Saturday, June 28, 2014

WMRC member John Longhurst has article published in Model Railroader

    Long time WMRC member John Longhurst has had his very first article published in the August 2014 issue of Model Railroader. John, who as been a member since the 90's, is well known in the model railroading community as the former Associate Editor for Canadian Railway Modeller, published by our own Morgan Turney.

    John has also had his byline twice in Railroad Model Craftsman, and has been a frequent contributor to the WMRC's official publication, The Lantern, and the Canadian Association of Railway Modeller's publication, The Canadian. He also has an excellent blog, titled the CP Rail Manitoba and Minnesota Subdivision. The blog is named after his own world class model railroad, but it covers a wide range of topics concerning model railroading and rail fanning in general.

    John's article is about his use of tree bark as a cheap and effective way of making realistic rock faces, which is his own unique discovery and has been used in many layout across Winnipeg since he introduced it.

     "When I was a kid, I read both Model Railroader and Railroad Model Craftsman." Said John, "I told myself: One day I want to make a model railroad good enough to be in those magazines. My dream has been fulfilled!"

    John has always been an active volunteer for the WMRC. He will always be remembered for bringing the WMRC's Great Canadian train Show over to the Mennonite Brethren Collegiate Institute (along with former WMRC member Ken Epp, who also happens to be John's brother-in-law) and serving as Convention Director for CARM's 2005 convention in Winnipeg, which had the largest attendance of any model railroad convention in the city since the 1983 NMRA national convention, Railway Jamboree '83.

    Besides his editing gig for CMR, John also writes a regular faith column for the Winnipeg Free Press. He also holds down a full time job as Director of Communications and Marketing for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank. Where does he find the time?

    As an extra bonus, John's article is even listed on the cover! MR bought the article from John four years ago, which comes close to, but doesn't beat the seven years WMRC Blog Editor Paul Ullrich had to wait for his own article to appear in the September 2013 issue of Trains. Please keep in mind that when submitting to these publications that they have a substantial backlog of articles to publish, and that these wait times are not all that unusual.

     WMRC members have been published all over the place recently. Along with John, Dennis Rietze has had an article about his model railroad published in Canadian Railway Modeller, and WMRC Blog Editor Paul Ullrich has had two articles published in Kalmbach's Classic Toy Trains.

     Congratulations, John! Keep up the good work!


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Zane Lewkiw: In memoriam

   The WMRC and Winnipeg's model railroading community lost a dear friend last week with the passing of Zane Lewkiw.

    Zane (whose real given name was Zenith) was a long time member of the Winnipeg Model Railroad club. He was also one of a small group of model railroaders, such as Paul Smith, Marcel Blair and Fred Shannon, who also worked for the railroads. Both he and Marcel were engineers for CN.

    In recent years, Zane kept contact with his fellow model railroaders through the 'lunch bunch", who met every Wednesday at the Foody Goody in Transcona. Although Parkinson's disease had taken his toll, he still managed to attend last year's Manitoba Mega Train Show, even though he was in a wheelchair.

    A memorial service has been planned for a later date, which is to be announced.

   We're going to miss you, Zane.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Watch Cordell Barker's Runaway Train

   And now for something completely different: An animated cartoon!

   Don't panic, folks - it's an animated cartoon about trains, and a runaway train at that! It's the most recent creation of the award winning Winnipeg animator Cordell Barker, who's most famous for The Cat Came Back. Cordell has been nominated twice for an Oscar for The Cat Came Back and Strange Invaders. 

    Runaway Train features the weirdest locomotive you've ever seen! It's definitely not prototype, but don't let this suspension of belief get in the way from enjoying the cartoon. If you've got nine minutes to spare, then click on this link:

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Stafford Swain and his layout: A personal recollection

Have you ever seen such a beautiful roundhouse?

By Paul Ullrich
WMRC Blog Editor

   Stafford Swain was the main reason why I joined the Winnipeg Model Railroad Club.

   When I started getting back into the hobby, I bought copies of Model Railroader and Railroad Model Craftsman to hone up my skills. In 1981, I purchased a copy of RMC that had a cover story about modelling a prairie town, authored by Stafford. I never heard of him before, but when I read it, I realized that this guy was not only living in Manitoba, but he was modelling it as well! I was astonished at the painstakingly accurate scenes of the Whiteshell that he created.

    More articles by Stafford were published, and I collected them. Then I heard about the 1983 NMRA national convention that was being held in Winnipeg. I promptly registered, hoping to see Stafford's layout in person.

    When I saw his layout, I was surprised on how small it was. It was a rather simple perimeter style layout in one room of his basement. But it was deceptively simple. The modelling detail was near photographic, and the transition from Canadian Shield to the prairies in such a small space was absolutely seamless, and very believable.
    Above the layout were framed covers from a few of the model railroad magazines that published his stories. He couldn't have hung them all, as he had over 80 published!

     I was actually quite nervous about meeting him. At the time, I worked in the newsroom of the Winnipeg Free Press. I've met two Prime Ministers. Bobby Hull and Gordie Howe were once in my office. That didn't phase me at all. But I was star struck about meeting Stafford!

