one of the most interesting and extraordinary chapters of
American railroad history is the story of the Pacific
Northwest extension of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St.
Paul Railway (later known as Milwaukee RR). The
CM&StP had already ventured across the Missouri River
in 1885, and the decision to continue further west in
1905 appeared to be financially sound at the time.
However, the Puget Sound Extension, a line across the
upper Plains states for Seattle, was an ambitious project
for a modest Midwestern Granger railroad which wasn't
even particularly well-to-do at the time it started
building the line in 1906. In the end, the extension
proved to be ruinously expensive - while the original
plans had called for a total price of $60,000,000, the
Milwaukee spent nearly $90,000,000 in the end when the
line was completed in 1911, stretching 1'779 miles from
St. Paul to Seattle. It was therefore hardly surprising
that the Milwaukee was hit even more than other railroads
by the postwar decline in passenger and freight traffic.
By the early 1970's, the situation was critical, the
track was badly deteriorated and derailments were
frequent. Finally, the operating and cash flow problems
became such that the decision was made to save whatever
possible of the eastern system and abandon the Pacific
Extension - the last eastbound Milwaukee freight train
left Tide Flats Yard near Tacoma on March 15th 1980. On
February 19th 1985, what little was left of a once
sprawling rail network was sold to the Soo Line.
The Milwaukee's Puget Sound classificiation yard was Tide Flats at Tacoma, where transcontinental and local trains were made up. As a particularity, inbound trains were turned on a wye.
It may seem to be an odd idea to look for prototype inspiration for a layout based on the Inglenook Sidings trackplan by turning to a transcontinental classification yard - surely the absolute opposite of a simple track arrangement. This is certainly true for the entire yard, but if you start looking at individual locations, some of the bits and pieces that make up the yard actually turn out to be quite simple, as a closer look at the right hand corner of the picture above will reveal.
|There's the three tracks of the Inglenook pattern, although admittedly their length is beyond the scope of a small switching layout and would need to be compressed. The basic idea with such a layout would be not to look at this Inglenook Sidings variation as a stand-alone yard but rather as a small part of a bigger picture - while this in no way restricts the basic Inglenook pattern of operation, it clearly opens up a far bigger choice in terms of prototypes which can serve as inspiration for an Inglenook scheme. Besides, it's what most layouts pretend to be: a small part of a larger system which lies beyond the scenic breaks and physical limits of the baseboard.|