Prototype Modelling Ontario "Hall of Fame"
Category AB: Models of a good to excellent standard that blend recognizable prototypical landscape and railway features with Category B features to produce an illusion of exact replica reality.
Category B: Models that are exact replicas of an actual railway operation in a defined time frame, subject only to compression by space limitations.
Aberfoyle Junction Railway - permanent layout formerly at Aberfoyle - by the Aberfoyle Group - Category AB - 1970s to 2012 - Scale 0
Hagersville Subdivision - home layout by Richard Chrysler - Category B - Scale H0
Ontario & Eastern Railway - travelling layout, originally by Brian Dickey, John Spring, Jim Ellis, John Mellow - Category AB - 1990 to 2005 - Scale H0
Ontario & Quebec Railway - travelling layout by Tony Van Klink - Category A - 2005 - current - Scale H0
H.O.M.E.S. TH&B (former "Skyway Plaza") - Hamilton, Ont. club layout - Category AB - until 2007 - Scale H0
H.O.M.E.S. TH&B (current "Robert Land") - Hamilton, Ont. club layout - some sections Category AB, mostly Category B - Scale H0.
Bayview Junction - Railview Modellers Associates former permanent layout - Category B - 1999 to 2013 - Scale H0
In the Footsteps of the Maine Two-Footers - travelling layout - built by Larry Murphy - Category AB - Scale 0n30
Victoria County Heritage Modules - permanent (rotating) display - Victoria County Historical Society - built by Larry Murphy - Category B - Scale H0
Kirkfield Quarry Module - permanent display - Kirkfield Historical Society - built by Larry Murphy - Category B - Scale H0
The Peterboro Project - travelling layout by Trevor Marshall and Pierre Oliver - Category AB - Scale H0
S Scale Workshop - travelling layouts by Pete Moffett (Category A) and Jim Martin (Category B) and group - Scale S
Cobourg & Peterborough Railway - travelling layout by Ted Rafuse - Category AB - Scale H0
Dolores 6957 - travelling layout by the "Maple Leaf Mafia" - Category B - Scale 0n3
Peterborough - travelling layout by the Peterborough Model Railroaders - Category A - Scale H0
The Trent River Ore Cars - working diorama by George Parker - Category B - Scale Fb66
Float your Fanny down the Ganny - travelling layout by the Ganaraska (Port Hope) Model Railroaders - Category A - Scale H0
Kawartha-ish - home and travelling layout by the Lindsay & District Model Railroaders - Category A - Scale H0
The concept of prototypical modelling, that is to say the scale model replication of an actual railway scene, has been around for years, especially in the UK, but was slow to mature in Canada as the hobby struggled in the latter half of the 20th century to obtain credibility and recognition as a serious art form, as opposed to freelance model railroading, often unfortunately at shows with unimaginative track designs, indifferent scenery and lack of detailing, all of which tended to reinforce a negative public perception of "grown-up kids playing with trains".
For the Ontario home of UK prototype modelling, visit The Great British Train Show.
As a starting point, this most thought-provoking article "Modelling the Prototype" by the late Rich Chrysler (whose "Hagersville Subdivision" layout is featured below), is a "must read first".
Since bridges are a part of (well, almost) all layouts, this informational article "Bridging the Gap" by Rick Hunter of Hunterline is also valuable.
Also of related interest may be my article The Credible Model.
Please check out my Opinion Piece on the significance of prototype model railroading for the future of the hobby.
With that as backdrop, the purpose of this page is to showcase Ontario-built layouts emulating North American/Canadian prototype that have appeared at shows; or are, or have been, open to the public in the southern Ontario modelling region, representing past and/or present railway scenes where the public can expect to identify familiar local prototypical features.
Arguably, as a result of some "prototype pioneering" layouts featured below that have shown the way, representation of the prototype is becoming a steadily-increasing ingredient of model railroading. Originally this was work by one individual or by a small group of like-minded modellers who were/are not necessarily part of a traditional model railway club. Since model railway clubs, by virtue of their nature, have to cater to a wide range of member preferences and interests in layout design, they have, as a generality, been slower to adopt a prototype theme in their layout designs, but this has started to change, as more and more club layouts now at least include local prototype features and others move to layouts that have adopted a layout-wide theme of prototype representation.
