Sunday, March 12, 2017

Video of Layout in a Crawl Space

In 2012 I wrote about how Winnipeg model railroader Dennis Rietze didn't let lack of space in his basement stop him from building a layout--he used the crawl space.

Of course, it took some creative thinking to figure out a way to keep from bumping his noggin' on the beams and duct work, and to avoid a permanent crick in his back.

For Dennis, the solution was rolling chairs, the kind mechanics use. He can wheel around the layout room without fear of getting a concussion!

Anyway, our local cable TV provider has done a video about Dennis' unique layout. Click here to see it.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Model Railrugger, a New Model Railroad "Magazine"

If you are of a certain age, like I am, you began this hobby of model railroading on the floor--likely with a Lionel O gauge layout.

Over time, as we aged and progressed in the hobby, we moved to 4 by 8 sheets of plywood and then, ultimately, to more sophisticated benchwork and, maybe, even double-deck layouts.

But some people can't do that. They lack the space, time or resources to build something more permanent. In those cases, the floor is the only option.

For those people, there is a new "magazine:" Model Railrugger.

Found on Facebook, MRR provides a place for people to show photos and videos of their layouts on the floor of their houses and apartment--and some smiles and a bit of fun, too.

Right now, there isn't much in the way of activity, but maybe that will change as more people discover it.

In any event, running on the floor isn't for me, but it does bring back happy memories of my childhood, watching my Lionel trans run around the living room furniture or through my bedroom.


Saturday, February 4, 2017

Canada 150 and VIA Rail

Canada is 150 years old in 2017—a mere child compared to countries in Europe, and a toddler compared to ancient Middle Eastern and Asian civilizations.

But still, it’s a big deal being around this long, and the country is celebrating in various ways.

This includes VIA Rail, which has decorated locomotive 916 and LRC 3356 in Canada 150 colours and markings.

Unlike when Canada turned 100, back in 1967, there is no special train like the Confederation Train crossing the country to showcase our history. There isn’t even anything like the Grey Cup 100th anniversary train, either; a whole train dedicated to that topic.

The best we can do this year is to stand trackside, and if we are lucky be able to watch as history passes by.

Thanks to Ian Deck for the photos on this page; he has more on his Flickr page. Thanks also to Trackside Treasure and Malcolm Peakman for the shot below.

Monday, January 30, 2017

CP Rail Red Barn Update from Bowser

Samples of Bowser’s new Red Barn were on display at the big model railroad show in Springfield at the end of January.

After I saw the photos by Railroad Model Craftsman, I send a note to Lee English of Bowser for an update on the models—when would they be released?

“It should be three to four months,” he replied.

The next run of SD40-2 units will be out in “about 7-8 weeks,” he said, adding that the AS16/616 is next, followed by the M636 and then the Red Barns.

The delay in releasing the Red Barns is due to delays by Bowser’s builder, he adds.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Great Canadian Model Railroad: The HO Model Engineer’s Society

For some time I have wanted to feature the HO Model Engineer’s Society (or HOMES) on this blog.

I was lucky enough to visit their former layout in the mid-1990s—before the age of smartphones and digital cameras, when photography was still hard.

I sent e-mails via the club’s web page once or twice, asking if anyone would send me some progress photos, but didn’t hear back. So I let it be.

But then Brandon Bayer recently started posting photos of the club’s new layout on the Canadian Railway Modeller’s group on Facebook.

I’ve “borrowed” some of those images for my blog. (Thanks, Brandon!) Below find some info about the club, which was founded in 1948—making it one of the oldest in Canada.

At first, the club met in member’s homes. It had a succession of layouts in various places until 1980s, when a new layout was begun in the basement of the Delta Bingo Hall. 

The 42' X 52' layout was set in 1967, Canada's Centennial Year, and the geography depicted Hamilton to North Bay with the scenery showing all four seasons.

The club was forced to move in 1997 to Stoney Creek Plaza (where I saw it). This time the 42 X 62 layout featured Toronto, Hamilton & Buffalo operations in the Hamilton and southern Ontario area.

In 2007 they were forced to move again. Now in their tenth location, at the Eva Rothwell Centre, they are far enough along to provide photos of a great looking layout.

This layout models the TH&B in the Hamilton area in the 1950s, with CNR, the CPR and NYC limited to live interchanges to get cars on and off the layout.

They also utilized David Barrows’ “domino” technique to build the layout—a good plan, considering how often they’ve moved!

Buffalo and Toronto are represented by staging. TH&B, NYC, and CNR trains enter the layout from Buffalo to the NYC yard in Welland, From there, the TH&B crosses the third Welland Canal on Bridge 15, reaching Hamilton via Smithville and Stoney Creek.

On their website, the club says “we're now in our seventh year building this layout, and when you stand back and take a look, it's starting to look finished. (It helps if you squint . . .)”

From what I can see, it already looks like a Great Canadian Model Railroad; I hope I can get to visit it someday. 

About the TH&B: Based in Hamilton, the TH&B was jointly owned by the CPR and the NYC, although it operated as an independent railway for over 90 years. It was a bridge route giving the NYC direct access to Toronto and connections to the Canadian railway network. The Canadian Pacific, in turn, gained direct access to Buffalo and NYC's "Water-Level Route" to New York City and Chicago.

Click here to see more photos on the H.O.M.E.S. Facebook page. Click here to visit their website and read more about the club’s history and operations. Learn more about the TH&B from the TH&B Historical Society.