The Garfield Central Layout

It takes over 25 minutes at scale speed to make a complete loop around the layout.

Overall photo of the Garfield-Central Layout

The Garfield Central's mainline extends from an eastern reversing loop at Clarendon Gap to a western reversing loop at Williamsport. The main is double-tracked between each loop. Heading west to east, trains depart the west loop and head thru the sizeable terminal of Williamsport, which features a small yard and engine terminal. Upon exiting Williamsport, trains begin their climb up the stiff eastbound grade, heading across the famous 4-way crossover at "Bohl Crossing". Towards the top of the hill, trains head through a large overhead bridge (literally) before entering Summit. Summit features a few sidings and a small town.

From Summit, trains work their way through Ridge (above and around Clarendon Gap) and then into Georgetown, the major terminal of the Garfield Central. Georgetown features a large yard, roundhouse, engine terminal, and lengthy passing sidings along both mains, making it the ideal crew-change and division point for the GC. East of Georgetown is Bridgeport, a town featuring several sidings and a small station. Next, trains head through the "Subway" which is not a town, just a long and narrow rock cut through which the mainline passes.

The main next wraps around Garfield Courthouse, a rural area with some sidings. East of Garfield Courthouse, "Bohl Crossing" is encountered once again. This time, the train heads across it from the other direction and rolls downhill into Clarendon Gap, the eastern end of the GC. Clarendon Gap features several long sidings as well as an enginehouse and a connection to the Gaskill Mine complex. Finally, the train enters and clears the east loop and heads back west.

Let's explore the track plan in detail going westbound from Williamsport.


Trackplan of Williamsport

Williamsport is a fairly busy terminal, with its own yard and engine terminal, as well as passenger station. There is a long passing siding eastbound, with the yard and other various sidings situated south of the main. Additionally, the west loop of the layout is located at Williamsport.

Detail view of Williamsport


Trackplan of Summit

As trains finally reach the top of the long grade from Williamsport, they head over a large steel bridge that marks the entrance. Summit is a bustling town which is used to fast freights passing through. The mainline wraps all the way around Summit, and there are a few industrial sidings as well as an eastbound passing siding.

Detail view of Summit

The Ridge

Trackplan of Ridge

After trains clear Summit, they navigate a long stretch of mainline railroading until pulling into the West end of Georgetown.


Trackplan of Georgetown

Georgetown (GT) serves as GC's major freight and passenger terminal. Georgetown Tower sits at GT's west end. GT's west lead is right in front of the tower. Georgetown's yard is large, with 16 tracks divided into classification and arrival/departure. GT also services the Garfield Central's locomotive roster.

Detail view of Georgetown


Trackplan of Bridgeport

Bridgeport is a thriving stop along the GC mainline. Several GC customers receive shipments by rail here, and Bridgeport is a popular stop for GC passenger trains. Bridgeport is also a major GC on-line customer. Behind the Bridgeport passenger station is a large coke oven facility.

Detail view of Bridgeport


Trackplan of Subway

East of Bridgeport, the GC main passes through a long rock-cut, known as the "Subway". This is a popular spot to view trains, since it fronts along the main layout viewing aisle.

Detail view of Subway

Garfield Courthouse

Trackplan of Garfield Courthouse

Whereas Bridgeport is a busy stop along the GC mainline, Garfield Courthouse is mainly farmland, and only an occasional GC freight customer. Just east of Garfield Courthouse is the "Bohl Crossing" 4-way crossover again. From there, the main continues into a tunnel and on into Clarendon Gap.

Detail view of Courthouse

Clarendon Gap

Trackplan of Clarendon Gap

Clarendon Gap is as far east as the Garfield Central goes. This is another small GC terminal, with several long sidings and even a 2-stall engine house that is used to house coal train power between runs into and out of the mine at Gaskill. Typical action at Clarendon Gap consists mainly of coal moving into and out of Gaskill Mine, and there are also a few lineside customers of the GC, such as Valley Lumber Co.

Detail view of Clarendon Gap

Gaskill Mine

Trackplan of Gaskill Mine

On the western side of Clarendon Gap, a branch line leaves the main and heads into a tunnel. This is the Gaskill branch, which crosses through Gaskill Run on its way to serve the massive Gaskill Mine complex. Gaskill Mine supplies the GC with unit coal trains five to seven times during the typical week.

Detail view of Gaskill Mine


4501 N. Clarendon Ave.
Chicago, IL 60640
United States of America