Robert D. Hegge

The Crooked Mountain Lines started as an HO-scale railroad in the early 1950s. It was built in the basement of Bob’s home in Hazelwood, Missouri. It was born as a steam railway, but in 1955 it went under the overhead catenary as a fully electric operation. Power was delivered through the catenary. The layout was in HO gauge with scratch-built catenary and rails put down on wooden sleepers glued into place.

In 1956, Bob rebuilt the Crooked Mountain Lines to O gauge using code 172 rail. The layout was also built into the basement and the catenary again took care of the power supply. In 1962 the Crooked Mountain Lines was rebuilt using commercial HO equipment. However, in 1965, I sold all the HO gear and decided to build and work in ¼” scale (1:48) using fine scale wheels and code 100 rail. This type of building would make a far more prototypical appearance.

The Crooked Mountain Lines was built and operated in a large basement which it fills. The railway operation takes place on three levels in a ‘U’ design with a yard in the centre. Although the yard was an afterthought, it gave Bob more space for operating and running equipment.

In the building of the Crooked Mountain Lines, Bob tried to make the model as prototypical in appearance as possible. This was a miniature version of the real thing, weathered and old in appearance as well as design. The rolling stock has been weathered to represent a sort of run-down railway, that has seen better days.

The period of operation of the Crooked Mountain Lines is in the early 1930s and the United States is in deep in its depression. The railway is not operating in the red, but the profit is not all that great. The company has neither the time nor the money to keep the equipment in an immaculate appearance. They are far more concerned with the fine running condition of the rolling stock and electric locomotives.

As the railroad was set in the extremely rugged Northwestern part of the United States, the mountain scenery is built from the ceiling of the basement almost down to the floor level. Over 200 kilos (450 lbs) of plaster was used in the construction of the scenery, and both oil and dry powder paint were used. Before

  • No.6 All wood Baggage Motor ex Pacific Electric
  • No.7

St. Louis resident started in 1952 as originally modelling in HO scale.

1/4” (1:48) scale using fine-scale wheels and code 100 rail. 

About 10′ x 12′ in O gauge

  • November 1957 – Model Railroader
  • September 1976 – Model Railroader (Cover)
  • December 1976 – Model Railroader – Closeup: The Crooked Mountain Lines by Bob Hegge
  • October 1977 – Railroad Model Craftsman (Track plan)
  • September 1979 Model Railroader?
  • June 1999 – Model Railroader – Along The Line Looks Back: Crooked Mountain Lines by Bob Hegge

More Information

  • Hegge, Robert. “Hegge Builds a Brill Combine.” Railroad Model Craftsman, vol. 41, no. 5, October 1972, pp 30-34.
  • Hegge, Bob. “The Crooked Mountain Lines.” The Encyclopedia of Model Railways, edited by Terry Allen, Peerage Books, 1985, pp 178-189.