south central wisconsin division​​

​The original four operating sessions filled up quickly. However, we have been able to arrange another Friday evening session on the Happy Valley Railroad of Don Mayo. The Happy Valley Railroad is a partly scenicked 30' x 15' "E" shaped layout, which is set in the early 1950's as a short line railroad serving five communities along its route. The layout is a point to point operating layout with a CTC dispatcher’s center and operating block signals. Hidden storage and interchange tracks are used for connection to the outside world. The railroad also has a traction line operating on the overhead serving on line industries and a car ferry. An operating session involves a crew of nine: a dispatcher, four mainline engineers, three yardmasters and one traction motorman/engineer. It is operated using SHIP-IT car routing and train orders with both passenger and freight service. The railroad has evolved over time since 1965.

This session is limited to 9 operators and will only run if enough people sign up. If you are already registered and would like to operate on the Happy Valley Friday evening, please send an email to as soon as possible with the number of operators to reserve your spot. If you are just sending in your registration, please write MAYO in big letters in the Operating Session box on the registration form.

Operating sessions will be held Friday afternoon from 1 to 4:30pm and 6:30 to 10pm.  There will be a choice of two layouts during each time slot.  You can sign up for one time slot or both.  On the Registration Form, please indicate your order of preference of layouts for each time slot.  We will do our best to honor your first choice on a first come/first assigned basis.  If all layout positions are filled, we will maintain a wait list so we can fill vacancies as they arise or add additional layout options.  Therefore, it is important that you provide your email address and phone number on the Registration Form.

You are expected to operate.  There will be time for viewing and photos during layout tours.  Each host will provide an introduction to their railroad and their operating procedures so be sure to arrive at the listed starting time for orientation and assignments.  Hosts would appreciate your using uncoupling tools rather than lifting cars so feel free to bring your favorite uncoupling tool.

As the convention gets closer, operators will receive an email with their assigned layout and approximate driving time from the host hotel.  Registration will be open at 11am on Friday to provide time for lunch and travel to the layout.  You must pick up your registration materials prior to travelling to the layout.  Maps will be provided. 


Friday Afternoon

Dr. Bill Clancy—Rio Grande Pacific     
HO Scale     14 operators

Time period—1940s-60s, diesel and steam, some sound; 85% scenicked; Digitrax radio; Shipit! switchlists; dispatching by radio

The Rio Grande Pacific Railroad purchased all railroad facilities from the Pacific Northwest thru Salt Lake City to Denver from the Rio Grande, Western Pacific and the Rocky Mountain portion of the Great Northern and SP&S just after World War II.  The  UP and Santa Fe as well as the Missouri Pacific, Rock Island, Colorado & Southern and the Burlington have trackage rights.  The Rio Grande Pacific is a 30’x46’ double-deck layout that begins in the North Denver Yard and passes through the industrial and yard areas of Denver as well as Denver Union Station.  It proceeds east to Salt Lake City, terminating at Oro Bieber Yard.  Freights have lots of switching opportunities along the way with three yards receiving and dispatching trains. Named passenger trains call at Denver and Salt Lake City.  Highlights of the layout are street running in North Denver, the Feather River Canyon and the spectacular Keddie Wye area. Trains take 20-30 minutes to travel the fully signaled line from one end to the other. 

Bob Wundrock, MMR—Rice Lake, Dallas & Menomonie    
HO Scale     6 to 8 operators

Time period—early 1950s, diesel and steam, some sound; 100% scenicked in visible parts; Digitrax radio and plug-in; Shipit! switchlists

The Rice Lake, Dallas & Menomonie Railroad takes its name from the prototype RLD&M that ran between Cameron and Rice Lake, Wisconsin in the 1890s.   It was absorbed into the Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Saint Marie (Soo Line) by the turn of the century.  The railroad is a "what could have been," running from Minneapolis to Duluth through west central Wisconsin.  The 25' x 25' RLD&M is based in the early 1950s using prototype Soo equipment from that era.  There are many freight and passenger trains on the schedule and lots of challenging switching on the mainline and in three major yards.  The mainline is signaled using Bruce Chubb's CMRI electronics.

Friday Evening

Bill and Rose Weber—Union Pacific     
​HO Scale   15 operators

Time period—present day; diesel; 85% scenicked; DC walk around; car cards; dispatching by telephone

This is a very large layout modeling the Union Pacific from North Platte to Portland with a division point yard at Salt Lake City.  The double track, fully signaled mainline hosts thru and local freights with lots of switching locations.  Crews work between North Platte and Salt Lake, and Salt Lake and Portland.  Three large yards and three locations with local switchers plus a lumber branchline keep many operators busy.  Lots of foreign road run-thru power mixes with Union Pacific and predecessor locomotives. 

Ken Hojnacki and Pete Reinhold—New York, Ontario & Western Auburn Division    
HO Scale    6 operators

Time--1948-54, steam and diesel, sound on most; 65% scenicked; NCE radio, Rail Op switchlists, dispatching by telephone

The NYO&W Auburn Division represents what might have been had the branchline begun in the 1860s been completed from Auburn NY to the Great Lakes.  By the modeled time period, the railroad had become a bridge route from Canadian National/Wabash connections at Ft. Erie, Ontario to New York City and New England.  The modelled portion is from Norwich to Niagara Falls with symbol freights carrying through cars each way and pickups (wayfreights) working between Niagara Falls and Auburn and Auburn and Norwich.  There is one passenger train each way per day and a milk train runs between Auburn and Niagara Falls.  Extra symbol and rock trains run as needed.  Two to three trains can be on the mainline with a local switcher at Newark, five live interchanges and active yards in Niagara Falls and Auburn.  Because of heavier traffic, steam shares duties with first generation diesels.  

UPDATE - New Ops Session Available

Operating Sessions