Monday, June 18, 2018

MS victim uses model railroading as therapy

Long time WMRC member and noted model railroad philosopher John Longhurst sent us this very moving story about a man with multiple sclerosis who has built a massive O gauge 3 rail Lionel layout in his basement.

David MacKinnon of Whitney Pier in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia is unable to work because of his MS, and building this layout was his way of coping with the disease.  He has been working on the layout for 20 years.

This news story was broadcast on CTV News and published online on May 23. You can view the video (which has some great model railroad action scenes) by clicking here.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Portage Model Railroad Club hosts Train Days on June 16

Portage Heritage Inc. & Portage Model Railroad Club will host the 2018 Train Day & Open House at the CP Station in Portage la Prairie on June 16th, from 10:00am to 4:00pm. There will be model train displays, souvenir & railway items for sale, and BBQ burgers & hotdogs available for lunch from 11am to 2pm.

There will also be a raffle to wina  ride in the caboose at the Prairie Dog Central Railway! Raffle tickets are $2.00 each. All proceeds from the event go toward the finishing touches of the station renovations. Admission is free!

Monday, June 11, 2018

Winnipeg Model Railroad Club blog passes the 200,000 viewers mark!

The WMRC blog passed the 200,000 viewers mark a few days ago. When this blog was started just a little under five years ago we never would've believed that we'd reach so many views this soon! That's an average of 40,000 views per year! That's just a fraction under 110 views a day!

We have 585 posts archived, which anyone can view. We've garnered a worldwide audience! Who would've ever imagined that a blog from a model railroad club in the middle of Canada would have readers from Russia, Ukraine, France, Germany and China? Here's a breakdown of the top 10 countries where we're viewed, and the number of views per country:

United States
United Kingdom

Thanks to all of our readers, club members, model railroaders and rail fans who have viewed this blog and have made it so successful!  

Monday, June 04, 2018

Take your first ride of the year on the Assiniboine Valley Railway thie weekend

It's that time of the year again! And what a great time to ride the Assiniboine Valley Railway again!
They're having their first public open house of the year weekend, and it's gonna be a blast!

They're open from 11:00AM to 5:00PM on Saturday, June 9, and from 1:00PM to 5:00PM on Sunday, June 10. A ride costs two bucks and you can buy a 12 ride pass for only $20! Kids two years of age and under ride for free. All minors must be accompanied by an adult. The AVR is located at 3001 Roblin Boulevard, just west of Assiniboine Park.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Exclusive images of CP train wreck near Rosser

   Wow! Talk about being in the right place at the right time! Long time WMRC member and intrepid railfan correspondent Felix Lesiuk took these images of the CP train wreck near Rosser shortly after it happened, and he dispatched them to us pronto!
 "I was coming back from the farm this afternoon around supper time and just came upon a derailment of an Eastbound CP stack train." Said Felix. "A storm cell had blown the train onto the north side of the tracks. This happened about 20 minutes before I got there between the town of Rosser and the Rosser grain elevator.  Luckily, I wasn't there as it happened. There was a Manitoba storm chaser car driving around so I suppose it was following the storm."
 "I took a bunch of pictures from my window as I drove slowly by. When I got to the end the sun came out so I doubled back to get some pictures in the sun. When I was leaving the emergency response team closed the highway after me. The irony for CP is that they just replaced that section of rail with new track last month."

Monday, May 28, 2018

The Gateway Western Railway and the John Allen Timesaver were big hits at Doors Open Winnipeg

There was no stopping this little tyke from seeing the trains at the Gateway Western Railway!

The Winnipeg Railway Museum had a very good turnout during Doors Open Winnipeg this past weekend.  Dedicated WMRC volunteers ran the Gateway Western Railway while WMRC Program Director Dave Downie operated the club's John Allen Timesaver modular switch yard.

The Timesaver's power pack burnt out on Saturday, but Gateway Western Superintendent Gino Kost supplied another power pack that carried it through the weekend. Much appreciated, Gino!

Many of the kids did a great job running the Timesaver (both boys and girls). The club printed out completion certificates which were to be given to the kids for successfully operating the Timesaver layout. Unfortunately, most of the kids weren't interested in them, and neither were their parents.

Dave spoke to many people who expressed an interest in the WMRC and The Manitoba Mega Train Show and many brochures were handed out for both. The Winnipeg Railway Museum did a great job supplying a table and an electrical hookup. Thanks to everyone who helped out!

