northertrackers
Northern Minnesota Railroad Heritage Association, Inc.
Home of the "Northern Trackers"             
35170 County Road 3   •   Crosslake, MN 56442            
phone: (218) 692-1900            
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hotrainlayout
The original idea for the HO layout was to develop the logging era from 1904 to 1915 following the route developed by the Minnesota and International Falls (Mike & Ike) line. As work progressed, a lack of interest developed. The time era was too restrictive and was not a cooperative effort. Cars and Locos were hard to come up with any exact details.

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Re-organization and a change in thought from that of a one man idea to that of a joint committee effort made for a tough time for the HO committee. Add to this was the fact that steamers were gone and now great diesels dominate the visitors minds. And so, the time period evolved into the period from 1905 to 1940. While the change in thought was traumatic for some, it proved to be an energizer for the HO committee. What had become stagnant, was now alive and moving again. Scenes were changed and updated. There was thought for awhile with the committee to develop a diesel/steamer servicing the area in a corner area of the layout.

An outburst of emotional feelings ran rampant among the members that was surprising. The HO committee maintained their goal of the 1905 to 1940 era with a simple solution. If a member wants to bring in a diesel and run it for awhile, so be it. The visitors were just as awed with the diesels as they were with Mallets and big steamers.

trainlayout
Instead of a diesel/loco servicing area, what about creating a scene that replicated the treating plant that had been in west Brainerd along side the N.P. Main Line? There were a lot of pictures and a tremendous amount of information to be found on the internet. Joe Hampl was intrigued by the idea, and he went to work. By carefully measuring and then scaling the dimensions from some photos Joe drew up the plans for the plant. He researched the creosote process and eventually presented a program on the process at a membership meeting. It was a real learning experience for everyone.
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holayout

The scratch built project took off with the patience and |
skill of a modeler.

While some adaptations and a little imagination a fully developed site was brought to fruition.

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holayout

The plant fell victim to the E.P.A. and was shut down after many years of operation. There are still test wells in the area where the plant was to check on the pollutants in the ground water. Thousands and thousands of ties were treated and shipped out for use along the N.P. Line.

Another victim of the E.P.A. along with the development of ball bearings was the Brainerd Foundry that made the brass journal bearings for the cars. They also cast the switch stands, some of which are still in use today.

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