Rock Island layout

Affiliate Disclosure: We may receive a commision from some of the links and ads shown on this website (Learn More Here)

Hi all,

I little history for my Rock Island Railroad.

As all lines are either dismantled or in use by Iowa Interstate. I won't be modeling any specific area.
My Rock Island will be a mix of historical units with a modern feel.
a "what if" type of railroad so to speak.

I cleared space and made room for an "L" layout. A 4x8 with a 3x8 to complete the "L" shape.

Bench work is pretty simple. just made a table base with legs and bolted everything to gether. ( although I have a weak spot where the 2 sheets of plywood join.)

Track work has been layed for a loop following the edges about 2-3 inches from the sides. A safty rail will be installed. All track so far has been tacked down on cork roadbed and the roadbed has been painted a dark brown.

Not much scenary at this time, but I do have a siding for a lumber mill (off table), A wood chip company, an area for a small coal mine and a container yard.
All this is on the open end of the 4x8.

Future plans:
The other side of the 4x8 will see a town in support of the mentioned companies.

The 3x8 is pretty much empty at this time. I have plans for a switching yard. but am undecided for this part of the lay out.


1. The track in a few spots is really close to the edge. A safty rail will be installed to keep expensive power units from jumping track and smashing on the floor.

2. I may have to redo some of my ballist work on the roadbed. ( I didn't buy enough ballest to do the main line). I will/would have 2 types of coloring on the main line.

3. didn't think about the "wall side" of the layout. The 3x8 will have to be reached and built from the end. I didn't leave room to do scenery work so I'll have to do scenery from the inside out.

4. Free hand the track layout. I might have had a better layout if I would have used a layout software program.

I'll post some pics of the work so far.

Thanks for looking.
The layout

Lumber Yard siding and wood chip company.
NOTE: Lumber yard is depicted off table.

Future site of the coal mine.

container yard.

Updated work

Since last update I have added two shop lights over head for more lighting and added a safty edge around the table.

Last edited by a moderator:

Gary B

The Fox Valley Railroad
Wow, no comments? Well, I think your off to a good start. It amazing how quickly we learn from our mistakes as soon as we commit them to the layout. It looks like there's a lot of operator interest packed in there. Looking forward to seeing more.
Thanks Gary B,

I forgot a few explinations.

1. Coal mine site was moved to the 3x8 side. There was no room for it where I initially had it on the 4x8.

2. Where you see the blue logging flats, That siding will be the route to the (if you read my expantion thread) work shop area and a couple small industries.

3. All the containers you see are scratch built from plastic card and are 20' and 25' containers. ( a couple 15' and a 10'ers with Maersk logo)

3. Standard DC. only electric so far is the 2 wires for the power to the tracks lol.

4. a few matchbox vehicles thrown in here and there.
The layout is coming along nicely.I look forward to following the progress of your layout.I plan on having Milwaukee Road and Rock Island on my layout.
I initially went with Rock Island and Milwaukee Road but decided to use Iowa interstate and Wisconsin Central.
WC mostly becuase I bought 2 SD45's and they had a lot of them.

When I expand my freight cars I'll inter mix several other railroads.
Looks like a nice start on your layout.....I grew up in Sioux City just a few blocks from the big Milwaukee Road service center, so I saw a lot of Milwaukee Road action, even though the area was rapidly being downsized. Rock Island didn't make it to my part of Iowa, but I had IC,CNW,BN/Burl/GN, and the Milw. I now live in Montana, and there's still a big history of Milw. Rd. where I live, so I model the Road in the transition era in central montana. Gives me the option of steam,diesel AND electric. Keep up the good work on your layout. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to