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Posted in Layout Designs by Rob Chant. (Last activity on Friday, February 07, 2020 at 7:53:00 AST.)

HO SCALE: Prairie Dog Central Railway

I designed this for a client way back in August of 2000. Back then I wasn't doing a lot of 3D work, so the layout had to wait 20 years for me to finish it. At the time, the owner wanted a layout depicting a Canadian prairie setting, and wanted to run both diesel and steam. Although meant to be purely fictional, his premise was based on the Prairie Dog Central Railway (PDC) which is a steam excursion line that was started by the Vintage Locomotive Society in Manitoba in 1970.

Through the years, the PDC operated on a couple of Canadian National subdivision, until they finally purchased the Oak Point Subdivision from CN in 1999. At one point, they were also providing freight service. My client wanted to duplicate that by having a railway that operated the steam excursions and also did some local switching for online customers.

GP-9's with steam generators would provide motive power for the freight trains, and an ex-Canadian National locomotive would be used for steam power pulling ex-Canadian National heavy weight coaches. Along with the freight and steam excursions, my client also wanted regular passenger service provide by VIA Rail using RDCs. (I only had Canadian Pacific RDC's in my library files, so they had to fill that role on the layout.)

The original design had more track than shown here, so I culled it back a bit, but there is still plenty of online switching to do with the few remaining industries. The turntable is 65-feet long, and is just long enough to accommodate the 2-6-0 loco. The locomotive burns oil so the local oil company can provide fuel, while the local fire department can top of the tender.

As for operation, the staging I show has enough room for two freight trains, the steam excursion train, and the set of RDCs. I would operate a freight and regular passenger train (RDCs) on a daily basis, and operate the steam excursion train three days per week. That way, you could duplicate two days on the line, which would give a total of five trains operating during an op-session. Quite a bit of fun in a relatively small space!

Track Plan:

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Overall Views of the Layout:

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Freight Train Operations:

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Daily Passenger Service:

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Steam Excursion Train:

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TAGS: Theme: Branch Line Railway, Theme: Canadian Prairies, Theme: End of Line Station, Theme: Passenger Service, Layout Size: Small Layouts, Design Feature: Staging Yards, Theme: Steam Excursion Trains, Canada (Provinces): Manitoba, Canadian Railways: Prairie Dog Central Railway


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