Saturday, January 30, 2016

The Road Taken examines the experiences of Canada's black railway porters

WMRC Vice-President Dave Downie sent us this fascinating documentary produced by the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) titled "The Road Taken".

This 52 minute documentary produced in 1996 takes a nostalgic ride through history to present the experiences of black sleeping-car porters who worked on Canada's railways from the early 1900s through the 1960s. There was a strong sense of pride among these men and they were well-respected by their community. Yet, harsh working conditions prevented them from being promoted to other railway jobs until finally, in 1955, porter Lee Williams took his fight to the union. 

Claiming discrimination under the Canada Fair Employment Act, the Blacks won their right to work in other areas. Interviews, archival footage and the music of noted jazz musician Joe Sealy (whose father was a porter) combine to portray a fascinating history that might otherwise have been forgotten.

You can view this fascinating documentary by clicking here. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

National Mode lRailroad Association to hold regional convention in Fargo in May

All aboard for Fargo, North Dakota for the NMRA Thousand Lakes Region's 2016 convention! We're hoping a lot of WMRC and No. 1Northern Division members will make the trip this year, as it's only 223 miles away from Winnipeg. That's practically in our back yard! If you can make it to West Acres, then you can make it to the Baymont Inn in Fargo where the convention's being held!

The theme of this year's convention is "Live Steam in 2016". And there will be plenty of steam, as we're heading out to Rollag on Saturday, where the Western Minnesota Steam Thresher's Reunion is held! The Friday dessert reception is being held at Bonanzaville USA, Fargo's premeire historic tourist attraction, where you can fest your eyes on their 130 year old 4-4-0 steamer that they have on display!

There will also be plenty of prototype tours and layout hops, along with the popular model and photo contests. There will be a guest speaker at the banquet, followed by the Chinese auction hosted by the ever popular "B+ Team" of Jay Manning, Paul Ullrich and Paul Gerry! They used to be called the "B" team, but they were upgraded from "B" due to their stellar performance at last year's convention in Thunder Bay. 

The fun starts on Thursday evening, May 26 and goes on until Sunday, May 29. Hope to see you all there! For additional information on the convention, and to get a downloadable registration form, go to the TLR website by clicking here.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Flying Scotsman rides again!

Here's a great link to some wonderful images of the legendary Flying Scotsman going for a run on January 8, 2016. The locomotive, which was the first to break the 100 mph barrier over 80 years ago, has been fully restored.  It took 10 years and over $6,000,000 US to restore it to its former glory. Purists might notice that the engine has not painted in its traditional green, but it will be next month! Enjoy! 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Selkirk Model Railroad Association holds open house today

Come join Dennis and the gang as they run trains all day today in Selkirk!

The Selkirk Model Railroad Association is holding an open house today from 10AM to 4PM. You can find them at 217-B Clandeboye Avenue in Selkirk. For more information about the Selkirk Model Railroad Association go to

Thursday, January 21, 2016

One of only three roundhouses left in Manitoba

An overlooked resource for Manitoba rail fans is the Manitoba Historical Society archives, which has a treasure trove of railway data. The building in the image is a former CP Rail fan shaped, four bay roundhouse built in 1908 in Reston, Manitoba. 

This rail facility used to have a station, section houses, a water tower, a coal dock, wood sheds, and several grain elevators. The CPR Reston Subdivision was abandoned in September 1960. The former engine house, is one of only three surviving in Manitoba. The others are at The Pas (which is an actual working roundhouse operated by the Hudson Bay Railway) and in Dauphin). 

The Reston turntable is a municipally designated historic siteIt was closed in 1930 and was sold and converted for use as a seed house by Colin C. Campbell and son, which operated until 1969. The building is still in use for private storage.This roundhouse was featured on Gordon Goldsborough's "Abandoned Manitoba" segment on CBC Radio, which was broadcast on January 17, 2016. 

For further information about this roundhouse go to the Manitoba Historical Society website at:

To hear the broadcast go to:

Monday, January 18, 2016

John Longhurst makes his first million

Congratulations to long time WMRC member John Longhurst for making his first million! No, he didn't win the 649 or Powerball. His popular model railroading blog, The Manitoba and Minnesota Subdivision, has reached one million views!

