Friday, February 28, 2014

Ron Einarson's old time coal conveyor

   Ron Einarson has done it again! Is there no stopping this man? For the sake of the hobby, we hope not! Pictured above is his second of three entries he submitted for the Winnipeg Model Railroad Club's February model display. God bless him, he even provided his own copy on how he built it, saving the blog editor a bit of time and effort!

By Ron Einarson

   The model started out as Old Time Coal Conveyors kit # 933-3520 from Walthers. I painted the parts flat green right on the sprues. I was able to clamp them in an upright position to dry. After trimming the parts from the sprues, I touched up the areas that were missing paint.

   I followed the instructions included in the kit and the construction went well. The only thing I would suggest is to use “Krazy” Gel Glue to put it together, as I found styrene glue took to long to dry. I find “Krazy” Gel Glue sets up faster and harder, and my hand doesn’t cramp holding it in line!

   A couple of days after it had dried, I dusted the pieces with black chalk dust to give it a well used appearance. This new addition will look great with the coal trestle display I constructed and displayed at a recent model display at the WMRC.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A cartoon by Paul Ullrich

   Every once in a while, WMRC blog editor Paul Ullrich contributes a cartoon to The Lantern, the official publication of the club, and to The Fusee, the official publication of the TLR. This cartoon has appeared in the February issue of The Lantern, and will also appear in the next issue of The Fusee (it's supposed to be the spring issue, but who are we kidding?).

    This is definitely a seasonal cartoon, but all you have to do is look out the window, or even (gasp) dare to go outside to know that winter is far from over (and that seems to go for the whole continent).

    There's a wind chill warning in effect in Winnipeg today. Water pipes are bursting all over the city. Everyone's yard is buried in three, four, and even five feet of snow! But it's a great time for model railroaders, so get down to the basement and get working on that model railroad project you've been putting off, because spring isn't happening yet!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Ron Einarson's first February model display entry

This month Ron Einarson submitted the South Madisonville Extension, which is by far the longest entry the monthly model display has ever had! It took up the entire length of a six foot long banquet table! Ron had three out of the four entries in this month's display. With odds like that on his side, it's no surprise that he won the hobby shop gift certificate! Ron has been enjoying himself immensely since he retired last year. Outside of modelling full tilt, he has just become a grandfather for the first time, and he'll become a grandfather for the second time later this year!

South Madisonville Extension

By Ron Einarson

   The South Madisonville Extension was built exactly as the prototype around the 1950's & 60’s, following construction methods at the time and with all the associated equipment and transitions from Madisonville to points south.  The display is typical of those along the L&N lines built during that period.  The display was built with the idea that it was getting towards the time when repairs & painting might be in need.
   I started with a 1'x8' pine board and added track, scenery and a line side MOW facility. I added a turnout that connects the mains through town with the single track southbound. The area is set as a rural area with pastures for cattle and some scrub brush land paralleling the right of way. I used a piece of 1'x8' lumber six feet long for this section with a 1'' piece of Styrofoam glued on top that I painted brown. Next I laid the Atlas flex track and one #6 Atlas turnout on top of cork roadbed. I carved out ditches using a cordless Dremel tool, various files and knives. All this was done outside with my Shop Vac handy. I touched up the exposed Styrofoam with brown paint.
   Next came some ballast and ground foam glued down with diluted white glue. I used coarse foam and foam clusters to add a rough look to some of the area. On the right side I fenced off an area for cattle, using bamboo skewers stained with my steel wool stain and cut them to size. Next I strung the nylon thread along the fence using fine fishing line, which I stained by dragging a cloth soaked in Polly-S Rust along the line. I added the cattle, an old bathtub with resin water in it for watering the cattle, trees, some junk parts & pieces plus a still.   
   At the turnout I added a shed, vehicle, motorcycle (custom built & painted), Acetylene tanks (hand painted) and a parking area with gravel and added lots of junk parts details and a MOW crew. Telephone poles (bamboo skewers made with RIX cross arms) were added along the right of way as well as trees and bushes. Also added was a gravel country road with a wood board crossing.

