The Saint Paul Bridge & Terminal is a terminal & transfer railroad, based in Minnesota's capital city1. The road provides the primary interchange route between many of the roads that directly service Saint Paul (especially the Omaha, Great Western, Rock Island, and Milwaukee), as well as providing transfer services to Minneapolis roads (including the Northern Pacific and the Minnesota Transfer).

This layout has been under construction since early 2002, with operating sessions having started in 2003. There is still much construction to be done, including all of the scenery, but op sessions are continuing.

News from the St. Paul Bridge & Terminal Area - 28 June 2008

Where Credit Is Due... - 7 September 2005

My source for the landscape fabric skirting idea is Doug Harding, of Eldora, IA. He stapled the skirting to the layout, which I didn't like as I need to remove it fairly often for construction purposes. When I saw how Daryl Kruse (of Rochelle, IL) attached his skirting using the vertical clothespins, I knew I could make a working combination of the two. If I have seen further...

News - 7 November 2004

I've added a rough diagram of Western Avenue yard, also available as a DIA file. A couple of classification tracks aren't in place. This was done to aid a discussion on the LDSIG mailing list.

News - 29 September 2004

I've finally added the layout at a glance. Some people have been asking for one.

The last of the benchwork is now complete. I drove in the "golden drywall screw" a few days ago. I've spent some time adding temporary fascia, skirting and backdrops in places. Using cheap (or free) material that comes close to the final product, just to help determine sizes and arrangement, has been a big help.

Construction photos have been posted.

Along the way, I've built most of the Saint Paul & South Saint Paul staging yards, and have started on the Minneapolis staging yards.

I've changed my fascia size a couple of times now, which was easy to do when it involves cutting down cardboard rather than something more substantial. I started at 12", cut it down to 10", and have finally ended up at an 8" high fascia. I've also tried out a few different sizes of shelf at the bottom of the fascia.

I stopped having operating sessions over the winter (2003-2004) in order to get the aforementioned benchwork done. I started up again (briefly) in late spring, and have started again in earnest this fall. I'm intending to run two sessions a month, once on a weekday and again at some weekend time. No, I don't yet have a schedule. Yes, please do contact me if you'd like a slot on the call board.

We've also been expanding the rolling stock fleet, with close to 250 cars on the layout. If you'd like to see what my car cards look like, please take a look at the front sides or the the back.

Power is still being leased from the NP, CGW, and the UNDC. Steam is still holding on, with several more units on the way.

I use DecoderPro to manage my decoder programming. My old EasyDCC command station was connected to the rest of my network via a Lantronix terminal server.

Old News available here, if you're still interested.

Layout At A Glance

Modelled Location: Saint Paul, Minn.
Interchanges: NP, MILW, CMO, CGW, RI, MT, CB&Q, GN, M&StL
Era: September, 1952
Emphasis: switching (really, I mean it, there's a lot of it)
Scale: HO
Control: Digitrax UT4 corded & UT4R radio throttles
Fast Clock: none yet, won't be any faster than 3:1, maybe 2:1
Train Control: yard limits
Radios: none needed
Crew Capacity: 6-13 (depending on jobs run, may assign two person crews)
Positions: yardmaster, yard crews (1 or 2), transfer operator. Everyone else will run a mix of switch jobs.
Crew Size: Most switch jobs are two person crews.
Session Length: 3-4+ hours, depending on crews
Room size: 24' x 40'
Accessibility: stairs to the basement, one duckunder at 60", wide aisles, bathroom in the basement
Amenities: 802.11b wireless access point available

Track Plans

No, I don't have any track plans online at this time. You'll have to visit to see it. I am working on schematics, so check back again.

Thanks to...

Many people have helped to build the railroad. Lynn McCall, Dave Vos, Jerry Elfert, and John Thomas have helped a bunch.

The Orphans of the Cumberland Northern, for being my regular operating crew.

I hardly ever work on this layout without having the radio tuned to KNOW, my local MPR station. Programs of special note are As It Happens and The World.

Certain items can be hard to find, so I keep a list of my favorite suppliers, mostly for my own purposes. If it helps you, well, cool.

And now a brief word for...

The Twin Cities Division, of the Thousand Lakes Region, of the National Model Railroad Association.

My railroad has benefited from the experience of the Layout Design SIG and the Operations SIG.


Yes, there was a real St. Paul Bridge & Terminal, in some of the same places that mine claims to model. There is little similarity between the two. I didn't even know about the existence of the real line (bought by the CGW in 1934) when I came up with the name for my own road.