John has been a club member for over 20 years. He was the Associate Editor for Canadian Railway Modeller for many years, and he was also the WMRC's publicity director. In 1997, he and his brother-in-law the late Ken Epp took over the responsibilities of running the Winnipeg Railway Fair from Morgan Turney and Peter Lacey. In 1998, they moved the location to the Mennonite Brethren Collegiate Institute and renamed it the Great Canadian Train Show, which ran until 2012.

John organized the 2005 Golden Rails convention in Winnipeg for the Canadian Association of Railway Modellers.  Kudos to John for reaching this remarkable milepost! Check out his blog at:

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Is this the world's smalest model car?

Yes, that's WMRC member Richard Mikolayenko's hand holding the miniature car he modeled for the club's monthly model display.

The WMRC's monthly model display always has a lot of surprises,  but everyone was blown away by long time member Richard Mikolayenko's remarkable crafting of a brass model of a Micron Art N scale 1911-1915 touring car! Richard likes to model not only in N scale, but Z scale as well. It makes you wonder if he's recruiting Ant-Man to help him model, but apparently he does it all by himself!

The car body was folded in to shape with two pairs of fine needle nose pliers. He was careful not to exceed the recommended fold distance, for brass is unforgiving when it comes to compensating for bending too far. He removed several of the detail parts for painting prior to installing them where they belonged.

That the details were spray painted the appropriate colours. He chose a cherry red for the car body then proceeded to follow the rest of the assembly instructions.  The upholstery was coloured a bright red as it was a typical option for the model year. The tires were hand painted a flat black as were the running boards and the steering wheel. The cloth roof was attached with C.A.  His last task was to glue on the crystal headlamps.

The model almost 14 hours to complete. Kudos to Richard for such an excellent and painstaking modelling job!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Felix Lesiuk wins Winnipeg Model railroad Club's monthly photo contest for January

Long time WMRC member Felix Lesiuk was the winner of the club's monthly photo contest this January for this photo he took of a former Milwaukee Road station. The theme for January's photo contest was "a railway item that needs a fresh coat of paint". There were six entries for this month's contest. The winner of the club's monthly photo contest receives a cash prize and has their winning image published on the cover of The Lantern, the official publication of the WMRC, for that month.

Felix Lesiuk is a long time member of the WMRC. He is also President of WinNtrak, one of Western Canada's largest N scale modular group. He has won many awards for his photography over the years.

The theme for February's contest is "Prairie Sentinels (or parts there of)". The deadline for this contest is midnight, February 2. Send all entires to Lantern Editor Robert Weaver at

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Some more new images of the Gateway Western Railway

 Suzanne Lemon's 'Northlander' approaches the future snow shed area of the mountain scene

We still have some more images to share of the remarkable progress the team at the Gateway Western has made in the past few months. Even WMRC President Larry Leavens, who had been away for a few weeks, was amazed at how much work had been accomplished lately.

More photos will be coming in shortly, and we'll post them as soon as we get them. For those who want to join in on the fun, Tuesday nights are Gateway nights! The gang meets at 7:00 PM at the Winnipeg Railway Museum, located at the Via Rail Station at 123 Main Street. No experience necessary! All that's required is a willingness to participate.

 Morgan Turney's TH&B lash-up hauls high revenue lumber through the 'flats'

 Larry Leavens powers his SD40-2 DW&P locomotive around the lower level of the layout

Brent Tingey (left) and Larry Leavens pilot their trains on the Gateway Western layout

Thursday, January 07, 2016

 Here's a great scene taken by Dave Downie of the Bekonscot Model Village and Railway.

Our January 8 meeting features two interesting programs from WMRC Vice President Dave Downie's latest adventures in the U.K. First, we'll visit the Bekonscot Model Village and Railway, the world's oldest and original model village which opened over 80 years ago in 1929. The one and a half-acre village features a large 1/32 model garden railway that runs though a 1/12 size scale village, all over 10 scale miles of track.

