Thursday, May 28, 2015

Learn how to run trains at the Assiniboine Valley Railway this weekend

   The Assiniboine Valley Railway is open for business and raring to go! They're starting off the season with a special Fun Run Day, this Saturday, May 30. This is a rare opportunity to not just ride the AVR, but to run the trains as well!

  Learn basic locomotive driving skills as a Trainee Engineer, operation protocols and switching duties as a Conductor/Brakeman. Cost: $5:00.

     There will be four 2-hour Operating Sessions with 3 trains per session. You’ll start with a made-up train in the station, then head out into the 7 acres of AVR track to drop off & pick up cars according to your Card-Sort Orders.

   Enjoy a hot dog lunch break from noon to 2, included with your registration. You'll also get to tour the AVR's engine house and machine shop.

   All participants are eligible to win a 12-ride pass on the AVR (good for any open house / rail weekend) to be drawn at each session.

     You must sign up for one of the four operating sessions, with 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th choice of session times.

Session times are as follows:

9-11 AM
11-1 PM
1-3   PM
3-5   PM

Only the first 24 registrants will be accepted.

To sign up for one of the sessions, please contact Len LaRue at:  to reserve your time. You can pay the registration at the AVR when you arrive. Please your name, phone number and your preferred session time.

For more information about the AVR and their Fun Run Day, please visit their website at:

Winnipeg Model Railroad Club's Gateway Western Railway featured at the Winnipeg Railway Museum during Doors Open Winnipeg this weekend

   The Gateway Western Railway is housed in its own structure at the Winnipeg Railway Museum, built by volunteers from the Winnipeg Model Railroad Club and the Winnipeg Railway Museum. This photo was taken by John Longhurst, which he used in his blog, the CP Rail Manitoba and Minnesota Subdivision, which featured a post about the Gateway Western.

The WMRC and the Winnipeg Railway Museum will once again be participating in Doors Open Winnipeg this weekend. The Gateway Western Railway, which is a joint effort between the WMRC and the museum, will be operating trains as part of the Winnipeg Railway Museum’s contribution to the event from 11 to 5 on Saturday, May 30 and Sunday, May 31. Admission to the museum this weekend is free (although donations will always be cheerfully accepted) and there's plenty of parking available nearby at The Forks. The city is offering two free hours of metered street parking, and free street parking all day on Sunday. 

The museum is located on tracks 1 and 2 on the upper level of the Via Rail Station, which is located at 123 Main Street.

 For more information on Doors Open Winnipeg, go to

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

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A big THANK YOU to all of the Winnipeg Model Railroad Club's canteen volunteers

    Pictured from left to right are Frances South, Jean South, Tommy South, Godfrey South and James South. The entire South family have been keeping our canteen going for the past year, and their efforts are deeply appreciated!

    The WMRC has been blessed with many volunteers, and it's time to honour the hard working crew that keeps our canteen going at our monthly meeting and at our open house.

    The canteen is a relatively new enterprise in our long history. It was started when the club moved its meeting place to Christ Anglican Church on Corydon Avenue in 1999. Former President Chuck Huard saw that there was a kitchen, and he suggested that we start a canteen to sell pop, coffee and chips. Chuck and his wife Lise, along with Ken and Roberta Anderson, ran the canteen for many years. Chuck and Ken also cooked hot dogs and burgers for us at the the club's Great Canadian Train Shows, which were held every fall at the Mennonite Brethren Collegiate Institute.

    Running the canteen is often a thankless job. The crew not only has to operate the concession stand, but they have to purchase all of the goods, deliver all of the supplies to the meeting, make the coffee, and store the coffee maker and any unsold items at their own own place. They also have to clean up the kitchen after the meeting.

   In 2006, the club started their "annual hot dog dinner" for their December meeting, which wouldn't have been able to have existed at all without the canteen staff.

    After many years of service, the canteen duties were then taken over by Dennis and LuElla Rietze, followed by Andrea leader, and then by the South family.

    The South family are recent arrival from the United Kingdom. They have been very dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers since they joined the club, and we are all very thankful for all of their efforts!

