The layout is designed to emulate operations of the Southern Pacific Railroad on its Cascade Sub of the Oregon Division. This calls for a strictly helper operation over 44 continuous miles of upgrade railroad from the small town of Oakridge, OR over the Cascade Mountains to Crescent Lake, OR. The prototype travels from Oakridge a short way down a valley then across a bridge to the other side where it returns in the opposite direction. Then it turns around the end of a small mountain and again continues down the north side of another canyon. After about 9 miles or so, it also crosses this valley to the other side of the canyon where it again goes back towards Oakridge. It continues down the south side of the canyon about 7 miles where it goes through a horseshoe shaped tunnel where it continues, now eastbound (railroad west) and above the trackage where it was just westbound, to Cascade Summit. The model layout has 4 passing sidings between Oakridge and Cascade Summit. Until 1984, there was only 1 online shipper - the Pope and Talbot lumber mill just railroad west of Oakridge serviced by a single mile-long spur. The mill ceased operation in Sept. 1990 and a subsequent fire in May 1991 consumed much of the plant. I believe, for the purposes of my model railroad the plant will still be in production. Maybe I will add other shippers at Fields or Summit. I've yet to determine whether I'll attempt continuous running (using perhaps a helix), or just make it a loop to loop.
Scenery in this area prohibits the use of a duckunder (well, my physique and age may also be factors) so I chose to deviate from the prototype and bring the trackage back behind Oakridge to get through to the other side of the aisle.