Ballard Southern Railroad 2015



Previous Ballard Southern Railroads, starting about 1980, were all based on the actual trackage of the Ballard Terminal Railroad, which took over 6 miles of old Burlington Northern trackage running from Fremont to Shilshole Bay and is still operating at a good profit, serving the very limited industry that is left along the canal between Lake Union and Puget Sound. My previous layouts were quite large, running some 24 feet along two walls of a basement room.

The new layout, begun in September 2015, is a much more modest effort, more suitable to my age and energy. It represents the very small but intense switch yard serving the line circa 1950, making it appropriate for both steam and diesel. It started out as a 10' shelf on one wall of our home office/library room, but was expanded by 5' on an adjuoining wall in early 2016. This extension ends in a small interchange yard with what was at the time the time the Burlington Northern. The opposite end, at the beginning of the 10' shelf, which was originally envisioned as the BN interchange, has become a marine/railroad transfer/loading dock as occurred in the Fremont area.

This has become the most complete and most practical railroad I have built so far. Switching operations and challenges on it are all an old model railroader could hope for. The simple act of selecting 6 cars that will need to be moved can keep me involved for 1/2 hour to 45 minutes. I'm developing a randomized dice system for car/industry seletion that should make it even more fun.

The system is DC, rather thanDCC and swithces are PECO power routing. It was therefor very simple to build and wire. Obviously, it represents a dead flat gravelled yard. The only "scenicking" involved was spraying the surface with Valspar stone finish paint.

Here are some scenes along this Ballard Southern industrail/switching area:


This is an early pic of the dock end of the tracks. There have been some changes in the structures shown since this was taken.



Deuce's Bike Shop and adjoining auto wrecking yard is now actually both under and alongside the NW 15th St. bridge, along with some low end businesses... a pawn shop, liquor store and a bar. It gets a great deal of attention from the Ballard police force.



This is the "west" end, the docks in Fremont, with the NW 15th St. bridge represented. Just "east" of the bridge begins the Ballard industial area.



Here is a pic of the whole 10' shelf section, with the enlarged corner that permits the turn to the other wall.



Proceeding further "east' there is more industry, which adjoins the downtown Ballard area and Market St.



The Ballard industrial area continues after the downtown area. The Town Hall/Police Station is now actually located in the corneer just to the left of the bridge.



The area past the bridge has a few more industries and includes some run down and low cost apartments and shops.



Finally, trackage ends with the interchange yard with the Burlington Northern and a couple more industries.



Here are a couple of action shots... These are with steam. Actually, almost all of my operation is with diesels, which are my preferred engine. However, my grandfather and an uncle were steam engineers and another uncle was a steam fitter, all for the NYC. The steam fitter uncle lives nearby and visits, hence the steam engines.

Two steamers doing some heavy switching.



A long string being pushed from the docks to the BN interchange.

(Can't actually "work" a string this long, but it made a nice picture. Working "strings" are usually limited to three cars.)



Hope you've enjoyed your visit to the Ballard Southern Railroad. Our motto" "24 Hour Service! The BS never stops!" Come by for a fan ride sometime.


Dick Wightman, Seattle WA


Phone: 206 784 0883

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