James South is always on hand to put all the ketchup you want on your hot dog!


Monday, May 25, 2015

Robert Weaver awarded President's Shield at Winnipeg Model Railroad Club's annual banquet

Robert Weaver receives the President's shield award from WMRC President Larry Leavens.

   Robert Weaver, editor of The Lantern the official publication of the WMRC, has won the club's prestigious President's Shield award for 2015.

    Robert has been the editor of The Lantern since September of 2009. This fall, he will be entering his ninth season of being the editor, which is a record for our 60 year old club.

    Besides his editing duties, Robert also is in charge of the club's monthly model display. He photographs each model submitted and compiles an article with the written descriptions of the submitters for The Lantern.

     Robert has also initiated more reader participation by holding a monthly photo contest for the cover of The Lantern. The winner gets their image published on the cover and also receives a cash prize. Robert has also handed over the task of deciding who receives the annual Lantern award by having the membership vote for their favorite contributor. Robert distributes, collects, and counts the ballots at the April meeting. The winner is announced next month at the annual banquet.

    Robert has also presided over the complete digitization of the Lantern. All members now receive a PDF version in full colour of The Lantern via email. The publication has come a long way from the mimeographed stencil version in the 50's!

    Robert has also contributed countless articles to The Lantern over the years. He has announced that next season will be his last year as Editor of The Lantern. He's going to leave some mighty big shoes to fill!



Saturday, May 23, 2015

Dave Downie wins Winnipeg Model Railroad Club's Lantern Award

Lantern Editor presents WMRC Vice President Dave Downie with the 2015 Lantern Award.

    Dave Downie was the recipient of the WMRC's 2015 Lantern Award, which was presented at the club's annual spring banquet. Dave contributed a series of historical articles about the WMRC for The Lantern.

     Instead of the Lantern editor deciding who would win the award, this year's award was chosen by popular vote by the membership. Ballots were distributed by Lantern Editor Robert Weaver at the April meeting. Members voted for their favorite author at that meeting, and the ballots were collected and compiled by Robert.

     Congratulations, Dave, for your fine work!


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Winnipeg Model Railroad Club's photo contest awards presented at their annual banquet

Paul Ullrich receives the WMRC's photo contest's Peter Abel Memorial Award - Photo Special Event  for his image, titled "Spreading Ballast", from WMRC President Larry Leavens.

The winners from the WMRC's annual photo contest are as follows:

Digital Prototype: 
1st: Suzanne Lemon - Autumn Glow
2nd: Paul Ullrich - CN at Portage La Prairie On A Wet Morning
3rd: Larry Leavens - CN 8961 at Quadra
Honourable Mention: Suzanne Lemon - Sky of Blue, Sea of Yellow

Special Event: 
1st: (Peter Abel Memorial Award) Paul Ullrich - Spreading Ballast Near Thief River Falls
2nd: Val Lemon - Laying New Track at Redditt
3rd: Suzanne Lemon - The Ties That Used to Bind
Honourable Mention: Paul Lemon - Herzog Track Equipment at Portage La Prairie
Honourable Mention: Larry Leavens - Pot of Fire

Film or Digital Print - Model: 
1st: Robert Weaver - Coal Sidings
2nd: Robert Weaver - Steel Works
Honourable Mention: Cliff Davidson - Western Pacific Revival

Best in Show:
Suzanne Lemon - Ready to Go

President's Choice Harvey and Sandy Walker Memorial Award for Best in Show:
Robert Weaver - Cocker Mouth Signal Tower

 Suzanne Lemon receives her award certificate from WMRC President Larry leavens for her photo, titled "Autumn Glow".

 Larry Leavens presents Val Lemon her certificate for her photo,"Laying New Track at Redditt".

Paul Lemon receives his certificate from Larry Leavens for his photo, titled "Herzog Track Equipment at Portage La Prairie".

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Sepcial event awards presented at Winnipeg Model Railroad Club's annual banquet

    Morgan Turney won first and second place in the special events model competition.

