Great Northern Railway - Great Falls Sub

In HO Scale by Gerry Hopkins MMR

The layout occupies a 20' x 24' stand alone building and has been under construction for 7 years. I model the Great Northern Railway circa 1959. This allows me to run1st Gen diesels form Alco and EMD as well as surviving steam locos.

The area modelled is northwest Montana and just up into the Rockies. The biggest industry is grain and there are many elevator and silos on the layout. There are numerous other smaller industries giving me plenty of switching options.

The mainline is code 70 rail and the rest of the tracks in yards and sidings are code 55 there is some code 40 in one of the industries. Of the 112 turnouts, 12 are Micro Engineering and the rest are hand laid. All the turnouts are dead frog for reliable operation and only the turnouts on the mainline are motor operated.

The layout is operated with Easydcc from CVP, both tethered and radio throttles are used. The turnouts on the mainline and in the staging yard are controlled with AD4 accessory decoders. Route selection is used for the tracks in the staging yards - so much easier.

The base height of the layout is 1200mm and the highest point on the main line is 1500mm. Most of the grades are less than 2% but there is a section of 2.5% for 2m with curves.

All locos and rolling stock MUST run faultlessly so all the track and wheel standards are as set by the NMRA Gauge. All the locos pick on all wheels; some have had their pickups modified for reliability. Sound Decoders are from Soundtrax/Tsunami and non sound locos use TCS decoders. I can operate the layout on my own or with up to 8 operators. 95% of the time I am the only operator.

My biggest challenge, how to run GN (HO std gauge) in the 50's with SR&RL (HOn30) in the 40's. The answer - copy the prototype! Maineville is a theme park in Montana. The prototype? Edaville, it started in the mid 40's and is still running today. This means I can build a small fishing village with a narrow gauge railroad in good condition, and, be served by the standard gauge railroad.

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