This Proto:48 layout represents a small portion of the M-I, all on the Missouri side of the river (see area enclosed by the blue circle in the map above). Traffic is received from Illinois via the ferry boat at Thomure. Once unloaded, the cuts of cars are shuttled to Middle Yard in Ste Genevieve, to be made up into a local. Northbound cars bound for the Sparta subdivision, or bridge traffic to points eastward, are shoved onto the boat. The switching can be worked with one or two crews.
The Middle Yard switcher crew handles local industries in Ste Genevieve, as well as any interchange traffic with the Frisco. Frisco paralleled the M-I right of way in Ste Gen; for a period of time in the early part of the 20th century, the M-I and Frisco shared the same depot. In 1929, the Frisco built their own depot just across the tracks from the M-I.
A daily local runs from Ste Gen southward and serves the Mississippi Lime Company, the largest shipper on the M-I. The prototype loaded hundreds of cars weekly, oftentimes requiring the plant to be switched twice daily.
An occasional passenger is carried on the freight runs, either in a coach or a drover caboose depending upon the season and circumstances.
The P:48 M-I will operate predominantly as a point-to-point switching layout with interchanges at each end. There are jobs available for three crews (or a lone operator). Traffic movements are generally slow-paced and loosely mimic prototype practices. Car management will be handled primarily by switch lists, although waybills may be used in the ferry operation and weight slips for cars found to be overloaded. The operating timeframe is deliberately broad from the early to mid-1940’s up thru the mid-1960’s. This broad era allows for an enjoyable mix of motive power, rolling stock and paint schemes.
An operating session begins when Captain Harry “Gunnie” Grieshaber blasts the whistle of the steamer Ste Genevieve, indicating the side-wheeler has landed and is ready for loading.