   I'll be adding a backdrop created using personal photos I stitched together on the computer to create the 6 foot long rural mural.  I printed it on a colour plotter. I'm going to mount it on a 1' x 6' piece of Masonite and paint it sky blue. Lastly, I added some junk parts and pieces around the area to give it more of a lived in look. Besides the fenced cattle area, I added a forest area with scratchbuilt trees from Spirea & Sedum bushes, dirt from the garden covered with various textures of ground foam (both homemade as well as commercial). I added lots of underbrush details with broken twigs and piles of rocks, etc. to add depth to the area, plus a moonshine still that I built from an old cast metal kit. I crushed up some fine shale I had found along the road at the lake, sprinkled it in one of the ditches to add support to roadbed. I then took some Poge material my daughter Louise had during her younger days and applied about 10 coats to give an appearance of water in the ditch.

Friday, February 21, 2014

The CARM convention in Thunder Bay needs you!

   Our good friends at the Canadian Association of Railway Modellers (CARM) are holding their annual convention this year in Thunder Bay, Ontario, from September 30 to October 2. They've always put on a good show (remember the 2005 Golden Rails convention in Winnipeg in 2005?) and they need some help!

    Their looking for clinicians, and when they heard about our most recent Klinic Karnival, they contacted the Powers That Be to see if anyone was interested in conducting clinics there. Being a veteran of any past Klinic Karnival is not a requirement! Past experience in conducting a clinic is always helpful, but the desire to conduct a clinic is much more important.

    The convention is being held at the historic Prince Arthur Waterfront Hotel (which used to be a CN hotel). If you're interested, contact Wiiliam Waithe at For more information about CARM and their upcoming convention, go to:

    Thunder Bay is becoming the model railroad convention capital of Canada! In May of 2015, the TLR will be holding their annual convention there as well. Instead of going across the border all the time for some model railroading fun, why not go to both conventions in Thunder Bay instead?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Remembering the NMRA's 1983 Railway Jamboree - Part four

This is a page from the Railway Jamboree '83 handbook and timetable, featuring the layouts of Marcel Blair, Jock Oliphant, MMR, Betty Jackson and Bruce Smith, and Stafford Swain, MMR.

By Dave Downie

   It has been 31 years since Railway Jamboree ended. It has been fun for me to look back but a big part of the convention is its legacy.

   Winnipeg was a “small market” and not close to any other major population centre, yet the organizing committee had successfully marketed the city as a magnificent city with three percent of all MMRs at the time (Jock Oliphant MMR#15, Stafford Swain MMR#98 and Moe Smith MMR#100). They were smart enough to market the convention as one where you could see and do everything. This was not something that was feasible in other cities. We were also smart enough to market the train show to the general public as a once in a lifetime experience. We succeeded on all counts.

   At the time, the convention was the most profitable in the history of the NMRA. These profits were largely retained by the TLR, which underwrote the original bid. The WMRC did get a small disbursement to acknowledge the support of its members. Since the Winnipeg convention, the NMRA has rewritten the terms of its contract with host committees to reduce windfall profits like we had in 1983.

   Winnipeg's bid and organization structure became a template for other conventions. Nick Andrusaik's Handbook and Time Table was a huge success with everything well laid out and small enough that it fit in your pocket. This format is still used thirty years later.

   Stafford Swain had assembled an organization that was committed to success and put petty differences aside. Throughout the convention, our guests continued to compliment their hosts acknowledging that we  were “Friendly Manitoba”. New friendships sprouted within the committee and we saw a new influx of people into the WMRC with some of these still members today.

