Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Ron Einarson: The WMRC Klinic Karnival's jack of all trades!

   One the Winnipeg Model Railroad Club's most talented and skilled modellers is Ron Einarson. Is there anything he can't do? Give him some steel wool and he'll knit you a Volkswagen. He'll even make the seats out of scrap pieces of sheet styrene and ground foam! If there's any steel wool left over from that project, he'll use it to make some wood stain!
   Holding just one clinic at the club's annual Klinic Karnival wasn't enough for Ron. He held four at the same time: Working with wood, weathering wood, building wood On30 freight cars, and making telephone poles from bamboo skewers! He must've gotten some mighty good grade in woodworking shop in high school!

    Ron is the holder of a plethora of awards from the Winnipeg Model Railroad Club and the NMRA which are too numerous to mention. But the one he's proudest of was the WMRC President's shield, which was awarded to him for his tireless volunteer service. He's served on the board, was the editor of The Lantern, held a staggering number of clinics and had his hand in every model railroad convention that came to town for many decades!

     Ron is also a loyal and steadfast member of the NMRA. He served as President of NMRA Canada,  and he will always be remembered for keeping the No. 1 Northern Division alive for so many years until it was reorganized in 2008.

    Ron never fails to greet you with a smile and a handshake, and dispensing good advice about the hobby that he loves is part of his nature.  Now that he's retired, this grandfather-to-be has a bit more spare time to earn his MMR!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

John Morris at the Winnipeg Model Railroad Club's Klinic Karnival

 The Winnipeg Model Railroad Club's December Klinic Karnival was graced by the presence of one of Winnipeg's all time great modellers, big John Morris himself!  Mister "life on the edge" presented an excellent clinic on applying decals. John is the Fred Astaire of decal application. He makes it look so easy. There isn't a single member of the club who hasn't ruined a perfectly good model at least once by messing up the crucial final touch of applying the decals. Watching the master himself doing it so effortlessly (while hobnobbing with all sorts of visitors to his table) was a real treat!

    Interestingly enough, John only uses one of the half dozen or so Micro Scale products - Micro Sol! After loosening the decal in a tray of lukewarm water (he doesn't even time how long it needs to soak), he takes it out, slips it onto the model with a brush, eyeballs it into place, and dabs a bit of micro-sol on top of it while it's still wet. He produced a perfect model every time!

    John's reputation as a model railroader goes well past Winnipeg's city limits. When the TLR's 2010 "Steam on the Prairies" convention clinics were being organized, Railroad Model Craftsman Contributing Editor Ken Goslett asked specifically that his clinic not be placed at the same time as John's! Perhaps he didn't want the competition, or perhaps he just wanted to go to John's clinic. All the same, the message was clear - when John speaks, everyone listens!

   Except for perhaps his wife.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Making of the Gateway Western: Part three

   The Gateway Western has consistently been one of this sites most popular posts! The name itself has been synonymous with the Winnipeg Model railroad club since the 60's, and it represents everything the club strives for: Model railroading, teamwork, fellowship, community outreach, and just plain fun!
Below are some more images of the building of the Gateway.

 WMRC Treasurer Gary Stempnick tapes up the vapour barrier on an inside wall of the structure. 
It still looks pretty cold inside!

 Gino Kost installing the lights in a somewhat warmer building.

It's just about finished on the outside, and it looks just great!

Monday, December 23, 2013

A Winnipeg Model Railroad Club Christmas Story

     By Paul Ullrich, WMRC Blog Editor

   A homeless man visited one of our meetings on a chilly December night. He came into the church right after I did. He was a slender man in his early thirties, with dark brown shoulder length hair and a full beard. He wasn't wearing a winter coat, but was dressed in over a half dozen sweaters and scarves. I watched him as he took most of them off and put them in a neat pile on the floor, leaving on two sweaters.  One of those sweaters almost came down to his knees.

