The CN Prairie is set in June 1959 with scenes from Saskatchewan and Alberta that I believe represent the prairies. The layout was started in 2007 and will be my 3rd and hopefully last.
There are 5 bridges both metal and wood. The wood ones are scratch built from CN plans.
There is a small town in the bottom right hand side. The main industries are grain, livestock, freight and passenger service. The building are both kits and scratch built. There are 7 elevator companies represented through the layout. The yard represents a division point on the CNR main line loosely based on Melville Saskatchewan by that I mean I didn't try to exactly model the town as I could not make it fit in the plan. The cars are mostly CN and all the engines are all CN. When operating there are trains that run to Regina and Yorkton both in staging along with the trains that run down the main.
Growing up on the farm and then farming for 15 years has helped me set the scenes for the layout. Model what you know.
The bridges and buildings are either from kits, scratch build from CN plans or scratch built from pictures and measurements that I have taken over the years. They are then drawn up on a cad program and built using a variety of materials and techniques. See this post for how I scratch build How I scratch build The industries are mostly ones that I grew up with and remember.
All my diesel engines have been detailed and custom painted to match CN prototype as closely as reasonable. I also have 10 steam locomotives both brass and plastic. I started painting and decaling back in the 90's because at that time there where very few engines that had CN marking or proper major details and I have just kept going on with it since then. The majority of my rolling stock is 40' boxcars. I have at least one of each type of house car 1937 AAR built. There are 20 different variations of these cars alone. Most are Intermountain, Red Caboose and Branchline that have had roofs, ends, doors and trucks changed to match the prototype. These have all been custom painted and decaled. There are also many other types of CN cars represented. Some of these are resin kits from F&C, Sylvan, Westerfield, Kaslo and Athabasca. I also have models that represent 1979 and 1999 as I also enjoy the features of these time periods also. These I run mostly with the Battle River Railway Modelers which is an outstanding group of guys that run Free-mo.
The yard provides an opportunity for lots of switching. The main line can be run point to point to staging or can operate as a loop when I would just like to see trains run. The little branch line just gives the excuse needed
to run that type for smaller equipment.
The control system is Digitrax Super Chief simplex radio. Most of my sound decoders are Soundtraxx with a couple of QSI. and a couple of ESUA about half my engines have sound and I am currently working my way through installing sound in my brass steam locomotives.
I am running JMRI Operations to control my switch lists and manafests. By doing this I have done away with car cards, as everything is printed on a sheet for the operators. This system seems to be working well. I also run timetable and train orders. I hold operating sessions and am a participant in the Northern Rails a by yearly operations event in the Edmonton area.
Ops sessions are run using a 4-1 fast clock on a 24 hour day. Typical session lasts 4 hours and I can have 6 operators. Three running trains, two in the yard and a hostler. In a typical day there are 9 passenger trains and 12 though, mixed and work trains.