I've been lurking on The Gauge for a couple of months and posting for the past couple of weeks, and finally decided to get around to publishing some pics of my layout. Some backstory and info on the layout first: Backstory [all of this is completely made up, although based in a vague way on a lot of history that I've read]: The Rose Quartz Creek Railroad was a narrow gauge shortline running across the northwestern edge of the Black Hills in the 1890s-1910s. In the aftermath of the 1893 crash, Ulysseys S.G. Carr – a rather unscrupulous hard rock quarry owner from northeastern Ohio – began buying up unused and unprofitable mineral claims on the western slope of the Black Hills, running roughly southwest from Spearfish, SD to Sundance, WY. Beginning in 1896, surveyors working for Carr were at work in the region, laying out the route for a 13 mile shortline railroad connecting six known strikes of low grade gold ore. Carr’s plan was to connect these unprofitable deposits to milling and smelting facilities, and make a profit based on volume. The townsite of Rose Quartz Creek was laid out for this purpose in 1898, and the first ore cars began to arrive in June of 1899. At its apex of success, the town boasted a population of 300 souls and sported Carr’s ten stamp mill, a smelter, one hotel, eight saloons, two dry goods shops, one miners’ store, a legal office, and a one room schoolhouse/church. Carr’s plan was, for a number of reasons, an absolute failure. The gold claims in the region never lived up to Carr’s expectations, and difficult mining conditions caused labor difficulties in some of the more potentially profitable claims. Although cheap coal from Wyoming was available to the RQC Mining Company, the costs associated with the construction and maintenance of the amalgamation mill and smelter soon far outstripped income. Carr’s practice of awarding cushy management positions to nephews (some of whom, as rumor held it, were in fact Carr’s illegitimate offspring) and preference for whiskey and a good game of poker did not help matters. In 1905, facing multiple foreclosures and looming criminal action in the South Dakota courts for an incident involving 200 gallons of mercury and the Rose Quartz Creek water supply, Carr chose to sell out his company for pennies on the dollar to a group of New York City investors. Under this new stewardship, work on the RQC was allowed to lapse, and the townsite was abandoned, save a token presence of well armed agents paid to guard the claims. Although Carr eventually disappeared from history – possibly drinking himself to death in a dingy hotel room in San Francisco in 1911 – ironically his plan eventually succeeded. When metal prices rose tremendously at the onset of World War I, the new RQCMC owners restarted the claims and, through careful management and a ruthless attitude towards labor issues, managed to squeeze more than $350,000 out of the Carr claims. The Layout: Right now, the layout consists of a modest 48" x 20" domino depicting the heart of the Rose Quartz Creek townsite in 1900. The track plan is basically a modified Inglenook in HOn30, which allows switching between the stamp mill (built) one of the Carr mines (not built) and limited loco facilities (some completed). The module also leave ample room for the townsite and some scenery. Currently, the RQCRR owns two scratch built locomotives: a vertical boiler Climax and a Porter 0-4-0. We’re working on rolling stock! Within the next 6 months the RQCRR will relocate to larger digs, which should allow expansion to the left and right. The initial module has been designed with this in mind, allowing for mainline connections to both ends of the central module. In a perfect world, the final product will consist of at least four modules: one extending the townsite to include a smelting complex and larger stamp mill, one depicting two of the Carr mines, and one focused solely on Black Hills scenery. All of the buildings on the layout are scratchbuilt, as are the locos (and as will be all rolling stock). I’ve done two layouts before – one a small n-scale and one an HO. This time, I started out by just scratchbuilding structures from the generic "old west" time period. I think it really allowed me to hone my skills (although the pictures show lots and lots of room for improvement), although I’ve now got a big box full of structures that I may never use! Anyway, I really like Hon30 because it provides so many opportunities for scratching and lets me do a "big" scale layout in a small space. The layout still has a ton of work to do: I need to add greenery to the landscaping, put up signs, add external details, eventually detail and light the interiors of some of the town buildings, add more people (town population=6 right now), etc., etc... In contrast to the layouts I did when I was younger – where I rushed through things in an attempt to reach a "finished" layout – I think that my life orientation has changed to the point that I actually like all the loose ends – leaves me lots of options for stuff to work on. So, without further ado, some pics.