Great Northern, Minot Division

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GN LogoThe Great Northern Railway was a class 1 railroad that operated primarily between Minneapolis/Saint Paul, Minnesota and Seattle, Washington/Portland, Oregon. It also had major connections with the Great Lakes through Superior, Wisconsin. The premier passenger train on the line was the "Empire Builder". It was the northern most U.S. transcontinental railroad. Although it had many competitors, the Northern Pacific, Milwaukee Road and Soo Line were probably the most notable in that part of the country.

The modeled portion of the Great Northern Minot Division represents about 55 miles of the GN in western North Dakota. It is set in the early 1950's, approximately 1953, prior to the opening of the Gavin Hump Yard outside Minot in 1955. Westbound traffic is primarily into Seattle and Portland areas. Eastbound traffic is split between Great Lakes and Minneapolis/St. Paul and points East. In addition to the East/West oriented mainline, there is a branchline. This is represented as a staging area. The branchline goes north to coal mines and provides a route for a Canadian National train between Minot and Canada. To the west are the oil fields near Williston. Grain, especially wheat, is harvested and shipped throughout the area. Grain was shipped both East and West. There is a classification yard, an industrial area and some mainline for the Soo Line, which also served Minot.

The industries on the layout reflect the needs of the area. There is significant rail service for grain elevators, a flour mill, oil industry supplies, and coal hauling. Other typical industries are also represented.

Superintendent John O'Brien
Division or Location: Minot Division -- North Dakota
Interchange Railroads: Canadian National; Soo Line
Size of Railroad: 24 by 40 feet - 380 feet of mainline
Scale: HO
Era: 1950s
Control System: CTC80 - Radio Throttles for Mainline operators
Scale Clock Speed: 4:1
Length of Session: 3 hours (real)
Number of Crew: 12-13
Train Control: Verbal Authority
Are Radios Required: No - Telephone system is used
Listed Jobs: Dispatcher, two yardmasters, one yard engineer, two industrial switchers, 6-7 mainline operators
Accessibility: Stairs
Distance from hotel: 18 miles
Estimated travel time from hotel: 22 minutes
Web Site: {None...yet}
Pets: 1 Cat

Layout photos (click to enlarge):

Gassman Coulee Trestle
Des Lacs
Minot Depot
Minot Switch Job & Soo Line
Minot Switch Job
Minot Yard
Minot Yard
Minot Yard
Minot Industries
Minot Industries & Turntable
Minot Engine Services & Commissary
Soo Line in Minot
East Staging
West Staging Panel
West Staging
Dispatchers Desk

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