This layout loosely represents 62 miles of the Santa Fe Mainline which travels over Raton Pass between Raton, NM to Trinidad, CO. I did not want to model the original lines 3.5% grades so I’ve limited mine to 2.2%. To gain the necessary height between decks I created a loop which is a reverse replica of Santa Fe’s Tehachapi Loop, thus the fictitious name Ratachapi Sub for the layout. The layout has 3 levels ranging from 28” to 64”, a minimum radius of 32”, staging to represent Barstow, CA, Colton, CA, Denver, CO and Chicago, IL. and interchanges with SP, UP and the C & W. In ordered to allow the movement of trains between all 3 levels there is an 8 level Helix with layout connections at levels, 1, 4, 6, 7 and 8. I have included many fictitious industries to provide more switching opportunities than were originally available on this line. For trains, I’ve included some of Santa Fe’s famous Passenger trains, Ice Reefer trains, TOFC trains and Coal trains. There are 2 mainline switching jobs that serve industries at Starkville, CO and Morley, CO plus lots of local switching at Trinidad and Raton. Future plans are to add a Dispatcher for a DTC style operation.

The Prototype

  • Prototype / Freelance Scale:  Prototype
  • ProtoType:  Santa Fe
  • Location: Raton Pass – 62 Miles between Raton, NM and Trinidad, CO
  • Era:  1970
  • Interchange:

The Layout

  • Scale: HO
  • Size: 600 Sq Feet over 3 rooms
  • Control: Digitrax with Duplex and WiFi
  • Accessibility: Basement Stairs – no Wheelchair access
  • Length of mainline:  250 Feet
  • Yards: Raton and Trinidad
  • Passing sidings: 6
  • Scenery complete:  5%
  • Carspots: 60
  • Motive power: First and Second Generation Diesel
  • Rolling Stock:  Freight 270, Passenger 30
  • Track construction:  Staging Code 100 – Balance Code 83


  • Clock Speed:  2:1
  • Session Length:  2.5 to 3 Hours
  • Crew Size: 5 People
  • Dispatching: None – Easy Ops at this time
  • Car Forwarding:  2 Position Car Cards
  • Communication:  Verbal
  • Jobs:  yard master (2), yard crew (2), road crew (2)
  • Train length:  10 o 15 cars
  • Session atmosphere:  Casual