This is a most encouraging development, and will benefit the hobby enormously in public recognition as a medium for commemorating our railway history, and thus providing relevance in the public domain, and serving as a stimulus for more research and increasingly higher modelling standards. While some layouts and names have been singled out on this web page, one is not to conclude that that is all there is - on the contrary - there are modellers and clubs everywhere that seek to incorporate railway history and prototypical railroading. There are many fine examples of prototypical reproduction about - all one has to do is to look a little more closely and to ask a few more questions. Some of these are also featured on my "Superdetailing Ideas" page.
Frank Dubery's landmark Category AB contribution culminated in the creation of the Aberfoyle Junction Model Railway, which closed at its Aberfoyle, Ont. location in 2012, re-opening in St. Jacobs, Ont. in late 2013. It has been written up on a separate page on this website. The Aberfoyle Junction Model Railway was featured in the March 1979, February 1987, August 1998 Issues of the Model Railroader, and in the February 2003 Issue of the Railroad Model Craftsman.
I first met Rich at a Toronto model show early in the 1990s. Rich had heard that I was planning a major update of my Rails To The Lakes, and we got into conversation about the former Hamilton & Lake Erie Railway (between Hamilton and Port Dover, Ont.). He told me that he was using Rails To the Lakes as a reference work to his planned re-creation of "the Daily Effort", as this operation was known locally in the 1950s, the railway service of the day between Hamilton and Ports Dover and Rowan, Ont. We promised to exchange research material and one day Richard and I toured both "Ports" to locate and identify original rights-of-way and the former location of various railway adjuncts such as turntables, water tanks and engine houses. In due course Hamilton's Other Railway was published and became the "bible" for his project. Incidentally, one question mark unresolved at the time of publication was the fate or whereabouts of the Glanford Station (between Hamilton and Caledonia). It was Richard who emailed me some years later in great excitement that he had located it. It was now a home and no further away than a long stone's throw from its original location!
In Rich's official obituary there was a reference "for him the research was as rewarding as the project itself". Indeed, research is the essential ingredient of prototypical modelling, and can be more time-consuming than the creation of the model itself.
Rich's Category B home layout was written up by his friend Trevor Marshall and was also featured in the March 2003 Issue of the Rail Model Journal, starting at page 44.
I had the privilege of viewing Rich's home layout in 2003 and 2005.
(Note: These photos were all taken by Rich Chrysler - pop-up images not available.)
Richard's son Geoff has advised that this layout was dismantled in late 2012 following Rich's passing earlier that year. One of his final wishes was to have the layout shown again publicly for the Hamilton area layout tours in November 2012. Geoff did however keep his sections of Port Dover. He has kindly provided these "2012" images and a 10 minute video (that comes with a great big band accompaniment!).
Ontario & Eastern Railway
The summary history below has been provided by John Mellow, one of its partners:
"The two original partners who built the layout modules were Brian Dickey and John Spring. They invited Jim Ellis and me to join them when layout work began which included track work and scenery. The first two modules were my two Napanee sections.
"Gradually we added more sections but only with completed scenery, no bare plywood, and closed the 'loop' to have a 16 foot square layout. This was expanded with two more modules which were added which made a 16 by 20 foot layout. That is as large as it reached, although we did have a small staging yard located inside the layout that operated off of one of John Spring's sections.
"Through this expansion period Tony Van Klink joined our group for a period of time and owned one of the corner sections. When Tony decided to step down to pursue other endeavours, Rich [Chrysler] came on-board and owned Tony's corner plus one of the two new straight sections. This lasted until the layout was sold except for my four Napanee sections which I still have. Tony bought all but one of Brian's sections and the two sections Jim Ellis had, which he has now incorporated into his "Ontario & Quebec" layout that he and some other fellows take to several shows. Brian did an article showing the track plan and several photos of the O&E which appeared in the February 1998 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman.
[Ed. note] In my view this layout was a landmark step forward in Canadian show modelling (the layouts at the bi-ennial Great British Train Show aside) in its high overall standard, its consummate attention to detail and its reliable running. No matter how often it appeared, it always attracted crowds of admirers, and the secret of its popularity was viewer recognition of actual Ontario locations such as Napanee or Paris, the attention to detailing that created interest in viewing the layout even if no trains were running, the insistence on no "bare sections", and the superb craftsmanship of the scenes themselves. A fine Category AB layout.