   The Winnipeg Model Railroad Club held its Annual Model Contest on March 28, 2015 marking their 60th Anniversary. A special 60th Anniversary decal was designed by WMRC Blog Editor Paul Ullrich and printed by Black Cat Publishing of Winnipeg. It featured a special 60th Anniversary logo marking the 1955 - 2015 milestone in three scales - HO, N and O scale. The Special Event for the 2015 model contest was to use the decal to produce a 60th Anniversary model for the contest.

   Honourable Mention awards went to Margaret Ullrich for her HO scale mercantile building. An Honourable Mention also went to Paul Ullrich for his O scale BC Rail 907 box car. Larry Leavens also won an Honourable Mention for his HO scale WMRC 2015 Covered Hopper and his HO scale CN 377506 WMRC Commemorative Hopper.  Third Place was awarded to Suzanne Lemon for her HO scale WMRC 1955 40-Box Car. Second Place was awarded to Morgan Turney for his HO scale WMRC Baldwin VO 1000 463 locomotive. First Place went to Morgan Turney for his HO scale WMRC 195528 Hydrous-Ammonia Tank Car.

 Suzanne Lemon receives her second place award certificate for the special event competition from WMRC Model Contest Chair Morgan Turney.

Paul and Margaret Ullrich receive their honourable mention medallions for the special event model contest from Morgan Turney.

Larry Leavens receives his special event honourable mention certificate from Morgan Turney.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Mondel contest awards presented at Winnipeg Model Railroad Club's annual banquet

    Ron Einarson is presented an award certificates from WMRC model contest chair Morgan Turney. Ron received several awards at the Winnipeg Model Railroad Club's annual banquet. 

   Every year the Winnipeg Model Railroad Club presents the awards for winners of their model contest at their annual banquet. Long time member Ron Einarson was awarded first place this year in the structures category for his model of the O.H. Wright & company supply. He was also awarded third place for his model of his HO scale Kent Farmers AG & grain supply, and also received the best in show award for his HO scale Renfro lumber rack. Ron also received gold medal awards for all three structures.

     Second place was awarded to Gino Kost for his model of a tall steel trestle bridge. Gino also received the kit award, the gold medal award and the Clark Summers award for this structure.

      Outside of the structures and the special event competition, no other models were submitted. This led WMRC President to comment in his column in the May issue of The Lantern, the official publication of the Winnipeg Model Railroad Club:

   "At our club spring open house we had only a handful of members enter models in the model contest. Even the Special Event had a small turn out with only 5 members entering models. I have to wonder, has modeling become passé in model railroading? Should the club continue to have a model contest? We have tried to encourage members to bring out their models to meetings by having the monthly model display with a cash prize. This is awarded in a random draw. The people entering are almost always the same few. An open question to the membership - SHOULD THE CLUB CONTINUE TO HAVE A MODEL CONTEST?"

     This has been a continuing problem, not only for the club, but for model railroading in general. Many of our finest modellers have passed away, and they haven't been replaced by younger members. Model railroaders can now buy structures that are fully assembled and weathered at a very reasonable cost. Quality rolling stock is now usually cheaper than kits. This makes model railroading less labor intensive, but if this trend continues, we run the danger of having all of our model railroad looking exactly the same.

Gino Kost receives an award certificate from WMRC Model Contest Chair Morgan Turney at the club's annual banquet. Gino won several awards for his model of a tall steel trestle bridge.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Raffle prizes galore at the Winnipeg Model Railroad Club's annual banquet

    WMRC President Larry Leavens reads out the winning ticket number for the Walthers brick freight house that WMRC model contest chair is holding up. Check out the stash behind Larry! What a haul of model railroading goodies!

    One of the best things about our annual banquet are prizes, prizes and more prizes! We first hold a raffle for several door prizes. Each person attending gets a ticket when they enter. The prizes not only include model railroad stuff, but several of what we call "non-rail" prizes, which include gift cards to such retailers as Home Depot!

    Next comes the elimination draw. Tickets were sold for five dollars for the sole prize of a very nifty HO locomotive, fully equipped with DCC. But in the elimination draw, it's not the first ticket that wins - it's the last! Everyone had lots of fun watching ticket after ticket drawn, waiting in anticipation as to whose name was going to be on that very last ticket!

