Northern Pacific, Yellowstone Division

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The Northern Pacific (NP) was the second transcontinental railroad. It was chartered to connect Puget sound and the Great lakes. The Great Northern (GN) built a branchline south to Laurel from Great Falls MT. The Chicago, Burlington and Quincy (CB&Q) built north (from Denver CO) into an existing NP branch to the south of Laurel. The CB&Q also built a line north (from Kansas City) to the NP mainline at Huntley MT, 29 miles east of Laurel. These lines were originally built to interchange in Billings but there was not room in the Yellowstone river valley at Billings for a large yard so Laurel was established in 1906-1909 16 miles to the west. Laurel is also roughly the midpoint of the NP mainline. The North Coast Limited (NCL) was the premier passenger train on the NP.

The focus of my layout is the large interchange yard at Laurel MT. There are 7 mainline NP freight trains and all drop off and add cuts of cars in Laurel. All CB&Q and GN freight trains terminate/originate in Laurel. Although it is Oct 1 1955 this terminal is essentially operating as the BN albeit as individual railroads. There are also a number of local switching jobs as several NP branchlines are also modeled. A stock extra also runs out the Wilsall branch dropping off empty stock cars at stock pens and then turning around on the wye at the end of the branch and picking up the loaded cars on the way back. All passenger trains are represented and a meet between EB and WB NCL's is a highlight of any operating session.

Superintendent Jon Bratt
Division or Location: NP Yellowstone Division, Laurel, MT
Interchange Railroads: GN and CB&Q
Size of Railroad: 1100 square feet
Scale: HO
Era: October 1st, 1955 (Saturday)
Control System: Digitrax
Scale Clock Speed: None
Length of Session: 5 hours
Number of Crew: 6-7
Train Control: Sequential
Are Radios Required: No
Listed Jobs: 3 yard jobs, 3 road jobs, 1 conductor

Layout Photos (click to enlarge):


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