All except three of these scenes were taken at the layout's final showing at Copetown, Ont. in 2005:
As John Mellow, in his recollection of the Ontario & Eastern Railway above, has noted, Tony Van Klink acquired portions of the O&E, which have been reconfigured into a worthy successor of the Ontario & Eastern, in that it has perpetuated the high standard of that layout in a new rectangular format. It may be seen as a travelling layout at select model railway shows. It is essentially scratch-built with code 83 track, and a 10-track staging area that allows a variety of trains to run, including GO-trains and a CN Turbo, admittedly none of which ever appeared on the original O&Q of central Ontario fame. On the other hand there is an exquisite model of the Sharbot Lake station (although without the prototypical adjoining K&P branch), and viewers will recognize "Palmerville" from the originating layout, together with an enhanced "Palmerville" roundhouse, and engine servicing area with coal chute and water tank. Click here for a video of this layout at the 2013 Midland show.
The H0 Model Engineers' Society's (Hamilton, Ont.) depiction of the Toronto, Hamilton & Buffalo Railway is a fine Category AB layout that I had the opportunity of visiting in 2006 when it was still at its Skyway Plaza, Stoney Creek venue. As with all model railway groups that do not own their own space, the issue of a place to call home is a chronic Damocles' Sword.
In 2007 the layout had to be dismantled and moved, and a new layout has been designed and constructed at the Robert Land Community Centre in Hamilton (see below). Throughout, H.O.M.E.S. has maintained its close connection with the Toronto, Hamilton & Buffalo Railway Historical Society.
Below are some pictures taken in 2006 at the Skyway Plaza venue in Stoney Creek, Ont.:
By Brandon Bayer:
HOMES started work on its sixth ‘permanent’ club layout in January 2008. One of the scenes of the previous layout at Skyway Plaza - the Hunter Street Station scene - had generated such a positive response from the public that club members agreed this was the way to go. So many visitors had stopped in surprise at that aisle to exclaim “that’s the GO station”, or “I work in that building”, or even “that’s my apartment, right there”. The big smiles told members their modelling had succeeded.
In the summer of 2007, while tearing down the Skyway layout on Tuesday club nights, planning meetings on Wednesdays started by coming up with a list of scenes the new layout needed to have. This included important locations for running the railway, such as Aberdeen Yard, but also places members of the non-railfan public would recognize or remember. Hunter Street had to be there again, of course, and be the first thing people saw on entering the layout room. Other locations where locals see real trains included Lawrence Road alongside Kinnear Yard and the Hamilton Pressed Brick, the preserved station at Smithville, Bridge 15 in Welland, and the unique intersection of Main & Gage, where the TH&B Belt Line runs right next to houses and stores and diagonally through the intersection.
An overall plan for the room and benchwork was agreed (no track yet), with the desired scenes assigned places in the correct prototype order and orientation, and in a way that also worked as a model with no duck-unders and almost no hidden track. This gave each scene a fixed size, so prototype track plans were then adapted to fit the available space for that scene.
The photos below were taken in the autumn of 2016 by Bill Goddard, except where otherwise noted.
All captions are by Brandon Bayer.
(H.O.M.E.S. has maintained its close connection with the Toronto, Hamilton & Buffalo Railway Historical Society.)
This remarkable Category B layout had its original beginnings at the back of what was then Dave Morgan’s Railview hobby store (at that time near the southeast corner of Warden and 14th Avenues in Markham, Ontario). Dave Morgan, Dan Drake and Mike Larkin had been regular rail fan pilgrims to Bayview Junction for some years and resolved to recreate Bayview Junction and the adjoining CNR and CPR Subdivisions in H0 scale. The concept matured with a decision to migrate it to a nearby industrial unit around 1999, and Dave, Dan and Mike built the first version of this layout at around 900 sq ft. It was showcased in the April 2003 Issue of Railroad Model Craftsman magazine. Shortly after (around 2004), they lost their lease at that location, and found a new one in the same complex to where Dave Morgan had moved his store (where George's Trains is now). They cut the layout apart and moved it to the new location in one evening. In its new design, the layout started at the Spadina (Toronto CNR) roundhouse and encompassed an area from there to Paris, Ont., then to Fort Erie and back to Spadina, for a total approximate 2,700 square footage. The layout suffered a major setback with the sudden passing of Dave Morgan in 2006, and the club struggled on until October 2013 when the decision was made to disband.