Time changes and people move on. Stafford Swain, Nick Andrusiak and Hilt Friesen turned their attention to creating the CN Lines SIG (now the Canadian National Railways Historical Association).  Mid Western Rail morphed into the Winnipeg Railway Museum and the Vintage Locomotive Society finally got their own line to run on. Bill Taylor and Peter Abel had a dream that is continuing to unfold as the Assiniboine Valley Railway. The WMRC lost its meeting room and layout in Union Station and we have relocated several times. We presently meet at Westworth United Church

   Since 1983 the club's library has grown with the addition of hundreds of videos. Our annual model contest has morphed into a annual spring show. The club created The Great Canadian Train Show, an annual fall show and flea market, to further promote the hobby. The club no longer operates Great Canadian Train Show. As of 2013, we have partnered with the Manitoba Mega Train Show.

   More recently, the club has has acquired a new location for a new version of the Gateway Western at the Winnipeg Railway Museum within 50 feet of Duffy, who has been patiently waiting for us for all this time.

   But the saddest and most unfortunate thing to occur since 1983 has been the many friends who have passed away. They contributed to the convention's success just as they contributed to the WMRC. Unfortunately, there are far too many to mention here. last thing. That plant that grew from the seed planted in 1975-1976 is still growing almost 40 years later!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

WinNtrak displaying at Garden City Shopping Centre this weekend

   Our good friends at WinNtrak, Winnipeg's N gauge modular group, are displaying this weekend at Garden City Shopping Centre for the entire Louis Riel Day long weekend. They'll be displaying from 9 to 6 on Saturday from 11 to 6 on Sunday, and from 11 to 6 on Monday. If you've got some shopping to do (or even if you don't), why not go to Garden City at 2305 McPhillips Street and check out their wonderful display? 
Check out their website at:

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Next meeting: Friday, February 14 at 7:30 P.M.

Happy Valentine's Day!

   Our February meeting features a presentation by WMRC Vice President Dave Downie. Dave has been very busy digitizing hundreds of 35mm slides and prints that he's taken over the years. He's collected the best of the lot from the past 40 years and he'll be showcasing them at the meeting.

    Dave's name is certainly familiar with the followers of this blog, for he is the author of the very popular four part series about the 1983 NMRA national  convention, "Railway Jamboree", which was held in Winnipeg. Part four will be posted later this week.

   Dave has been rail fanning all of his life. Rumour has it that he started rail fanning even before he could walk! Tales have been told of how his mother used to wheel his baby carriage up the Arlington Street bridge. Dave, dressed in a T-shirt bearing the CP Rail crest and a grey and maroon baby bonnet with yellow trim, would stand on his tip toes in the baby carriage and lean over the railing, taking pictures of passing locomotives with his Kodak Brownie box camera!

   We won't be seeing any of those pictures on Friday night, as he hasn't digitized them yet. But he will take us all the way back to the swinging 70's, so there will be plenty of vintage photos of first and second generation diesel motive power to be seen!

   The meeting starts at 7:30 P.M. at Westworth United Church, 1750 Grosvenor Avenue. Not a member? No problem! Visitors are always welcome!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Tuesday nights are Gateway nights (weather permitting)

Gino Kost, pictured more or less above, is the superintendent of the Gateway Western.

  And now a few words from Gino 

   First off, I would like to thank all of the volunteers that have participated in the construction of the Gateway Western at the Winnipeg Railway Museum. Currently there is a temporary loop that has been set up so that we can fulfill our obligation to have trains running at the museum. We are getting very close to completing another section of the layout that will greatly increase the ability to run longer trains.

   It has come to my attention that there are a few members of the Winnipeg Model Railroad Club that have been running trains on the existing portion of the layout and I’m glad to see their enthusiasm. However, I would like to take this opportunity to remind all of the members of the Winnipeg Model Railroad Club that in order to have the privilege of running trains on the Gateway Western that you must also possess a valid membership with the Winnipeg Railway Museum.

