The Union Pacific has some of the more colorfully named routes in the country. The “Rabbit Line” runs through East Texas, the “Tucumcari Line” connects Kansas and New Mexico, and the famous “Feather River Corridor” is in California. Running up the middle of the North American continent, from Kansas City northward to St. Paul, is UP’s aptly named “Spine Line.”
As a professional track plan designer, I was asked to develop an N scale version of the Spine Line that fit into a 10 x 171⁄2-foot space at one end of a basement room. Just about the time I finished that design, my client told me he had a friend who also wanted to model the Spine Line in an identical space – only this time, in HO. Fitting a satisfying model into the same square footage in that larger scale required a different approach, but the results may be useful for anyone trying to represent a single-track Midwestern prototype in a modest space.