 WMRC Program Director Dave Downie (left) is seen working the John Allen Timesaver modular switching layout with Gatweay Western Railway Superintendent Gino Kost during the club's open house in April. The Timesaver was a big hit at the Winnipeg Railway Museum during Doors Open Winnipeg this past weekend.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Join the fun at the Gateway Western Railway at Doors Open Winnipeg this weekend

It's time again for Doors Open Winnipeg! The Winnipeg Railway Museum will be participating again, and the Winnipeg Model Railroad Club will have the Gateway Western Railway up and running! The Gateway is open to the general public only twice a year, so make sure to grab this opportunity to view Manitoba's largest operating model railway in action!

As a special bonus this year, WMRC program director Dave Downie will have the club's John Allen Timesaver running as well! The time saver is a portable interactive switch yard that you can operate! See how fast you can shunt freight cars to their destination! The Timesaver was such a big hit at our open house in April, and we're bringing it back by popular demand!

The Winnipeg Railway Museum is located at the second level of the Via Rail Station at 123 Main Street. The museum is open during Doors Open Winnipeg from 11:00AM to 5:00PM on Saturday, May 26 and Sunday, May 27. Hope to see you all there!

Friday, May 18, 2018

Watch Marvin Fetch on Global News Morning Winnipeg

If you do a Bing search for the Winnipeg Model Railroad Club, this blog shows up first. Our Facebook link shows up third, and second place is Global News Morning Winnipeg's interview with WMRC Secretary Marvin Fetch! It was broadcast on Friday, April 6 to promote our annual spring train show and open house, which took place on April 7 and 8.

Marv did a terrific job of promoting our club, our hobby and our show! You can view it by clicking on this link:

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Great times at the Winnipeg Model Railroad Club's 2018 banquet

WMRC President Bob Harrison presents the President's Shield award to former WMRC President Larry Leavens at the annual WMRC banquet held on Friday, May 11 at the CanAd Inns Polo Park. 

Fun times were to be had at the WMRC's 2018 annual banquet, held at the CanAd Inns Polo Park on Friday, May 11, 2018. After enjoying a great buffet meal at Aalto's, several awards were given out and lots of prizes were won for our "arms length" raffle, the elimination draw and our door prizes! It's always a great way to end the model railroad season, and after we all have an enjoyable summer of rail fanning, we're all looking forward seeing everyone again at our next meeting in September!

WMRC secretary Marvin Fetch and President Bob Harrison show off the two HO locomotives that were given away at the elimination draw. 

Veteran WMRC member and NMRA Master Model Railroader Moe Smith is seen with WMRC Secretary Marvin Fetch as he is presented with the Holman award - special event class for his superb modelling work.

WMRC Treasurer John Bate is presented with the 2018 Friesen award for initial modelling achievement by WMRC Secretary John Bate.

Monday, May 07, 2018

Winnipeg Model Railroad Club to hold their annual banquet

The WMRC is winding up another great season with our annual banquet! We'll also be holding our annual general meeting and presenting awards to the winners of our photo and model contests. It's being held on Friday, May 11, at the Canad Inns Polo Park in Alto's Restaurant, which is located at 1405 St. Matthews Avenue. 

Cocktails and dinner (buffet style or order from their menu) will start at 6:00PM, and the AGM will begin at 7:30PM. We’ll have lots of door prizes and “arm's length” raffle ticket prizes (that’s where you buy your arm’s length of tickets) to give out, as well as our traditional elimination draw! Hope to see you all there!

Friday, May 04, 2018

John Longhurst gets article published in Trackside Photographer

Check out long time WMRC member John Longhurst's article in Trackside Photographer, which was just posted yesterday. It's all about his railfan trip to Swift Current, Saskatchewan in 2015. Way to go, John!

Friday, April 27, 2018

We can't help you sell your model railroad equipment anymore

When the Winnipeg Model Railroad Club launched itself into the realm of social media five years ago, we offered readers who had model railroad equipment that they wanted to sell a chance to advertise them free on the WMRC blog and our Facebook page. We were also able to contact them with interested buyers. We also were accepting donations of model railroad equipment.