   It was -20 outside. He obviously came in to warm himself up, and I certainly wasn't going to deny him that. I asked him to take off his shoes, as the church wanted to keep the wooden gym floor from being marred by wet winter boots. He nodded and smiled at me. He smiled as many homeless men do,  keeping his mouth closed to hide what few deteriorating teeth he had left.

   He took off his shoes and followed me into the gym. As I was the one who let him in, I kept an eye on him in case there was any trouble. But as it turned out,  I didn't need to do that. He walked quietly around the gym, observing people setting up their displays and clinics.

   As quiet as he was, you couldn't help but notice that he smelled bad. He reeked so badly that he parted groups of people like Moses parting the Red Sea whenever he came near. When he lifted his arm, it was enough make your eyes water. 

    He sat down right in front when the business meeting was called. He listened intently to the proceedings, paying more attention than most of the members. It was as if he was so starved for human contact that even something as boring as a club business meeting was somehow sustaining him.   

   After the business meeting, he had our usual break. That December was the first year that we had our annual Christmas hot dog dinner. A homeless man is most often a hungry man. There were people all around him eating hot dogs, and he didn't have a dime to his name to pay for one. Morgan, our president at the time, took pity and brought a him a plate brimming with food.

    "Thanks, man!" He said, as he took the plate. Those were the only two words he spoke to anyone that night. 

    After the break, he walked about the gym, silently viewing the clinics and the displays with genuine interest. He sat down in front again for the evening presentation, never taking his eyes off the screen.  When the meeting was over, he went back to the church foyer, put his many layers of sweaters back on, and left without saying a word.

    As I was driving home, it suddenly hit me.
    A thin man, in his early thirties.
    Long, dark, shoulder length hair and a full beard.
    In a church.

    I din't know why I didn't see it before, but at that moment I realized that he bore a remarkable resemblance to someone whose birthday we were about to celebrate on the 25th of December. 

   Could it be?
   But could it?

   I contacted Morgan the next day. He said that after the meeting, he drove around the neighbourhood looking for the man, but he was nowhere to be found. It was if he'd vanished into thin air!

    Westworth United Church, where we had our meeting, is in a suburban area of Winnipeg far from downtown. It's not on any main road, and the area is seldom, if ever,  frequented the homeless. 

   Oh, boy.

   The man who was pictured hanging on a cross in the very church we were in once said, "Whatever you did to the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." 

   I hope we did all right by him.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The making of the Gateway Western: Part two

   Building the Winnipeg Model Railroad Club's Gateway Western has easily got to be the most commendable and astonishing feat that any model railroad club has done anywhere, bar none!

   Not only did this dedicated group of volunteers build a model railroad, they actually built the structure to house it! Talk about scratch building! And they did most of the construction during one of Winnipeg's legendary cold and bitter winters! They asked nothing in return for their efforts, except for a place to warm up once in a while in between tasks.

    No one could ever accuse these guys of being armchair model railroaders! Putting up a structure the size of a two car garage is no easy task, especially during the winter. In part one of this series we saw the materials being hauled into the Winnipeg Railway Museum. Now we'll get down to the actual construction of the building!

 Construction of the floor, which covers Track 1 & 2 that runs though the building, and the west wall of the building, 
was finished on January 17, 2013.

 Two volunteers prepare one of the walls as construction continues in the cold of a typical Winnipeg winter.

 The north wall is up! The next job is to cut out the windows.

Success! All four walls are up, the ceiling joists are in place, and the spaces for the building's many windows 
have been cut out.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The making of the Gateway Western: Part one

By Morgan Turney

   The Winnipeg Model Railroad Club's  'Gateway Western Railway'  began in CN's Union Station. It was moved to Gooch's Hobbies and is now being resurrected at the Winnipeg Railway Museum, ironically, back at what is now VIA Rail's Union Station. This is the story of the building of the Gateway Western, which will be Winnipeg's crowning model railroad empire, as told in the photo captions.

