Northwest Trunklines (NWTL) - First Operating Session

On Monday, June 8th, 2009, the first major phase of the railroad was ready to host a formal operating session. This inaugural run served as a test of the layout’s mechanical and electrical reliability. Five trains shared the single track mainline. Ore loads were transported from Butte to Anaconda in Montana. Anaconda also received coal from British Columbia. Passenger service aboard the Great Northern Empire Builder moved along the line while Milwaukee Road box cab electrics dropped off empty hoppers for local freight. Train crews and the dispatcher had to stay on their toes to keep traffic moving.

For most who attended this was the first time they had participated in a formal operating session with trains crews and a dispatcher. There were plenty of hiccups throughout the session, but a good time was had by all. The layout proved it was reliable enough for the project to move forward into scenery work. In the future you will see a more picturesque railroad as the terrain takes shape. Regardless of the limited scenery, we hope you will enjoy this first look at operations on the NWTL.

- Dave Hikel, Hikel O Gauge Layouts & Trains