Sunday, October 27, 2019

Behind the Scenes at the St. Jacobs and Aberfoyle Model Railway

It’s been seven years since I first saw the Aberfoyle Junction O scale layout—one of Canada’s finest layouts.

Back then, it was still located at its original and long-time location near Guelph, Ont.

Now called the St. Jacobs and Aberfoyle Model Railway, it is located in nearby St. Jacobs, Ont., its home since 2013.

I was able to visit the layout again this month; once again, I was overwhelmed. There are simply not enough words to describe how magnificent it is.

This time around, a volunteer generously offered to let me see behind the scenes. I got to go behind the layout to see the staging yards, and also up into the control booth located on the second floor above the trains.

Engineers control the trains from their perch on the DC block-controlled layout—something that is only possible with the use of cameras so they can keep an eye on the staging yards, switches and magnets for uncoupling.

In addition to the behind-the-scenes photos, I took many other pictures. I’ll post them over the next couple of posts.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Manitoba Mega-Train Show, 2019 (Plus More Great Modelling from Echo Valley in Regina)

Another Mega-Train show has come and gone.

As weekends go for the show, it was great—cool and rainy. 

When I helped run the show, we always wished for bad weather. It kept people closer to home and away from the cottage or parks, and more likely to attend the show.

Since I had just taken my layout down a couple months earlier, I really wasn’t in the market for anything.

I did consider taking a table to sell off some stuff, but it was too early for that. I’m not ready yet to part with any rolling stock or locomotives. They all still feel like close friends.

And yet, one day I will have to do it. Just not yet. (I did take note of prices for the future, however.)

The show had the usual assortment of good layouts and great sales.

I’m always taken by the tinplate stuff; there is such an amazing history of the hobby in those items!

The prices seemed low to me. But a seller assured me they were appropriately priced.

Apparently, there’s a lot of this stuff coming on the market now as older people, or their kids, dispose of train collections that have been hiding in attics or basements for a long time.

As in the past, I enjoyed the fine modelling of the Echo Valley Guild Free-Mo layout from Regina.

I once again found myself appreciating the simple crossing scene made by club member Jeff Betcher.

Jeff told me he was thinking of adding additional items to the scene. But then he read my post from last year about this clean and simple scene, and how much I liked it, and decided to leave it as is. I’m glad he did!

He did add an abandoned farmhouse nearby, though—something very common on the prairies. It was also a great model.

Another scene on the layout that drew my attention was the burnt-out forest.

Anyone who has traveled in the mountains of B.C. has seen this kind of thing, what with all the recent wildfires.

It reminded me of the realistic scene of a forest killed by pine beetles on the Thunder Creek modular layout from Moose Jaw. (What is it with these great Saskatchewan layouts, anyway?)

Anyway, as usual it was a great show. My thanks goes to the organizers.