Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Dennis Rietze's crawl space layout featured in Canadian Railway Modeller

The WMRC's Dennis Rietze's amazing layout in a crawl space is featured in the latest issue of Canadian Railway Modeller. Dennis made a great looking layout, and his sheer inventiveness and ingenuity should be applauded for building it in a space that's only a claustrophobic 42" high! Dennis' layout was also featured in a spot on Breakfast Television last fall, as a promotion for the second annual Manitoba Mega Train Show.

    We will be running Dennis' article from Canadian Railway Modeller in two parts on Sunday, May 4 and Tuesday, May 6, which is being reprinted with the permission of the publisher.  You can still see the Breakfast Television video on You Tube at:

Monday, April 28, 2014

Model Power going out of business

    Model Power, one of the oldest and largest model railroad and hobby manufacturers in North America, has announced that they are going out of business. As of April 24, they have stopped accepting new retail orders and customer service requests. The corporations stated that they will do their best to resolve all existing issues, returns and repairs that are currently in house.

     Their closing is a reflection of the sad state of the hobby industry, which has been gradually losing its client base over the past decades. As fewer and fewer people have taken up model railroading as a hobby, the once strong base of customers companies like Model Power depended on to sustain their business has been steadily eroding away.  As hobby shops continue to close, their distribution base has crumbled.

    Many model railroaders think of manufacturers of model railroad equipment as big businesses, but they are no more than cottage industries. As the actual manufacturing is now done overseas, companies like Model Power have been reduced to being small staffed distributors with extremely small profit margins.

     If Model Power can go out of business, who's next? Atlas? Athearn? Bachmann? Lionel?

     For more information on the closing of Model Power, please go to their link by clicking here.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

An article from the Selkirk Model Railroad Association's newsletter

  Our good friends at the Selkirk Model Railroad Association have granted us permission to reprint an article from their excellent quarterly publication, Rail Ties. The article was written by SMRA member Joe Laroche, and it titled At the Top of the Hill. It's the story of the farm scene on the freelance HO layout of the SMRA. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Jim Spiers' amazing triple decker Lionel layout

   What was by far the most unique and compact layout at the WMRC open house was Jim Spiers' triple decker Lionel display! He managed to set up three complete loops on a space no larger than a typical banquet table! His totally original design featured modified laminated counter tops bolted together with pipes. The finished result resembled a wedding cake with trains.

    Jim featured Lionel's Columbia style steamers, which were plastic engines that had a 2-4-2 configuration. These were also known as Lionel's "Scout" engines, which were packaged in their lower priced train sets. Jim was modelling a specific year - 1960, when Lionel produced a proliferation of Scout sets in their catalogue. Most of the rolling stock was vintage, with a few reproduction pieces to fill in the gaps of the consist.

   If you ever wanted a layout, but never built one because you thought that you had no room, then take a look at Jim did!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Endless Mountains Model Railroad Club's boxcar fundraiser

   We have been contacted by Pennsylvania's Endless Mountains Model Railroad Club through Facebook! By George, we've gone international! This interweb stuff really works!

   The Endless Mountains Model Railroad Club is an organization very much like our own, operating out of  Dimock, Pennsylvania, which is just north of Scranton, home of Steamtown and the fictional  Dunder Mifflin Paper company from the TV sitcom, The Office.

   They're planning a fundraiser for next year to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Tunkhannock Creek Viaduct, and they're considering selling an HO boxcar to honour the event. A portion of the proceeds would go to the Nicholson Heritage Association. They're trying to gauge interest in such a model among model railroaders outside of their area.  The model is not yet available, and the design is not finalized.

   If you're interested in purchasing this fine looking boxcar, please contact the Endless Mountains Model Railroad Club by clicking here.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Presenting the Winnipeg Model Railroad Club's 60th anniversary logo

   Coming soon to a t-shirt near you! For the WMRC's 60th anniversary next year, the executive had their friendly neighbourhood WMRC blog editor and Facebook moderator Paul Ullrich to design a special logo. After a dozen or so variations, this was the design chosen by the board.

