Mark Dance's Columbia and Western Railway
The N-scale Columbia & Western is a model of the Canadian Pacific’s torturous Southern mainline through the Kootenay Mountains of South-Eastern BC. Constructed in four levels, the layout has 6 scale miles of mainline with a pusher grade in both directions, and a 2 scale mile branch line which simulates rail/barge operations on Slocan lake. The layout is 100% operational and about 75% sceniced.
The layout, like the prototype, features ore and lumber industry traffic with several large mills on the modeled portion. We use TT&TO for train movement and tag-on-car for car movement. Scheduled trains are run Westbound while all Eastbounds run as extras. The through freights are normally 20 to 30 cars led by 3 to 4 locos. Like the prototype the locos come from a variety of builders with approximately 50% of Fairbanks Morse design.
The layout can accommodate up to 8 operators plus a dispatcher. Positions can include Nelson yard and hostler positions, branch line/barge and pulp mill switching jobs, plow trains and pushers, and through and wayfreights. Easy to use, Digitrax UT4R radio throttles are available for mainline freights. The Dispatcher controls the Train Order signal indications directly through the Digitrax Loconet bus and governs the fast clock, normally set at 5:1.
Changes to the C&W since Vanrail 2013 include completion of the remaining large bridges, additional through and wayfreight jobs, completion of the pulp mill scene and the addition of sound-equipped locos to most trains.
Guest Dispatchers are welcome
|Superintendent||Mark Dance||Location||CPR Boundary Subdivision|
|Interchange||CPR and Great Northern||Size||20 feet by 16 feet|
|Control||Digitrax Radio with support for WiThrottle/EngineDriver||Clock Speed||5:1|
|Session Length||3 Hours||Crew Size||8|
|Dispatching||TT&TO||Car Forwarding||tab on car|
|Communication||telephones||Jobs|| Dispatcher,Nelson Yard west, |
Nelson Yard east
wayfreight & Road crews
|Accessibility||48 inch Duckunder||Website||Marks Flicker Page |
Mark's Youtube page
|Prototype/Freelanced Scale||Prototype||Length of Mainline||7 scale miles|
|Yards||1 division point Nelson||Number of Passing Sidings||6|
|Motive Power||Diesel (50% FM, 40% GM, 10% Alco)||Rolling Stock||lots|
|Train Lengths||15 to 25 cars||Track Construction||Peco code 55|
|Session Atmosphere||as casual as TT&TO can get|
Model Railroader August 2016
Railroad Model Craftsman (May2013) (February2014)(March 2014)
Great Model Railroads 2016
Model Railroad Planning (2012)(2016)(2017)
N Scale magazine
Canadian Railway Modeller August/September 2012
Dispatcher’s Office (April 2014)(October 2014)
Layout Design Journal (#37).
All photos by Mark Dance