Saturday, August 11, 2012

A Railway Museum for the CP Rail Manitoba & Minnesota Subdivision

A CP Rail freight passes the museum in Turney, Man.

Many small towns on railway lines—or former lines—have them: Small displays of railway equipment, memorials to the time when the train once stopped there, or when they were home to a yard or engine terminal. Places like the towns below.

Edson, Alberta

Sioux Lookout, Ont.

Agassiz, B.C.

Winnipeg Beach, Man.

Sometimes it’s an old locomotive, or maybe a freight or passenger car or, many times, a caboose. Sometimes the equipment is in great shape, sometimes in poor condition. Occasionally, like with the passenger cars in Florenceville, New Brunswick (below), they become home to businesses, such as a fine restaurant.

Whatever is there, it’s a testament to another time when the town was really on the map—a time when train-time was a big time. But now the trains fly by, or have stopped running by or through the town at all.

For the town of Turney on the CP Rail Manitoba & Minnesota Sub., it’s the former. A once busy railway town now watches a parade of trains pass by on their way to somewhere else. But that time long ago is still remembered in a little museum in the old freight house; outside, on a disconnected piece of track, an old caboose and GP 7 recall the good old days.

That’s one story. The other is that when reconnecting tracks on the layout to the staging yard in the other room, about a foot of unused space, which once housed the old mainline, became available. My first thought was to just turn into a rolling hill with trees. But then I thought: Why not lay some tracks on the old right-of-way and use it to create a museum?

And that’s what I did.

I haven’t seen this done much on a model railroad. I can recall photos one or two layouts that had a steam locomotive in a downtown park, but that’s about it.

As for the museum itself, perhaps one day I’ll buy a steam locomotive that doesn’t run anymore and put it on the tracks. Or maybe an old passenger car, or a 40-foot boxcar, or a CPR caboose from a bygone era.

Whatever ends up there, I think it’s an interesting, and little-used, scenic feature for my layout. Maybe I can also include a sign, like the one below.

Caboose photos by Art Grieve and James Booth from Your Railway Pictures.


  1. Nice museum display. Keep up the great work.

  2. A great use of space. A lot of one time big operations are now just by-passed. Wish my skills were like yours.

    Armchair aka Glen Wasson