CN Clearwater Sub
by Norman in New Norway
I am modeling a small portion of the Clearwater Subdivision of CN from Kamloops Jct eastward. My interest began when I first worked on CN in 1972 and had the opportunity to ride on our outfit (gang cars) from Blue River to Boston Bar. I have used three actual sidings as follows: Exlou, because it was one of the shorter sidings; Vavenby, because of the lumber industry in the surrounding area; and Avola, because I just like the name and location. I have taken a little artistic licence in the placing of industries, so I have a fruit packing company at Exlou and a cement plant at Avola and a number of industries around the yard at Kamloops Jct. I also have trains operating to the Okanagan Sub (staging) as well as yard movements that interchange with the CP in Kamloops (staging). The time period is loosely from the 1970's to the present, although I prefer 1970's-1980's when I first began working for CN until I was no longer dispatching. I have tried to use as much prototype equipment as I have been able to find. Some compromises have been made to keep scratch-building and kit-bashing to a minimum. We have been fortunate to have many CN prototype models produced recently that have been much appreciated.
The motive power is dominated by GM's such as GP7/9's, F3/7's, SD40/40-2's, GP40/40-2's as well as a fair number of MLW's and a few GE's. Most of the locomotives are decorated for CN, but there are a few CP's, a BN, a couple of BCR's and an LMS. Fortunately, I was able to purchase quite a number of brass CN cabooses when they were first produced, so, with the current True Line Trains cabooses, I have enough prototypical CN cabooses. I have yet to purchase any SBU equipped trucks for caboose-less operation, but am considering doing so.
I do not currently use a fast clock, but try to operate the layout in a sequential pattern with many unit trains thrown in for the fun and frustration of it. Most trains originate and terminate in the 10 track staging/fiddle yard located in an adjacent room and cars are routed using a car card/waybill system. An extra manifest train eastward from Kamloops is usually a daily occurrence due to the eastbound traffic generated. Dispatching is currently done ad hoc, although I have plans to install a CTC system that could be operated as an ABS system. Running the trains for a whole day is usually not possible within the 3-4 hours of an typical operating session. Because of space limitations in the aisles, it becomes very congested with more than 4-5 people running trains at the same time. I currently use a Digitrax radio equipped Super Chief control system and enjoy the ability to MU many different types of units easily and appreciate the slow speed ability of today's locomotives.
With the approaching completion of the basic scenery, the CTC installation may come next. However, sound equipped units have taken my fancy and seem to gobble up most available funds. Trees, details and a few structures are still required, as well as installation of a motorized, indexed turn table.