Saturday, December 8, 2012

Great Canadian Model Railroad: Rich Loveman's CN and CPR in the Thompson River Canyon

Even though my layout is no longer in the planning stage, I always buy Model Railroad Planning when it comes out. I always like learning about how other modelers are solving various challenges and, who knows? Maybe I’ll build another layout some day, and can use the ideas.

When the 2011 issue came out, I was especially impressed by Rich Loveland’s HO scale Canadian National and Canadian Pacific in B.C.’s Thompson River Canyon. Rich did something I’ve rarely seen when it comes to modeling a canyon—he modeled both sides.

In the MRP article, Rich noted that his interest was in faithfully modeling this unique area, which finds CN on one side of the river and the CPR on the other. To model the canyon, in an area two feet wide, Rich used extruded Styrofoam covered with Bragdon Enterprises rock castings.  

He added that while some of the canyon walls were two feet high, some spots were less than one inch thick—it pushed the foam contour approach to its limits. He also made the canyon walls independent of the trackbed; this allowed him to detail them on his workbench, and they could also be removed to provide access to any part of the layout for maintenance.

The layout was also designed to force the viewer to look down the canyon to see trains coming and going—just like for the real thing.

After seeing the article, I sent an e-mail to Rich via MRP. I asked him for some photos I could use on the blog; he sent me a few outtakes from the article, and promised more sometime this year (2012)—he was planning to re-do some scenes, and add more detail, and would send photos after that was done.

Well, time went on, as it always does; this fall that I thought I should contact Rich to see how the layout was coming along, and whether he was ready to send me some photos. But my e-mail to him bounced back as no such address.

I did a bit of Googling, and found the following online: “Richard W. Loveman, 63, died May 16 after battling pancreatic cancer for more than six years.”
I was saddened by the news. I sent an e-mail to Tony Koester at MRP, asking if he could send a note of condolence to his wife. I also asked if he had any more photos of Rich's layout; he did, and he copied Rich’s friend Bill Botkin.

Over the past couple of weeks, I received photos of Rich’s layout from Tony and Bill. I have added them to the ones Rich sent me earlier; you see them together on this page.

So, rest in peace, Rich. You certainly made an impression on me with your modeling, and on many others, I’m sure. Even though your layout wasn't completed, it's still a great Canadian model railroad in my books.

P.S. Before Rich's layout was taken down, Bill took more photos. Click here to see them.



  1. I am very impressed by Rich's layout. It certainly captures the CP & CN in the canyon. I took the Rocky Mountaineer from Vancover to Jasper and back from Lake Louise to Vancover. What a ride along the Fraser River and Thompson River. I was very temped to try to model some of the CN & CP trackage but I figure you would only need tall mountains and a lot of model trees (thousands?) Glad to hear the layout still exist.

  2. Definitely a layout to emulate. I love the railroading scenery of the Thompson.