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Posted in Layout Designs by Rob Chant. (Last activity on Thursday, September 30, 2021 at 8:12:00 ADT.)

HO SCALE: Canadian Pacific Railway (Branch Line in Northern Ontario)

This design was done for a client who wanted to see a HO-scale Canadian Pacific branch line set in Northern Ontario during the transition era. I didn't have any control over the bench work configuration since it was already constructed in the roughly 8 x 11½ foot space in his family room.

The layout owner wanted to have local switching work along with some train running, so I decided to use an idea that I had employed on other continuous run layouts in the past. The idea is a simple and unique operating plan that I have been promoting for a few years that I would like others to consider.

Operations are built on a scheme I first developed back on 2010, based on an article in Model Railroader by Greg Panas [June 1988, page 80]. I have designed a few layouts that use the same approach to get the most operating possibilities out of a small, continuous run layout. I designed an N-scale layout on a door (the Central Alberta Railway) and an HO-scale layout on a 4x8 sheet of plywood based on a Canadian National branch line railway.

At the beginning of the op-session there would be a branch line freight train staged on the track that connects the loop of track to the mainline at Black River Junction. Since my client also wanted to include some passenger service, there would also be a set of RDCs sitting in front of the mainline station which would make an appearance later in the session.

The freight train leaves Black River Junction eastbound (clockwise) and makes one complete lap before passing through the first town of East Falls, where it does the switching work for those two industries (the produce house and the small manufacturing company.) Once East Falls is served, the freight train makes another lap before coming to the second town of Doreville. The industries in Doreville include the furniture factory, the lumber yard, and the coal yard and since there are both facing and trailing point turnouts, the crew must use the run-around to service the town.

Once the local work is completed at Doreville, the train makes another lap before passing through the small hamlet of Huber, where the crew switches the bulk oil dealer, then continues for another lap around the room. The fourth town along the branch line is Millington, which is skipped for now, since it is facing point turnout and there is no run-around.

The branch line freight continues eastbound (clockwise) and makes another lap, before reaching the end of the line at Lakeshore. After switching those industries, the crew turns the train for it return trip, then heads for lunch at Stella's Place, which is located just past the station.

While the crew is eating, the two RDCs enter the branch line at Black River Junction heading eastbound for Lakeshore. There are only two other stations along the line; one at East Falls and Doreville which are represented by the same structure. Once the RDCs reach Lakeshore there is a very short layover before the passenger train heads back to the mainline.

When the RDCs are back at their staged position in front of the mainline station, the freight crew returns to the train and leaves town for its return trip back to Black River Junction (counter clockwise) . As before, the crew makes a complete lap between each town.

When the train reaches Millington, that spur is switched if needed, then the train makes 2 more laps passing thru Huber on the way, before reaching Doreville. On the eastbound trip, the crew may have dropped some cars in Doreville to reduce the length of the train to only those cars required to service the towns east of Doreville, so the crew may have to pick-up those cars from the passing siding before continuing westbound.

The train then continues westbound toward the junction, passing thru East Falls then makes another lap, before taking the turnout at Black River Junction that takes the crew back to the mainline and the end of the op-session.

Although relatively small, the layout has operating potential, lots of room for scenery and structures, and still looks uncongested. I should mention that minimum radius on the mainline is 25-inches, and on the secondary track, it is 22-inches. It uses PECO code 83 #5 turnouts, and no charges were required to then bench work my client has already built.

If you're planning a continuous run connection on your layout, I hope you will consider such an operating scheme.

Track Plan:

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3D screen captures from the layout:

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TAGS: Theme: Branch Line Railway, Layout Size: Compact Layouts, Design Feature: Continuous Run Option, Theme: Passenger Service, Canada (Provinces): Ontario, Canadian Railways: Canadian Pacific Ry

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