Ivanhoe, Minnesota

My model railroad of the Dakota, Minnesota and Eastern (DME) has three towns on the lower deck. The first town out of staging and heading in an easterly direction (to the left) is Ivanhoe, Minnesota.

The relative position of the towns on the lower deck can be seen from the plan. You can refer to my previous blog post if you need further explanation about the plan.

Positioning plan

The town of Ivanhoe in southwest Minnesota has a population of 560 (2013) which represents a decline of 17.5% since 2000. Ivanhoe is largely a service town supporting the surrounding agricultural community.  Ivanhoe has the mandatory midwest grain business and water tower. Ivanhoe is 29 kilometres (18 miles) to the west of the bigger town of Marshall (pop. 14,000, 2013) on Highway 19. Ivanhoe was served by a former CNW branchline from Tyler to Astoria (see map in previous blog post). Today, Ivanhoe remains a relatively small town typical of the area.

However, in my fictional history there is a busy rail line going through Ivanhoe on a west-east route from Brookings (SD) to Marshall (MN). In addition, with the fictional town of Rosa Park midway between Ivanhoe and Marshall, and with the extensive economic activity based in Rosa Park, Ivanhoe would have had a much bigger population than in reality. But for the purposes of the layout, Ivanhoe has a single spur serving a grain business on the fictional Brookings to Marshall line of the DME. I hope to add the water tower as well as I have a kit for that type of structure.

The layout diagram for Ivanhoe on my model railroad appears below.


The track crossing the doorway and continuing into Ivanhoe is the fictional DME line from Brookings. Brookings and subsequent towns up to Ivanhoe are represented by storage sidings in hidden staging. Remember that on my layout, west is on the right hand side and east is on the left hand side. To go east, is to go to your left!

On my layout Ivanhoe has a grain facility on a single spur. I am tossing up whether to have it represent a grain facility for bird seed as per the prototype Peterson Grain & Brokerage complex at Meriden near Waseca on the real DME. If so, I would name it Piersen Grain in memory of Joe Pierson from the CNW Historical Society who provided me with valuable CNW prototype information over many years before he passed away last year.

As the photos indicate below, trains leave the storage sidings (staging) and cross the doorway on a lift-out section. The tracks on the lift out section fork – the DME line goes to Ivanhoe and the BN/BNSF line goes to hidden staging behind Rosa Park.

The first photo shows the storage sidings (four diagonal tracks and one diagonal run through track), three straight sections on the right (two of which will cross over the doorway to join tracks on the other side), and a single line on the left which is the BN/BNSF line entering staging (actually, it has to cross over the doorway and veer to the right behind Ivanhoe to join seven hidden staging tracks on the other side of the layout behind Rosa Park). Where the spur ends on the left is where hidden storage begins. Up to there, the diagonal tracks will therefore be hidden behind a scenic backdrop.

Photo 1:


The second photo shows how the above set of tracks align on the edge of the layout by the doorway. Only three tracks cross over the doorway – the two on the left (red and green pins) and the single track on the right (blue pin). The stub ended tracks in between are used to store locomotives and are part of this side of staging.

Photo 2:


Photo 3 shows the (illustrative) lift-out section that brings both DME trains (from staging) and BN/BNSF trains from the lower level loop across the doorway. The track veering off to the left is for BN/BNSF trains to link up with hidden staging which, as I said, is behind Rosa Park. The track with the DME loco is where the DME trains enter the layout at Ivanhoe.

Photo 3:Liftout_temp

Photo 4 shows Ivanhoe with a main line, a spur on the right, and the line from Astoria and Hendricks on the left. The track on the right with the BN loco is how the BN/BNSF trains get around to BN/BNSF hidden staging. There are four tracks to the right of this line and these are DME staging for trains heading west (to the right). These four tracks are shown in Photo 5. The red and green pins (Photo 5) at the edge match the tracks from the other side of the doorway shown in photo 2.

Photos 4 and 5:


Photo 6 illustrates where the scenic backdrop will sit (illustrative) and its relationship to the BN/BNSF line and DME hidden staging. Above and behind the scenic backdrop will be the upper level, stepped back from the front as you can see.

Photo 6:

Ivanhoe_curved backdrop

To enhance operations at Ivanhoe I have fictionalised that the former south-north CNW line from Ivanhoe to Astoria remained operational, serving an ethanol plant and grain facilities at Hendricks (between Ivanhoe and Astoria) and grain facilities and farm supplies at Astoria as well (all fictional). This fiction is necessary to give the necessary economics for the line to remain in existence. I use a removable cassette to represent this branchline. The original (prototype) Ivanhoe grain facilities on the former CNW branchline are also represented as being off-stage on the removable cassette. At this stage I plan to run DME trains but the option is also available to have this section run by a shortline operator, of a type like the Nebraska Northeastern.

After leaving Ivanhoe, the track makes the customary model railroad turn back on a 30 inch radius curve leading into the fictional town of Rosa Park. I have always said that if I made a US-themed model railroad layout that I would have a town named Rosa Park named after Rosa Parks. Rosa Park is a major source of traffic on the layout.

The town of Rosa Park will be showcased in the next blog post.