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John Allen's Gorre & Daphetid
Railroad For Trainz

By John D'Angelo

John Allen is no longer with us, and his HO scale model railroad, the Gorre & Daphetid, also no longer exists. Although John passed away on January 6, 1973, to this day, some 36 years after his passing, his story still excites model railroaders all over the world. I have been a long time fan of John Allen myself, although I have never had the pleasure of meeting him.

In 1946 John designed the first version of his Gorre & Daphetid Railroad. The original design was for a small but beautifully configured portable layout less than 4'x8' in size. At that time I was just a kid still playing with my American Flyer trains.

In 1948, John moved to into his home in Monterey, California at 140 Irving Street where the Gorre & Daphetid became a permanent layout and the first article about it was published in Model Railroader. Shortly after that he started expanding the Gorre & Daphetid and it was expanded eventually into the second Gorre & Daphetid. What was really interesting to me was the fact that the second version still had the small first version inside it.

In 1953, John moved to a new home at 9 Cielo Vista Terrace, Monterey California. He had this home built to his specifications, and they included a full basement for his model building. Once again he started building the Gorre & Daphetid. He had broken down the original layout, but kept the original core Gorre & Daphetid as part of his new version. His final version was a monster of a layout that he could operate with friends in club style. John Allen was a genius to me in the way he used new techniques of design to enhance the layout. His layout literally went from the floor to the ceiling. The rocky walls of Giant Canyon cascaded all the way to the floor, where he had painted the surface a deep blue. When folks operated there they literally walked on water! His mountains hid the ceiling support posts all the way to the ceiling. He also used mirrors strategically placed on his layout to visually expand the size of the layout. In the January 2009 issue of Model Railroader there is an article about John Allen and there are some great pictures of his layout. Look closely at the picture of the railroad yard at Great Divide. John used a large mirror here, can you see where he placed it?

John worked on his last version of the Gorre & Daphetid for 20 years. He continually added and changed details to his railroad, which I would describe as “Old West Meets the Bandits” He had many scenes where these Mexican Bandido types could be seen working. He also had a dinosaur farm where men rode “Millie” as she pulled logs and other items. John used turn of the century steam locomotives, a trolley and a gas powered unit called “The Ruptured Duck”. He kept his locomotives in branch line configurations and everything was heavily weathered and aged. I loved the look that he created.

John passed away suddenly from a heart attack in 1973, just after he had fun running the Gorre & Daphetid. Only a few days after his death, an accidental fire took place in his basement and destroyed his layout and almost gutted his home. All that I think remain are a few items of running gear and some structures. John Allen and his Gorre & Daphetid railroad are gone, but most certainly NOT forgotten.

While refreshing my memory of John Allen, I accessed Wikipedia, and it was very useful to me. I also discovered a number of websites that featured information and pictures about John Allen by searching with Google. One of the best sites I came across was They have done an excellent job of amassing original photographs that survived the fire and other valuable information. If you would like to learn more about John and his Gorre & Daphetid please visit these and other sites.

The Gorre & Daphetid for Trainz

I have created for Virtual Railroader three layouts based on John Allen's Gorre & Daphetid. They are based on John's first small version, the second expanded version and the final giant layout. These models have been created using only original material from TRS2006 with SP1 installed. No third-party items are used and no downloads from the Trainz Download Station (DLS) are required. There is one custom item that I am including in the download package: The Pullman coach, which you see in the first illustration. It is by Ben Dorsey and is identified as TOTC_Coach_4 (kuid:210518:5531:1).

This coach and other turn-of-the-century passenger cars by Ben are available at the DLS. The cars are passenger-enabled and can be custom lettered in the config file. I lettered this car for the Gorre & Daphetid, then made a CDP file of it to include in the package. I named this car after John Allen. Using CMP, you can clone this coach to make additional copies, and and I suggest you rename the copies after places on the G&D.