The layout was indeed remarkable for its design, scope, and the general prototypical representation of southern Ontario mainline railroading in H0 scale. Altogether at different times, there were 12 modellers involved, but only eight at any given time. Besides Dan Drake, who has provided this information and the accompanying images, there was Dave Morgan, Mike Larkin, Thomas Warchuk, Bill Hitchman, George Adams, Andrew Parsons, Dave Hill, Dave Rixen, Richard Dodd, Tony Bock and Marty Marchyshyn. The track was all Peco, Code 100 on the mainline, 75 in the yards. The turnouts were operated with slow-motion switch-machines. Needless to say, the extensive geography covered required the doubling back of the various routes, together with some "stacking", "mirroring" and "back-to-back" displays.
As for the new club that is being formed, Dan Darnell of George's Trains Ltd. advises that it is well under way, the renovations are complete and the bench work has been started. No part of the former Railview Modellers Associates' layout will be re-used except for the wood that was saved. The new club does have its own web site: http://www.railviewmrc.ca/, which will be updated as work progresses. The concept for the layout will be similar to the old club's, but with three eras (1940s-1950s, 1960-1970s, 1980-1990s) that will be rotated at four-monthly intervals, where for example buildings will be lifted out and replaced with different ones.
In the early 1990s, a group of local model railroaders got together with the idea of re-creating the Kinmount-Haliburton portion of the former Haliburton Sub. The result is a somewhat "selectively" compressed replica of the line, with the essential railway structures (and some nearby other buildings, especially at Kinmount) moderately well to excellently reproduced.
The only major liberties taken with the prototypical scene (aside from the rather condensed distance between stations) is the absence of the scenic Ritchie's Falls, and, to enable the small group of subsequent volunteers to converse with visitors and to reduce the number of operators required to operate the layout, automated reverse loops installed at both ends. While it was possible to hide the Kinmount loop behind an end wall, the Haliburton loop has of necessity remained in view but has been disguised to some extent by a small "mountain".
The layout was originally built as a travelling layout, and when it was moved into the baggage room of the restored Kinmount station as a permanent display, it had to be adapted to fit the configuration of the available space and the layout design, with the result that one is greeted by the Haliburton end of the layout on entering the display room rather than the Kinmount end, which would have made for a more sequential viewer presentation. While the layout lacks the finer points of a Category B layout, such as hand-laid track, it is a most commendable early Category AB prototypical modelling effort produced at a time when most modellers were still content with a fictional freelance layout.
The display is owned by the local municipality, the City of Kawartha Lakes, and is managed and operated by the Kinmount Committee for Planning & Economic Development. A major design change in that transfer is that the layout had major plexi-glass protection installed, so that it can be viewed all the week round. How this will work out in terms of a satisfactory visitor experience remains to be seen. The images below were all taken before the installation of the plexi-glass shield.
For a summary of the volunteer group's evolution from a model railway club to a volunteer group, click here.
For the museum portion of the display, go to Ontario Railway Station Museums, and scroll down to "Kinmount".
Open hours are dependent on volunteer availability, but during the tourist season, reportedly open Saturdays 10 to 4, and long weekend Sundays and Canada Day from noon to 3.
From a railway modelling perspective, this display is remarkable in that it was conceived and built at a time when the concept of prototypical representation of the rapidly vanishing local railway scene was still in a relative state of infancy in the Ontario model railway hobby world. Given that the effort to research and reproduce this representative miniature of a local railway past occurred at the vanguard of this emerging trend of prototypical representation, this layout is enshrined as a model railway museum in its own right, aside from the Kinmount station site's nucleus as a developing local railway museum. The Kinmount Model Railway is indeed a Canadian pioneer in the representation of a slice of our railway past in miniature, a concept that is now taking increasing hold in the model railway hobby as our vanished local railway network can now only be memorialized in this manner.
Built to represent the portion of the former Grand Trunk (GTR) /CNR Haliburton branch from Kinmount to Haliburton village circa 1900 to circa 1950, this model railway originated in the early 1990s as a travelling layout, put together as a community project by a group of local model railway enthusiasts under the initial sponsorship of the Kinmount & District Lions' Club. It was displayed at various local events, especially at the popular Kinmount Fair.
