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
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
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
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
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.