The layout models the heavy traffic along the Columbia Gorge with a fully double-track mainline of more than 5000′ in total length—more than 37 scale miles! Traveling at scale speeds, it takes more than 25 minutes to travel from the west end (Seattle staging) to the east end (Spokane staging).


Dispatching is handled by two dispatchers from the main Centralized Traffic Control (CTC) panel underneath the layout. Responsibility for keeping the traffic flowing is split at The Dalles, approximately halfway between the two ends of the layout. The West Dispatcher manages all traffic between the west end of The Dalles yard through Portland and on to Seattle. The East Dispatcher manages traffic from the east end of The Dalles yard through Wishram and then on to Spokane and all points east. The East Dispatcher’s job is a bit more complex; they need to interchange a fair amount of coal traffic with the Central Oregon Trunk Line, and generally heavier traffic coming from the midwest.