   The layout is being built though the financial efforts of both the Winnipeg Railway Museum and the WMRC. There are six to eight regular volunteers who meet once every week to do the work. Upwards of 15 different volunteers show up periodically when they can. Everyone involved is learning the skills needed to built a model train layout and what's best of all - it's so much fun!

   So join us as we follow the building of the Gateway Western Railway. We'll post our progress at regular intervals on this site. Here we go!

The area for the Gateway building and layout was occupied by the former Renegade HO modular layout. 
It was dismantled to make room for the new building.

It all begins with the delivery of materials by McDiarmid Lumber though the west entrance of the WRM on 
December 19, 2012. Temperature that day? Oh, somewhere around minus 25 or so!

 Walling material is off-loaded and stored for the layout building.

 Materials are loaded on the flat cars that line the Museum's display area - no heat there, either!

 Happy, smiling faces of some of the many volunteers.

   Photos by Morgan TurneySuzanne Lemon, Larry Leavens and others.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas won't be the same without Bill Taylor

Bill Taylor loved trains and Christmas more than anybody else.

While most of us built model railroads in our house, Bill built his around his house!
We might spend a few hundred dollars at the most for a quality locomotive. Bill's locomotives cost as much as a new car! At Christmas, most of us manage to string a few lights outside of our houses. Bill strung up over a hundred thousand lights, putting Chevy Chase's achievement in "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" to shame! While most of us would invite a few friend and family members over for the holidays, Bill invited the whole city of Winnipeg over to celebrate Christmas with the Taylors, and it was a month long event! 

Sadly, Bill passed away this summer. His place is dark for the first time in over 15 years.
No trains will run at the Taylors this Christmas.

But wait! There's hope for the future!

Winnipeg Model Railroad Club Vice President Dave Downie has contacted Assiniboine Valley Railway President Len LaRue about the possibility of the WMRC pitching in to help put up the lights in 2014. But first, matters of Bill's estate have to be settled.  After that, a whole news system of lights has to be re-designed. Bill's light system design as his and his alone, and when he died all the information about it died with him. 

So we have to start all over again. It's almost like when Chevy Chase handed young Johnny Galecki (who now plays Leonard in "The Big Bang Theory") that ball of Christmas lights in "National Lampoon's Vacation".  But it can be done, and we can do it if we all pitch in!

Kudos to Dave Downie for contacting the AVR! In the past few years we've reached out to the Winnipeg Railway Museum and set up the Gateway Western in it's own structure inside the museum. We also reached out to the organizers of the Manitoba Mega Train Show and partnered with them to put on the most successful train show the province has ever seen!

If the model railroad and rail fanning communities of Winnipeg are going to survive, we need to all work together, and that's what our club is doing!  

Saturday, December 14, 2013

CP Rail Holiday train hits cop in Hamilton

   Here's a cautionary tale submitted by the Winnipeg Model Railroad Club's Acting Program Director, Morgan Turney, from the online edition of the Hamilton Spectator. The cop wasn't seriously injured, but it could've been a lot worse. The police officer was hit by the slowly moving locomotive as she was trying to keep the crowds back. Luckily, she fell backwards and just bruised her shoulder. If she fell forwards, she would've been run over.

   This is a cautionary tale that all rail fans should be made aware of. We all want to get as close as we can to a moving locomotive to get that perfect shot, but we still must keep a safe distance away. Besides, that's what zoom lens are for!

    CP and CN Rail police have been cracking down on errant rail fans. It might seem like an annoyance,  but they often have good reason to do so.

   Here's the link to the article, and the video:


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

It's Klinic Karnival time at the Winnipeg Model Railroad Club!

   Step right up, ladies and gentlemen! Hurry, hurry, hurry! Come one, come all to the Winnipeg Model Railroad Club's annual Klinic Karnival! This year's line up promises to be a rip roaring, rootin-tootin, senses staggering, mind - bending plethora of model railroad talent that's guaranteed to please and entertain any one interested in model railroading, from the beginner to the expert!
   Some call it a "Three-Ring Circus." Others call it "Under The Big Top" or "The Greatest Show on Earth!" That, along with the annual WMRC Christmas Dinner, will make for an exciting evening on Friday, December 13th, starting at 7:30 PM! Admission is FREE to members and non-members alike!