Then it's a trip on the Romney, Hythe and Dimchurch Railway, a working 1/3rd size scale replica railway of locomotives and carriages that operate as a tourist train on 13-1/2 miles of track along the Kent shoreline on 15-inch rail.

The fun starts at 7:30 PM at the Charleswood Legion, 6003 Roblin Boulevard. The canteen will be open, and we'll also have our monthly model display and our 50-50 draw! There's plenty of free parking, and guests are always welcome! Please remember to enter on the west side of the building.

  The Bekonscot Model Village and Railway also has a beautiful maritime scene!

 All aboard for a ride on the Romney, Hythe and Dimchurch Railway!

 A beautiful live steamer on the Romney, Hythe and Dimchurch Railway.

Monday, January 04, 2016

The Gateway Western landscaping shows impressive progress

Suzanne Lemon's GM Demonstrator MP15AC takes the lower curve around the mountain.

By Morgan Turney 

It was the last Tuesday Gateway night before the New Year, so we put the scenery supplies and track laying equipment away and decided to run some trains. The Gateway is progressing nicely and the final bit of track work on the upper yard is ready to install. The scenery on the mountain area is progressing and the town scene is about ready to begin taking shape.

The Winnipeg Model Railroad Club's HO scale Gateway Western Railway is located in the Winnipeg Railway Museum in the VIA station, 123 Main street, at The Forks.

 Gary Stempnick's CN Budd car runs a short haul passenger service around the layout.

 The rugged Canadian Shield mountains contain lots of wildlife including this black bear who has just come out of his cave.

 WMRC President Larry Leavens tunes-up a locomotive at the work bench.

 A CP steamer runs the route around the mountain.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

This weekend is your last chance to ride on the Assiniboine Valley Railway this winter

This is your last chance to ride on the Assiniboine Valley Railway until May! Hours for both Saturday, January 2 and Sunday, January 3 are from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM. One ride is only two bucks! A 12 ride pass is a bargain at just $20, and it's good for any AVR Public Event! Children two years of age and under ride for free. All minors must be accompanied by an adult. They're located at 3001 Roblin Boulevard, just west of Assiniboine Park.

Check out this great video about the AVR, which was broadcast on Wheeler in the Morning on CITY TV!

Friday, January 01, 2016

The Selkirk Model Railroad Club needs your help

The Selkirk Model Railroad Association needs your help! This is a wonderful organization, with great members and three spectacular layouts, and it would truly be a shame to see it die.

They have resorted to crowdfunding in hopes to cover a shortfall in their operating expenses. They need money for rent, insurance, maintenance, and other contingencies.

The Selkirk Model Railroad Association operates one of the largest sets of permanent model train layouts in Canada.  They have three operating layouts in three different scales. They also have a comprehensive library of railroad related materials and inventory of model railroad rolling stock.

In addition to Model Railroading, the SMRA has acted as a service organization for the City of Selkirk. They've raised food and monetary donations worth thousands of dollars over the past 20 years for the City of Selkirk Christmas Hamper Drive. The SMRA also acts as a youth mentorship agency and offers a detailed program for junior members which has been received well in our community. The SMRA has also forged relationships with several Selkirk youth organizations such as Sea Cadets and Cub Scouts.

The demise of the SMRA will be a significant loss not only to its members, but to the Selkirk and District Community at large. Without proper funding, they may have to shutter their doors as early as this month.
If you wish to make a donation, please to to their crowdfunding site at: For more information about the Selkirk Model Railroad Association visit

Happy New Year from the Winnipeg Model Railroad Club!

The WMRC wishes all of its members and readers a happy and healthy New Year filled with trains, trains, and more trains!

Our club had a great 2015! Membership is up, the blog has had over 76,000 views since its inception in October 2013, and we now have 255 followers on our Facebook page! We also participated in the 2015 Manitoba Mega Train Show, which had record breaking crowds of over 3,000 people! Our own spring show was a resounding success, and our Gateway Western Railway (housed in the Winnipeg Railway Museum) is almost completely landscaped!

We wish to extend our thanks to our hard working team of members, volunteers, and especially our WMRC executive for all of the success we enjoyed in 2015, and my the coming year bring us to even greater heights!