    Both light and dark coloured shirts will be used to print this logo. A special decal set is also being planned with an updated version of the traditional WMRC logo with the lantern in the centre. This new design will be posted in the near future.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Having fun running trains at the Selkirk Model Railroad Association's spring open house

    WMRC President Larry Leavens took this picture of WMRC blog editor Paul Ullrich and Comics America proprietor Joe Krolik operating the O gauge layout at the Selkirk Model Railroad Association's spring open house held last weekend.
    Dennis Fitzpatrick, who was operating the layout, took a much needed break, and Paul and Joe took over - for almost two hours! Do you think they'll give those kids a chance to run the trains too?

    Unfortunately, the turnout for the event wasn't quite up to expectations. Who ever expected a snowstorm on April 12? But everybody who attended had a great time watching (and operating) the three spectacular layouts in three different gauges!

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Selkirk Model Railroad Association open house to be held April 12 -13

   Our good friends at the Selkirk Model Railroad Association are holding an open house this weekend. They have their own building in Selkirk, and what they have to display has to be seen to be believed! They have four operating layouts - HO, O gauge, and two N gauge!

    The club is located at 217-B Clandeboye Avenue in downtown Selkirk. They're open this Saturday from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, and on Sunday from noon to 4:00 PM. Admission is $4.00 per person. Kids under 12 are free. Ages 13 to 16 $2.00.

   Why not take a short drive north to steel town and see all of their magnificent layouts? While you're at it, why not stop at Skinner's or the Half Moon Drive-In for a snack while you're heading home?

Monday, April 07, 2014

The Gateway Western - a panoramic view

   WMRC member Ian Plett took this panoramic view of the Gateway Western with his iphone last week. There is no doubt that this layout is going to become every model railroader's dream! It's hard to believe that  just a little over a year ago the Gateway Western was nothing but a pile of lumber on top of a flat bed truck and a collection of dreams. This shows what a dedicated staff of volunteers can do when they put their hearts and minds into completing something!

   But as you can see, the Gateway is still under construction, and volunteers are still welcome to help finish the job. It's a great way to gain all sorts of experience in skills such as carpentry, wiring, track laying and landscaping. No experience is necessary! All you need is a desire to help out and learn!

    The crew meets every Tuesday evening at 7:00 PM at the Winnipeg Railway Museum, located at the second level of the Via Rail station at 123 Main Street.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

NMRA No. 1 Northern Division Free-Mo group displays at WMRC open house

Neil Carlton runs a freight train on the No. 1 Northern Division's Free-Mo modular group layout at the WMRC's open house. Photo by Paul Ullrich

   The NMRA's No. 1 Northern Division's Free-Mo modular group displayed once again at the WMRC's annual open house. The layout was a bit smaller than last year's, mostly because there were so many other displays, and only so much space to go around! Still, there was enough room to have some really long trains do some really long runs.

    The two loops the group constructed were funded by a grant from the NMRA's Thousand lakes Region (TLR). The No. 1 Northern Division thanks the TLR for their generosity in helping complete this project.

A BN freight rolls down the straightaway, heading for the next loop which will bring it back. Photo by Suzanne Lemon.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Dr. Who comes to the Winnipeg Model Railroad Club

   The WMRC was delighted to have Matt Smith (the 11th Doctor Who) as a guest at our last meeting. Matt is an avid model railroader, and he's also Suzanne Lemon's second cousin twice removed on her mother's side! Once Suzanne told him that we were going to have a track ballasting clinic the meeting, he jumped in his Tardis and came right over.

    "Ballasting track is cool!" said Smith. "Even cooler than fezzes!"

    Before he left, he presented everyone at the meeting with a complimentary fez. Morgan's been wearing his every day!

    In case you're wondering about the veracity of this event, check today's date.