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Jack Tingstad
Cloud City & Western

The present pike has over two hundred feet of mainline with a 10 staging track extension in the crew lounge and 7 hidden tracks in the layout room, 20 tunnel portals, a two turn helix, and 21 lift out sections to access all hidden track. The layout is a one man effort; from track plan (with a few hints from John Armstrong and others), to preparing the room once it was empty, to painting the backdrop, to wiring for straight DC (later converted to DCC), to bench work, to laying track, to finished scenery. Some structures are scratch built with the Crystal River Mine and the station at Tennessee Pass being board-by-board construction and the station at Glenwood Springs constructed with sheet embossed materials using original photos and site plans.

The Cloud City and Western is a fictitious railroad set in the early 1900's connecting Glenwood Springs, Colorado on the west with Salida, Colorado on the east. The line was built to service the silver mines in central Colorado. Tennessee Pass, Mount Massive and Glenwood Canyon are some of the scenic features on this line. It ran through many of the same cities and had connections to the D & RG Western, Colorado Midland, Colorado Southern, Denver and South Park, and Durango and Silverton. Much of the equipment was bought or leased from any one of these roads.

The line derives its name from Leadville, Colorado, which is known to locals as "Cloud City". Leadville is modeled as the classification yard which receives loads from the mines and disperses loads to Ibex and Gunnison and routes empties back to the mines. In addition, an ice house, cattle pen, meat packing plant, team racks, and freight houses afford a goodly amount of switching during operating sessions. There is also some passenger traffic to move the miners to and from work and take town folk to visit relatives.

Published sources: RMC July 2004; RMC June 2009; Model Railroad Hobbyist May 2011 (photos).
Basic information:
A. Scale:HO
B. DC or DCC: Radio Digitrax DCC
C. Dispatching/control method: Scenarios
D. Car control: Switchlists
E. Mainline: 225', 17 tracks of staging
F. Room size: 12' X 21' + 12' X 3'
G. Percent sceniced: 100%
H. Handicap accessibility: full
I. Maximum number of guest operators: 6
J. Minimum number of guest operators: 4