Thursday, October 03, 2013

Welcome to the Winnipeg Model Railroad Club!

The Winnipeg Model Railroad Club was founded in 1955 by a group of about 50 charter members. The original clubroom was located at the CPR station on Higgins Avenue in the company's old Rules Room. From there, the club moved to the Manitoba Clinic for a few years until around 1968 when it moved to the Veterans Room at the CNR station on Main Street. Club membership had grown to over 125 members. The WMRC met there until 1995 when VIA Rail Canada took over the CN station and the Veterans Room became unavailable. The Club shifted to several different locations until 2005 when it moved to its present location at the Westworth United Church, 1750 Grosvenor Avenue (at Lanark Street) in River Heights.

The Winnipeg Model Railroad Club is a non-profit incorporated club with a purpose to promote the interest, knowledge, operation and enjoyment of all scale railway modelling and related photography. It is a voluntary organization governed by an elected executive with members-in-good-standing holding voting privileges. Elections occur during the April meeting. The Club welcomes guests interested in model railroading and associated interests to its meetings with the aim of helping them enjoy themselves so much that they'll want to come back. Regardless of your skill level or area of interest, there is something for everybody. The club emphasizes education and entertainment, so you'll learn a great deal, meet new friends and have fun!

Club Newsletter
The Club publishes an informative monthly newsletter called The Lantern which is produced by the Lantern editor. A PDF version is available to members who are on-line. A limited number of printed copies are available for pick up at our monthly meetings.

Club Meetings
Club meetings are held on the second Friday evening of each month beginning at 19:30 hours (7:30pm) from September to May. Meetings begin with a short business session followed by one or two programs as set out by the Program Director. Programs can range from a slide show presentation about prototype railways, to clinics given by members to show how different aspects of the hobby can be accomplished through certain techniques and skills.

Monthly Model Display
The club offers a model display at each meeting where members can bring in a model they are working on and display it for others to see. This is a display, and not a competition. A prize of a gift certificate from a local hobby shop is awarded at random. This display is run by members of the #1 Northern Division of the National Model Railroad Association.

50-50 Prize Draw
The Club offers a 50-50 prize draw during each meeting where members and guests can purchase tickets to win half of the collection.

A Club canteen is available during each meeting where coffee, soft drinks and donuts are available for purchase.

The Harvey Walker Memorial Library
The Club has an extensive library where members-in-good-standing can take out books and train DVDs from the many hundreds on file.

'Klinic Karnaval'
Once a year the Club conducts a series of modelling 'stations' where those attending the meeting can roam from table-to-table and see other fellow modellers performing different aspects of the hobby. Each clinic is meant as a teaching tool to show others how to perform many of the skills used in the hobby.

Home Layout Tours
From time-to-time, arrangements are made for WMRC members to visit some of the many home basement layouts of other members.

NMRA Canada
Winnipeg is in the Thousand Lakes Region (TLR) of the National Model Railroad Association (NMRA) and operates within the No.1 Northern Division of the TLR. Although the Winnipeg Model Railroad Club is not part of the NMRA, the majority of  No. 1 Northern Division members are also members of the WMRC.

When the No. 1 Northern Division was reorganized in 2008 with its own board separate from the WMRC, it was decided that it would be counterproductive to compete with the WMRC and hold its own monthly meetings.  The WMRC co-operates with the NMRA in every way and the No.1 Northern Division has a presence at all club meetings. Members of the WMRC have always been encouraged to join the NMRA to partake in the many benefits it has to offer.

About every 10 years, the Spring TLR Convention is held in Canada, usually in Winnipeg. The last TLR meet was in May 2010.  The No. 1 Northern Division currently runs the WMRC's monthly model display.

For more information about the NMRA, go to:
For more information about NMRA Canada, go to:
For more information about the TLR, go to:
For more information about the No. 1 Northern Division, go to:

Annual Open House
In April, the Club hosts its Annual WMRC Open House which features a model and photo contest that is open to members-in-good-standing who wish to enter their models and/or photos in the Club contests. Several model and photo categories are available to enter and trophies and model certificates are awarded to each class.

Annual Banquet and AGM
In May, the Club hosts its Annual Banquet and Annual General Meeting where model and photo contest winners are honoured for their achievements in the contests. This is also the meeting where next years' club officers and directors are installed for the following years' activities.

Operating Groups
Over the years, several operating groups sprung up from the WMRC including the HO scale Gateway Western Railroad (about 1957) and an HO scale modular club called the Winnipeg Modular Railway (circa 1986). The modular railway was active in many  shopping malls around the city, finally ending up at the Eaton's store in downtown Winnipeg. In 2002 the club was disbanded for lack of a new home when the Eaton's store was closed and demolished to make room for the new MTS Center hockey arena.

The HO scale Gateway Western Railroad, a more permanent layout at the time, began operations around 1957 when construction began in the then CNR station on Main Street. It was located just off the north rotunda area behind a large glass window where thousands of rail travellers passed by and viewed it on their way to catch the train. When VIA Rail Canada took over the CN station in 1996, the Gateway was told to move out to make room for a public washroom area to be built in the space.

From there, construction began on a modular Gateway Western that became operational in 1998 for the Spring WMRC Open House, held at the Winnipeg Children's Museum at The Forks. The Gateway modules were owned by individual members who built it to a high degree of finish and displayed it at train shows and exhibitions.

In 2000, the group disbanded and sold the layout to another WMRC member who stored it in his basement. In 2004, Gooch's Bicycles and Hobbies offered the WMRC space in their store to set up a model railroad. The Club bought back the Gateway and erected it in the basement of Gooch's where it attracted many new members to the WMRC. In 2010 Gooch's moved their store and the Gateway Western Railroad was put into storage. In partnership with the Winnipeg Railway Museum, the Gateway Western was resurrected in the museum in its own heated structure in 2013.

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