In this video, watch Don Cassler’s M&K run and listen to him discuss its operation with Allen Keller. Cassler’s layout operates once a month and is worked on with his team three weeks a month. The M&K is unique because of its untraditional island formation. This design enables the engineers to follow their trains around the layout in its entirety while in operation. Engineers use walk-around throttles with memory to run the systems.
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The locomotives make three circuits around the layoff, then go through a tunnel and onto the yard. A relatively empty yard is used for switching cars which works well during operation. The elongated length of the trains mean that there is not a lot of switching that can be done. The operating system uses car cards for forwarding. The operating scheme is a coal haul which loads east, and empties west. The coal mining system hauls coal to the east coast and brings empty locomotives back to the mines.
Though many ideas for improvements to the layout have arisen throughout the twenty years of its assembly, Cassler and his team of fellow modelers is fairly happy with the operation of his M&K.