But since the new year began, we have been swamped with requests to do so. We used to get a handful of these requests per year, but lately it's been almost one every week! Clearly there is simply too much supply and very little demand. We even find it difficult to accept donations, as the club doesn't have any room to store them.

We will still offer a limited service on our social media sites to our members and former members who might have model railroad equipment to sell.

It is with great regret that we are announcing this change in policy. We are happy that we were able to assist model railroaders in selling their trains in the past. But we can only suggest that you post the trains that you wish to sell on Kijiji or contact the Manitoba Mega Train Show about renting a vendor's table for their annual show in September.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Memories of the Winnipeg Model Railroad Club's 2018 Spring open house

WMRC Gateway Western Superintendent Gino Kost mans the popular interactive John Allen Timesaver layout at the club's 2018 spring open house and train show.

What a party! We had a great turnout at our spring open house and train show this year, and we raised twice the amount of funds that we raised in 2017! Much thanks to all of our displayers and volunteers who worked so hard to make this show a resounding success. Everyone had a great time, and we all look forward to seeing all of you next spring!

NMRA No. 1 Northern Division Superintendent Ian Plett and Neil Carlton run the division's Free-Mo layout, which was the largest operating display at the show.

Marcel Blair was kept busy running John Sinclair's collection of G gauge trolley and streetcars.

Robert Weaver ran a modelling clinic for both days during the show. 
WMRC blog editor and Social Media Executive Paul Ullrich (a.k.a "The giraffe car man") happily ran his very popular and kid-friendly Lionel O gauge portable layout all weekend.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Master Model Railroader Stafford Swain has passed away

Stafford Swain is seen to the right of Frank Gerry and Paul Ullrich at his home in Winnipeg in 2010 during the TLR regional convention. This was the last public display of his layout, which was taken down shortly after the convention.

We are very saddened to report that long time WMRC member and legendary model railroader Stafford Swain passed away on April 11. He was 73 years old.

Stafford was a Master Model Railroader (MMR #98),  former President of the WMRC, and past Chairman of the 1983 NMRA National convention held in Winnipeg. At the time, the 1983 convention was the most profitable in the history of the NMRA.

He's had over 80 articles published in magazines such as Model Railroader, Mainline Modeller and Railroad Model Craftsman.

Stafford had a huge impact on bringing down the cost of model railroading to all Canadians by working to eliminate the Federal Duty levied on imported model railroad supplies. Until Stafford won his argument with the Customs Canada, there was a 20% duty levied on all imported model railroad supplies.

Stafford was a loyal CN fan and a devoted member and co-founder of the Canadian National Railways Historical Association (formerly CN Lines SIG). Stafford did just about everything for the organization, including stuffing envelopes on a regular basis at Nick Andrusiak's place whenever another issue of CN Lines was fresh from the printers and ready to ship.

 A glowing tribute to Stafford and his many accomplishments has been published in Canadian Railway Modeller, Train 17, Track 3. You can also read about Stafford at WMRC member John Longhurst's Manitoba and Minnesota Subdivision blog at

Thursday, April 12, 2018

John bate to hold a clinic on XTrackCAD at Winnipeg Model Railroad Club's April meeting

At our April meeting, WMRC treasurer John Bate will present a brief introduction to layout planning software called XTrackCAD. It is a powerful design tool tailored specifically for model railroads and it's available for free online!

Then Bart Hasselfield will make a presentation that he calls “Confessions of a Model Railroader”. It's a visual history of the planning and construction of his first model railroad, from its inception in March 2015 to its present state of chaotic incompletion.

 We'll also be having a 50/50 draw, our monthly model display, and the canteen will be open!  The fun starts on Friday, April 13 at  7:30 P.M. in the Tank Room at the Charleswood Legion, 6003 Robin Boulevard. Not a member? Not a problem! Guests are always warmly welcomed! Hope to see you all there!

Monday, April 09, 2018

Winner of the Winnipeg Model Railroad Club's HO starter set draw announced

We are pleased to announce that the winner for our Bachmann HO starter set draw, held at our annual open house, was Jim Ksiowzyk, who came to our show because he saw the sign on the street!

We had a very successful show with a record attendance, and we raised more money on Saturday than we did during the entire weekend last year!

 Thanks to everyone who attended, as well as our many hard working volunteers and club members,  that made our show such a success! We're looking forward to seeing you all next spring!

