read additional track information.
The towns of the railroads.  After descending down the steep western side of Sherman Hill the UP built another railroad town, Laramie.  After Sherman Hill the UP was back down on “level” ground.  The average grade on the 220 miles from Omaha to Cheyenne was only about 15 feet/mile.  From Laramie to Evanston in west Wyoming Territory was a large “bowl” and nearly level.  The most significant construction problem was crossing the tiny Dale Creek in its deep canyon.  First there was a wood bridge, then an iron one, both about 650 feet long and 125 feet high, and had mile long cuts through granite hills on each approach.  In 1953 the creek was filled with the world’s largest land fill at that time, Dale Fill.  The original bridge and the iron one were a huge undertaking for 1867-8 and shortly thereafter, especially for crossing a creek that could be stepped over.  The towns out on the prairie that had maintenance facilities for the locomotives and trains were, Rawlins, Rock Springs, Green River and Evanston.  By the time the rails reached Evanston the grade had started to climb up the east side of the Wasatch Mountains, then past the summit near Wasatch, Utah the grade was steep down through Echo Canyon and after a sharp 90 degree turn at Echo, Utah on down the Weber River Canyon into Ogden.  The layout models all these “Hell on Wheels” towns and many more of the minor stops.
G Track BBQ at Verryl and Sharon’s home. WYOMING DIVISION RAILROAD NEXT STOP Click on icons listed below to enlarge photos and read additional track information.
Scenery on the layout. After holding operating sessions for 2 or 3 years, and fixing all the bugs to the DCC wiring, and after some minor changes and additions to the track plan, we added ABS signals (see next group of photos). Then after another few months of making sure that wiring was working properly, we were able at last to tackle scenery. These photos show the start of that work.
H Track This is the mountain between Granger and Evanston, Wyoming through which the two tunnels, Aspen (Tunnel #2, 6389 feet long on the prototype) and Altamont (#3, 6706 feet) are modeled. The HO tunnels are 14.6 feet long (Aspen, the right hand, inner portal), and 19.2 feet long (Altamont, the left hand, outer). WYOMING DIVISION RAILROAD NEXT STOP Click on icons listed below to enlarge photos and read additional track information. I Track "This is the crew that did nearly all of the signal installation work, Dennis Drury, Lenny Wyatt, and Allen Montgomery. I (Verryl) did the design work for the concept and the block layout with Allen's help on placing the block insulating plastic to bound the blocks. They are working the first day at Echo, so all three are together while Dennis teaches them how to wire each signal boards to its two blocks." WYOMING DIVISION RAILROAD NEXT STOP Click on icons listed below to enlarge photos and read additional track information.
ABS Signals on the layout. As the final wiring job on the layout, we designed and installed Automatic Block Signals (ABS) for the entire layout that will have scenery. The layout is double track, so operations are governed by Rule 251D for double track running with written track warrants. To streamline operations, the written track warrants are given as a list of destinations on a Train Order Sheet for each train. There are two separate articles on the Article tab pages that give detailed descriptions of both the signals and of the operating system.
J Track WYOMING DIVISION RAILROAD NEXT STOP Take a look at the new landscapes and buildings that have been added since February 2019, during the pandemic.  Begin your journey at the mailbox designed to resemble a locomotive. Click Here to View Photos