   This requirement was part of the negotiated settlement between the two organizations that allowed the WMRC to construct and to operate the Gateway Western as our home layout even though it was located within the confines of the Winnipeg Railway Museum. In order to maintain our good standing relationship with the Winnipeg Railway Museum, please comply with what was negotiated between the two clubs.
   If you have any questions or concerns regarding this, please contact me or one of the committee members: Larry Leavens and Gary Stempnick from the WMRC or Norm Leathers, Barrie Laycock, and Peter Lacey from the Winnipeg Railway Museum, that have been assigned to the project. Thanks in advance for your cooperation on this matter.

The Gateway Western meets every Tuesday at 7:00 PM at the  Winnipeg Railway Museum located at Via Rail's Union Station at 123 Main street, weather permitting.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Remembering the NMRA's 1983 Railway Jamboree - Part three

Who's that handsome young lad with all that hair? It's Stafford Swain, of course!
There wouldn't have been an NMRA national convention in Winnipeg if it weren't for Stafford!

By Dave Downie

   On Sunday, July 17, 1983 the Railway Jamboree 83 committee took over the Winnipeg Convention Centre. My first memory was Wolfgang von Thuelen reporting that he had checked all the keys to ensure that all rooms could be secured. Countless boxes containing registrations, signage and company store merchandise were moved in and many volunteers, including some out of town delegates and other TLR members made short work to get everything ready. Everyone was excited when Shelley Walker reported that the final number of advance registrations was better than expected. All the promotional work had paid off! NMRA officials arrived and met with Stafford and his team to review the preparations. When we left to go home that evening we were all excited anticipating what the week ahead would bring.

   The Registration desk opened at 9am Monday morning and the people just kept coming. Monday was a “soft” opening for the convention because there were no clinics. There was the company store, shuttles to Roger Wood's layout and the Red River Live Steamers along with the NMRA BOD meeting. Early registrants were encouraged to visit the hobby shops and to use the Railfan's Guide. At 8pm the convention officially kicked off with a wine and cheese party to welcome our guests.

   On Tuesday the convention really heated up with clinics, layout tours, prototype tours, a switching contest, tour of Lower Fort Garry and a river cruise. Probably the busiest team was Moe Smith and his volunteers manning the transportation desk coordinating hundreds of people to ensure that they got on the right bus. Railway Jamboree 83 had adopted a “coloured ribbon system” for all tours which made things easier. This system was also used by other conventions. By Tuesday afternoon the feedback we were getting was universally positive. This made everyone happy.

   Wednesday brought more of the same with the contest room opening for entries and the start of the train show setup. We still wondered how it would turn out, and we had our fingers crossed. The radio commercials and the distribution of the discount coupons had already started.

   The train show was opened on Thursday at noon by Mayor Bill Norrie. We shot the last of our cable TV programs from the main exhibition hall, showcasing what we had to offer. During the afternoon, the show was open only to the registrants. At 6pm the doors opened to the public and the initial turnout was good. We wondered how the next three days would turn out given that we were heading into a weekend. Winnipeg was in the middle of a heat wave!

   Friday saw the last of the scheduled prototype and layout tours, along with a full slate of clinics and the last opportunity to view the contest room. The train show opened to the public at noon and throughout the day we collectively held our breath. Shortly after 7pm, Wolfgang announced that we had broken even! This meant that with just over 2 days to go, every person coming through the doors was profit! All the hard work had paid off! There was a lot of smiles on everyone's face when we walked out at the end on the day for a well earned rest.

   Saturday was a special day with out of town tours, the last of the clinics, the train show and the banquet / awards ceremony. One of the highlights of the awards ceremony was WMRC member Moe Smith receiving  MMR #100, much to the delight of everyone in attendance. Another banquet highlight was seeing Bill Taylor, Hilt and many other TLR members selling raffle tickets. Many of our guests had never experienced a “TLR style raffle” and probably spent a lot more than they planned. At the banquet it was announced that someone had stolen a number of license plates from the cars of our guests. Again, the committee came through with the necessary paperwork to allow these people to get home with a minimum of red tape.

