Floyd Brittian's Midland Valley RR layout (BEGIN SLIDESHOW)

February 2008. Lloyd's house is down at the bottom of the street from the van. This is in the northern part of Kansas City.
Midland Valley layout owner Floyd Brittian standing at the end of his layout closest to the crew lounge. Behind him to the left is staging, over the workshop area. The layout has a very high fascia and is free-standing. Note the recessed lighting valance overhead with a continuous row of fluorescent tubes--it is supported by the backdrop and does not extend up to the ceiling.
As we enter the layout itself, just beyond the workshop area, we see a signature scene on the Midland Valley--a coal mine! The coal industry is unexpected on an Oklahoma layout, but it is the reason the real railroad was built. That looks like Andy Sperandeo bringing a train out of staging, through the hole in the backdrop.
This long aisle has the main yard on the left, with a two-man crew, and industries along the right side. It is a bit of a bottleneck. The layout continues beyond this aisle with another long aisle to the left.
The main yard aisle, with blobs in the left and right foreground. The fascia here is in straight segments, not curved, while the background on the left is curving into the blob.
This is an interesting situation--in the center of this picture is a junction with trackage disappearing to the left behind the backdrop. Thus the overlapping light valance. The workshop/staging area is to the left behind the peninsula.
The KO&G -- Kansas Oklahoma & Gulf -- was one of the three railroads under one ownership, including the Midland Valley. I like their paint scheme with bold letters.
GP-7. Prototype paint scheme.
Midland Valley 3 Railroads
The herald lists the 3 railroads.
Cabooses. This may be the only model railroad in the world with this much Midland Valley equipment.
Yard switcher.
Another GP-7. About all they have is GP-7s. Yes, there are some F units too.
Hey, it's Oklahoma, you've gotta have grain elevators.
An entire 10-car train fits nicely in view. Narrow shelves concentrate the view on the railroad right of way, which I like. Notice the standard car cards, etc.
A rock industry fits into an inside corner. The mainline runs under the conveyor, allowing the industry to take up more space on the shelf.
A modeled crossing with another railroad, the M-K-T. A manually operated smashboard rotates to protect the crossing, and is always left set to stop the Midland Valley.
The M-K-T crossing. The railroad that came last had to protect the crossing. Usually a tower was built and manned. Apparently the MV and the M-K-T were not busy enough to warrant a tower, so a simple smashboard was used. This M-K-T trackage is a branch to Tulsa, not the mainline.
Downtown Tulsa is in the middle of the model railroad, with a large yard and industries off to the sides. Placed at the end of a dead end, or turnback, aisle, it is quite a landmark.
The concept of the railroad design is a long continuous shelf with a sky and valance above.
One of the intermediate yards has a few tracks and serves local industries.
Station at the left, yard throat on the right.
Nice station building at Muskogee, OK. On the ground throw switch controller, note the red and green stops Floyd has added to the Caboose Industries machine, indicating reverse and normal.
Grainola. Great name for a town. The layout blobs out here to make a 180 at the end of a peninsula.
Closeup view of a grain elevator industry with its multiple tracks. It is flat up against the backdrop. The signals are used at interlockings only.
Dave Zuhn of Saint Paul lines switches at the main yard. It is looking kinda plugged (too many cars in the yard). Manning the throttle is John Galich, of Robbinsdale, MN.
The dispatcher sits in a curtained-off area of the utility room. Two systems are available for the dispatcher, a magnetic model board to keep track of train locations, and a traditional train sheet for the same purpose. Verbal track authorities are communicated to train crews via telephone. Today's guest dispatcher is Randy Nord, of Plymouth, MN.
To the dispatcher's left are the telephone ringer buttons, to call telephone stations. This dispatcher is using the train sheet instead of the magnetic markers. Either way works, but the train sheet is prototypical and magnetic markers aren't.
Trainsheet Brittian
Closeup of train sheet on dispatcher's desk. Train columns are filled out ahead of time, ready for the OS times to be written in. Dispatcher can see what trains are out on the line by looking at his train sheet.
Lineup Brittian
Closeup of the train lineup. This is a steel board, holding magnetic train markers. The markers are used on the model board (schematic track plan) on panel in front of him. This is an alternate system to keep track of where trains are out on the line--today the train sheet is being used instead. The train sheet is more prototypical. Many model railroaders find the magnetic markers easier to use.
