Mike Chandler’s Western Midland

At the time John Armstrong designed what became the Western Midland Railroad, the legendary track planner described it as being for the man who was a demon for dispatching and operation. After having operated the layout for several years now, I would agree with his statement.
The Western Midland is a single level, HO railroad and is controlled by Lenz DCC. The layout is 100 % operational with scenery covering approximately 85%. It is also a serious mountain railroad with a three scale mile mainline and a very diversified traffic base, most of which originates or terminates online. Not surprisingly, this results in plenty of way freight activity. Set in September, 1938, the Midland is an all steam road with no intention of dieselizing any time soon.
We have capacity for seven guests who will have the option of bidding on the following positions: agent/operator, yardmaster and the road pool which covers both way freights and through trains. We use T.T.&T.O for dispatching with car cards and way bills for freight car forwarding. Typically, the Midland is dispatched from Calgary, Alberta via long distance telephone by a former Canadian Pacific dispatcher now retired.

The Prototype

  • Prototypical/Freelanced: Freelanced
  • Location: Montana
  • Era: 1938
  • Interchange: NP, GN, Milwaukee

The Layout

  • Location: New Westminster
  • Scale: HO
  • Size: 20×24 ft
  • Control: DCC Lenz
  • Accessibility: Basement Down Stairs
  • Scenery complete: 95%


  • Clock Speed: 6:1
  • Session Length: 3 hours
  • Crew Size: 12
  • Dispatching: Timetable and Train Order
  • Car Forwarding: CC & WB
  • Communication: Telephones
  • Jobs: Dispatcher, Agent/Operators

More Information

  • July 2012 Railroad Model Craftsman
  • Issue 57 Layout Design Journal