Cottage Grove

About The Siskiyou Route

I first began using Microsoft Train Simulator a few years after it was released in 2001. I remember the first route that I purchased was Maple Leaf's Cascade Crossing. Both my son and I enjoyed driving trains over this route since both of us had spent hundreds of hours chasing trains over the same route here in Oregon. The two of us spent two years shooting videos of Southern Pacific trains just before it merged with Union Pacific.

I've always loved watching trains since I was a young lad watching trains in upper New York State. One of the great things about where we built our home in Cheney, Washington was that the BNSF mainline actually crossed part of our property. Because of where we lived, I decided to build my first simulator route beginning at the Hauser yard in Idaho and traveling from there down through Washington to the Oregon border. I had laid most of the track when it became apparent that the route was too boring to expect anyone to enjoy it.

A few of months before moving up on the Row River outside Cottage Grove, Oregon I began creating the route over the Siskiyou Mountains. Since the actual route passes through Cottage Grove I had easy access to it. At the end of my driveway is a paved bike path... which used to be the railroad tracks to Dorena and Diston. The movie, "The General" with Buster Keaton where the engine crashes into the river is less than a half mile from my home. The movie "Emperor of The North" with Lee Marvin and Ernest Borgnine was largely filmed on those tracks that used to cross my driveway. Anyhow, for several years I spent nearly every day working on the route. My progress notes state that I laid the last section of track on December 17, 2011. Hard to believe it was almost 9 years ago. After that more track was laid near Black Butte in California (the southern end of the route) and I added what I refer to as the Buck Rock Loop in southern Oregon. The original survey showed the tracks following this loop, but after starting work on the tunnels, this section as abandoned for a longer yet less steep section.

In the beginning the Siskiyou Route was going to be for my own personal use and so I was adding objects from various other routes that I had purchased. After mentioning what I was doing to a few other train buffs, they convinced me to make the Route available to everyone. Before I could do this, I had to remove almost all of the objects from the route. This meant that I had to create all of the objects, which in turn meant learning how to use Gmax. Had I known then what was involved in creating not only a route, but a "great" route, I might have decided to devote my time to my other passion - - fly fishing. In the past I have taught fly fishing, fly casting, fly tying, along with streamside entomology.

The first complex project that I took on was creating the signals for the route. This meant learning all about how signals operated and how to create the logic files to go along with the objects. I made several trips out along the actual route with my camera and a tape measure. I returned with numerous pictures along with detailed measurements of the signals. I had gathered enough data to begin creating the signals using. My Siskiyou Route would require 18 different types of signals, including both Permissive and Absolute. Wanting the signals to go way beyond what I saw in other simulator routes, I created the logic files necessary to indicate Clear, Advance approach, Approach diverging, Diverging clear, Diverging advance approach, Diverging limited clear, Approach restricting, Diverging approach, Approach, Restricting, Stop and proceed, as well as Stop.

Six years after its beginning the Siskiyou Route was ready for its first Beta release. Vegetation was ready to be planted but when one creates a route, certain things must be done before others... and the time for planting trees was still a long way off. It's true that you can do things in most any order, but doing so opens the door to certain failure.

After years of work I finally had the route to where I felt I could make it public. I had considered making it available on Trainsim.com but there were simply too many additional items that I also wanted to make available. So, in August of 2013 I began work on creating the Siskurail website. I had created websites in the past, but now I had to upgrade my Dreamweaver program and learn all of the new things since the last time I created a site. When I finished the site, I started creating the installer. Yep, yet another program to learn. Finally April 14, 2015 the website opened and the first Beta version was released.

The Siskiyou Route includes over 330 miles of mainline track with branches to Diston, Oregon... White City, Oregon... and Yreka, California. The route passes through more than 31 cities, has over 70 commercial sidings along with 41 passing sidings. It also passes through 11 tunnels. The Siskiyou Route also includes something like 147 engines and 350 wagons. I haven't even mentioned how there are numerous support documents and tools.

One last yet important thing... Yes... the Siskiyou Route is Copyright, but it's free to all. If there is an object or item in the route that I did not personally create, then somewhere in my files is a piece of documentation from the owner giving me permission to include the object in the Route. Please take the time to visit this page where I try to show my gratitude to those who have supported me and/or given me permission to use their items.

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