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Gary Gelzer, GNC Boss

Gary Gelzer


Great Northwestern

Coastline Railway


Navigation Company

GNC Photo Galleries


Early Construction 2004

Overview 2006

GNC PaintShop Work 2006

GNC - Visitors

GNC Water Street 2007


GNC Track Plan

"Prompt Service --
No Matter How Long
it Takes"









Great Northwestern Coastline Railway

An HO pike by Gary Gelzer


We are saddened to report that Gary passed away in October 2012.

He was very active in the Club, having served in almost every official capacity over the years. When his duties on the Goodyear City Council demanded more of his time, he become a self-appointed "POM" - Plain Old Member". But Gary's involvement in any of his activiites could never be called "plain". He remained as active in the PCMRC as ever, and continued to open the GNC for regular operating sessions. Gary's friendship, mentoring and unique personality wil be sorely missed.

GNC Logo Gary Gelzer's Great Northwestern Coastline Railway is one of several operationally oriented model railroad layouts in the Phoenix area. The current HO railroad is his 6th layout, the previous 5 layouts were in N- scale. Designed as an industrial switching road, the GNC is optimized for a small group of operators to simulate the running of a railroad in a busy ocean port. Operations sessions are conducted twice monthly, with crews drawn from PCMRC members and other operators from the Phoenix area. Gary, a former railroad operating officer, is a member of the NMRA OPSig (operations special interest group), along with the Great Northern Railway Historical Society and the Chicago & Northwestern Historical Society.

The GNC is set around the harbor of Tacoma, Washington in the late 60's. Motive power for the GNC is all first and second generation diesels from ALCO and EMD. As a belt line railroad that serves the docks, piers and harbor industries, the GNC interchanges with several class 1 railroads at Tacoma including the Northern Pacific, Union Pacific, and Milwaukee Road. The Great Northern Railway hauls the GNC's mainline tonnage north to Seattle and south to Portland. In addition to interchange runs, several terminal transfers between the GNC's Coastline Yard and the Water Street Yard will be run during an operations session.

GNC has strong marine operations with a car ferry and barges sailing for Port Townsend and the Port Angeles Branch several times during an operations session. The railway uses car-cards and waybills, but no scale clock. As Superintendent Gelzer says, "switching is done in real time." GNC control is via Digitrax DCC with some sound equipped engines. Even better is the nautical port sounds often heard during operations.

Golden Spike

GOLDEN SPIKE -- Golden Spike Ceremony - Aug 24, 2004


Full Barge

Barge loading on the GNC.  The road operates two six-car barges pulled by the Steam tug Charlotte K.   The tug is from Model Shipways.  Barges are hand crafted.


Marine Traffic

Car ferry operation pauses after unloading.



GNC Steam Tug "Charlotte K" crosses over to Seattle.