In 1996, the layout was installed permanently in the former baggage room of the CNR Kinmount railway station. As group participation and interest faded, the layout faced an uncertain future, until it was revived and started to be refurbished around 2007 under new leadership and with a new membership, still all volunteers, drawn from a larger radius around Kinmount. As already noted, in 2014 the project was taken over by the Kinmount Committee for Planning & Economic Development.
DESCRIPTION OF THE LAYOUT (in the present tense in the context of the represented era)
At its southerly end, the model begins at the Kinmount station area on the west-side of the baggage room where the principal featured buildings are the Austin sawmill, the station building itself, the water tank, some main street buildings including the Hopkins & Marks retail emporium, the bridge over the Burnt River into the village, and the former Northern Hotel. The line then curves past Black Rock to the original Howland Junction station (burned down in 1917), where the railway passes the junction and turntable area and the former Irondale, Bancroft & Ottawa Railway branch.
The line then crosses over the Drag River on a truss bridge, and makes its way past the picturesque Ritchie's Falls (not modelled due to lack of space) to Lochlin where the railway runs just to the east of the road. Lochlin was at one time a loading point for pulpwood, and there was a long siding to accommodate the freightcars for that traffic.
This layout is a representative reproduction (except for the end loops) in 1:87 (H0) scale, of the railway between Kinmount and Haliburton as it existed in the earlier part of the 20th century. It has been "selectively compressed" as to distance, content and curvature in order to allow the model to be displayed in a constricted space.
The buildings and structures have all been "scratchbuilt" (using base materials such as styrene, wood, paper, mattes and cardboard) or "kitbashed" (assembled using applicable parts from manufactured kits).
The track and turnouts are "Code 100" (rail height 0.100") manufactured mostly by Peco and Atlas. The track itself is for the most part nailed and ballasted to a cork roadbed.
The end loop turnouts are operated with Tortoise switch machines that are activated by light sensors.
The model is is operated with digital command control (DCC) using MRC Prodigy Advance wired and wireless units and two decoder-equipped Bachmann steam locomotives with on-board sound, but the layout can also be operated with conventional DC motive power and power packs.
The landscape scenery has been built with 1" or 2" styrofoam layers, Plaster of Paris and papier-maché.
The benchwork (main frame supporting the layout) betrays its travelling layout origins with bolted-together 6' or 4' sections, supported by cross-braced 2"x2" adjustable legs with one-half-inch or three-quarter inch plywood decking topped with sound-deadening homasote.
The layout itself is U-shaped, 55' long, 30" wide and 42" high, with a painted 13" masonite base backdrop.
Not that there was anything "whacky" about the world's early narrow gauge lines - for the most part they were engaged in bringing natural resources such as timber, barley, slate or coal, to main line connections - and in their heyday, that was very serious commerce. What did characterize them was that they all operated on an economic shoestring, improvising with equipment discarded from other lines, and with a lot of ingenuity and resourcefulness in making the whole operation work. That is what gave them their rugged individuality and charm. If not "whacky", at least intriguingly "whimsy".
The early major railways in the State of Maine were fed with an endless supply of timber by a dense network of logging lines all built to a gauge of 2ft, so that collectively they came to be known as "the "Maine Two-Footers" as memorialized by the books of that name, authored by Linwood W. Moody.
Modellers are obliged to make concessions as between the prototype and the model for reasons of space, practicality or economy. The major concession here (after the usual one of space) is working with a scaled gauge of 30 inches instead of 24 inches. The main reason for that is the relatively-ready availability of ready-to-run locomotives and cars in that scale and gauge. It therefore does not claim to be an exact prototypical model, but it is very much inspired by, and is loosely based on, the spirit and the structures of the Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes RR that formed part of the extensive Maine narrow gauge network. An excellent Category AB layout.
Larry started this project several years ago, and the first (then L-shaped) section was first publicly displayed in 2011. Since then it has gradually expanded (as most models do) to a rectangle, of which three sides are controlled by DCC, and the remaining one by DC. Despite its now-rectangular configuration, it remains an end-end operating layout.
Please scroll down for a layout diagram and the layout specifications.
