Colton & Northern under construction

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Colton & Northern

After releasing the Rascal & Cottonwood, a few friends and myself were discussing what should be my next release. It was a cheerful gathering when the subject of David Penn came up. The room quickly grew silent. Mr. Penn, as we addressed him, was a cheerful man who often drifted into detailed stories from his past about a stretch of rail between two cities, Colton and Westin which were serviced by the Colton & Northern RR.

His stories were always told with the greatest of clarity that we never suspected them to be anything but the truth. However, when we began our own research on the Colton & Northern RR, we couldn't find anything in any railroad literature that attested to the route ever having existed. At length, my friends and I discussed this and we decided I should try once more to learn of the truth of the matter. David had often spoke fondly of a man named Kyle Ferguson who was a recent engineer of the Colton & Northern RR. I thought Maybe he could clear up our confusion. David's widow, who still survives, knew of Kyle and gave me his telephone number.

I was somewhat hesitant to think I could do the Colton & Northern. How difficult would it be to base a route on what might be no more than folklore? Puzzled as I was, I made the phone call. Kyle Ferguson explained to me in a rough raspy voice, interrupted only by a smoker's cough that he understood my dilemma. He confirmed David's part in the history of the line and his being an engineer with one of the railroads that ran the route. This came as quite a shock for me that someone could attest to the route's existence. It piqued my interest further. So I just had to ask him to tell me as much as he could about the Colton & Northern. In the hours I spent on the phone with Kyle he gave me more than enough information. Even more amazingly he says the route still exists.

Every so often during the frequent calls I had with Kyle, I would mention I was unable to locate the route and if he would just tell me which state the route resided in. But he would only get overly animated and exasperatedly say, "It's there, right there on the map!" Not wanting to rile the man any further I would reluctantly drop the issue. But so oddly and just like David, his intimate recall of the topography, the surrounding communities and the history of the route was so profound and coincided with what I remembered of David's recollections this issue seemed only a peculiarity.

Fortunately, I would think, Railworks doesn't require me to plug in coordinates to build a route so building the route as it was described to me would not be a problem. I had started the route and as it progressed, I would send pictures of my progress to Kyle and he would advise me to raise this a little bit or that a little lower until he said it was perfect. Kyle also put me in touch with other people who told me many stories from the older days of the Colton & Northern. Each would respond after I sent them pictures of the route's progression that my rendition of the real route was "perfect!" Yet to this day I have been unable to locate any other evidence which supports the Colton & Northern being real.

The history of the Colton & Northern line is intriguing. Two cities some odd number of miles apart, had little to do with each other. Absolutely nothing connected them except for some backwoods roads and a few small communities. Westin, the northernmost town, saw that if it could expand, it would be northernly. Colton, the southernmost town, saw no reason for expansion at all. And if it did, they would want a rail line to go south. As fate would have it, a series of raw material discoveries between the towns brough interest from the railroads. These quiet communities, nestled in the hills of, well... somewhere, suddenly awoke to progress.

Speaking with Kyle and his friends they say, and this is where you can play apart in this too, the Colton & Northern route prevails doing the job of American business today. Large diesels are pulling trains to over 30+ businesses along the Colton & Northern. Numerous towns dot the line with long passing sidings and are signaled. I was able to write 20+ scenarios of typical assignments the engineers faced on the Colton & Northern route.

Your gonna' love this route! But before I prattle on too long about this fascinating bit of railroading history, or folklore, let me first show you some pictures with captioning so you can get an idea of what this timeless piece of history, the Colton & Northern looks like.

Colton & Northern Realistic scenery! Besides the Colton & Northern route you will need the following add-on packages:

1) Rural Landscapes* from
2) Scale Roads* from

*Both Rural Landscapes and Scaleroads come in both free and purchase versions (free is a low resolution version of the payware hi-res version (recommended)) If you have any of these add-ons already, you don't need to purchase them again.

Picture taken from the Westin area of the Colton & Northern rail line.
Colton & Northern Lots of detail! Especially close-up, you will feel you are there. And the action is smoothe!

Picture from Hawkins Supply in Penn Heights just before the Penn Heights Lumber Co. & Outlet Store
Colton & Northern The Colton & Northern runs through hills, valleys and plains areas. You'll see alot!

Picture taken from the Dugan County Granary branch.
Colton & Northern Working turntables (courtesy of RS), roundhouse, yard facilities adds to the railroading immersion factor.

Picture taken from Colton Rail Yard featuring default and Dick Cowen's FLC GP9 (available separately).
Colton & Northern A great way to railfan! The Colton & Northern offers many places to just watch the trains go by. This picture taken in the Colton Rail Yard near the engine shed.

Picture of Dick Cowen's FLC caboose (available separetely) on the Colton RR Yard caboose track.
Colton & Northern The magic of railroading goes virtual. Even ordinary places, like this bit of track before the Pine Bluff coal mine become magical with so much detail.

Picture from entry track to Pine Bluff Coal Mine.
Colton & Northern From small towns to larger towns, the detail doesn't stop!

Picture taken from Lancaster. A sizeable small town along the route with no railroad stops.
Colton & Northern Stand back, a train is coming! Can't you almost feel it?

Picture from somewhere on the Colton & Northern coming soon for Rail Simulator.

Fixes & Patches
Please be aware that while Railworks evolves, some of the updates have been playing havoc with the scenarios with this route originally released in early 2009. Fixes are provided by myself and generous users below.

Don McPherson (aka LoneWolfDon) has offered a duplicate scenario as a replacement for the Freeroam scenario included with the Colton & Northern route (should work in both the Steam and All Aboard version of the C&N). This is a new fix since the most current Railworks update which induced a number of "Broken Consists" errors in older scenarios. Unzip and install (Railworks version): Free Roam Fixed By LoneWolfDon

Don has also recently released an improved version of C&N Scenario #4 which improves the pathing and messaging of this scenario. C&N Scenario 4 fix By LoneWolfDon

Here's a fix for #12 Tucker Fab Drop-off (should work in both the Steam and All Aboard version of the C&N). This is a new fix needed since a previous Railworks update which caused this scenario to not operate properly. Unzip and install (Railworks version): #12 Tucker Fab Fix

Don submitted a fix for scenario #22 as well. Don listed these fixes: #22 Grain Delivery Fix
* Fixed pathing issues. Distance countdown to Go Via and upcoming destinations should now work correctly.
* Added message when nearing final destination. This will give the Player a chance to prepare and adjust speed accordingly.
* Added in the final Drop-off consist instruction as it was missing.
* Added in a better congratulatory Scenario Completed message.

Purchasing Information

Important before purchasing! The Colton & Northern requires add-ons for you to get the full effect of the beautiful scenery of the route. Please note that the extra add-ons are available from their respective sites. Please also note that some of these add-ons have free counterparts where you can upgrade to their pay (hi-res) versions at your convienence.

From 3dTrains, you will need:

1) Rural Landscapes (lo-res is free, hi-res available for purchase.)
2) Scale Roads (lo-res is free, hi-res available for purchase.)

Important! If you already have these add-ons, you don't need to purchase them again.

Purchasing Options for Colton & Norther below:

Colton & Northern is $17.00 (USD) via Paypal

Please click the Paypal icon to go to purchasing page.