BNSF Fall River Division - a Route Inspired by John Parker's HO Scale Layout

Good morning all,

In an effort to provide progress and not spam the forum with a freeware announcement which may never materialize into a release, I'm starting what I hope to be a weekly blog in updates, screenshots, and the occasional YouTube upload on the progress of the BNSF Fall River Division. I started this more than two years ago in TANE and moved it into TRS19 in 2023. This required a decent amount of rework of assets and textures. I have been picking various scenes and filling them in as time allows and often get stuck operating instead of building. I'm sure you a few of you often find yourself in the same predicament. The track plan is 90% exact to John's layout. There are a few areas where I've taken some liberties (West Overlook to East Overlook and Fall River Yard) with the design for my own operational purposes. The distances have been stretched out to allow longer trains (target is 1800 ft or 30-35 cars) and have removed all backdrops or limited views to make it seem more as the prototype versus previous routes which felt like a model RR. Below is view of the route map (dispatcher perspective) which I will continue to add detail to including yard and industry maps as scenery is finalized.

Right now, there are two areas I'm focused on finishing with a first pass of scenery. Priority is the Calhoun area which is on the east end of the route and borders against the CHGO staging yards. This is largely rural corn field plots and is supposed to resemble Iowa. The second priority is finishing the truck entrance to the intermodal yard in Fall River. Here are a few recent shots of the route with descriptions of the area. Talk soon.


East Horton - looking west, this is the end of a passing siding on the Horton Sub which also allows access to a few industries within the Horton area. Trains are often held here if there is not room in Fall River to accept the train.

East Fall River - the IAIS cuts to the north over the river toward Council Bluffs with the UP Marshall Sub climbing away from the river towards the connection with BNSF near Union Station to the west (out of frame). Furthest is the BNSF mainline arriving Fall River from the east at CP East Fall River.

Calhoun - the east end of the route has a power plant, grain elevator, and two smaller industries. Here a grain train off the KCS has a local crew out of Fall River which will drop it's empty train and return to Fall River with a BNSF loaded train. The KCS power will be removed at Fall River before the train continues towards Richland and points west.

Fall River Yard - never a shortage of locomotives to be found around the servicing area.

Fall River Yard - a switch job with 2 RCL SD40s begins to pull towards the lead to switch out the inbound H GALFAL which arrived a few hours earlier.
Morning all!

I've been focused on two things the last few weeks. First was the automation of building an ethanol train out of the industry at Evans Ethanol. This is a multi-track train build which requires occupying the diamond with the IAIS. Took a few hours, and finally got it working. Will release a video on that journey soon. I'm also editing a video highlighting the operation of KCS grain trains on the east end of the route. The trains run with 1x1 distributed power (DP) and reverse direction at Fall River after arriving the route off the Lincoln Sub. They terminate at the grain elevator at Calhoun which is an arduous process of breaking the train up into 5-6 tracks.

As for scenery, I've been operating more than building. I finally got some momentum around Calhoun (image below)

Nestled along the bank of the Fall River, Calhoun is on the far east end of the route and is located next to Chicago staging. I'm filling in the squares using small towns in IA and WI as inspiration. The town has the PSC power plant with two loop tracks, a grain elevator still in truck to train operation, and a new warehouse facility. The surrounding areas will be filled in with farms for wheat/corn products as well as dairies.

Overall route progress is track and signaling is complete. I'm working town by town on baseline scenery and then will come back through with more details. I haven't modified the track arrangements in the route for over a month so that means I'm really done messing with it. More to come soon. Appreciate the interest!