Kaw Valley Railroad

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Mike Fyten’s Kaw Valley Railroad

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Track Plan
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The Kaw Valley Railroad is loosely based on a railroad named the Kansas City, Kaw Valley and Western Railroad. It was often referred to as the Kaw lines or Kaw Valley Railroad. The original line was an inter-urban traction railroad that ran from Kansas City, Kansas to Lawrence, Kansas.

Presently, the Kaw Valley has 10 engines and a burro’s crane. There are five steam engines and five early diesels. All the engines are equipped with Tsunami decoders and sound. I use the Digitrax Control System.

The layout is divided into five districts. The UP, CNW and the A.T.S.F. railroads each have their own engines.

There are about 115 freight cars on the layout and about two-thirds of them get moved during a session. We use the car card and way-bill system to forward and return cars.

Being a small railroad, I decided early on, that I would limit the car lengths to no more than 40 footers.
Layout at a Glance 
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Layout at a glance
  • S Scale
  • Approx. 30 ft x 30 ft.
  • Kansas City Kaw Valley & Western
  • Eastern Kansas
  • Walk around
  • Main line run 140 ft.
  • Height 46”
  • Scenery about 70% complete
  • Digitrax
  • Basement stairs access
  • Card car and way bills
  • Timetable and Train Orders
  • 8 operators – 1 dispatcher, 2 yard masters, 2 transfer crews, 3 road crews
Jobs on the Layout 
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Jobs on the Layout
It takes about 7 to 8 people to operate the layout – 1 dispatcher, 2 yard jobs and 5 man crews. The KV has a gas-electric that runs four times a day between KC and Lawrence. Also a mixed freight that runs twice a day between Ottawa and Kansas City.

There are 6 - 8 extras that run during the session. We also interchange with the UP in Lawrence, the CNW in Kansas City and the Santa Fe that comes up from Ottawa, KS.

Our typical train consists of an engine, 6 cars and a caboose.

I use time table and train orders to run the layout. If you want to try your hand in dispatching, I’ve been told that this is the railroad to learn on.

Much like the real railroads, the KV is a point-to-point layout. There are turn tables at each end for turning the locomotives.
About the Layout Owner 
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About the Layout Owner
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More about the Layout 

More About the Layout

There are several major industries on the layout, that the Kaw Valley services. Most importantly is the Lone Star Cement Plant just outside of Bonner Springs. Typically, 6 to 8 cars are switched at the plant during an op session. Lone Star ships cars all over the mid-west.

All total, there are 41 industries on the layout not counting the yards and interchange tracks. Each one can handle anywhere from 2 to 10 freight cars. The railroad was design for short trains and switching operations. Most of the track and turnouts are hand laid.

You’ll find code 70, 83, and 100 on the layout. All turnouts are remote-controlled from panels on the fascia.

We use a fast clock during operating sessions, and a 4:1 clock gives us a 3 hour operating session.

Photo Gallery

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Bonner Springs
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Bonner Springs track
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Fairfax Crossing
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Fairfax track
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Fairfax turntable
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Linwood crossing
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Mattoon Industry
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South Lawrence
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South Lawrence
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Layout Overview 1
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Layout Overview 2
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Layout Overview 3

Map and Directions to the Layout

You can click on the “show directions” tab to print directions from the host hotel to the layout. Or you can download them in Apple Maps or Google Maps on your portable device.