Missouri-Illinois Railroad

Author Gregg Laiben

I model the Ste. Genevieve subdivision of the Missouri-Illinois Railroad in Proto48. Construction of the yard tracks started in 2019 using Protocraft P48 flex track. Subsequently, I decided to hand lay the balance of track using supplies from Right-O’-Way; about half of the switches are pre-fab.

The era is loosely defined as transition with steam and first-generation diesel power, much of which is derived from the line’s corporate parent, the Missouri Pacific. The layout operates point to point in the eastern region of Missouri along the Mississippi River and is designed for operations. 

Weingarten is a town midpoint along the line with a single spur house track. During World War II, prisoners of war were housed at a camp here and were brought in via train from the east coast.


The bulk of interchange traffic arrives via a steam-powered car ferry from Illinois. A 2-person crew handles the boat job, pulling and shoving cars from the ferry (12-car capacity).

 The car ferry hull is built upon 3/4″ plywood with rubber wheels to allow for aligning each of the three tracks with the apron.  The superstructure will be scratch built from styrene.

A yardmaster makes and breaks up trains at Middle Yard, and another 2-person crew handles road duties. The timetable calls for two trains a day, but frequent extras run to service the layout’s primary shipper, the Peerless White Lime Company.

Trains exiting the yard cross the Main Street Overpass toward the Ste. Genevieve depot. The bridge was constructed from Evergreen Styrene and Archer rivet decal


Track work is complete, except for the turntable whiskers. The bulk of work has now shifted to building construction, scenery, and painting several dozen covered hoppers for lime transport.

Initial construction of the Peerless White Lime Company structures.  Materials include styrene, GatorBoard, wood sheathing and photo paper stock.

I would say the layout is “medium size” for a basement empire – about 35′ x 22′ in an around-the-wall configuration with a blob and peninsula for the yard. Minimum radius is 60″, the rail is mostly code 125 with some code 100, and most switches are #8 with some #6 in industrial areas.

Ste. Genevieve industrial switching includes the International Shoe Company, which is fabricated from a Woodland Scenics structure, Falk Electrical Supply, a Dennis Brennan plaster kit, and Donze Oil, toward the right, not shown. There will also be a dock added to allow for interesting switching ops.

The prototype is an inspiration with much modeler’s license applied. For example, the prototype (still operational as part of UP), used a wye for turning engines. I opted for a turntable for space reasons, and I already had one from a previous layout.

For more details, see the updates at http://laiben.com/wordpress1/

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