Friday, September 4, 2015

Introducing the N Scale Thompson River Canyon

Just about a year ago, my brother-in-law, Ken Epp, died of cancer. Ken was well known in Winnipeg for his fantastic HO scale Cougar River Sub., a four-level layout featuring scenes from across the prairies and B.C.

Several years ago, Ken dismantled the layout before moving to a condo. After the move, he started collecting N scale trains. His goal was to create a portable version of his favourite railfan location in Canada: The Thompson River Canyon.

Alas, it was not to be. He died last October.

But if Ken can’t build  that layout, I can—in a small way, and in his memory. And that is what I am doing.

My goal is to build a small display layout that features two scenes from the canyon.

One side, the side I am working on now, will feature the steep cliffs and concrete snowsheds that are a hallmark of one part of the canyon.

The other side will show the entrance to the canyon, where the sides aren’t as steep and the tracks are closer down near the river.

The real Thompson River Canyon, and the inspiration
for my simple display layout.

The layout will not try to represent a prototype scene. My goal is to give an impression of the canyon—it will be Thompson River Canyon-like, if you will, or inspired by the real canyon.

In got started in early August, buying a 2 x 7 hollow core door and some 1 inch Styrofoam. At this point, about a month later, the track is laid and the steeper side is mostly roughed in.

Over the next number of posts, I’ll show how I got to this point—and then beyond.

The goal is to have the layout at least half done and on display at the Sept. 26-27 Manitoba Mega Train Show here in Winnipeg.

Ken at the 2014 Mega Train show, a few weeks
before he died.

Why that date and place? That was the last time Ken was out in public before he died. He didn’t have much energy, but he went from table to table and layout to layout saying goodbye to friends.

Through my Thompson River Canyon layout, I can bring him back to the show—in spirit, and in memory.

I invite you to follow along!

Part 2: The Prototype

To view all the posts in this series, click on this Thompson River Canyon label/link. 


  1. What a great idea to honour your brother in law. I look forward to watching your progress