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Catalog  >  Model Kits  >  Structures  >  HO Scale Structures

GN Portable Depot - HO Scale
GN Portable Depot - HO Scale

List price: $40.00
Member price: $35.00
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GN 12'x34' Standard Portable Depot

This HO scale multimedia laser-cut kit of the GN 12’x34’ Standard Portable Depot has been designed and produced for GNRHS by S&NW of Seattle. The kit represents an important railroad structure that was built by the score and shipped by flatcar to towns all along the GN lines. Examples of this well-documented structure survive to this day. The kit can be built with or without the bay window, and includes optional parts for multiple versions. Window sashes are positionable, and have laser-cut Mylar glazing. Comes with laser-printed stations signs. Footprint 1.95” D x 4.7” W. 

Our kit can be built to represent any one of four variations: 

  • Version 1 has the bay window on the left and the freight door on the right
Version 2 is the same as Version 1, but without the bay window
Version 3 has the bay window on the right and the freight door on the left

  • Version 4 is the same is the same as Version 3, but without the bay window


The Great Northern Standard 12’ x 34’ Portable Depot represents an historically important railroad structure, due to the sheer number of examples that were built. Beginning in about 1890, scores of these small depots were installed by the GN along their lines in Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Montana, Idaho and Washington.  

Designed to fit onto a flatcar, most of these depots were constructed in the GN wood shops at St. Cloud, Minnesota, and then shipped by rail to the towns needing them. Sometimes, these depots were intended to be temporary structures for use while a larger depot was built, refurbished or repaired. However, for the smaller towns that were springing up along the GN lines, a compact depot of this type was often all that was needed.  

The depots were of wood-frame construction, and were divided into three rooms of approximately equal size: an office for the stationmaster and his assistants; a waiting room for passengers; and a freight room. The office and waiting room were heated by a single iron stove set in a two-foot wide opening in the wall separating the two rooms.  

Although the GN drawings for the 12’ x 34’ Portable Depot were specific as to the locations of the various components, in fact there were at least a dozen documented variations from the standard. Some depots had bay windows and some did not.  

Bays and freight doors appeared in different locations, and at times the freight door was replaced by a plain entry door and/or a window. In addition, some depots were built in a mirror-image of the design shown in the GN drawings.  

Photographs showing many of these depots, along with other information and photographs, can be found on the Web sites for the Joint GN-NP Archives and the Skykomish Historical Society.  

Small railroad structures such as the subject of this kit often ended their useful lives by being converted into maintenance sheds, yard offices, storage sheds or bunkhouses. 

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