Design: Modular overall 10ft by 20ft. Each module is 2ft by 4ft save for the access modules which are two units 10in by 4ft, hinged end to end to afford easy entry to the layout. The construction is ½in plywood top, with 1in by 4in dimensional pine framing. Below top elevation is by the cookie cutter method, and above with high density styrofoam insulation board. Track underlay is cork, cut to fit the track configuration.
Power: Ten of the modules are on MRC DCC. The three staging-end modules are DC analog, creating a necessary interchange or transfer between the two power systems.
Locomotives: Bachmann, Broadway Limited, and scratch-built superstructures on Athearn chassis.
Rollingstock: Bachmann, modified Hornby, Dapol, Peco and Fleischmann 4-wheel chassis.
Track: Micro Engineering code 70 flex and #5 turnouts. Curves are minimum 24in radii, industrial minimum 16in radii.
Scenery base: Styrofoam shaped and carved as needed, coated with drywall compound applied with a brush, and painted with earth tone latex.
Scenery materials: Woodland Scenics, Scenic Express and Noch added in layers, with static grass from the above mixed together to varied tones as a top coat. This is then sprayed randomly with camouflage paint to enhance the effects.
Trees: A mix of SuperTrees, sagebrush, sedum and furnace filter.
Structures: Two kit-builts (by Peter Dobell) and 24 scratch-builts, inspired by examples from Ontario and the State of Maine, and some freelanced.
Operation: (With help from my friends Ron Barjarow, Ted Bush, Jim Clifford, Roger Collingson, John Falls and Garth Wedlock) Slow running and switching. There is passenger service between the two stations Strong and Elaine. There are 14 industries and 18 car spots.
Over the past decade or so, Larry Murphy, formerly of the Lindsay & District Model Railroaders' Club, has built excellent prototypical Category B H0 scale sectional modules of the former CNR and CPR station areas at Lindsay, of the CPR at Bobcaygeon and of the Haliburton Sub between Fenelon Falls and Kinmount. (His popular Kirkfield Quarry layout [see below] was deeded to the Kirkfield Historical Society some time ago.)
These modules have been exhibited at the annual Lindsay show, Copetown, Ont., at the first CARM Convention (St. Catharine's, Ont.), Ottawa's Railfair show, and at some local venues such as the Fenelon Falls Santa Claus Parade and the Peterborough Canoe Museum on the occasion of special events or open houses. After an unsuccessful attempt to persuade the City of Kawartha Lakes (the governing municipality) to enshrine them in a railway heritage centre, they have been donated to the Victoria County Historical Society.
The earliest module to go on public display in the mid-1990s. It was of a hybrid design, intended to portray prototypical modelling, but also to satisfy the needs of conventional model railway show continuous running, rather than to have the more correct end-to-end operation. The result was a conventional rectangular design, so that the track plan was obviously not prototypically correct. That design also included the "CNR/CPR Transfer Module" (q.v. below), which was later severed to provide correct end-to-end display operation.
This was originally part of the "Bobcaygeon" module (q.v. above), a large rectangular continuous-run layout that was obviously not prototypically correct in terms of its track plan. This section was eventually severed to appear on its own at a variety of events as a true Category B end-to-end display.
For more information about this module, please click here.
This was the third major module to be built in 2007 and made frequent public appearances, especially annually at the Fenelon Falls Santa Claus Parade. For more information about this module, please click here.
The Burnt River module was the last major module to be constructed as a logical sequel to the Fenelon Falls module, also in 2007. It has appeared occasionally at the Burnt River community centre and at the Lindsay Model Railway Show. This module was designed to be the natural continuation northwards from Fenelon Falls in the direction of Kinmount, with an understanding that those who wanted to follow the railway all the way to Haliburton could then pick the model trail up again at the Kinmount Model Railway (scroll up to view on this same web page). For more information about the Burnt River module, please click here. To the right is a group of Lindsay & District Model Railroaders who were in attendance at the "maiden" appearance of this module at the Burnt River Community Centre in August 2008. Left to right are: Larry Murphy, Don McClellan, Russ Moore, David Tulett, Don Thompson and Bent Striegler.
This module does not have a direct railway motif. The mine was situated at the junction of county roads 121 and 49 near Galena Hill, and its products had to to be teamed several miles away to the nearest station at Burnt River. For more information about this module, please click here. This diorama was commissioned in 2010 by the Galway Cavendish Historical Society for display at the International Ploughing Match venue at Keene, Ont.
