This proto-lanced switching layout operates point to point over the Ste. Genevieve subdivision of the Missouri-Illinois Railroad.
Southbound traffic is generated at Thomure, where up to 12 cars are received from Kellogg, Illinois, on a steam-powered ferry crossing the Mississippi River. These cars are sorted at Middle Yard in Ste Genevieve, and two scheduled locals daily send the goods southbound (predominantly westward).
Considerable bridge traffic moves along the line to staging at Derby Junction. This point was near the end of the Ste Genevieve sub and was an important interchange point connecting to the M-I’s Bonne Terre subdivision.
When fully operational, two locals will run daily (one each direction), with several extras created to switch the main shipper on the line, the Peerless White Lime Company. The prototype lime industries in Ste Genevieve loaded hundreds of cars weekly, oftentimes requiring plant switching twice daily. An occasional passenger may be carried on the locals either in a coach or a drover caboose depending upon the season and circumstances.
The Middle Yard switcher crew makes and tears down trains, as well as switching the local industries in Ste Genevieve and interchange traffic with the Frisco. The Frisco and the M-I have been intertwined most of their lives. Frisco paralleled the M-I right of way in Ste Genevieve and the two roads shared the same depot in the early part of the 20th century. Frisco finally built their own depot in 1929 (just across the tracks from the M-I station).
The layout can be operated solo or with several crews. Operations are generally slow-paced and loosely mimic prototype practices. Car management is primarily switch lists, although waybills may be used when desired. The operating timeframe is a broad interpretation of the transition period (mid-1940’s thru the early 1960’s). This allows an enjoyable mix of motive power, rolling stock and paint schemes.