MODELING: End of a C&NW Branch

Quarter-inch scale has much to offer a modeler but space required to develop a layout is not it. Many are discouraged because they don’t have a large room to work in.  English modelers have addressed their space challenges by modeling a small terminal or branch end.  A Canadian modeler by the name of Trevor Marshall had developed a highly interesting branch with lots of operational possibilities with a very simple track plan.  I believe there are only eight turnouts on his Canadian National branch.  Trevor works in S scale but his approach could be done in 1/4″ scale in a slightly larger basement.   Visit his blog site Port Rowan and see what he has done.

CNR 4-6-0 Pentang ON ebay

Robert Leners picked a good candidate for a quarter-inch scale.  Bbenton in diesel eraenton, Wisconsin on the old Chicago & Northwestern.  Benton ended up at the end of a truncated line that once ran south of Wisconsin Illinois border.  What was unique about the branch end was a turntable on what was the former mainline.


The branch terminal was the subject of an article in the March 1958 Model Railroader.  The Benton depot was drawn in the MR as well.   There were a few industries like a oil and coal dealers at Benton.   As you can see above, the line lasted into the diesel era.



The little depot was about 32′ long but apparently longer when the line continued south.   Robert built the depot from styrene and reworked a narrow gauge turntable to serve standard gauge equipment.


The Benton scene will fit in a relatively small area and could be an interesting operation with an off-stage fiddle yard to set up inbound trains.

The neat part of this prototype is that Glacier Park Models imported four different R-1 ten-wheelers like the 1400 model shown above in Robert’s pictures.  Not all roads are represented by steam era locos but then there are those  newfangled diesels.

I wanted to thank Robert for the pictures.

Happy Trails,


9 thoughts on “MODELING: End of a C&NW Branch

  1. Great scene. Always liked the depot article in MR. Would love to see a track plan and overall layout photos.

    Thank you both for sharing.

  2. Thanks for the shout-out, Gene. Robert is doing a terrific job on his layout and I look forward to seeing more.
    I’m convinced that these smaller, more achievable prototypes are the future of our hobby.
    – Trevor (Port Rowan in 1:64)

    • Trevor
      Benton like Port Rowan is achievable given the availability of commercial models. It definitely fits the KISS principle.
      You have shown the hobby that a simple layout can be a lot of fun.

  3. Track Plan? I went to Google Earth to try to pick up anything and I couldn’t even find the turntable nor the path of the track into town.

    • Rich
      There isn’t much that one can see. Not sure how much data is available. I have never seen a reference to station plot plans being available for the C&NW.
      The MR article had a sketch but little else.


      • thanks. Afterwards I used the map app on my iPhone and I think I could detect an old roadbed coming into town from the NNW which would be correct. But it quickly ended and I could find nothing else.

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