   Sunday was the last day of Railway Jamboree and it was time to say goodbye to our guests. Aside from a few bus tours, the last event was the train show, and we were very happy to see another good turnout. By the end of the day, we came very close to 11,000 paid admissions which far surpassed our expectations.  By 5pm it was time to shut the doors and begin the tear down.

   The greatest eight days in the history of model railroading in Winnipeg was ending. The seed planted at the WMRC in 1975 had produced a healthy plant that had flowered very nicely!

In part four, Dave Downie will reflect back on the legacy of Railway Jamboree.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Remembering the NMRA's 1983 Railway Jamboree - Part two

Doesn't this image of the handbook and timetable bring back memories? This superb timetable was created by Nick Andrusiak. The illustration was by Ray Goy.

  In July 1979 Winnipeg was awarded the right to hold the 1983 NMRA National Convention. The committee's real work began as they commenced to put the plan from their bid into action. Volunteers were recruited, the Winnipeg Convention Centre and blocks of hotel rooms were reserved. Many meetings were held to formulate a plan where Winnipeg would observe what other host cities were doing, taking the good ideas and identifying the problem areas. One key area targeted for improvement was the “Handbook and Time Table” which had been a pet peeve of Nick Andrusiak, who agreed to invent a better one.

   Several members attended NMRA regional conventions outside the TLR with the purpose of promoting the 83 National. In 1980 (Orlando), 1981 (San Mateo) and 1982 (Washington, D.C.) Winnipeg's Railway Jamboree committee and the volunteers who attended wore bright red vests with a large crest on the back. They weren't there simply to attend, but to observe, document what they saw and to promote Winnipeg. 

   Behind the scenes, magazine articles were prepared and submitted to Model Railroader and Railroad Model Craftsman to showcase several of Winnipeg's great model railroads. At the same time, friendships were established with the editorial staff of both publications that lasted long after the convention was over.

   Probably one of the best pieces of promotion was “Duffy” a dummy dressed as a railway engineer and wearing a WMRC badge, along with WMRC and TLR crests. For over 2 years, Duffy travelled throughout North America to NMRA national, regional and divisional conventions, where people were asked to attach their own badges and crests and forward him on. Photos were mailed back to Winnipeg documenting his travels and showing the many new friends he'd made.

   The work continued as clinicians were lined up, prototype tours arranged, model railroads completed and lots of buses were booked for tours. A ladies program and teen program was created. One of the biggest tasks was assigned to the committee was to organize an exhibit featuring manufacturers, distributors, retailers and displays covering all aspects of our great hobby. We had the entire third floor of the convention centre to fill! We also had to attract enough members of the public to cover our costs. 

    Arnie and Shelley Walker volunteered to handle the huge registration job.  Stafford came up with the idea of having our own cable TV program to promote the hobby, the WMRC and the Train Show. Five separate programs aired. By mid June, Nick sent the Handbook & Timetable to the printers. 

   With less than four months to go, the pressure was mounting! Registrations were pouring in, and we were going to get just one chance to make a good impression on our visitors. By May of 1983 almost every member was working on the convention. Numerous ideas came up:

How about a “Railfan's Guide to Winnipeg? “Why not?” said Ray Goy, and one was created. 

Why don't we advertise the show on the radio? We did! 160 commercials ran on four Winnipeg radio stations. 

Why don't we do mall shows and distribute discount coupons to attract the public? We did! two mall shows and 120,000 discount coupons distributed via 7-11 stores.   

Why not put banners up on the many bridges in the city to promote the show? We did just that! After the convention, they quickly became collector's items!

Why not ask local businesses to put up posters promoting the show? We did just that!

Why not arrange for restaurants to give us discount coupons that could be included in the registration kits for the NMRA delegates? We did those as well!


The seed that had been planted during in 1975 had not only germinated, it was ready to flower!   

In part three, Dave Downie will cover the convention.