Monday, April 02, 2018

Winnipeg Model Railroad Club to give away an HO starter set at their annual open house

How cool is this! We're having a draw for a Bachmann HO starter set at our annual open house and train show this coming weekend! The set, which we bought from our good friends at Toad Hall Toys, comes complete with a Santa Fe F-unit, three cars, a loop of E-Z track and a power pack!

This is the first time we've ever had a draw, and we're hoping it will inspire more young people to get into the hobby. There is no purchase necessary. All you have to do is fill out a draw ticket.

Our show starts on Saturday, April 7, in the Tank Room at the Charleswood Legion, 6003 Roblin boulevard. Hours are from 10AM to 5PM on Saturday, April 7, and from 10AM to 4PM on Sunday, April 8. Admission by donation. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to St. Amant. Hope to see you all there!

Monday, March 26, 2018

Winnipeg Model Railroad Club to hold their annual train show and open house on April 7 and 8

Mark your calendars! It's that time of the year again! The Winnipeg Model Railroad Club is holding their annual open house! We're going to have some great layouts, featuring an expanded version of the NMRA No. 1 Northern Division's Free-Mo layout. The Giraffe Car man will also have his portable Lionel layout running again!

We'll also have plenty of displays, including our annual model and photo contest results. The canteen will be open, serving plenty of hot dogs, chips, coffee, pop and donuts.

The fun starts on Saturday, April 7, in the Tank Room at the Charleswood Legion, 6003 Roblin boulevard. Hours are from 10AM to 5PM on Saturday, April 7, and from 10AM to 4PM on Sunday, April 8. Admission by donation. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to St. Amant. Hope to see you all there!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Winnipeg's Anthony David James models graffiti on model railroad rolling stock

The neat thing about this site is that you never know when a fellow hobbyist or modeller will come out of the blue with a surprising creation. This happened just last week when Anthony David James contacted us through the WMRC Facebook page. He’s a very talented artist and designer who has created some striking and realistic graffiti designs on model railroad rolling stock.

He is offering them for sale, and he will also do custom design work. He is based in Winnipeg, You can contact him via email at

Friday, March 16, 2018

Watch the Gateway Western Railway in action on Shaw TV's Off the Hook

Garth Bowman, host of Shaw TV's "Off The Hook", just sent us this great You Tube link for the latest episode of his show, which features the WMRC's Gateway Western! The 30 minute show also showcases our own Darryl Audette and his marvelous work as a professional set designer, featuring his work in an upcoming stage production of Frankenstein.

There is also a piece about  Legions Maxximus, Winnipeg's premiere model hobby show, who are having a show this weekend, March 16 through 18, at the #4 Legion Hall, 1755 Portage Avenue. For more information of this great event, go to

The segment on the Gateway features an interview with Gateway Superintendent Gino Kost, interspersed with some great shots of the Gateway's trains in action. You might also recognize a few handsome faces of some of our members operating the railway.

If you're not a Shaw TV subscriber, you can see it right on You Tube by going to:

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Richard Mikolayenko builds a Z scale village

Richard Mikolayenko, an undisputed master of modelling in miniature, brought these five Z scale building kits that he's been working on for our monthly model display at the Winnipeg Model Railroad Club's March meeting, held on March 9. To give you an idea on exactly how small these models are, we placed a dime next to them. Now that's small!

The WMRC holds a regular monthly non-competitive model display at their meetings. All members are invited to bring something they've been working on to display to the club.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Tour California with Cliff Davidson at the Winnipeg Model railroad Club's March meeting

Cliff Davidson, the WMRC's own gregarious, globetrotting, gallivanting gadabout, has just returned from a whirlwind rail fanning tour of southern California, and has prepared a terrific presentation about all of his adventures. The dapper and erudite Cliff, a legendary raconteur among rail fanning circles, is guaranteed to give us a truly memorable presentation at our next meeting!

Cliff's road trip to the sunshine state included such hot rail fan sites as Napa, Lodi, Tehachapi and Caliente, and he's got lots of images and stories to share with us! There are also a few neat Canadian rail fanning scenes that he took along the way. 

We'll also be having a 50/50 draw, our monthly model display, and the canteen will be open!  The fun starts on Friday, March 9 at  7:30 P.M. in the Tank Room at the Charleswood Legion, 6003 Robin Boulevard. Not a member? Not a problem! Guests are always warmly welcomed! Hope to see you all there!

