Saturday, July 24, 2021

The WInnipeg Railway Museum and the Gateway Western Railway are open again

Great news! You can now visit the Winnipeg Railway Museum and view the Winnipeg Model Railroad Club's Gateway Western Railway again! As of Saturday, July 17 the museum will be open seven days a week from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

The Gateway Western Railway, the largest modular HO layout in the province, will be open for viewing. Only members of the WMRC and the Winnipeg Railway Museum are allowed inside the structure that houses the layout. The Gateway's Tuesday operating nights and maintenance sessions are still suspended pending on a decision from Via Rail to have the station open later. 

The museum is located on the second level of the Via Rail station at 123 Main Street. Admission to the museum is $7.00. Seniors get in for $6.00.  Students over 16 years of age with ID get in for $6.00. 

To enter the museum you must show proof that you're fully vaccinated. You also must wear a mask and practice social distancing at all times. Children under 12 years of age are not allowed in the museum at this time.

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Winnipeg Model Railroad Club mourns passing of Vern Gibson

Vern Gibson (right) is pictured with his good friend Hilt Friesen in their store, Elmwood Hobby Works, on the cover of the Sunday Herald in 1999.

Long time WMRC member Vern Gibson passed away on Friday, July 16 at age 89, just short of his 90th birthday in August. He was a resident of Deer Lodge Centre during his final years.

Vern spent most of his working life at the Centennial Concert Hall. He will be fondly remembered by the model railroad community as the founder of Elmwood Hobby Works, which he started in a small section of his good friend Hilt Friesen’s furniture, window treatment and blind shop. Hilt became a co-partner and the shop expanded to take over the entire building.

Vern and Hilt built the business up, providing an excellent stock of model train equipment for all gauges along with great service. Their mail order business was well received by hobbyists across Western Canada. Vern eventually sold his half of the business to Hilt and devoted the rest of his time to his favourite hobby. He and his good friend Marvin Fetch built a spectacular layout in Marvin’s house, which has been featured in several model railroad publications and posts on-line.

Vern was a lifetime member of the NMRA, and he encouraged almost everyone who entered his shop to join. He kept membership forms in a desk drawer right by the cash register. He attended many regional and national conventions, the last one being the 2006 TLR convention held in St. Paul, Minnesota.


Friday, July 09, 2021

CN Portage station makes top 10 endangered structures list for 2021.

This archive photo of the Portage CNR station was taken from the files of the Manitoba Historical Society.

 The CN Portage station has made the  Manitoba Historical Society’s top 10 endangered structures list for 2021. The station was originally built by the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway in 1908. It was later used by CN Rail when the Canadian government took over the bankrupt Grand Trunk Pacific and the Canadian Northern Railway in 1919. Via Rail still uses it as a stop. For many years it was a bus depot used by Greyhound Bus Lines. It was closed  in October 2018, and it is presently vacant.

The Manitoba Historical Society tracks historically significant buildings around the province that they feel deserve to be preserved and better known. For Canada Historic Places Day on Saturday, July 3 2021, they released their annual list of the ten most endangered buildings and other structures, in order from oldest to newest.  To access this list, click here

This image of the CN station, taken from the files of the Manitoba Historical Society, was taken by our own Hilt Friesen sometime in the 1970's.