   Our last draw used "arm's length" tickets. A roll of tickets were sold, the amount of tickets you received for five bucks was measured from the tips of your finger to the bridge of your nose when you turned your head. Yes, you could use a taller friend to substitute for you if you happened to be height challenged. 

    Just about everybody walked away with some sort of prize that night. Some had more prizes than others, but that's the luck of the draw!

One of our youngest members, the lovely Frances South, won this solar mosaic stick light as a door prize. It's going to look just great in her parent's garden!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Marvin Fetch and Vern Gibson's Carson and Cobourg Central Railway debuts at Winnipeg Model Railroad Club's spring layout hop

   Here's a great view of the rail yard in the mountain setting created by Vern Gibson and Marvin Fetch for their Carson and Cobourg Central Railway.

   One of the highlights of the WMRC's spring layout hop was the grand premiere of Marvin Fetch and Vern Gibson's Carson and Cobourg Central Railway. Vern Gibson was a long time member of the club, and was also part owner of the late, great Elmwood Hobbies. He has a well deserved reputation as a great modeller and a model railroader, and club members have been anxiously waiting for a chance to view his newest effort.

     Of course, no one was disappointed at what they saw! The Carson and Cobourg Central Railway was an absolutely spectacular layout. Viewers were dazzled by the amount of detailing that they saw everywhere! Congratulations to Vern Gibson and his model railroading partner Marvin Fetch for creating such a spectacular model railroad! A special treat for Winnipeggers was seeing the popular Bridge Drive In modelled on the layout!

Steam lives on the Carson and Cobourg Central Railway! 
Look at all of that motive power coming out of the roundhouse!

There's some diesel power as well, as a vintage CN switcher makes a stop by a fuel tank.

Could it be? Yes it is! It's the Bridge Drive In! The BDI has been a Winnipeg institution for 55 years and countings. Going there for the creamiest shakes in town is always a treat, and it was also a treat to see it modelled on the Carson and Cobourg Central Railway! But it's not nearly as crowded here on this layout than it is on a hot Sunday summer afternoon in Winnipeg!

Monday, May 11, 2015

The Aerotrain rides again on Norm Leathers layout at the Winnipeg Model Railroad Club's spring layout hop

   Long time WMRC member Norm Leathers graciously opened his home to club members and shared his passion for everything about the Pennsylvania Railroad at this spring's layout hop. Norm has a wonderful layout which also winds its way through a tunnel to the adjoining rec room. It's always fun to watch the trains go by in the next room!

   Norm also got out his model of the Pennsylvania railroad's Aerotrain and ran it around his layout. The Aerotrain was the railroad's gallant but mistaken attempt to get more people to ride the train again in the late 1950's when passenger traffic was waning. The car-like engine resembled a 1958 Oldsmobile, and the passenger cars were made from shells of inner city buses. The lightweight passenger shells were its downfall, as they made for a very uncomfortable ride.

   However, it looked very cool, and has been a favorite of Pennsylvania model railroaders and rail fans alike - as long as they didn't have to ride in one! An Aerotrain engine is on display at the National Railroad Museum in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Norm visited the museum and had a picture of himself taken beside the Aerotrain. Now that's a real rail fan!

Another shot of the Aerotrain as it zips through the Pennsylvania countryside on Norm's layout.

Norm Leathers, standing at the far right,  discusses the construction and design of his layout with Glenn Klassen as a conventional steam engine rounds a sweeping curve.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Train Days at Portage la Prairie has been caneclled

   There will be no band playing at the CP Rail station at Portage La Prairie this year.
     We regret to announce that Train Days at Portage la Prairie has been cancelled this year.

     The Portage la Prairie Model Railroad Club has always put on a great show at the Canadian Pacific Railway Heritage Park and Interpretive Centre  (Formerly the CP Rail station). The event was usually held during the last weekend of May. But complications during the station's extensive renovations has caused them to remove their layout and place it in temporary storage.

