Thursday, June 30, 2016

Winnipeg garage sale features lots of model railroad equipment

We're going to do something different and post a notice of a yard sale that features a lot of model railroad equipment. 

Sheryl Redahl contacted the club and asked us if there was anyone interested in buying her late husband's trains at this sale, so we're putting the news out there. 

The yard sale will be held Friday, July 1 and and Saturday, July 2 at 20 Barton Avenue in St. Vital. 

Former Winnipeg Model Railroad Club President Ken Regula passes away at age 71

June has been a very sad month for the Winnipeg Model Railroad Club and the model railroading community. We lost Dan Kirlin and Ken Martin, and now we are saddened to post that Ken Regula has also passed away. 

Ken was a former WMRC president in the 80’s, and he was a very active member of the club. He possessed superb modelling skills ,and was known as a genial good natured president of our organization. When he moved to Beausejour he lost touch with most of the model railroading community in Winnipeg, but he still kept a layout in his new home and remained a very active modeller. He was always happy to show anyone his layout.

Ken left behind Violet, his wife of 49 years, his two children and his granddaughter. He was 71 years old. 

Monday, June 27, 2016

Ken Martin, founder of Warehouse Hobbies, passes away at age 81

If there ever was a true pioneer in the retail field of model railroading, it would be Ken Martin. He served the needs of Model Railroaders in Winnipeg and later in Nanaimo for over five decades.

Ken was born and raised in Winnipeg. His grandfather worked on the railway, and his dad worked on the electric railway. He had his own Lionel layout by age 5.

In 1956, and he started the first of Ken Martin Enterprises in his basement with his wife Bernice as shipper/receiver for Midwest Hobbies. As the wholesale business moved into its own warehouse, Ken branched out into retail and the first Ye Olde Hobby Mart opened at 365 Portage Ave, with four other locations following in the 70’s and 80’s, including Polo Park and Grant Park shopping centres. 

Ken also owned the Cricklewood gift shop in Polo Park, which he opened in 1979, and was run by Bernice. Cricklewood was a tribute to his marketing savvy, as while hobbyists were going to Ye Olde Hobby Mart in Polo Park, their wives were going to Cricklewood and buying out the store!

Warehouse Hobbies was Ken’s last retail enterprise. Its first location was in a warehouse near Polo Park, in between St. James Street and Route 90. He later moved to a smaller location on Portage Avenue. 

In 1993 he sold Warehouse Hobbies to Jim and Bev Iredale and retired to Nanaimo. But he didn’t stop working for very long, and found a job at Leisure Time Hobbies. After that, he worked on his layout full-time. His reputation often preceded him, as he was often asked to evaluate model railroader’s collections, and was frequently sought out as a vendor at train shows on Vancouver Island. 

Ken died peacefully on June 9, 2016.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Winnipeg Model Railroad Club mourns death of former member Dan Kirlin

This most recent picture of Dan Kirin was taken in 2015 at the S Scale Can-Am Social in Lowbanks, Ontario. Dan is in the second row, between the man in the white shirt and the man in the beige shirt. 

We just received news that former WMRC member Dan Kirlin passed away yesterday. He suffered a massive heart attack while he was mowing his lawn. He would've bee n60 years old in October. 

Mike Salfi, a friend of Dan's, reported on the CanModTrains chat group that Dan had been short of breath and had gone to the doctor. He was told that his heart was strong  but he had a defective valve, which was to be replaced later this summer. 

Dan was a very active member of the club in the late 80's and in the 90's. He was one of the few S gauge enthusiasts in the club. He and the late Al Meacham started an S gauge modular group which they displayed at several of the WMRC's open houses.  

While he lived in Winnipeg, he worked as a manager for a local Red Lobster restaurant. He also opened a hobby shop called Kirlin Scale Models in St. Boniface. Dan closed his shop and moved to southern Ontario, where he continued Kirlin Scale Models as a mail-order operation. Local model railroader and former WMRC member John Morris, operator of Morris Locomotive Works, was known to do business with him. 

Andy Malette, one of the members of the S Scale Can-Am group Dan belonged to, said, "Dan was always friendly with me and helped me when I first got into S scale. Dan was always full of ideas and projects. He was more involved in S scale in the 1980's and 1990's.  I saw some of his diesels which had won contests at an NASG convention in S Gaugian. Whenever I needed drawings and if Dan had them, I got copies just for the asking."

It's been a sad year for Winnipeg's model railroad community. Former WMRC member Brian Schuff commented on his Facebook page that former WMRC President Ken Regula and Ken Martin, former owner of Ye Old Hobby Shop and Warehouse Hobbies, have also passed away recently. 

Funeral arrangement have been made at the Henry Walser Funeral Home, 507 Frederick Street, Kitchener, Ontario. Visitation hours are on Sunday, June 26 from 3:00 to 5:00 PM and from 7:00 to 9:00 PM. WMRC member Marcel Blair will be attending the funeral. The service will take place on Monday, June 27 at 4:00 PM. To view Dan's obituary, please click here. 

 Dan Krilin (left) is seen talking to Gerry Prystai during a WMRC meeting in the early 1990's in the CN veteran's room in the basement of the Via Rail station.  
Photo courtesy of Dave Downie. 

Dan Kirlin (center) is seen talking to John Morris at the same meeting. 
Photo courtesy of Dave Downie.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Winnipeg Model Railroad Club's T-shirt design seen on Miniatur Wunderland video

How cool is this? WMRC Vice-President Dave Downie was watching a recent video posted by Hamburg's Miniatur Wunderland, when all of the sudden someone wearing the club's t-shirt pops up!

