BNSF Kootenai River Sub

Railroad Details BNSF Kootenai River Sub Scale Status Superintendent David R. Waraxa Subdivision Kootenai River Sub Interchange MRL, UP Locale Idaho, Washington Era 2000 Layout Size 48X60 in an "L" shaped walkout basement Control Digitrax wireless Dispatching Modern CATS (Computer Screen CTC) Communication FRS Radios Clock Speed 1:1 Forwarding JMRI computer car movements using custom Excel paperwork. Crew Size 13 Listed Jobs Dispatcher, 2 Yardmasters, 2 Yard Swt, 2 Industry Swt, 5-6 Road Crews

Set in the western part of the United States, this freelanced, fully signaled early 2000’s BNSF layout is CTC controlled by a dispatcher using a modern CRT panel. The Kootenai (pronounced Koot nee) River sub is what the BNSF calls the location running between Spokane Washington and Whitefish Montana. This area allows me to have some MRL trains exercising trackage rights on the BNSF with a local turn that works Clark Fork .  I also have a UP turn that switches out Kootenai River.  Most trains have work to do along the way with a few running straight through.  Amtrak trains #7 & #8 are also present.  The Amtrak train is very close to a full length Empire Builder.

Crews communicate with the dispatcher, when they need to, by using my two way radios. The DCC system is “Digitrax Super Chief” with wireless hand held UT4R’s and some UT4 throttles for the yard crews. Car movements are created by a computer program called JMRI Operations, which creates switch lists for the yard crews as well as manifests for the road crews. The car movements are by need, meaning the same car usually will not go to the same place time after time. JMRI Operations is the “new kid on the block” as far as computer car movement programs go.  It is open source and the paperwork it prints out is close to prototypical.  After using another program to move my cars, this one is hands down a superior product and will be the gold standard, as far as computerized car forwarding systems go, in the very near future.  With any computer program, there is a need to tell “it” what to do.  Come and try it and see for yourself.

The layout, which is accessable through a walkout, no stairs, basement door, is one level, point to point, running through the entire basement. It will occupy up to 13 operators with the following jobs. Dispatcher (dispatches trains using a CTC panel on a computer screen. I use CATS for this traffic control) This person also has control over most mainline turnouts. Crews need to watch the signals on this CTC controled system. Other jobs available, Hauser Yard master and yard crew, Troy switch crew, Potlatch Mill switch crew, UP Kootenai River turn, MRL jobs, and the rest for various road crew assignments.

Photos from the BNSF Kootenai River Sub

About Dave Waraxa

Freelancing the BNSF out west in the Kootenai River sub. First train, a Lionell, when I was too young to remember. I remember the orange handle made the whistle blow. Got my first H.O. train set when I turned 8. I remember riding to North Main Hobbies in Racine that day, 57 years ago. If I can remember all that how come I cannot remember what did I did yesterday?

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