     It is our sincere hope that Train Days will be able to be held next year. It's a great place to party, view a great looking model railroad, and do some rail fanning near the CP and CN mainlines!

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Winnipeg Model Railroad Club's annual banquet and AGM to be held this Friday

   The WMRC annual banquet and AGM will be held at Aalto's in the Canad Inns Windsor Park on Friday, May 8, starting at 6:00 PM.

   There have been some great meetings in history of mankind - the Second Vatican Council in 1962. The meeting of Canada's Fathers of Confederation in Charlottetown in 1867. But none can compare to the WMRC's AGM and annual banquet, which will be held this Friday, May 8, at the Canad Inns Windsor Park at 1034 Elizabeth Road!

    There were many things accomplished at Vatican Council II and at Charlottetown in 1867, but those meetings were DULL, DULL, DULL! They didn't have the spectacular buffet offered by Aalto's. And they certainly didn't have any door prizes or raffles for some great model railroad equipment! Did they have an elimination draw? Of course not! There were also no awards ceremonies of any sort for a model or photo contest, no Lantern award for best contribution, and no President's shield awarded at either Vatican Council II or at Charlottetown in 1867!

    But imagine if those historic meetings had all of these nifty things! Perhaps Prince Edward Island would've joined Canada right away back then! There might've been even greater reforms enacted by Vatican Council II! Sadly, they missed their chance.

    But you don't have to miss out like they did! You can still go to the WMRC's annual banquet and AGM this Friday and have a wonderful time! The fun starts at 6:00 PM. Hope to see you all there!

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

John Longhurst's layout featured at Winnipeg Model Railroad Club's layout hop

John Longhurst oversees operations on his "downsized" Manitoba and Minnesota Subdivision.

   Long time WMRC member John Longhurst graciously opened his doors to club members to view his CP Rail Manitoba and Minnesota Subdivision railway at last weekend's layout hop. John had "downsized" his operation, and all who viewed it agreed that his changes were an improvement!

   Gone is "Mount Longhurst", which was in the middle of the room. John completely rebuilt that area and flattened it out, which gives the room a more spacious feeling, but didn't decrease the trackage. John says that it's nice not to have to peer over that mountain anymore. Now he can see his entire layout from anywhere in the room!

Here's where John flattened out "Mount Longhurst". If this image was taken before this massive excavation had taken place, you wouldn't have been able to see any of our members from this angle!

John employs multi-level model railroading. Those tunnels lead to a helix in the laundry room!

Monday, May 04, 2015

Highlights of Winnipeg Model Railroad Club's layout hop: Dennis Rietze's layout in a crawl space

    Dennis Rietze tells Glenn Klassen how he built his layout in the crawl space of his home.

    Last weekend the WMRC held a layout hop for its members. Five layouts were showcased on both Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4PM around the city. Four of these layouts will be featured on this site in the next few days.

  By far one of the most unique layouts in Winnipeg, or anywhere else, is Dennis Rietze's layout in a crawlspace. With only four feet of clearance, Dennis has managed to build a great looking layout in a most unusual space! He has proved without a doubt that you can build a layout anywhere! WMRC members new and old have always been fascinated the location of his layout and they've also been very impressed with the quality of his craftsmanship!

   Note that Dennis moves about his layout on a neat little work stool, which has castors and a tool tray underneath the seat. He has a few more of these stools for visitors, and it makes getting around his layout a lot of fun!

    Dennis Rietze explains to Glenn Klassen how DCC works on his layout.

   There's plenty of great railroading going on in this crawlspace!


Friday, May 01, 2015

A special image from the Winnipeg Model Railroad Club's special event model contest

   WMRC model contest chair Morgan Turney managed to get all of the HO scale special event model contest entries in single photo during our annual spring open house by placing them all on one module of the Kildonan Short Lines display.

    Thanks to the magic of Photoshop, WMRC Blog Editor Paul Ullrich replaced the background (which featured a blank wall, a bunch of boxes, jackets and two of our member's stomachs) with a very nice backdrop of a prairie sky. Enjoy!