Saturday, November 28, 2009


The Saluda Railroad has morphed into the Dixie Central Railroad.

Follow along on the new blog

Dixie Central in HO Scale

Sunday, November 8, 2009

History of Saluda

Here are some links and important history.

My first rule: study the prototype!

The town of Saluda and the apex of the Saluda Grade rests on the top of the Saluda Mountains at Milepost 32. The town is just over the NC/SC border, about 40 miles north of Spartanburg.

The Saluda Grade is the stretch between a very tiny town called Melrose, NC at the base of Melrose Mountain and Saluda, NC. Tryon is the town immediately south of Melrose.

The ruling grade is 5.1%. For HO scale that is a 5.1 inch rise over a 100 ft run, or 8.3 ft of track. That is a remarkable grade in HO scale! It is inconcieveable in real life! A 3% grade is more common in HO on a 4x8. Wow!

Key bodies of water to model:
  1. Lake Summit (just north of Saluda, so we'll move it a bit)
  2. Pearson's Falls
  3. Pacolet River

Other key items to modle
  1. Saluda town
  2. Bridge at Melrose Switch (over Pacolet)
  3. Sandy Fill
  4. Emergency Switch
  5. Pearson's Falls Road Tunnel

Trains Magazine article on the Saluda Grade

Wikipedia on Saluda Grade

Saluda Grade History

3D Computer Generated Video of the Saluda Grade (about 2/3 through is Melrose)

The town of Saluda Video

the Saluda Grade as driven by car (used for scenery tips)

Saluda view with an interested auto tunnel

A Southern consist barrelling up the grade...look at the smoke!

A Southern Steam Train

Pictures of Melrose and Lake Summit

Info on the town of Saluda

Information on the Saluda Grade - Key photos and grade maps!!!

Modeling Saluda Grade

The Saluda Grade Railroad in HO

Welcome to my latest project railroad design. This one is a tribute to my wife who grew up in Saluda, NC, home to the steepest mainline grade in the country! It is a beautiful place, nestled in the foothills of North Carolina.

The purpose of this layout is not fancy trackwork. Sorry to disappoint you! The purpose of this project is to focus on scenery, namely bodies of water and fall colors. In the spring I am doing a clinic on modeling water and I need a demonstration module. Likewise, I am a bit rusty when it comes to fall scenery and there are a ton of new products on the market to play with.

Last night I was in Toccoa, GA along a small lake with the fall colors of red, yellow and gold emblazened on the trees. Late in the evening around dusk, with the stars twinkling in the sky and the lake as still as glass, the Amtrak Southern Crescent came rolling through the trees! It looked like a train layout to me.

So, the track and construction will be simple. Since it has to move to the Piedmont Divison for a clinic, it must be portable. So here we go!