CN Rail - Dumont Division
Article with Photos
|Story by Darlene Polachic and Scott Gibb
Photos by Jim Banner
This is a feature length article modified for electronic publication.
In this article
Scott Gibb's "CN Rail - Dumont Division" is located in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. It is a 16' by 16' L-shaped, two level HO scale railroad that could be almost any small portion of the prototype Canadian National Railway in Western Canada.
Scott's interest in railroading began in 1948 when he met a young lady (Pat) from a railroad family. Her father was a coal dock foreman and pumpman at a CNR location in North-eastern Saskatchewan known as "Murphys Siding". In the 1920's the Port of Churchill, Manitoba was expected to become a busy exporting terminal of prairie grain to European ports. Murphys Siding was to be one of the many steam engine facilities required on this line. Therefore, a roundhouse, turntable, coal dock, and water tank, along with three yard tracks and a foreman's house, were built. The Great Depression came along and the line never reached its potential; however, the coal dock and the water tank were required to service local traffic. In 1930, this young lady and her parents moved into the foreman's house. They lived there until her father's retirement in 1951. The roundhouse was Pat and her brother's playhouse, It was demolished in the mid 50's and the coal dock and water tank were removed in the early 60's.
Scott and Pat were married in 1950 and that same year Scott was hired by the CNR as a telegrapher. He worked as a towerman, station agent, terminal operator and train dispatcher. He retire in 1988 as Assistant Chief Train Dispatcher in Saskatoon. Scott says, "In the mid 70's many changes were taking place on the prototype and I wanted to do something to hold the memories of the railroad that I had worked with and loved. Model Railroading seemed to be the answer."
Construction of the Dumont Division began in 1981. It is a two level 16' by 16' L-shaped layout. The width varies from 5' to 6'7". Two hinged hatches make easy access to al points of the railroad. Benchwork in L-girder 1 by 4 construction with a 27' spline roadbed spiral of 2.5% gradient connecting the two levels. The mountainous scenery is zip-textured hardshell and includes various rock carvings. Natural earth and sand (including sand from the islands of Bermuda) and various commercial ground covers fill in the details. Envirotex (a clear two part polymer) forms the water in several sloughs, waterfalls, and Telegraph Creek, which winds its way the entire length of the layout. Some commercial trees and lichen are used but most of the trees are made from Golden Rod and Sorrel (which grow wild on the prairies) and a variety of twigs also found in nature, dipped in white glue and water and then sprinkled with ground foam. A variety of trees are added each year. The detailed backdrop, painted by Pat, extends to the ceiling and curves around the entire layout. A 3' by 4' painted lift-out over the control panel can be added for picture taking purposes.
The Dumont Division has a central control panel with fixed cabs at the panel and tethered cabs around the layout. The track is divided into twenty-seven blocks, each controlled by a DPDT centre off toggle, for two train operation.
Articles by Andy Sperandeo in March 1981 M.R. and Ed Steinberg's 1981 series "Building the Green River Railroad" helped considerably in the layout wiring and in building the control panel. Code 100 Atlas flextrack is used throughout with turnouts from Atlas, Shinohara and Peco. Mainline turnouts are #6 and are operated by under-the-layout switch machines. The yard switches are #4 with Caboose Industries ground throws. All rolling stock is Kadee equipped and weighted to NMRA standards.
The Dumont Division is set in the period from 1950 to the mid 1960's and incorporates steam and early diesel power on a busy mainline railroad setting. Modern diesels and cars are also in abundance but are usually separated from the earlier rolling stock, especially during operating sessions.
Let's take a ride on the Dumont Division.