Railway Express
Module Name:
Railway Express Agency
Diorama:
Downtown Tulsa -- includes Tulsa Interlocking, Depot and Railway Express
Owner Name:
NEONS
Sponsor:
Fearless Leader
Date Built:
2008
Date Updated:
In Progress
Status:
Active
Module Type:
8' standard module, w/ non-standard track position on one end
Length:
8'
Width:
2'
Skyboard:
12" laminated
Track
Code:
80
Brand:
Atlas
Turnouts:
various Peco
Crossovers:
yes
Passing Sidings:
four blue line tracks, two yellow line tracks
Yard Tracks
yes
Industrial Spurs
yes
Other Tracks
yes
Electrical:
Wire
Connector
110V
Designer:
Fearless Leader & Pert
 
Red
12 gauge
PP-30
 
Carpentry:
Rambo
 
Yellow
12 gauge
PP-30
 
Track:
Pyro & Pert
 
Blue
12 gauge
PP-30
 
Wiring:
Pyro
 
Other
   
Yes
Scenery:
Fearless Leader
DCC Equipment:
UP-5
Powered Accessories:
Wall wart for UP-5
Scenery:
Oklahoma Scene:
Route 66 Scene:
 
Prototype RR:
REA
REA
REA
Track Plan
Railway Express
Sign Board
Tulsa Railway Express Agency -- The Railway Express Agency was a rail express service, and at one time, the only one in the United States. It was the cargo company of choice in its day. Owned by the railroads, the REA had an arrangement whereby the railroads moved the cars and provided free terminal space. The REA paid its own expenses and divided the profit among the railroads in proportion to the traffic.

Unlike today's shipping companies such as UPS and FedEx, the REA enjoyed a monopoly sanctioned by the government after WWI and had to take everything including explosives. It was saddled with a lot of undesirable traffic that truck lines would not handle. There was practically nothing that was not handled at one time or another, including race horses and circus animals.

Pullman Tracks -- Pullman sleeping cars were parked on special tracks just to the west of the Depot. When passengers booked travel with Pullman sleeping car accommodations rather than coach service on Frisco or Santa Fe overnight trains, they could board in the afternoon, settle in to their compartment / roomette and get comfortable hours before the train was actually scheduled to leave. The Pullman cars would be switched into the train's consist when it was time to depart.

Bridges & Underpasses -- During the Great Depression, work crews lowered the Frisco tracks from Cincinnati to Cheyenne and the WPA built five north-south bridges over the tracks and an underpass beneath the tracks at Denver Ave to ease traffic blockages due to heavy railroad traffic
Description & History
The NEONS (North East Oklahoma N-Scalers) nearly finished with a multi-year project to rebuild, update and authenticate our twenty-year-old diorama depicting the railroad tracks running across the north side of downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma. Part of the original diorama was featured in the May/June 2003 issue of N-Scale Railroading Magazine.

The re-work project was to transfer five 4'modules to three 8' modules, adding a 4' portion that was omitted before. New features are the Denver Street underpass and the de-compression of some tracks into the formerly missing 4' stretch. By modifying these modules from 4'ers to 8'ers, we eliminated a large number of connector tracks which has resulted in easier setup and smoother running. This 3-year project was completed in stages, with the track work, wiring and ballasting completed first, then the buildings were transferred to the new modules with some being rebuilt to better match their prototype, and finally, the remaining scenery was completed.

This historically accurate, 24' diorama depicts the north side of downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma circa 1957. Included on the modules from left to right (East to West) are the Tulsa interlocking where tracks from four railroads all crossed and inter-connected, the Frisco Freight building, the 1930's art deco Tulsa Union Depot with the Main Street overpass, the Railway Express Agency facilities, and the Denver underpass. You are looking south and downtown Tulsa sky-scrapers like the National Bank of Tulsa and Philtower (the office building Waite Phillips of Phillips 66 Oil Company gave to the Boy Scouts of America) would be just behind the skyboard of these modules.

Old photographs from the archives of the Tulsa World and Tulsa Tribune (the local morning and afternoon newspapers) were utilized along with numerous photos from private files to determine how the north side of downtown Tulsa appeared during this time frame. Sanborn maps and old documents from the Frisco railroad archives provided details on track geometry.
Industry Details:
Industry
Access Track
Switch Direction
Car Types
Spur Capacity