Brampton Model Railway Show

Tradeshow Tuesday

Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 7.59.26 PM

THIS Weekend is the Brampton Model Railway Show!!!

OCTOBER 3rd and 4th, 2015

12942 Heart Lake Road at Old School Road.
Minutes north of Mayfield Road

Show is in the 33,000 Sq. Ft. Pavilion

10:00AM to 4:00PM

10:00 AM TO 4:00 PM

Adults $7 NMRA member $6
Seniors and Teens $5 Children (6-12) $3
Children under 6 free

FREE re-admission on Sunday

33,000 square feet of model trains.
Operating layouts in many different scales.
Thomas play area for the kids.
Vendors selling all kinds of new and used model trains.
railroad memorabilia for sale.
Great Food service.
Free parking.
Handicap accessible.


Our Home and Miniature Land – Free Doors Open


Did you know there is a $2 million dollar HO scale model train layout taking shape in Mississauga called Our Home and Miniature Land that is based on a similar, hugely ambitious set-up in Hamburg, Germany called Miniatur Wunderland?

Construction began on January 1, 2014. Since then, 25,000 man-hours have been expended on the project and I’ve been and it’s pretty awesome. Now you can see this for yourself. And the best part is that it’s free!

On October 24th, Our Home and Miniature Land is inviting you to come and see what they’ve built so far. Bring your family and friends to their open house. Your visit will include the competed Toronto exhibit, as well as Hamilton which is still under construction.

Only 131 tickets are available and you must register in advance at the eventbrite site link below:

I’ve got gas


Freight Car Friday

On Monday, I discussed the joys of discovering Bell-Gaz Propane – a prototype industry that I plan to model on the layout. Seems only fitting then to feature the LPG Tank Car this Freight Car Friday.

The 33,900 gallon tank car is one of the largest standard tank cars used today. While Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and Anhydrous Ammonia are the two most common commodities, they are also used to transport butadiene, isoprene and gasoline. These cars can be seen regularly in mixed manifest freight trains throughout North America. They travel singly or in large blocks between producers and distributors


This is a tough (and expensive) car to find and I am always on the lookout at the shows to add a couple of them to my layout.

Helpful hints for Operating Model Railroads

Video Thursday

This YouTube four part series is THE BEST tutorial I have seen explaining how model railroad operations work. This has helped me immensely as I modify my track plan for operations.

Mike Hamer and Chris Lyon hosts us on the Lyon Valley Northern in this four part series on helpful tricks and hints for operating model railroads. In part one, they explain some of the things you should do when visiting a model railroad for the first time. How to familiarize yourself so that operations are more comfortable.

In Part 2, Mike and Chris bring a Way Freight into Shelby on the LVN and they explain some of the better practices of protecting against mainline traffic. They efficiently handle lifts and drops in the yard and provide insight into good operations practices that can be applied wherever you run trains. They take the mystery out of operating a layout you have never worked before..

In Part 3, they explain the yard throat, arrival departure activities and the track occupation principles. By understanding these practices, the new operator at a layout will be less intimidated by yard movements, track occupation and locomotive servicing.

In Part 4, our hosts take us through a process of bringing a cut of cars into an industrial area with timesaver design on the Lyon Valley Northern and they describe in detail useful approaches to simplify lifting and dropping cars, They explain, classification, blocking, facing and trailing switches, using the runaround and yard leads. Also how to best reduce the number of moves to accomplish the switching task. The video is intended to provide you with some new knowledge or confirm what you know. Having a good handle on these concepts will simplify model railroad operations so that you can go to any layout and feel confident that you can step in and do your part to enjoy the experience of model railroad operations.

The Chemin de Fer Lanaudière Interchange

Prototype Monday 3


I love researching and delving into my prototype. The amazing thing about doing internet research is that I can find out some amazing real things to incorporate into my model railroad world.

I recently discovered a short, short, shortline that connects with the QGRY and serves an industry that I hope/plan to model. Crossing the Lanaudière region over a distance of 17 kms between Joliette and Saint-Félix-de-Valois, the Chemin de Fer Lanaudiere (CFL) is owned by Bell-Gaz – a large independent distributor of propane gas in the Lanaudière region.

Screen Shot 2015-03-01 at 4.53.35 PM

Screen Shot 2015-03-01 at 4.51.21 PM

Google maps gives me a pretty good view of the facility and gives me an idea of both the track arrangements and the number of car spots. While I will need to employ extreme selective compression with a copious serving of artistic license, I am excited by the operating potential of the following scenario:

  1.  CPR or CNR trains carry tank cars containing propane gas from Alberta to Montreal.
  2. At Montreal, these Chemin de Fer Lanaudière propane tank cars are transferred to QGRY trains bound for Trois-Rivières and the QGRY Lanoraie Turn coming from Trois-Rivières to drop off CFL tank cars at the QGRY/CFL interchange at Notre-Dame-des-Prairies.
  3.  CFL trains take these propane tanks cars from the interchange track up to Saint-Felix-de-Valois where the Bell Gas propane gas terminal is located.


CFL owns only two engines. Some great pics can be found on

A RS18-3a #3000, which is an ex-CP RS18 8734 built in 1957 by MLW. And the engine that I plan to model will be CFL #114  – an old Alco S13m. As an added bonus I can now buy that WalthersProto Russell Snowplow that I wanted ’cause they have one of those as well! Thank you CFL!8988.1361535687

Trompe l’oeil

Scenery Saturday 3


The French phrase ‘trompe l’oeil’ literally means to deceive the eye. It is an art technique that uses realistic imagery to create the optical illusion that the depicted objects exist in three dimensions. And that is what so many of us aim to achieve in our model railroading… it’s sure my goal.

I have always marveled at the work of masters like Mike Confalone and his Allagash layout. One of the scenes I love is his St. Regis Paper Mill and his use of photo backdrops is inspired. I have been playing around with this technique for my port scene and the 3D effect is pretty amazing. When adding a ‘real’ element in front of the photo, the two seem to blend and it’s very hard to tell what is or is not ‘real’.


I found an image of a ship unloading gravel on a website called that I liked and thought might work, so I contacted the photographer, explained my interest and requested the right to use the image for personal (non-revenue) reasons . Many thanks to Jack Rolands who sent me a hi-res digital image with his bemused best wishes. Once again proving that there is nothing that can’t be found online.

Lumbering Along


Freight Car Friday 3

Lumber. Got to have it on my ‘road. And with lumber comes the Centerbeam flatcar – today’s featured freight car.  According to the miracle of Google Earth, a quick flyby of the QGRY Quebec City Henri V yard shows a lot of them.

Filename: MRR-NP0411_25.psdAccording to The Official blog for Lionel LLC, makers of LIonel Trains and American Flyer, ‘the cars have become increasingly popular in the past two decades. Owned by railroads large and small as well as leasing companies, these cars generally operate in pools like autoracks and intermodal equipment. They travel wherever needed for their next load. It is not uncommon to find different companies’ cars in the same train or even on the same siding. Also, because of the variety of products they can carry and the many different producers and receivers all across the country, it is easy to spot both loaded and empty cars in the same train.’


Funnily enough, this is probably one of the cars that I’ve had the hardest time finding. I have a couple of them, but am on the lookout for a bunch more. One of the projects that I am looking forward to is building some scratch lumber loads. Perhaps a post for a future Workbench Wednesday…Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 8.11.30 PM