Great Northern, Willmar Division

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Great Northern LogoWelcome to the Great Northern Railway Willmar Division. This HO scale prototypically-based multilevel layout features St. Cloud, MN with its varied industries, division point yard, and live NP interchange. From St. Cloud there were mainlines going in six directions, generating a large amount of traffic. Operations are supported by 5 staging yards and include time freights, locals, and passenger trains that operated on prototype in 1956. Prototype-based schedules and operating documents are used to create an authentic reproduction of GN and NP operations in central Minnesota in the mid-1950s.

Beyond St. Cloud, other towns faithfully modeled include Waite Park, Rockville, Cold Spring, Richmond, Clearwater, and Monticello, MN, featuring typical Midwestern small town traffic and industries (grain, lumber yards, coal dealers, fuel dealers, feed mills, etc.) along with the granite quarries and associated industries found in central Minnesota. The NP portion of the layout supports 2 operators and live interchange with the GN.

The layout was featured in Model Railroader Trackside Photos in February 2022 and February 2023.

Click this link to see the: Willmar Division Timetable 85

Click this link to see a: Willmar Division Schematic

Click this link to see a: Willmar Division Track Plan

Map of the St. Cloud, MN, region with the modeled portion of the railroad highlighted.

Superintendent Rich Remiarz
Division or Location: Willmar Division, Central Minnesota
Interchange Railroads: Northern Pacific
Size of Railroad: 1170 square feet
Scale: HO
Era: September, 1956
Control System: Digitrax
Scale Clock Speed: 2:1
Length of Session: Three hours
Number of Crew: 14 to 15
Train Control: Timetable and Train Order
Are Radios Required: Provided for dispatcher, operators and yardmaster
Listed Jobs: GN - Dispatcher, 1 or 2 station operators, 1 yardmaster, 3 yard switchers, 6-7 engineers
NP - 1 local switcher & tower operator, 1 road engineer
Accessibility: Stairs
Distance from hotel: 23 miles
Estimated travel time from hotel: 27 minutes
Web Site: {None...yet}
Pets: None

Layout photos (click to enlarge):

GN 189 an NW-5 switching Granite City Granite
GN 189 switching St Cloud Products Association cannery
GN 837 and X3391W in St Cloud
Train 406 with GN 2584 approaching a grade crossing
Train 406 with GN 2584 leaving St Cloud
Train 502 running as X249E working in Clearwater
X602W switching Rockville Mill
Western Star passing X249E in Clearwater
X3135 arriving in Rockville
X3135 at Waite Park depot
X3135E in Cold Spring
X3135E switching Shiely-Petters
X3135W in Cold Spring
X3135W on Mill Creek Trestle
X3991 West east of St Clouds

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