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Thread: Midwest Mega Route

  1. #1

    Default Midwest Mega Route

    As many of you know Josh and myself along with a few others who have helped along the way are building a mega route of the Midwest! The route will eventually stretch from the Twin Cities to Chicago and beyond. The first phase of the project however is from the Twin Cities to Chicago and Twin Cities to the Twin Ports of Duluth/Superior. Here is a little update on the route status so far. I have decided to switch gears a little bit and work on the Twin Cities area instead of extending all of the routes out away from the cities. The main goal I have been focusing on is getting all of the branch lines and yards in the Twin Cities area built or rebuilt. Then work on roads on the routes that are finished. Eventually building out more once I get that all taken care of. So far I have rebuilt 100% of the CP River Sub from scratch after ripping all of it out from the Twin Cities all the way to La Crosse, WI. I will be doing the same for the BNSF St Croix Sub as well on the other side of the river when time permits. The BNSF Hinckley Sub is also 100% rebuilt as well from scratch. Here are a list of how far I have gotten on subdivisions track wise and I have started to put in some roads in some places that are finished as well.

    Most of the routes I have listed will be fairly easy to do scenery for as most of them are just trees, fields and small towns here and there along the lines so once I get tracks and roads in place it should go rather quickly with scenery.

    Here is a photo of my progress along with a map of all of the rail lines in Minnesota to kind of give you a prospective at where I am at. Obviously I will not be modeling all of these lines but most of the Eastern, Western and Northern lines I will be modeling.

    The Chicago area has a very long ways to go until it is completed but for ones who are curious this is our progress so far with the route.


    This is just a list of subdivisions I am doing throughout Minnesota and does not include Wisconsin or the Chicago area.

    BNSF List

    Hinckley Sub- 100%
    Monticello Sub- 100%
    St Croix Sub- 0% rebuilt
    Wayzata Sub- 25% rebuilt
    Morris Sub- 0%
    Marshal Sub- 0%
    Staples Sub- 0%

    CP List

    River Sub- 100%
    MN&S spur- 50%
    Paynesville Sub- 0%
    Detroit Lakes Sub- 0%
    Elbow Lakes Sub- 0%
    Withrow Sub- 100%

    CN List

    Dresser Sub- 100%
    CN to Chicago- 10%

    Short Lines

    Twin Cities and Western- 40%
    St Croix Valley RR- 100%
    North Shore Scenic Railroad- 0%

    UP List

    UP to Chicago- 0%
    UP Mankato Sub- 0%
    UP MIR Line- 100%
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Lubec ME USA


    Looks great. That will be a nice addition to the MSTS/OR routes.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 1999
    Jacksonville,, FL, USA.


    Rather ambitious project there, I hope you are younger than me (82) and thus l likely to finish it before
    you get your last Form A & running orders.

    J. H. Sullivan
    retired from CSX & SR
    docent, C&TS RR

  4. #4


    Yes this is a very ambitious project that we have taken on and we have been working on it for years. This will ultimately be an Open Rails route as MSTS will not be capable of running such a route. We would like to get more people on board with the project so we can get some stuff done at a faster pace then how it is going right now.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Little Falls, MN
    American English


    Nicely done, Brandon! Would love to see the route once complete! I have a few locomotives to showcase on one of the shortlines

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    English, SQL


    Quote Originally Posted by landnrailroader View Post
    Rather ambitious project there, I hope you are younger than me (82) and thus l likely to finish it before
    you get your last Form A & running orders.
    Yep, these two have a lot more years left before they get their final Bad Order tags.

  7. #7


    The last couple of days Josh and I have decided to release our routes separately since it is so big and will eventually put out a add on or update so you can connect the routes together. The decision was made so others can have the options of one or the other for ones that do not want the full route. It will also give us time to focus more on our specific ends of the route. So in other words there will be a Chicago section and a Twin Cities section however the Twin Cities portion will also include the Twin Ports of Duluth and Superior.

    Here are the routes I plan on including in my section of the route.

    The full Twin Cities area including both BNSF Northtown and CP Pigs Eye yards.

    BNSF Wayzata Sub to Willmar.
    BNSF Hinckley Sub to the Twin Ports.
    BNSF Staples Sub to St Cloud.
    BNSF St Croix Sub to La Crosse, WI
    BNSF Monti line to Monticello

    UP to Altoona
    UP MIR spur

    CP Paynesville Sub to Glenwood, MN
    CP River Sub to La Crosse, WI

    Minnesota Commercial lines
    TC&W to Gleoncoe, MN
    St Croix Valley Line in Hinckley, MN

    CN to Chippawa Falls, WI
    CN Dresser Sub in Dresser, WI

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Hanover Park, Il., USA.


    Smart idea.

    Here at home, in the railroad mayhem capital of the world.

  9. #9


    Thanks Niel.

    A few other little noted things of interest that I forgot to mention earlier will be included in my section of the route are as followed.

    Home base of Milwaukee Road 261 steam locomotive in Minneapolis
    Northstar Commuter Rail from Big Lake to Minneapolis on the Staples Sub
    Minnesota Transportation Museum Jackson Street Roundhouse and Osceola and St Croix tourist line
    Amtrak Empire Builder route from St Cloud, MN to La Crosse, WI
    LORAM home base facilities in Hamel, MN
    Eventually the LSRM and line from Duluth to Two Harbors

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    English, SQL


    I came to the same conclusion with my CNW projects - break up into chunks and make them merge friendly (eg no dynamic track, ending where a single piece of track at a tile boundary would join the two TDBs).

    Sent from my SM-G981U using Tapatalk

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