This single-loaded aisle is the far end of the railroad. It leads into a staging room at the far right. The door at the front right leads into the utility area and the dispatcher's office. Note the flowing curves of the background, track and lighting valance, and the straight segments of the benchwork fascia. Of course, at left is a blob at the end of the peninsula.
The far aisle on the RR. More grain elevators. Signals here allow trains into staging.
A happy operator! Dave Vos of Robbinsdale, MN. Of course all operators are happy, it's better than anything else except you-know-what.
Floyd looks over the train packs in the staging room at the far end of the layout. This portion of the basement is unfinished. The fact that the MV runs short trains makes staging tracks fit into a smaller place.
A pressure-treating wood plant. I love this industry, as my own prototype had one in my main town. Narrow gauge tracks run into the pressure tanks.
A broad view of the wood treatment plant.
Coal! Who'd have expected a coal mine on an Oklahoma RR? Actually the Midland Valley was created to haul coal in the region. Floyd's mine has several tracks for hopper cars. It is located inside a blob at the end of a peninsula to give it extra layout width (and prominence -- it is quite a landmark).
Love the KO&G paint scheme.
I particularly like the stenciled lettering.
Here is an outside 90 degree turn in the benchwork. It does not have to blob way out as a 180 does. Nice road crossing and team track.
Tower with train order board. This protects a junction with trackage going off to the front staging area. Phone the dispatcher for authority to proceed.
Another nice grain industry.
Another nice grain industry, with more distant ones on the backdrop.
This cattle pen has a big feed bin and some nice details.
An interesting industry: a chemical loading rack for a weed spraying company.
More grain industry, with two tracks for cars.
I have never seen a road curve on and off a layout before. This is a very interesting device. Note the gas station. Floyd: it could use a couple of highway signs.
The lighting here is from an on-camera flash aimed at the ceiling, so Gary Gelzer is brightly lit. The actual layout room lighting is mainly on the upper sky, and the operator is in the shade.
This is true layout lighting, no flash. The layout is brightly lit on the sky by fluorescent lamps, which leaves the operators and the front of the trains shaded.
Gary Gelzer works the yard at Tulsa, in the center of the layout. This is a secondary yard serving the industries in this area. I really like the idea of secondary yards, as it makes for more jobs with interesting transfers and set outs. Locals work out of this yard to do the spots at industries. Through trains can set out and pick up blocks here. Transfer runs of blocks go between yards. Lots of neat work.
A large tank car loading facility, with a tank farm. I am going to have this same industry represented on my home model railroad, so I was excited to see this here.
A wider view of the tank farm. Note tanks on backdrop going into distance. You may also note in the distance Paul Catapano and Andy Sperandeo sharing a narrow aisle. Suck it in, guys!
Looks like Andy is checking over his paperwork while calling the Dispatcher for some authorization. Gary Gelzer is behind him, working the other side of the aisle. The aisle is a wee bit tight. Note the oil industry on the layout: behind Andy is a refinery, and in the foreground is a tank farm with loading racks (lots more tanks are painted on the backdrop).
A small oil refinery, another signature Oklahoma industry. Gotta have it!
The mainline passes behind the oil refinery.
Paul Catapano, from Burbank, California, works a job. The blob forms a chokepoint in the aisle, but beyond it the aisle is quite adequate. You can see how the light comes down from behind the narrow valance at the top of the sky. The bright lighting in the foreground is from the on-camera flash. The layout is a single level, at a good height for operating.
Floyd Brittian, layout builder, on the right, and Bill Gradinger, his helper, is at left. The workbench is behind Floyd, the front staging yard is the black shelf at the right rear, and you can just see the beginning of the layout at the right.
Floyd's crew lounge is superb. You can see the wildlife tracks in the snow. A rifle is right by the door for shooting critters. No, obstreperous operators don't get shot. A great place to relax between jobs.
This is the hill we walked up outside of Floyd's. Everybody else drove up and down. I insisted we park at the top, since Paul G told us that tow trucks couldn't get up and down the hill if we got stuck. I think he was just scaring me, the way I scare visitors to California with stories about bears and mountain lions.
Paul Catapano is saying "get in the car, it's cold! Quit taking pictures!" Right after this, we were spinning our wheels, stuck on the ice. Paul got us out by rocking the car. I love all the layouts in Kansas City. I'd go by dog team if I had to.