Soo Line

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The Soo Twin Cities Lines is an HO layout set in 1959 and focusing on the traffic that moved between the Soo's main yard at Shoreham (Minneapolis) and the industries, freight house, and transfer to other RRs located in the reciprocal switch district of St. Paul, MN. The 25'-long 7th St. yard is an actual 1:87 version of the Soo's now-defunct property (flipped E/W so it will fit naturally in my space). Mine is a small layout, but we therefore incorporate some aspects of yard operations usually not included on most larger layouts. I have devised a system using prototype-facsimile waybills that relies on the Yardmaster to make a lot of car-by-car routing decisions based on car service rules. I have also incorporated operations at a small city freight house, handling 30-40 cars per day.

The layout is a 2-level, around the wall configuration with a helix. In the yard, the Yardmaster handles the prototypical waybills (baseball card sleeve style) and writes switch lists for two separate yard jobs. The YM also makes decisions about handling and routing of empties to fill customer orders or to route as appropriate. A fourth crew member handles the waybills and trains for the Shoreham-St. Paul transfer runs. 2013 will be the first time this layout has been part of Minn-Rail. Scenery is underway.

All functioning trackage is within yard limits and no fast clock is used, but we time events loosely through the evening as directed by the Superintendent.

Superintendent Bob Sterner
Division or Location: The Soo, Twin Cities, MN
Interchange Railroads: NP, GN, CMO, MNNR and several others via trackage rights
Size of Railroad: 300 Square feet, 2-level
Scale: HO
Era: Summer, 1959
Control System: Digitrax duplex wireless
Scale Clock Speed: no clock in use
Length of Session: 3 hours
Number of Crew: 4-5
Train Control: The layout is entirely within yard limits
Are Radios Required: No
Listed Jobs: Yard Master, 2 yard jobs and the Shoreham transfers

Layout photos (click to enlarge):

SOO 5

SOO 7

SOO 8

SOO 9

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