Hudson Bay Mining

Marc Simpson's Hudson Bay Mining
Currently lower level benchwork and trackwork is complete, with some basic scenery and buildings in place. Final scenery and buildings will be put in place when construction and scenery is completed on the upper level. Construction on the upper level and the helix/staging is in the planning stages.
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Hudson Bay Railway

The Hudson Bay Railway (HBR) represents Canadian National’s lines to Flin Flon (Flin Flon Subdivision), Lynn Lake, Thompson and Churchill Manitoba in early to mid 1980’s. These lines were built to access northern Manitoba’s mineral wealth and forest products. The Flin Flon Subdivision was completed in 1928, the line to the Port of Churchill in 1929, Lynn Lake in 1953 and Thompson in 1958. Another line to Snow Lake was built in 1960 and abandoned in the late 1980’s. Major traffic generators for the northern Manitoba lines include outbound concentrates and ingots from Flin Flon, Lynn Lake and Thompson, predominantly Copper, Zinc and Nickel. As well, inbound concentrates, mill and smelter supplies for the smelters and concentrators at these mining centers is shipped by rail; raw logs and chemicals going to, and finished wood and paper products coming from the Tolko/Repap lumber mill and pulp mill, grain loads going to and grain empties coming from Churchill, fuel and supplies to the various northern communities. As well Manitoba Hydro had several northern hydroelectric dams under construction or under renewal during the modeled time frame which added to the rail traffic mix. Some of the last mixed trains in Canada continue to operate in northern Manitoba. In the layout’s time frame the Lynn Lake, Snow Lake and Churchill mixed trains were operating. In the name of added operational interest the Churchill mixed train has been extended to operate out of The Pas. In reality it ran between Wabowden and Churchill. These mixed trains had the last heavyweight combines (former Canadian Northern Colonist cars) in regular operation. The Lynn Lake (now running only to Pukatawagan) mixed train currently has the last CN/VIA lightweight “Super Continental” smooth side cars in operation as well. Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting’s mine and smelter complex in Flin Flon was completed in 1929-1930. The plant and numerous mines in the area have been active ever since. HBM&S had an extensive railway system at the smelter and to the outlying mines, all operated with electric operations until the early 1970s’. Rebuilt steeple cab electric locomotives were used in slag haulage until 1999. Archbar trucks (many with roller bearings!) were in regular use under slag cars and wood bodied truss rod flatcars until 2008. There were many other anachronisms throughout the smelter operation, adding to its attraction from a modeling standpoint. The HO scale Hudson Bay Railway Flin Flon Subdivision is currently being constructed to represent the line between The Pas (southern terminus of the HBR) and Flin Flon, with particular focus on the mining and smelting operations of the HBM&S, circa mid 1980’s. A lower level staging yard is used to represent northern destinations (Lynn Lake, Thompson, Churchill) on the HBR system. Upper level staging will represent southern destinations (Canora, Winnipeg, etc.). The layout 1980’s era reflects an interest in ore trains from Snow Lake, 8 hatch reefer traffic, boxcar grain haulage and frequent passenger service. CN ran The layout’s approximately 180 foot mainline run between The Pas and Flin Flon (eventual 260’ on layout, 80’ in helix) is faithful to the overall prototype with respect to industry locations, scenic details and prototype operations. The junctions for the lines to Lynn Lake and Thompson/Churchill have been combined to a single junction at Cranberry Portage for operational purposes as well as space constraints. The proposed location of the Snow Lake branch has been moved to the adjacent room to allow for better operations as well as due to space constraints in the main layout room.

  • Location---Northwestern Manitoba
  • Interchange--- The Pas (CN), Cranberry Portage (CN Lynn Lake branch, CN Churchill line), HBM&S Flin Flon
  • Size---14'x21' (irregular room shape)
  • Scale ---HO
  • Era--- Mid 1980’s
  • Control--- DCC Digitrax
  • Clock Speed--- TBD
  • Session Length--- TBD
  • Crew Size--- 1-8 (to be formalized)
  • Dispatching--- TT&TO
  • Car Forwarding--- Waybills
  • Communication--- Radio – TBD
  • Accessibility--- exterior stairs and 4 stair climb inside basement
  • Yards--- The Pas (main yard), Channing, Flin Flon smelter
  • Passing Sidings--- The Pas, Tolko, Atik - Cranberry Portage, Flin Flon Junction, Channing
  • Scenery Complete--- 5%
  • Motive Power--- Diesel - mix of GMD, MLW and GE per prototype practice
  • Rolling Stock--- approximately 300 cars
  • Train Lengths--- Freight - 15 cars, passenger 4-6 cars
  • Track Construction--- Micro Engineering Code 70 track, Atlas Code 100 (staging and helix track)
  • Switches ---Micro Engineering, Shinohara and Fast Tracks Code 70 switches, Shinohara and Peco Code 100 in staging and hidden track
  • Minimum radius--- 30" Mainline, 24" yard track, 15" (approximate) on slag haulage line at smelter