This module has rarely been on public display, but was the earliest one to be built in 1980. It features the impressive four-road Lindsay engine house and the copious Durham St. station. The module includes the curves onto Victoria Avenue, and the track is all hand-laid.
This is a static diorama that was built to help advertise the annual Lindsay model railway show, and appeared for a number of years in Wally the barber's shop window just before show time.
Everyone knows Port Perry is not in Victoria County, but this town was the springboard for what became the Whitby, Port Perry & Lindsay Railway. As such, it was the first railway to have its terminus in DOWNTOWN Lindsay in 1876, and is commemorated here with this static diorama. It was built in 1989 and was exhibited for a period of time at the Scugog Museum, Port Perry, Ont. The track is all hand-laid.
This was the last module to be created (2013) before the collection's donation to the Victoria County Historical Society.
Scale H0 - Category AB
Back in 2006 my friend Pierre Oliver and I knew each other and knew we travelled well together, but we had not worked on any hobby projects. Then we got to talking and realized we were both intrigued by the Free-mo modular standard, and decided to build a module.
We knew of no other Free-mo enthusiasts in the area (although the S Scale Workshop, of which I was not yet a member, was using a standard developed from the same principles). So we saw this as an opportunity to introduce Free-mo to Southern Ontario modellers. But we also knew that any module we built would also have to stand on its own as an exhibition layout, in case nobody else was interested.
We wanted to do something that really showed off the free-form nature of Free-mo and realized one of its strengths is the ability to replicate prototype locations, in a way that other modular forms cannot. This is because with Free-mo, the benchwork can follow the track – including a prototype track arrangement. Other systems force the modeller to work with restrictive modular specifications that make it difficult to capture the feel of most real places.
Pierre and I looked for several candidates and settled on a small yard and adjacent industrial park in Peterborough, Ontario. The result was The Peterboro Project (“Peterboro” is how the CNR spelled it).
We created two adapters that flared the ends out to the standard Free-mo modular width of 24 inches, so we could connect to other modules. But when set up in exhibition mode, we left these at home and attached a five-track sector plate to one end of the through route. We could then operate the module as a sprawling switching layout.
Peterboro’s debut was a Free-mo rally hosted by the Rochester Institute of Technology Model Railroad Club in the fall of 2006. Pierre and I had a great time but this was the module’s only Free-mo appearance. We exhibited it as a stand-alone layout thereafter. (We had no problems with Free-mo – we just didn’t have any additional Free-mo opportunities.)
The module was featured in the August 2008 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman magazine – and then Pierre and I sold it off to move on to other home layout and modular layout projects.
As should be obvious from these pictures, Peterboro was never “finished” – we planned to add trees, people and details, and the module could’ve benefitted from some additional attention paid to presentation (skirting would’ve been nice). But even as exhibited in its “work in progress” state, The Peterboro Project received a lot of positive comments, and it’s gratifying to see a number of groups that now use Free-mo or Free-mo inspired standards in Southern Ontario. I wouldn’t say we introduced the concept, but we certainly gave it a push.
I learned a lot through the Peterboro exercise – especially some tricks that are invaluable when building a layout that needs to survive hours of bouncing and bashing in the back of a vehicle. I also learned that I really like sector plates for staging – something I continue to use today.
But the best part is Pierre and I spent a lot of time in the workshop together in the summer of 2006 to build Peterboro. And along the way we became really good friends. While Peterboro is now someone else’s, the friendship continues stronger than ever. And we can make each other crack up by saying things like “It’s a co-op!”, which not even our wives understand.
I’m really glad we built The Peterboro Project.
The S Scale Workshop is an informal group of modelling friends from around Ontario (and one from Montreal): Chris Abbott, David Clubine, Oliver Clubine, Andy Malette, Trevor Marshall, Jim Martin, Pete Moffett, Simon Parent and Ian Wilson. (Written up in the Canadian Railway Modeller, June 2008.) This group is of special interest for two reasons - one - that they are working in S Scale (1:64 ratio) and - two - that they use the Free-mo Module System. The distinctive feature of this system is that a layout, especially one that is to be taken to shows, does not have to conform to a set number of sections that all have to be present for the layout to operate, resulting in an additional logistical challenge where sections have different owners. "With Free-mo, the modeller is able to build modules of any size and shape. broken into any number of sections for storage and transport. This freedom means modellers can design their module frames to follow a prototype track arrangement, instead of the other way round. The only limits are what an individual or group can build, maintain, transport, set up, and store." (Trevor Marshall, 'The Peterboro Project', Railroad Model Craftsman, August 2008.) Free-mo was designed for H0 scale, but as the S Scale Workshop demonstrates, can be adapted to any scale or gauge.
