The DMU was jointly owned by the Wabash and the Milwaukee; it was put together from several small terminal railroads in the early 1900s. In addition to its owners the DMU served the other six trunk line railroads and two short electric lines. The DMU also handled the accounting functions for the Iowa transfer railway which is also on the layout and was designed to handle the cities interchange traffic.

Route Map

Railroad Overview

My model DMU is HO scale set in the 1960s although; by changing motive power and rolling stock I can update it almost to the present time. Control system is DigiTrax DCC. The general operating mode is in the 1960s. Switch lists and train manifests are generated from RailOP. Since most of the operations involved local switching communication is not an issue. I'm probably one of the few model railroaders who has walked the entire length of his prototype railroad. By timetable the DMU was 3.2 miles long. The DMU can accommodate three operators; generally two are working switch jobs and the third is handling yard and transfer duties. There is not a specific position designated as yardmaster. Occasionally road trains are run to provide turnover of cars in the yards this can be handled by the owner or the third operator. Dispatching is not necessary. The layout can be configured for limited continuous running for point-to-point.

Layout Description:

Like the prototype model DMU operates between the 11th St. yard on the West End and SE. 18th St. yard on the East. The Iowa transfer is yard is in the middle. There are for urban switching areas each one has 10 or more industries. Line haul trains from the trunk lines come from staging drop until cars and return to staging. The exception being Wabash and Milwaukee trains which arrive and depart from W. 11th St. yard. There are also mine run trains on the Wabash and CB and Q that depart to staging and return to their originating yard.

Operating Scheme

Since this is an urban switching layout manifests and switch lists out the extent of the paperwork generated these come from real up.


Wabash trains 95 and 98 and two Milwaukee trains arriving and departing from W. 11th St. yard of the majority of the line haul operations. Switching jobs originate from W. 11th St. yard to trains go to SE. 18th St. resort cars and performer switching duties from there. Trains going between 11th St. and 18th St. drop and fill at the Iowa transfer on their way.

The railroads appearing on the layout are: Wabash, Milwaukee, CB & Q, M & ST. L, C & NW, Rock Island, CGW and FtD, DM & S.


Last Updated: 07 November, 2014
Author: Ward Hammond
Copyright 2014