Saturday, April 20, 2019

Great Canadian Model Railroad: The Nitinat River RR (in Belgium)

Earlier I wrote about the great Canadian Model Railroad club layout in Belgium built by Evan Daes and his friends.

As it turns out, that wasn’t the first Canadian-themed layout the group built. The first one was the Nitinat River RR, an HO scale sectional logging layout.

The group, all fans of Canadian railways, selected Vancouver Island as the home for the layout because some of the club members had visited Canada and liked the west coast.

The layout was freelanced, but it was based on a prototype idea.

In the early 20th century, the Canadian Northern Pacific (the predecessor of the CNR) intended to build a line from Victoria up to the western side of Cowichan Lake (now known as Nitinat Camp).

The real line was never completed. But in the club’s version of history, the line was finished and included a branch line to Bamfield.

The layout, which measured 16 by 26 feet, was built in 19 sections, The sections measured 2’6” wide by 4 feet long.

The track was all handlaid, using code 70 rail.

The scenery was made from foam, to keep the sections light. All the buildings and other structures were made from wood.

On the layout, the Nitimat RR served logging and mining industries, and a few fish canneries.

When not on display, the sections were stored in member’s homes. The club displayed it once a year at a major European train show.

As you may have noted by now, I’m writing about the layout in the past tense. It was dismantled so club members could make a new more modern Canadian layout. 

Only two sections were saved: the Bamfield port and the sawmill at Franklin.

Before it was dismantled, the layout was featured in Great Model Railroads, 2013. And now it is here—in Great Canadian Model Railroads!

Track plan from Great Model Railroads.

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