     But I needn't have worried, for Stafford is a humble and unassuming man who loves nothing more than to share the love of his hobby with others. Over 20 years after that convention, I told him that I went to the convention and joined the WMRC because I wanted to meet him. He let out a hearty laugh and said, "And you've been disappointed ever since!"

    Actually, I wasn't. And I never will be.

Another beautifully detailed Whiteshell scene by Stafford Swain. 


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

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

One of the many exciting projects in the works for the WMRC's 60th anniversary is our new decal!
This HO decal, designed by WMRC blog editor Paul Ullrich, will be offered for sale during the fall, produced locally by our good friend Al Ferguson. Our WMRC logo has been updated, but our beloved lantern is still in the centre. This black and white prototype has been approved by the executive, but there is a chance that another colour might be added.

There was a second runner up for the logo design, this one submitted by M.T. from North Kildonan.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Stafford Swain's layout featured in cover story of Canadian Railway modeller

   Our most popular posts on this blog has been about Stafford Swain, a truly legendary model railroader and long time WMRC member.  The two posts about Stafford have consistently been in the top ten views, and the post title Stafford Swain - a true master model railroader, has been #1 in views for some time now, garnering almost 400 hits.
   Stafford's layout was dismantled shortly after it's last public showing in 2010 for the TLR's Steam on the Prairies convention in Winnipeg. A glowing tribute to Stafford and his many accomplishments was published in Canadian railway Modeller, Train 17, Track 3. With permission of the publisher, our own Morgan Turney, we are presenting the cover of this issue.

    We still have several other views of Stafford's famous layout, which we will be posting very soon.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Steve Boyko and John Morris visit the Winnipeg Model Railroad Club's open house

We were pleased and honoured to be graced with some very special guests at our last open house. Steve Boyko, author of the excellent blog, Confessions of a Train Geek, came by and bought a whole bunch of model railroad magazines from our own Bob Shawcross. Steve runs an excellent blog, with some really good reporting. By all means check it out!

Our old friend John Morris also paid us a visit. John is not to be confused with the Olympian of the same name, but his modelling skills are truly Olympic! John keeps busy running John R. Morris Railway Model Service, and his services are always in great demand! John also ran an excellent clinic on decal application at our last Klinic Karnival. Always good to see you, John!

What? Who let those two guys in? Maybe we should hire a bouncer for our next open house!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

WMRC member Paul Ullrich has another article published in Classic Toy trains

   Paul Ullrich, long time WMRC member and blog editor, has had his second article published in Kalmbach's Classic Toy Trains Magazine this year. Both articles have appeared in their "Tips, tools and techniques" column in the back page of the magazine. His second article has been published in the July 2014 issue. Paul also has had a third article accepted, which will run later this year.

    Paul is not the only WMRC member that has been making their names in the news. Earlier this year, member Dennis Rietze had an article published in Canadian Railway Modeller (published by our own Morgan Turney) about his very unique and well crafted layout in a crawl space. The article has been published in its entirety on this blog. You can view his article by clicking here.


Saturday, June 07, 2014

More images from Train Days at Portage la Prairie

The model railroad season was supposed to be officially over after the WMRC's annual banquet, but with Train Days at Portage La Prairie and the showcase of the Winnipeg Railway Museum and the Gateway Western at Doors Open Winnipeg last weekend, there's still plenty of great model railroading action to be viewed in Manitoba. We still have a few more images to share from Train Days in Portage la Prairie. Enjoy!

 Here's a nice view of two freight trains meeting on the Portage la Prairie Model Railroad Club's modular layout. it's almost like the real thing happening right outside of their door! 

Our own Margaret Loewen crafted this beautiful winter scene for the club's modular layout.

The club also has a very nice Lionel layout on display! This nice lady slowed the train down just enough for the photographer to take this image.

 Who let these guys in? That's what happens when you don't charge admission!

Thursday, June 05, 2014

More images from the Gateway Western at Doors Open Winnipeg

Dave Downie sure was busy last Sunday! He took lots of great photos of all the people viewing the WMRC's Gateway Western at the Winnipeg Railway Museum during Doors Open Winnipeg. The best photos he took by far were the ones of the kids watching the trins. Dave suggested the theme for these images should be, "Remember the first time you saw a model railroad?" Check out the youngster investigating a helix (probably for the first time).

Someone handed this young lady the remote control, and she's having the time of her life!

Check out the expression on this young fellows face! He's totally mesmerized!

This girl is in train heaven, and she doesn't want to leave!

Monday, June 02, 2014

Photo highlights of Winnipeg Railway Museum at Doors Open Winnipeg

    Our intrepid correspondent Dave Downie (not to be confused with the infamous horse rustling Downeys) took some great photos of the visitors who viewed the Winnipeg Model Railroad Club's Gateway Western layout at the Winnipeg Railway Museum during the Doors Open Winnipeg celebration last weekend. The expressions on their faces tells it all!