Michael Batten’s Esquimalt and Nanaimo

The E&N Railway in N scale is a 22’ by 13’ around-the-walls layout built on a two-foot deep shelf, with an additional upper shelf at one end. The modeled portion of the layout represents the E&N Victoria subdivision from Victoria (mile 0.8) to Chemainus (mile 51.2), serving freight customers at Victoria, Esquimalt, Langford, Duncan, and Chemainus; as well as the E&N Lake Cowichan subdivision from Hayward (mile 41.6, Victoria subdivision) to Lake Cowichan (mile 18.0, represented by the upper staging yard). Staging at the north end of the layout represents Wellcox, and at the south end represents the E&N’s Albion Yard and the CNR’s Point Ellice Yard in Victoria.
Many of the major structures are represented by simple card mock-ups or stand-in structures to give some context to operations. Basic scenery and some vegetation has been installed in the area around Hayward and a model of the large MacMillan Bloedel lumber shed at Chemainus is currently under construction. The layout is set in 1979, and the operating scheme is based on that which took effect in October of that year, with the addition of a fictitious—but plausible—CN trackage rights operation. Trains are dispatched by timetable and train order, governed by a 6:1 fast clock, and car movements are directed by switch lists.

The Prototype

  • Prototypical/Freelanced: Prototype
  • Prototype: Canadian Pacific Railway
  • Location: southern Vancouver Island
  • Era: 1979
  • Interchange: CP (via barge or ferry at Nanaimo); CN (Victoria)

The Layout

  • Location: North Vancouver
  • Scale: N
  • Size: 22’ x 13’
  • Control: Digitrax Zephyr with UT4 throttles
  • Accessibility: basement down stairs
  • Length of mainline: 48 feet
  • Yards: one, plus three active staging yards
  • Passing sidings: 2
  • Scenery complete: 10%
  • Carspots: 35
  • Motive power: primarily Atlas (China) GP9s; currently running some leased BCR MLW power as E&N fleet is upgraded
  • Rolling stock: 70 revenue; 9 non-revenue/service; 4 cabooses
  • Track construction: Atlas and Micro Engineering code 55


  • Clock Speed: 6:1
  • Session Length: 2.5 hours
  • Crew Size: 6
  • Dispatching: TT&TO
  • Car Forwarding: switch lists
  • Communication: rudimentary (“Hey, you!”)
  • Jobs: Logger, Victoria yard, CN turn, Budd car/wayfreight, dispatcher,agent/operator
  • Session atmosphere: relaxed (this is Vancouver Island in 1979, man—pass me another joint)