The Keokuk & Western was a very interesting branch of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, operating in Iowa and Missouri. In its heyday, it ran from Keokuk, IA briefly over the Burlington's K-Line to Alexandria, MO, then rambled northwest through several small burgs, crossing the AT&SF at Medill, MO, the Wabash at Glenwood Junction, MO and the Q's own Ft. Madison, IA to Carrolton, MO line at Sedan, IA, shortly before reaching Centerville. From there, it continued another 60 miles or so to Van Wert, IA, where it tee'd into a north-south line that ran from Des Moines, IA to Cainsville, MO. While it loomed large in significance to the communities that it served, the K&W was always relatively small in terms of traffic-density.
The K&W as the focus of a model CB&Q layout
I've always been fascinated with steam-era railroads. During the first half of the 20th Century, they were a very prominent part of America's society and economy. I find the passenger operations, equipment, physical plant and labor-intensive operations to be simply amazing. As my life-long interest in railroads and model-building have matured, prototype modeling became the logical development. It allows me to mix the research and historical aspects of the hobby with my exacting standards for modelng. The challenge has become one of narrowing my focus to a setting that fits my available resources and also lends itself to accurate modeling...no small task, since I've never met a railroad I didn't like.
In searching for a prototype, I established several criteria that it should meet. The point of focus needed:
With these considerations in mind, the K&W is a perfect starting point. The operations will be set during 1938. At that point, the Burlington timetable for the K&W branch listed one Passenger Motor Car (PMC) train over the line in each direction (this is a gas-electric or doodlebug to those of you unfamiliar with the Q). There is also a daily except Saturday mixed train each direction, along with Extra freights. CRI&P, TP&W and Wabash traffic can be added at Keokuk if desired. As an added bonus, the Wabash motive power for 11th District trains was fueled and serviced at the Q's facilities there. Glenwood/Glenwood Junction, MO was the start of a nearly 2-mile stretch where the CB&Q and Wabash tracks paralleled each other, and in interchange point for the roads. Sedan Iowa was in interesting junction of 3 CB&Q lines, and nearby Centerville had interesting industries, coal mines, and an interchange with the CRI&P.
With these considerations in mind, the K&W is a perfect starting point. The operations will be set during 1938. At that point, the Burlington timetable for the K&W branch listed one Passenger Motor Car (PMC) train over the line in each direction (this is a gas-electric or doodlebug to those of you unfamiliar with the Q).
Accurate model equipment is available for the time period I've chosen, and model trains for the K&W line can be relatively short, hence nearly prototypical in length. Centerville, IA, and Keokuk, IA will be potential focal points for the layout. Keokuk, with its classic midwest, river town atmosphere had aninteresting mix of industries, and provides plenty switching potential. The city will be will be contrasted by the rural agricultural setting provided by any of the small Missouri and Iowa towns. Frank Ellington's dedication to documenting many of the depots makes it possible to model them. Centerville, the Division headquarters for Burlington's Centerville Division of Lines East, was a small, but bustling terminal. Freight traffic originating on-line will consist primarily of manufacturing, coal and agricultural products such as grain and livestock, with manufactured goods, lumber, fuels, etc. providing the bulk of terminating traffic. Nearly all of the small towns along the line had elevators, stock pens, fuel depots, and lumber/supply yards. This provides for interesting traffic and switching possiblities for the freights. At present, I intend to commence my modeling efforts with Centerville and the nearby towns of Sedan and Glenwood, with the yard and locomotive servicing facilities at Centerville as the center of activity. Stay tuned as this concept matures...
Rob Adams - October, 2006
The design, development, layout and original content of this site is Copyrighted © Rob Adams 2001-2007 - All Rights Reserved