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Ed Merrin

NorthWestern Pacific, HO

Some years I set about to create a layout that would capture the look and feel of the late 1950s Northwestern Pacific Railroad, a former subsidiary of the SP. The resulting 13x17 foot layout features two visible levels with a third level below for staging, all connected with two helixes. The lower level depicts scenes in Sonoma County, including the towns of Petaluma and Santa Rosa, and on the upper level are parts of Mendocino County, including the division point at Willits. Like its 1958 prototype, motive power is dominated by EMD SD7s with a few SD9s, mostly in Black Widow paint scheme. Most engines have sound. Operationally, the biggest business of the railroad is bringing lumber down from the Northern counties, with (as in SP fashion) westward (e.g., towards San Francisco) second-class freights and eastward extras. There are two locals and the waning days of passenger service on the line are modeled as well.

The Petaluma and Santa Rosa Railroad is also depicted with separate trackage and live interchanges.

Faithful to the prototype, the railroad is dark and runs with timetable and train orders on a fast clock. A prototype 1958 NWP timetable was the model for the train movements. Train orders and clearance forms are prewritten for each session, although dispatchers have the option of writing their own orders for which blank forms and carbons are provided. Car routing uses the traditional car card/waybill system. The railroad operates with Lenz DDC equipment supplemented by CVP radio throttles. Decoder Pro/Panelpro controls the staging yard via stationary decoders and a set of programmed routes.

Nearly the entire layout has at least basic scenery. There are both scratchbuilt and kitbashed trestles and bridges and a growing number of structures based on prototype facilities and scenes. Hope you enjoy it.

You can download the Operator Orientation 2024 here

Updated 4/14/2024