When Dave Downie visited Miniatur Wunderland last year, he presented a member of the staff with two of the club's t-shirts, which were designed by WMRC Social Media Executive Paul Ullrich.  After he came back, he received an email from Wunderland's founders and owners, Frederik and Gerrit Braun, with the above photo attached.

Receiving that image was quite a feather in the club's cap, and most of us thought that it ended there, until Dave uncovered that video. The club's t-shirt shows up around the 4:30 mark. You can view the video by clicking here. 

Friday, June 17, 2016

Rapid transit proposal puts Winnipeg Railway Museum and Gateway Western in jeopardy

By Paul Ullrich,
WMRC Social Media Executive

Winnipeg city council is in the throes of rapid transit fever, and the Winnipeg Railway Museum and the Gateway Western Railway might be their victims.

According to an article written by Bartley Kives, posted on the CBC Online News Digest on June 10, Winnipeg Transit has an agreement in place with CN Rail that will allow the city make use of tracks One and Two, where the museum is currently located. Winnipeg Transit engineer David Patman is quoted as stating that the museum would be relocated to somewhere else in the station or in the Forks. 

The most difficult task any non-profit model railroad or rail fan organization has to deal with is a location, and the more stuff you have, the harder it is to find a place. And the Winnipeg Railway Museum has the most stuff of all. However, this is not going to happen overnight. A study will be made of this proposal, which is expected to be completed in 2018.

We just lost the Selkirk Model Railroad Association because the new owners of the building they were occupying raised their rent so high that they couldn't afford to stay there anymore. The Winnipeg Railway Museum was originally the Midwest Rail Society, and they were the caretakers of the Countess of Dufferin, and other pieces of equipment that you now see in the museum. The main goal of the society was to establish a museum for this equipment, and they succeeded in finding a home at Union Station.

But they're there only by the good graces of Via Rail, and that may end soon. Relocation plans sound vague, at the very least. That's a lot of equipment to move! Who's going pay for it? Where is it all going to go? And what about the Gateway Western, which is housed in its own structure inside the museum itself?

This week, Winnipeggers watched in shock as the money grubbing Ganeffs at Manitoba Hydro more than quadrupled the price of a parcel of land they owned that was earmarked for a rapid transit corridor. Winnipeggers then watched in horror as city council caved into Hydro's demands and paid that grossly inflated price with hardly a protest.

Union Station is certainly under utilized. Only Via Rail's Canadian and the Churchill train operate out of the station. The museum, which is now housed in an unheated stall on tracks one and two, would certainly benefit from a new location. If there's enough taxpayer money around to pay a publicly owned utility an outrageous price for land, there certainly should be enough left over to assist the Winnipeg Railway Museum when they're forced to move.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Winnipeg Model Railroad Club blog surpasses 100,000 views

Last week the WMRC blog hit the 100,00 views mark, and kept on going! As of this writing, we've reached 100,373! This is quite a remarkable achievement, considering that the blog had only started in October 2013. On-line interest in the WMRC has exceeded all expectations, and it's had a very positive effect on the club. Membership is up, and the blog (along with our very popular Facebook page) has become the major source for model railroading news and events in the province!

The WMRC blog is not just about club activities. It's for all model railroaders and rail fans. We will continue to post all events concerning the model railroading community in this province, regardless of whatever organization it may come from, and we hope you'll continue reading this blog!

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Assiniboine Valley Railway holds open house this weekend

The Assiniboine Valley Railway will be holding its very first open house of 2016 this weekend. The hours are from 11:00AM to 5:00PM on Saturday, June 11, and from 1:00PM to 5:00PM on Sunday, June 12. Tickets for one ride are only two bucks, and you can get a 12 ride pass for $20. Children under two ride for free, but all minors must be accompanied by an adult. This is a very popular attraction for rail fans of all ages, and it looks like they'll have great weather for the event! The Assiniboine Valley Railway is located at 3001 Roblin Boulevard, just west of Assiniboine Park.

Monday, June 06, 2016

More memories of the Gateway Western during Doors Open Winnipeg

This little guy is so determined to get a better view of the trains at the Gateway Western that he grabbed a nearby Via Rail step! All photos by Dave Downie.

By Dave Downie

Attendance at the Winnipeg Railway Museum during Doors Open Winnipeg surpassed last year's  and both the WMRC and the museum were very pleased with the amount of money raised during the event. 

I talked to a model railroader from Toronto who was in town for the Liberal convention. His name was Peter and he had visited the museum Tuesday after arriving in Winnipeg and wanted to see the layout in action during the weekend. I had seen him standing observing the action without moving for 10 minutes. When I introduced myself, he indicated that he thought quite highly of the layout and had a lot of questions about the WMRC. He had read the WMRC blog and felt he knew a lot about us already.

"They look as if they're really having fun", he said. I agreed and said that some of the participants hardly knew each other before today and that the event would help everyone get to know each other better. I reminded Peter that model railroading is supposed to be fun and that is what the WMRC is all about.

A CP passenger train rounds the bend on the Gateway Western during Doors Open Winnipeg.

These kids are mesmerized by the train action going on at the Gateway!

Friday, June 03, 2016

Everyone had a great time at Doors Open Winnipeg

By Morgan Turney

Doors Open Winnipeg, presented by Heritage Winnipeg on May 28 and 29, was a resounding success for the Winnipeg Railway Museum again this year, with just over 1300 visitors. The Gateway Western Railway was a popular highlight with volunteers running their trains for the duration of the opening. Thanks goes to Dave Downie for organizing the running schedule.

     Graham Leathers directs part of a tour of the museum from a flat car.

Former WMRC President Larry Leavens discusses the size of the birthday present he wants this year with WMRC Treasurer Gary Stempnick while Gary's wife Joanne look on.