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Doug's CStPM&O 
in Chippewa County

OWNER: Doug Stoll
LAYOUT TYPE: Walk in, Around the wall, Two level
RAIL CODE: 215 on lower (high rail) & Code 100 on upper (scale)

Doug is currently working on a layout depicting the Chicago St Paul Minneapolis and Omaha branch line in Chippewa County Wisconsin. This long gone passenger and freight line service ran from Norma in Chippewa County to Hughey in Taylor county from the turn of the century. It also interfaced with two logging lines called the Wisconsin Ruby and Southern and the Stanley Merrill and Phillips. Further information on these lines can be found at

Because there is no basement in the house and no room with "train" in the name, a typical HO or S-Gauge layout just was not feasible. Smaller layouts were made over the years from an S gauge Christmas scene (4' x 12'), an HO (4' x 5') and an N (18" x 36") coffee table style just to fit in empty spaces. Sights were set on the garage but based in Wisconsin consideration for the seasons had to be made. 

The "Train Room" had to be insulated, heated, and wired with the thoughts of the layout and the visitors as we get older. Long runs are desirable as well as planning all of the short line into the layout. Originally it was planned in HO as the Omaha web layout pictures would reflect, but is changing to S based on size and grand kids interaction. With eight grandkids there are considerations to be made in durability, interaction, and cost. Being frugal, S scale on eBay seemed to fit the bill. Lots of accessories in many grades of condition were available included cars for under 10 bucks and locos for under 50 dollars that can survive a drop on the floor. 

Starting in the old "workshop" of the 32' x 54' pole shed, the first phase can be completed consisting of basically three 9'x9' sections. The future plan is to expand into the rear of the shed with walls and floor allowing an additional 6 sections of 9'x9' to be added to the layout. All articles read tells us not to take on too much at first and screws in the walls make expansion possible.

Looking at layouts of others, Doug understood that a lot of action in a very small place looks congested and a farm in town does not look real. Most S gauge owners do not have a staging yard due to space, and most would have a difficult time with multi person operations. Most are not accessible with a wheelchair or personal scooter which led me to some conditions in design. He would like to avoid a duck under if at all possible as well.

A feel for the layout needed to happen for the design to congeal. Some 4x8 tables were left over from a rummage sale and some module sections left from the modular Christmas village layout so they were used in the newly dry walled 9' x 27' area in the garage. After running trains with grandkids for about a year and realizing that they handled everything, he decided on a two level system with the more precise scale on the upper section to satisfy both types of operators. Options for simple interface on the lower level needed consideration and are designed in. Turnouts needed to be custom and the rail needed a radius or two that did not exist in the market. The frugal part of Doug is currently thinking about removing the metal ties from AF rails and hand laying the soldered rail in 6 foot sections to add the realism needed for the Gilbert based lower section. A unique blend of electronics are also required and drawn up.

Planned events:

  1. Clear room and build walls and ceiling (done)

  2. Wire, insulate, and drywall (done)

  3. Temporary layout trials with multiple revisions for operations (done)

  4. Clear room and finish walls with required modifications (in progress)

  5. Paint walls, rebuild workbench, and attach bench work avoiding floating floor 

  6. lay roadbed, wiring, foam, and track

Below are pictures of the progress. We will keep you posted as the layout progresses.

Photos by Doug Stoll

prep1.jpg (70711 bytes)
2x6 construction between the trusses
prep2.jpg (76736 bytes)
Walls are 2x6 between posts
prep3.jpg (60018 bytes)
layer of 2" foam between the floating slab and the wall
trial4.jpg (65139 bytes)
First trial of operation West wall
trial5.jpg (60629 bytes)
First trial of operation East wall
trial1.jpg (98601 bytes)
Second trial of operation on East wall
trial2.jpg (90168 bytes)
Second trial of operation on West wall
trial3.jpg (108257 bytes)
Placing rolling stock on 3" center for staging

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