The Milwaukee Road in Montana

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2000, N Scale Railroading, Used with Permission

In the November/December 2000 issue of N Scale Railroading, Edward J. Lynch authors a short article about his small N scale layout, "The Milwaukee Road in Montana." The layout is 4'-6" X 8'-0" and provides plenty of opportunity for realistic operation. As presented in the overhead track plan, the "Milwaukee Road in Montana" uses Atlas flex track and #6 manual throw turnouts. In the article, Mr. Lynch explains how it was necessary for him to hire someone to build this particular layout for him, resulting in a "6 months" wait to get it.

Hobbyists who like the design of the the "Milwaukee Road in Montana" but don't want to wait six months to get it will be delighted to know the layout can be closely replicated with KATO UNITRACK. Not only will it take considerably less time to build, you'll also have factory-wired, power routing turnouts and the potential to operate three trains!

Below is a track plan of the "Milwaukee Road in Montana" using UNITRACK. There are a few notes to be aware of.

  1. First, the plan is drawn using plain, ground-level track only (i.e., with no bridges, road crossings, or signals). You may want to model a creek or river into your layout, to add more interest and realism to a specific area. If so, you may want to substitute one of our Truss or Girder bridges for a conventional straight section. Such a substitution may result in the need for another piece of track to equal the total length of the track section you're replacing. The same is true with one or more of our #20-021 Road Crossings, #20-650 Automatic Crossing Gates and/or #20-605 3-Color Signals.
  2. The plan as drawn does NOT include any feeder tracks to provide power to the layout. You can use the #20-041 62mm Feeder Track, if you wish, but my suggestion would be to utilize one or more #24-818 Terminal UniJoiners to connect electricity to the layout. Using the Terminal UniJoiner would allow the layout to be built using the pieces indicated, rather than subbing the Feeder Track plus another section to make up the length of the piece(s) being replaced.
  3. The turnout at the "9 Mile Bridge" on Mr. Lynch's layout has been positioned in the middle of the curve rather than at the bend of the curve. This slight difference should have no impact whatsoever on your enjoyment of operations.
  4. The length of the branch line tracks in the middle of the layout are slightly longer than those on Mr. Lynch's layout. I extended these lines because (a) I had the "extra" track pieces to do it [most track is sold in packages of four pieces], and (b) because it lets me run a little longer train in this area.
  5. Finally, with the use of UNITRACK, you would probably be able to fit this layout onto a 4' X 8' sheet of plywood or foam insulation by eliminating the two outside spur tracks at Alberton and shortening the spur off of the 9 Mile Bridge. Less staging and storage area for your rolling stock, for sure, but an easier "starting point" for your benchwork.
As mentioned before, the UNITRACK turnouts are all factory-wired for power routing operation from a central control point. No need to worry about the necessity and time for complicated wiring. Just plug into a #24-840 Turnout Control Switch (separate purchase of required number of control switches and a #24-842 DC Converter is necessary) and you're ready to go! If you don't wish to operate the turnouts electrically, they can be operated manually.

Finally, if #24-817 Insulated UniJoiners are used at the entrance of the Alberton "yard" and Drexel "spurs," it is possible for three trains to be simultaneously operated on this layout. Naturally, additional power packs and feeder tracks (or Terminal UniJoiners) would be required for the isolated operations, but think of the activity you would have. A small switcher locomotive, such as our RS2 model, could be hustling cars between industries in Drexel, while another could be staging other equipment within the maintenance facility at Alberton. All the while, a couple of our SD40-2 models could be dragging a string of Covered Hoppers around the mainline. An E8/9, along with a few of our new Corrugated Passenger Cars, might also be idling on the siding at the Alberton Station, ready to go after you park the freight consist over on the siding across from Drexel.

Even if you're running only one train at a time, the "Milwaukee Road in Montana with UNITRACK" gives you a nicely sized layout in no time at all that lets you enjoy some realistic operation. Once your track is down and your trains are running, you're sure to have the inspiration to get started on your landscape scenery and structure building. Now you're railroading ... have fun!!!


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Bill of Materials
QTYStock #Description
1620-000248mm (9 3/4") Straight Track
2420-010186mm (7 5/16") Straight Track
420-020124mm (4 7/8") Straight Track
620-03064mm (2 1/2") Straight Track
620-046~048Bumper (Use any of three styles)
820-100249mm (9 3/4") Radius 45 Curve Track
1120-111282mm (11") Radius 15 Curve Track
620-202#6 Left Turnout
820-203#6 Right Turnout
124-818Terminal UniJoiner
124-843Terminal Adapter Cord
Used to connect Terminal Joiners to power pack.
Optional Items
QTYStock #Description
1424-840Turnout Control Switch
?24-841Turnout Extension Cord (Used to extend cord from turnout)
124-842DC Converter (If 24-840 is used)
#20-021 124mm (4 7/8") Road Crossing Track can replace any #20-020 straight.


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