  We have so much for you to see this year. You can wander from 'ring-to-ring' and see and learn how to do many things related to model railroading.

The list includes:

Making Custom Switch Stands
Working with Styrene
Modelling Peeling Paint
Easy Layout Design Techniques
Z-scale Modelling
Applying Wet and Dry Decals
Wood Weathering
Freight Car Maintenance
Making Realistic Trees
Model Weathering Using Chalks
DCC Stationary Decoders.

   And on top of all of that, it's the annual WMRC Christmas Dinner night, too! There'll be hot dogs and drinks and fun for all!

   Please bring a non-perishable food item for the Christmas Cheer Board again this year. Last year we donated a record 26 items to the Board! See you on Friday, December 13, at Westworth United Church, 1750 Grosvenor Avenue!

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Construction crew night at the Gateway Western on Tuesday, December 10

   Want to work on a really big model railroad? Well, here's your chance! The Gateway Western needs you! Come on over to the Winnipeg Railway Museum, located at Winnipeg's historic Via Rail Union Station (located at 123 Main Street) at 7:00 PM (that's 19:00 railway time) and pitch in!

   Come out and give us a hand, because even one more person helping out will make a real difference. If you've never been there before, it'll be a great opportunity to make some new friends. If you have been there already, it'll be an excellent opportunity to renew some old acquaintances.

   The museum is located at the second level of the station. If you're entering through the front entrance, walk straight through the rotunda . The entrance will be the first door on your right. If you're coming through the station's back entrance, then walk through the corridor until you're almost reach the rotunda.  The entrance will be on your left.

    The Gateway Western is in it's own heated enclosure inside the museum, so you'll be roasty toasty warm was you're helping to build what is promising to be one of the finest layouts in the city.

    The Gateway is the jewel in the crown of the Winnipeg Model Railroad Club. It's latest incarnation (and it's had almost as many regenerations as Doctor Who) brings it right back to Union Station, where the very first Gateway Western layout was assembled, maintained and operated by the WMRC until 1995, when it was replaced by a bathroom on the main floor.

    Don't worry about your lack of skill, or even if you've never picked up a hammer. There's no experience necessary, as the crew will provide in house training!

Friday, December 06, 2013

And now a word from our sponsor: Santa Lucia Pizza

   For going on four decades, hungry members of the Winnipeg Model Railroad Club have been satisfying their appetites after the meetings at Santa Lucia Pizza at 4 St. Mary's Road in Winnipeg!

   Greg (pictured above), their genial manager, has been greeting us warmly for a good part of that time. The restaurant has been a faithful advertiser our official publication, The Lantern, for many years, taking out a full page ad which appears on page 2.

   If you haven't been to the place since it's grand re-opening, then you're in for a real treat! The old converted gas station it was housed in has been replaced by a beautiful and spacious new restaurant. 
Their pizza, always considered the very best in Winnipeg (and they have the awards to prove it) , has gotten even better with the introduction of their new ovens.

    Heading down to Santa Lucia on Friday nights after the meeting has been as much of a tradition as the Winnipeg Model Railroad Club itself! You're more than welcome to come and join us!

   Check out their menu at this link: http://www.santaluciapizza.com/stmarys%20dine%20in.html

Thursday, December 05, 2013

A salute to the volunteers, exhibitors and vendors of the Manitoba Mega Train Show

How many people does it take to create the most successful train show in Manitoba?
Well, this many!

Those who were there when this photo was taken will fondly recall how Susan Dorge had to keep moving further and further back to get us all in the frame!

Make no mistake about it - it was volunteers who made this show run. Members of the Winnipeg Model Railroad Club were there front and centre for the Friday set-up, manning the admissions desks, and for the Sunday evening take-down. You haven't lived until you've assembled sectional track for the 7 1/2" gauge Mega-Train!