Featured here are scenes from Jim Martin's Port Dover module (Category B), and from Pete Moffett's Webb's Landing module (Category A).
Ted Rafuse's module of the pioneer Cobourg & Peterborough Railway that cost the citizens of Cobourg so dearly, portrays the essence of that ill-fated effort across Rice Lake. The module is compact, transportable and provides a summary panel history of the railway, with an oval track plan that features Cobourg, Harwood and a compact version of the Rice Lake trestle. It is entertaining and educational, but was the subject of pain-staking research, the hallmark of prototypical modelling, to bring it about. (Category AB.)
For the background on the Cobourg & Peterborough Railway, please click here.
Scale F (1:20.32)b66 (Broad or "Provincial" 5'6" Gauge)
For the detailed story, please click here.
For the background on the The Cobourg, Peterborough & Marmora Railway & Mining Company (CB & MR & M Co.), please click here.
For more on the 1881 accident that led to the eventual recovery of the ore cars, please click here.
This diorama has been meticulously constructed with all available knowledge about an obscure ore mining operation some 150 years ago in the Kawarthas, where ore was loaded onto trains at Blairton Mine and transported to water’s edge at Trent River Narrows, and thence by barge along Rice Lake to Harwood. There the ore would be loaded back onto trains for transportation to Cobourg, and then back onto lake schooners to Rochester for onward transportation to Pittsburgh, Pa. This diorama has been constructed to demonstrate the loading and unloading process. A large-scale replica of the ore car is on display at the Sifton-Cook Heritage Centre in Cobourg, Ont. (In a neat twist, at 141, Orr Street ☺. Love it.)
Dolores 6957 - by the "Maple Leaf Mafia"
A layout that is gaining increasing notice is an end-to-end working diorama of, when fully displayed, some 30ft plus in length, with a 90 degree addition at one end under construction. It is being put together by a group of modellers who have been styled most collegially by their buddies south of the border as the "Maple Leaf Mafia". Their model exemplifies and follows the charm of the network of Colorado and Arizona narrow-gauge lines, dominated by the Denver & Rio Grande Western and Rio Grande Southern Railroads. This layout is superbly scratch-built-crafted in fine scale in the tradition and very high standard set years ago by the late Harold Midwood (see my page "Our Friends at the Shows"), his late son Art, and their fellow enthusiasts. As far surviving records permit, the layout is a re-enactment of the prototype in the area of Dolores, Colorado.
Peterborough (By the Peterborough Model Railroaders)
H0 scale. An interesting Category A layout of some years' standing. It exhibited for a number of years in the Peterborough catchbasin of model railway shows. It has also appeared several times at the annual Canada Canoe Museum (Peterborough) Open House, with such popularity that it caused the museum manager to observe (with a twinkle in his eye) "perhaps we should rename this the train museum, and every once in a while, get some canoes in". This layout includes some Peterborough landmarks, and the surrounding scene could well have been that of the local pioneering era. Some of the members (who own this layout jointly) also enjoy narrow gauge, and the layout has its points of whimsy that are always crowd warmers. It is assiduously "scenicked" and carefully kept "refreshed", but is now in semi-, if not total, retirement.
By the Ganaraska (Port Hope) Model Railroaders. A Category A layout that has been garnering increasing attention for a few years now at model railway shows east of the GTA. H0 Scale. The layout features some universally-known landmarks of Port Hope railway and civic architecture.
By the Lindsay & District Model Railroaders. A recently-developed Category A layout that is getting increasing attention at model railway shows east of the GTA. H0 Scale. The layout has been dubbed "Kawartha-ish" because the aim was to model something recognizable of the former but familiar Victoria County railway-related architecture and scenery cameos that will be readily recognizable as local landscape. The club used to have an excellent permanent "Kawartha-ish" layout in its former club premises, and on having to move from there (a familiar tale for all clubs), has replaced it with something that its members can simultaneously enjoy "at home", and take to shows with pride.