Missouri-Kansas-Texas, Northern Division

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David Weber’s Missouri-Kansas-Texas, Northern Division

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The MKT Northern Division is a HO Scale layout contained in the climate controlled basement of David Weber's residence. It is not handicapped accessible. The layout dimensions are 40 X 25 feet, and it is a true point-to-point railroad. The layout models the Missouri, Kansas, Texas Railroad in the early 1970's to 1979.

Dave models the Missouri, Kansas, Texas Railroad from 1975 to prior to the Frisco and Rock Island demise in 1979/1980 between Parsons, Kansas to Kansas City. Frisco and MOPAC trains are brought in from hidden staging in the middle of the layout room/basement, which is also where the Dispatcher's Office is located. Operation of the Katy is simulated using prototype timetables. A typical operation session lasts 3 hours long, operated on a fast clock of 8:1. Prototypical operation, having fun, and emulating the Katy in the mid 1970's is the primary focus, but in a laid back environment.
Layout at a Glance 
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Layout at a glance
  • EASY DCC with wireless and tethered throttles
  • Diorama styled layout similar to Allen McClellan's approach
  • Dispatch using portable handheld radios
  • Diode matrix wiring in all yards
  • Dispatcher's office containing train order sheet, and magnetized board with linear outlay of railroad from south to north
  • Each train contains car cards with waybills for routing
  • The MKT receives transfers via KC Terminal Staging to Glen Park Yard, that typically routes all traffic south to Parsons and beyond.
  • About 50 percent of the engines are equipped with sound decoders.
Jobs on the Layout 
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Jobs on the Layout
Parsons Yardmaster - works Parsons yard and industries receiving northbound trains from Muskogee and southbound trains from KC. The Parsons Yardmaster builds 3 scheduled northbound trains, and extras as needed. There is one Local/Way Freight that originates from Parsons.

Dispatcher - Dispatcher works from his own enclosed office and is responsible for safely and efficiently routing all north and southbound traffic to and from KC to Parsons. The Dispatcher uses portable radios, a train order timesheet, and receives requests from Parsons and Glen Park Yard for crews as needed. There are usually at least 4-6 staged Frisco and/or MOPAC trains in Fort Scott staging where the Dispatcher's office is housed. The Dispatcher facilitates routing into staging as well.

Frisco Rosedale Yardmaster - Frisco Yardmaster is responsible for routing and receiving all north and southbound traffic. One Local/Way Freight leaves and returns from KC to Paola. There are normally 4-5 north and 4-5 southbound trains operated per session.

MKT Glen Park Yardmaster - Controls Glen Park yard north and southbound trains. There are 3 scheduled southbound trains from Glen Park Yard, one of which is a Local/Way Freight. Glen Park yard is VERY busy and requires a skilled yardmaster. He will have an assistant.

MKT Glen Park Yardmaster Assistant - Assists the Glen Park Yardmaster, and usually is assigned a wireless throttle. This is a great job for those wanting to learn about a Yardmaster position, but not yet ready to tackle it alone. This allows for an enjoyable way to learn.

Kansas City Terminal Yardmaster - This yardmaster operates all of the transfer railroad jobs including BN, CNW, ATSF, RI, UP, KCS, MILWAUKEE Road, and Kansas City Terminal. This yardmaster must work and coordinate closely with Glen Park and Frisco Rosedale Yardmasters on in and outbound transfer jobs. This position also requires switching 6 local businesses. It is a fun job as well, but busy.

Road Jobs -There are about 4-6 road jobs available, and I only have 3 local/way freight jobs that are usually spread throughout the session.
About the Layout Owner 
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About the Layout Owner
David Weber is married with an adult aged daughter, two stepdaughters, and two grandchildren. David has served as a police officer for a large local police department for over 25 years and is nearing retirement from law enforcement in about one year from Prairie Rail 2016.

David has served as the Katy Railroad Historical Society President for the past six years. David also enjoys target shooting and hiking.

This will be the last Prairie Rail for David's current layout, as he plans to move after retirement and build a much larger version of the MKT Northern Division which will be about 100 X 50 ft in its own self-contained building.
More about the Layout 

More About the Layout

The railroad starts from the south with the Muskogee staging yard located in the stairwell/entrance into the room. It proceeds to Parsons Yard, which is about 40 feet long. Parsons yard requires a yardmaster, and has a tethered throttle for yardmaster. The next town north is Erie, Kansas, which contains 4 local businesses served by the railroad. There is some farm land scenery that separates Erie from the next town north, which is Moran, Kansas.

Moran has 3 industries served by rail. The railroad is about 2-3 foot wide from Erie to Moran, but narrows to about 1 foot for a swing out bridge that allows access to the enclosed Dispatchers office.

The Dispatcher uses portable radios to dispatch all trains, and a board and train order sheet is provided with a desk in the Dispatcher's office. The Dispatchers office also contains a hidden staging yard called Fort Scott Staging for Frisco and MOPAC trains entering railroad at Paola, Kansas at the junction. After Moran the railroad narrows, and the next town along the line is Ringer, Kansas.

Ringer is the longest passing siding on the railroad, and the maximum train length is 10 cars. Ringer has 2 industries served by rail. After Ringer, the railroad enters joint shared trackage with the Frisco and MOPAC for the remaining 43 miles in to Kansas City. This occurs at Paola Junction where the Frisco and MOPAC enter from the hidden staging yard in the dispatcher's office.

Paola has one industry served by rail and becomes double-track all the way to Kansas City. After Paola comes Lenexa, Kansas which has 2 industries served by the Frisco. After Lenexa comes Kansas City, which has I-35 Highway in the background. This portion of the Kansas City area contains Rosedale Yard where the Frisco operates and houses its own engine facility and small 4 track yard.

The Frisco operates a turn way freight from KC to Paola and back again. The adjoining yard, as on the prototype, is the Missouri, Kansas, Texas Glen Park Yard.

Glen Park yard requires 2 operators, which consist of a Yardmaster and an Assistant Yardmaster. This is a very busy yard. Glen Park yard makes up southbound trains, receives incoming transfer jobs from the Kansas City Terminal Railway yard to the north, and also from the Frisco. Glen Park Yard has 8 tracks and an engine facility.

The backdrop to these yard is very much like the prototype and is the signature scene on the railroad. At the end of the line is the Kansas City Terminal Railroad staging yard, which is residence to the BN, ATSF, MOPAC, CNW, UP, KCS, Rock Island, and Kansas City Terminal.

This yard has about 6 industries on the backdrop that are served by the KC Terminal yardmaster. It has 2 in the foreground served by the Frisco yardmaster. There are several visible staging tracks in this yard that contain staged through freights or unit coal trains. There is a flip-up bridge that connects the oval for restating or continuous running. The junction connecting KC Terminal staging and Glen Park yard is very complex, but simplified with diode matrix wiring.

Map and Directions to the Layout

You can click on the “show directions” tab to print directions from the host hotel to the layout. Or you can download them in Apple Maps or Google Maps on your portable device.