Next year the show will be held a little earlier, on September 27 and 28. Hopefully it will be a bit warmer than it was for the 2013 show!

Volunteers will still be needed, of course, especially for the Sunday evening take-down. The show may be over at 5:00 PM on Sunday, but there's still plenty of work to be done after that, and the more volunteers we have, the faster we'll all get out of there. 

For more information about the Manitoba Mega Train Show, go to:

There's also a new video of the 2013 Manitoba Mega Train Show on You Tube:
You'll see a lot of great trains and great layouts. You'll see a lot of familiar faces, too!
You might even spot yourself!

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

All aboard for the holidays at the Winnipeg Railway Museum!

Come one, come all  to ALL ABOARD FOR THE HOLIDAYS at the Winnipeg Railway Museum, located in Winnipeg’s Union Station at 123 Main Street. 
Manitoba’s only museum dedicated to rail heritage is all decked out for the holiday season with lights and decorations. The museum’s gift shop is also stocked full of model trains, railway books and collectables for rail enthusiasts of any age on your holiday shopping list.

Museum hours for this special event are Thursdays from 7 pm to 10 pm (which will be a great time to see the lights!) and Saturday & Sundays from 11 am – 4 pm each day.  
Visit soon as the event will ONLY be from December 5 – 29, 2013.

Visitors will also learn about railways winter operations as well as:

  • Video presentations of snow plows in action.
  • Winter railway uniforms
  • Learn more about the unique Tri-pod telegraph pole lines on the Hudson Bay lines – built as permafrost would push out regular poles over time and more.

If you haven't seen the new home of the Gateway Western, now located in its very own structure inside the museum, this event is a good excuse as ever to view it!

Admission is free for children 6 and under, ages 7 - 15 are $3.00 per child and 16 and up is $5.00 per person.

This event is presented by Rail Travel Tours.
For more information, contact Daryl Adair, event sponsor, at                                   
        RAIL TRAVEL TOURS (204) 897-9551

For more information about the Winnipeg Railway Museum, go to:

Sunday, December 01, 2013

The CP Rail Holiday Train is coming to town!

    The CP Rail Holiday Train, a wonderful Christmas tradition for rail fans and non-rail fans alike, will be returning to Winnipeg on December 2. It will be at Molson Street between Panet Road and Monroe at 9:15 PM (that's 21:15 in railroad time). The jolly old gent himself will be making an appearance! Now there's a luck guy - he gets to ride a sleigh AND the CP Holiday Train at Christmas time! Doc Walker, Melanie Doane and Crystal Shawanda will also be performing.

     If you want to catch it earlier than that, then you can drive over to Whitemouth, where it will make a stop at 7:00 PM (19:00 railroad time). Along with jolly old Saint Nick, Melanie Doan and Crystal Shawanda will be performing there. Then you can chase the train back to Winnipeg! But please drive carefully!

     The train will also be making at stop at Portage La Prairie, opposite the Centennial Arena, 390 1st street NW,  on December 3 at 4:00 PM (16:00 railroad time). Melanie Doane and Doc Walker will perform there. Santa will be there too - maybe he'll do some rail fanning at the diamond!

      If you really feel like chasing that train, it will also be in Minnedosa on December 3 at 7:45 PM
(19:45 in railroad time) west of the rail station, north side of the yard, at 30 2nd Avenue NW. It will be at Shoal Lake on December 4 at 9:00 AM (9:00 railroad time, of course) at the gravel lot adjacent to the grain elevator on North Railway Avenue. Melanie Doane, Doc Walker and a certain Mr. Kris Kringle will be appearing at both locations. If you manage to make it to all of these places, you'll probably be BFFs with all of them!

      Since its inception in 1999, the train has raised more than $7.4 million dollars and over 3 million pounds of food in Canada and the U.S. Everyone who attends is encouraged to donate food and money, which will stay in the community.

     For more information, go to:

     You can even like them on Facebook: