John Allen's Gorre & Daphetid

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Concept

Although it has been said that the

Colorado Midland RR might have

been a close prototype for the

Gorre & Daphetid, John Allen did

not model a particular railroad or

location. He was therefore free to

develop the layout as he envisaged,

his vision was free to change over

time, and it did.

In August of 1955, a year after starting construction of his third layout,

John Allen sketched the concept of his Gorre & Daphetid on the back of a

photo of his house at 9 Cielo Vista Terrace in Monterey. He envisaged a main

line 72 miles in length between the city of Great Divide and the village of

Gorre. The ocean side city of Southport was situated between two railway

divisions.

Later the route came to represent one division with two subdivisions,

Summit Subdivision to the east of Southport, now simply Port, and River

Subdivision to the west. Port was now visualized to be on a river or river

delta.

In the early days, the Devil's Gulch & Helengon narrow gauge appears to

have tried to compete with the Gorre & Daphetid RR but the Gorre &

Daphetid reached Helengon Gap before the Devil's Gulch & Helengon, and

the narrow gauge railway was never completed.

The Gorre & Daphetid RR follows mountain ranges that form a letter "J."

The main line crosses the mountains only once, by tunnel, just east of Port

(and Corsa, not shown on this early drawing) on the Summit Subdivision.

Thirteen additional tunnels and over 100 bridges facilitate the main line's

crossing and clinging to the mountain slopes.

During construction of the Gorre & Daphetid and, indeed, until construction

ceased with John Allen’s death, the city of Great Divide was isolated from

most of the complete portions of the main line, which gradually stretched

from Gorre to Port and eventually to Andrews, even as far east as Cold

Shoulder.

In his 1955 concept drawing John Allen visualized the Gorre & Daphetid RR

as relying on running rights from the Southern Pacific RR to connect the

cities of Great Divide and Port via Gorre. In turn, the Southern Pacific RR

presumably was able to reach Port by a connection to the Gorre & Daphetid

RR at Cross Junction.

However, Rod Smith, the Yardmaster of Great Divide from 1963-64, does not

recall John Allen referring to the link between Great Divide and Gorre,

what became known as the "cutoff," as belonging to the Southern Pacific

RR. According to Rod Smith by the 1960s John Allen envisioned the Akinbak

Mountains to be a spine of the Rockies rather than the Sierras.

Another example of John Allen modifying his concept of the Gorre &

Daphetid to suit the times was when the Gorre & Daphetid RR reached Cold

Shoulder. The portion of the incomplete Summit Subdivision stretching from

Andrews to Cold Shoulder was considered to be an interchange connection

with Tioga Pass RR belonging to Jim Findley, one of John Allen’s good

friends and fellow model railroader.