Powell is pleasant little town, population about 5,200 people today. For years I thought about retiring there, as my grandfather did, but over the last twenty years or so Powell has actually suffered something of a suburban "blight," wherein there are a lot of homes on one or two acres scattered all around Powell to the south. When I was growing up there was an A&W drive-in, but now there's a Pizza Hut, McDonalds, and other chain operations that have destroyed much of what was so appealing to me in the past. Fortunately, the layout takes us back to a time before all that (even before the A&W!).....
Powell's primary use of the railroad is (or at least was) for agricultural shipments, including a lot of sugar beets.
It's hard to describe the atmosphere I used to find in Powell - very laid back and quiet. Life seemed to just kind of meander on, in no hurry to get anywhere in particular. In and around Powell, you just seemed to live. Until 15-20 years ago, about as close to heaven as anyplace I've ever found. Maybe I'm the one that changed.
One of the folks who've visited my website sent me some interesting tidbits of information about one aspect of rail operations in Powell. He wrote me: "There used to be a stockyard here in Powell. It was on the south side of town where Division Street is. The fire department burned it down in the 80's. Down from that 'west' there is a siding that used to have a string of about 20 old time wooden stock cars on it. These were 36 footers with a brake rod running up to the top. Once a year these cars were taken to Cody where the Two Dot Ranch would load them with cattle. An extra caboose was added to the train for the cowboys, and they rode the train to market and took care of the cattle. The string of cars were returned to the siding where they sat for a year. I know this happened throughout the 60's."
Sounds like something that will have been happening even back into the 30's and 40's, for purposes of my layout.
THE MODEL RAILROAD
The track arrangement for Powell:
This diagram is rotated 90 degrees counter-clockwise from it's orientation on the main plan. East is to the top. The line from that direction comes from Frannie, and line off to the bottom proceeds on west to Cody.
The simple track plan is all there is in Powell - what looks like a passing siding is really an industrial siding. With usually only one train a day, passing sidings on the Cody branch were not, and ARE not, a high priority.
Near the bottom of the diagram you can see where the model of the bridge and road crossing Alkali Creek at the same point will be. You can see pictures of the actual area on the Cody Branch page.
Capturing the Powell atmosphere of old will be a challenge, and may well nigh be impossible, but I'm gonna try.