In creating the layouts for Trainz users, I ran up against an interesting problem. Although John Allen's largest version of the Gorre & Daphetid could actually squeeze onto a single baseboard in Trainz, because of his extreme landscaping, I expanded the layouts to fit over more that one baseboard. This gave me a better chance to handle the grades and rocky formations, but there are a few caveats. In the original layout there are long bridges, but in my versions they now are 8th Wonder of the World sized bridges. It was also impossible to create those wonderful people filled scenes and I just could NOT find a dinosaur handy. I did try, as best I could, to duplicate the routing and “feel” of the original layouts. I did make a few small track changes, that I hope John would agree with, in the final version. I think if he had the chance he might have made them himself to improve the operation. Model Railroader has information on John Allen and the original track plans available for download to subscribers here.

Rolling Stock for the Gorre & Daphetid

John Allen liked to use steam locomotives from the turn-of-the-century. For the session that I included with each layout, just to give you a feel for the operation, I included the standard, TRS2006 issue Denver & Rio Grande standard gauge 2-8-0, which is coupled to the G&D Pullman coaches.

The standard gauge locomotives John used were not the big Hudsons, Northerns, or articulated locomotives, but were the 4-4-2, 4-6-0, 4-6-2, 0-6-0, 2-8-0, 2-8-2 and 2-10-0 locomotives from the early 1900s. Ben Neal's SubPar Productions website has beautiful locomotives that can be used in TRS2006, and are a free download.

In the final version, John Allen did add a narrow gauge branch line, although he did not operate it. I included the narrow gauge branch line. And you can get narrow gauge rolling stock from Ben Neal's website, Prowler's San Juan Trainz Workz website and Slugsmasher's website.

Paulz Trainz is a payware site where I have also downloaded some very nice small steam locomotives, and Paul's support of his customers is second to none with reasonable prices. Take a look at what he has available.

I also have used Trainz Paintshed to letter some basic freight cars for the Gorre & Daphetid, and there are numerous freight cars at the DLS that can be used.

The Trainz Gorre & Daphetid Layouts The original track plans are copyrighted and I will not be using them in this article. However, I will be illustrating the three Trainz versions with Vistamare Trainz Map:

TrainzMap currently works with Trainz versions up to TRS2006 SP1, and is an excellent program with many features. Here are the Trainz Map Images:

The first Trainz Gorre & Daphetid layout.

The second Trainz Gorre & Daphetid layout.

The third and final Trainz Gorre & Daphetid layout.

Operation and Using the Sessions

Each version of the Gorre & Daphetid has a single session included with it. All sessions are set up with the day starting at 8 AM using 16x clock speed. The single 2-8-0 pulling the coaches on the first two layouts is programmed to wait for 30 seconds before heading to Gorre. This will enable you to align your camera for the view of the loco you would prefer. There are also tracking cameras throughout the layouts, so if you pick the tracking camera option, when the train is in range of a tracking camera, it will be picked up.

The first layout. The train pulling a single car drives to Gorre, loads passengers, drives to Daphetid, loads passengers, then repeats the operation, if you want it to continue.

The second layout. The train pulling two cars drives to Gorre, loads passengers, drives to Daphetid, loads passengers, drives to Great Divide where it stops at the terminal.

The third layout. The train pulling three cars leaves from the Great Divide terminal, drives to Angels Camp, loads passengers, drives to Cold Shoulder, loads passengers, drives to Andrews, loads passengers, drives into Andrews Portal. Five minutes later the train comes back from Andrews Portal and then awaits orders.

I added portals to the second and third layouts to expand the operation. On the second layout, there is a two-foot gauge track that was not operating on John's layout, but I included it. You can add a baseboard and build a two-foot gauge branch, if you wish.

At the Great Divide terminal on layouts 2 and 3, I added a crossover to an escape track for incoming locomotives from track 2. That way you can run a passenger train to Great Divide and then allow it to run around the cars after arrival.

I placed a wye connection to Andrews so that the incoming train from Cold Shoulder would not have to back into Andrews. This way the Andrews portal can turn the train properly for the run back.

The trolley line in Cooper has a number of track marks for programming movement they are:

Trolley Station Stop
Trolley City Hall Stop
Trolley Tunnel Stop
Trolley Supermarket Stop
You can use the “drive to trackmark” and “wait for” commands to program the trolley around the loop. You can use the “Tunnel Stop” to expand the wait time there to give the trolley a feeling of being “away”.

I hope you enjoy my little homage to a great person who will remain in our hearts for years to come.


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Article and screen shots 2009 John D'Angelo. All rights reserved.

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