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Missouri Pacific Railroad's Bagnell Branch

MP local crossing Highway 54 in Eldon..

Welcome to my HO scale layout of Missouri Pacific's Bagnell Branch.  The layout represents the summer of 1954 in the central Missouri Ozarks.    This is my fourth layout.  The first, like most of us, was a Lionel train set with the track screwed down to a 4' x 8' piece of plywood when I was 10 or 11 years old.  It was painted grass green with a watchman that came out of his shanty when the train came by (which was pretty often due to  the speed of the train).    No switches to worry about or meets with other trains, just hours of fun watching it go around in circles.  My two brothers and I would over fill the liquid smoke, filling the room with small clouds - (much to our mother's dismay).  
Jumping ahead to the 1970's, my second and third layouts were based on the Mopac's White River Division.  The prototype railroad had five tunnels and fifty-two bridges and tons of scenery.  These two never got beyond the 'Plywood Pacific' stages (due to two moves from St. Louis to Omaha) but I did learn when building these layouts how to gather prototype information from Sanborn maps, ICC evaluation maps, gathering photos and site visits.        
After not having scenery on the previous layouts, I decided this  next one would.  My kids, now adults, had never really seen a 'real' model railroad - just Dad's trains traveling over gray homasote and plywood with a few buildings sitting on top the plywood - pretty boring.  I now had my second chance with the grandkids;  complete a model railroad like my kids had seen in the magazines all these years.  This layout would be smaller (not my initial choice but Mrs. D had strung barbwire between me and the finished basement) so I regrouped the troops and 'claimed' the furnace room as my layout room. 
I decided to model a branchline with a turn-around local and make the track plan 'point to point'.  Crews operating the train had to figure out their switch moves in advance of leaving the origin yard.    A branchline operations was attractive to me in that it provided a chance to model my two favorite railroads (Mopac and Rock Island)  and to operate a relaxed 'backwoods' atmosphere (remember Pettycoat Junction?). 
One summer my father and I traveled the former Bagnell Branch and photographed and measured the 1881 depot at Olean and 1912 depot at Lohmann.    The feed mills at Lohmann, Olean and Russellville were intact, as well as, a couple of railroad bridges.  Since the line was abandoned in 1962 it wasn't too hard to follow the old right-of-way.    My wife's family farm was 9 miles from Eldon so I was in the area during summers on family reunions and float trips down the Osage River.  These trips gave me many of the ideas for trying to capture the the beautiful Ozark scenery that would be incorporated on the layout.  
Needless to say I was hooked as you can see from the following pages; I hope you enjoy the ride down the branch.  
Charlie Duckworth   
I've run out of room for additional photos on Tripod so if you want additional views of the Bagnell Branch join my Yahoo Group.    I also post regular updates to the branch.  You won't be flooded with emails ( I'm not that industrious).....   


1881 Mopac depot at Olean, Missouri

Site updated May 18, 2013.

Mopac ten wheeler at Eldon, Missouri 1930. Photo by Ray Blackburn.