Saturday, December 17, 2011

Great Canadian Model Railroads: Pierre Dion's CP Rail Quebec Subdivision

For me, it was like the quest for the Holy Grail: Could I get photos of Pierre Dion’s magnificent CP Rail Quebec Subdivision, and post them on my blog?

The answer, as you see, is yes. A couple of weeks ago I was able to track Pierre down.; in addition to receiving permission to scan and post some photos of his layout from the November, 2004, Railroad Model Craftsman, he sent me some other photos, too.

And now, for what I think is the first time on the Web, you can see them again (or for the first time), too.

Like the CP Rail M & M Sub., the HO scale Quebec Sub. was set in that other transition period—the late 1980s-early1990s. This was the time just before CP Rail started to sell and or abandon its lines in Quebec.

Also during that period, CP Rail was still using MLW units, like the RS-18u, c-424u, Rs-23, C-630M, M-630 and M-636—units featured on Pierre’s layout, most of them detailed and weathered.

The layout itself was in a 17 by 21 foot room, and featured a double track mainline through generic scenery. But, oh—what scenery it was! “Lush” is the word that most often comes to my mind, along with extremely realistic. Pierre has a knack for creating believable ground cover, ballast and trees, along with buildings and various line side and other details.

I have been speaking of the layout in the past tense; it’s gone now, being replaced by a bigger layout. This time Pierre has a 24 by 25 foot room to work his magic in, plus a 9 by 12 foot room for staging.

The new shelf-style layout will have a 150 foot mainline, and will once again focus on CP Rail in the Montreal area and eastern Quebec in the late 1980s-early 1990s—with the same roster of unique units pulling their last miles. And, just like with his first layout, it will also be called the Quebec Subdivision.

Here are some more classic shots of Pierre's layout from Railroad Model Craftsman. Click here for more photos of Pierre's layout on this blog.




  1. Pierre layout was the inspiration that made me take the plunge and start on the BOeC. My original layout went tru many changes (and one more is coming..) thanks to the visual pleasing Pierre Dion layout and photography. I wish him success and can't wait to see and read about his "newer version" .

    Thanks for posting this


  2. Excellent stuff! I have an old Walthers cataloguethat included a few pictures of the layout. It's really bautiful.
    I wish I had RS23 'Rockets' like those!

  3. I grew up in awe of his photos in the Walthers catalog - such fantastic and realistic work. Thanks for posting these!

  4. Pierre is the King of Canadian model Railroading! He has inspired me for many years! Bravo to the master!
    I am building what I am calling the Saskatchewan Hub of the CPR, featuring 1980--1999 CP Rail grain trains.
    I only hope mione turns out 1/2 as good as the kings.

  5. That layout was in the first ever issue of CRM I bought when in high school. It gave a big impetus to model CP Rail projects!