Welcome to Dawson Station

Dawson Station is my portable 1' x 4' n-scale model railroad layout and is based on the Hull-Oakes lumber mill located in Dawson, Oregon.
Hull-Oakes, one of the last steam-powered sawmills in North America, is located on the end of a six mile spur in the foothills of the Coastal Mountain Range. Until 2007, when a rail embargo began, the mill shipped large dimensional lumber and woodchips by rail.

Being at the end of the spur, and with limited sidings, it presents an interesting switching puzzle. The layout has compressed this into a 3-2-2 Inglenook puzzle, and requires that the empty cars be switched in to the correct locations, and the full cars switched out. To further complicate the problem, a caboose is required on the end of the consist since the train must reverse the final six miles to reach the mill. The layout includes a loading shed, which was scratchbuilt using Midwest Micro-cut scale lumber. The shed and it's dock were used to hand-load boxcars in the 40's & 50's. As flat cars and centerbeams displaced the boxcars, the shed became a covered storage area. Also shown is the mill's unique chip loading station. Woodchips from several areas on the site are blown to the loader using low-pressure air. A chain and motor pulls the railcars back and forth to evenly load them. The mill also uses wood chips to fire a boiler which provides steam to a number of points in the mill, including the 1908 Ames two-cylinder steam engine that powers the headrig band saw. Look around and let me know what you think. I hope this inspires you to give model railroading a try and to learn more about Hull Oakes.

On Display at the Willamette Cascade Train Show in 2010.

Next stop? Take a layout tour!


  1. I absolutely loved this as Iam originally from Oregon (Eugene) and very familiar with what ou built in your layout. Currently living in New England, and aside from missing the log trucks and watching Oregon Ducks all the time, this was a wonderful surprise.
    I currently have N-scale Southern Pacific locomotives and assorted railstock, I was wondering what I could do with it. (Mini-layout of course.. but not as good as yours) Thank you.

  2. It was a real pleasure seeing your layout at the Willamette Cascade Train Show last weekend. Your blog is even more impressive. Thanks for sharing everything so thoroughly. The "Arduino Control of Model Train" video really opened my eyes to a whole world of possibilities in my modeling. Thanks!

  3. Those pictures are out of this world. Seems like a great place to live. Too bad it doesnt exist.
    Great build

  4. Hi Ken, I enjoyed a lot playing with your little java puzzle. It's a little addicted. I try it four times and my best record was: Time 128 sec. Steps 47. Warnings 1. Score 221 and this was done by uncoupling on the way each car and letting go for a more faster perfomance.
    Well, your little module is simple fantastic ! and every detail, scratch build piece, and so on, is truly amazing. Congratulations for a very well done job.
    I also saw your vid on Utube. The sounds are great, but the engenieer seems a little nervous for coupling cars (just enough for breaking a coupler on the real thing !).
    Congratulations again, and many cheers from Chile !.

  5. Hello from NorthWest Short Line. Nice work!

  6. Hello from NorthWest Short Line. Nice work!