Large Scale Central

Another version of the RGS - this one is in Virginia

We just returned from our visit to Jim Kottkamps RGS in Alexandria. Pretty cool layout and would be great to operate on as well.

Jim and his wife Jo Ann have done a marvelous job of creating a very fine layout. I’m hoping that he’ll host a session soon, but in the meantime, I’ll share some pictures!

When you first enter the backyard you immediately encounter a LARGE water feature just below Lizard Head.

Here, Jean examines the lower grazing area.

Irish Moss makes for a great ground cover!

It’s a great looking layout! The roadbed is concrete and the track is glued in place on top. The castings are concrete that has been painted.

Around the back is Telluride - and the future home of a turntable.

It’s not quite all complete yet, but it sure looks good.

Here you can see the completed section right next to stuff that still needs work.

There’s even a bit of whimsy in some of the “creatures” that “live” on the layout…

Plus real live fish in the pond!

Jim models in 1:20.3 - and the locomotives are Accucraft and the rolling stock is AMS.

Trestles are all hand made…the rail is code 215 spiked in place.

Track and switches are from Llagas Creek.

The ground cover seems to thrive in the sun!

A view of Ophir loop…

JoAnn is experimenting with various types of ballast held in place with glue.

No buildings YET, but there are interesting vehicles scattered around.

An old “wreck” salvaged from the fire at Clem’s store…

The fish KNOW that it’s lunch time…

Jim is captured by my camera!

The locomotive I took around the layout…

First with some of the AMS coaches…

There’s even beavers helping to clear the lumber…

I REALLY did operate a train, trying to see what a session might be like. I found that the switching was “easy” - (Since the railroad is based on a real life prototype, no tough puzzles are involved). One train picks up some stock cars and takes them from Telluride to the lower grazing area. Another train picks up tank cars from Telluride and moves them the the same area. A train also moved some gondolas. Finally, there’s passenger to move as well. There’s a couple of LONG passing sidings so meets are NO problem at all. I had to back the train multiple times, but I suspect that’s rather prototypical as well.

Very different; I felt that the run times offset the lack of “puzzle” switching.
I think that it would be a great location for an ops session - It could easily host at least 10 people. There’s lots of parking available on the street.
I don’t think random switchlists would be necessary - instead, each train would basically be the same - moving stockcars, tankcars, gondolas or passengers. I told Jim that I thought that if he were to host a session that he would need to provide all with a map and that labels for each location would be desired as well.




Thanks for all the great pictures Bruce. That certainly is quite a layout. My first reaction was that this uses indoor layout building techniques with durable materials and plants, built outside. You guys do get winter down there in VA, right? There is no way this was built in just one season, so it must over-winter well.

Nice layout Jim! Looks fantastic.

We occasionally get some snow… :innocent:

Yep, he’s been at it for quite some time now.

I’m just hoping to get him to host a session but NO snow allowed!

How about just getting him to invite the locals to see his layout and run some trains?

Thanks Bruce for sharing real nice

Yes, Bruce…THANK YOU for sharing the pictures; very much appreciated.
Fred Mills

Absolutely Stunning !!
Thanks for sharing!

I was just going through some old emails and found a few pictures showing the evolution of this fine railroad.

First, one from 2012:

Then from 2015…

Ophir Loop in 2015…

And in January 2016, a bit of snow…

Fantastic! Thanks for all those photos Bruce!

A fellow concrete roadbed guy, yay!! But holy cow, his rockwork is simply astounding!

I’d show up at the meet just to drool on his mountains!!

Obviously it’s not something he did in an afternoon…

He says he used latex molds for his rock castings…and claims he can see where the same casting is used over and over again, although in different orientation.

As is usually the case, the one doing it can see all that stuff.

Wow, creativity is awesome, I would like to say “I have a matching step ladder” !!!

Fascinating method of using cinder blocks to support a grade: saw a block on a diagonal, and adjust the two wedges to get the height you want. At least it looks like that’s what he did.


The foundation is cinderblock up to about an inch below grade. At that point 2 4-inch-tall metal garden edges are clamped to the top of the cinderblocks and adjusted to a 2% grade. Rebar is placed in this trough cement is poured in and smoothed to the top of the metal garden edges. This provides a level and smooth 2% grade up to 10 feet long.


Thanks for the explanation Jim, and good to see your post!