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Take a ride on the Gateway Western Railway

Graham Leathers, son of our longest serving member Norm Leathers, got this neat mini cam, attached it to a flat car and ran it on the Winnipeg Model Railroad Club's Gateway Western Railway! You've to to see it to believe it! It's like taking a ride on the railway itself, and you get to see close up all the great modelling work the club has done!

The Gateway Western Railway is housed in the Winnipeg Railway Museum on the second level of Winnipeg's Via Rail Station and owned and operated jointly by the two organizations. To see this great video, just click here.

Friday, February 23, 2018

John Bate shows how to assemble Fast Track Turnouts at the Winnipeg Model Railroad Club's annual Clinic Carnival

At our annual Clinic Carnival held on February 9, WMRC treasurer John Bate held a fascinating clinic about assembling N gauge Fast Tracks Turnouts. John, who is a master at constructing all things N gauge, put together turnouts at his demonstration table with the greatest of ease!

Friday, February 16, 2018

Ian Plett demonstrates using Decoder Pro and Wi Throttle at Winnipeg Model Raolroad Club's Clinic Carnival

One of the highlights of the WMRC's recent Clinic Carnival held on February 9 was Ian Plett's demonstration on how to use Decoder Pro and Wi Throttle.Ian set up a compact layout complete with a passing siding and a turnout and operated several engines using these hi-tech cutting edge software systems.

Despite the cold weather, the club had a very good turnout for their annual clinic carnival. There were four clinics held, and each one will be showcased on this site in the days to come.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Jason Shron of Rapido Trains will be at Warehouse Hobbies this week

Jason Shron of Rapido Trains will be at Warehouse Hobbies on Thursday, February 15 at 6PM. He will have with him his model of the N gauge Turbo, an HO SW1200RS and an RDC. He may also bring the first pilot model of the CPR Royal Hudson. There also will be an opportunity to place orders for his upcoming items. Warehouse Hobbies is located at 265 Rouge Road.

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

It's time for the WMRC's annual clinic carnival!

Step right up and join us for our annual Clinic Carnival! Once again we have some great clinics held by some of Winnipeg's finest model railroaders. Ian Plett will be demonstrating how to use Decoder Pro and Wi Throttle. Virginia Braun will be holding a clinic on structures. Larry Leavens will show you how to work with styrene, and John Bate will hold a clinic about using Fast Tracks Turnouts.

We'll also be having a 50/50 draw and the canteen will be open! But there will be no model display this month due to the Clinic Carnival. The fun starts on Friday, February 9 at  7:30 P.M. in the Tank Room at the Charleswood Legion, 6003 Robin Boulevard. Not a member? Not a problem! Guests are always warmly welcomed! Hope to see you all there!

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Toad Hall Toys scales back its model railroad section

Toad Mountain, an HO model railroad display at Toad Hall Toys created by WMRC member Darryl Audette, will be dismantled later this month.

Toad Hall Toys has announced in their monthly email that they are scaling back their model railroad section. 
   The message states,"Having no resident expert and a change in buying patterns for those that love the hobby of model trains, we have made the decision to shrink this area and concentrate on the beginning train model enthusiast for sets, with a small selection of rolling stock and engines. We will be concentrating on accessories and scratch model building supplies, as they cross over to plastic modelling, miniatures, architectural models and more."

Toad Hall Toys had recently discontinued carrying O gauge trains and equipment.  The model railroad display known as Toad Mountain, which was built by WMRC member Darryl Audette, will be taken down this month. 

Monday, January 29, 2018

Watch the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway in action

Former Winnipeg Free Press reporter Manfred Jager sent us this video of the end of season parade of Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway, which is a 15" gauge light railway in Kent, England, operating steam and internal combustion locomotives. The size is very unique, as it's 1/3 scale, which is larger than the Assiniboine Valley Railway, but smaller than prototype.

The railway has been in operation for 90 years, and  has 13 1/2 miles of track and four stations. They also have a model railway exhibition, a 1940's museum and a kid's play park. You can view the video at

Monday, January 22, 2018

Winter rail fanning with Felix Lesiuk

By Felix Lesiuk

Louis Lenz and I headed west for the first time in 2018. Finally got a break from the deep freeze. The forecast for the weather was calling for a mild day with partly sunny skies.

It was a mild day but it was mostly cloudy. After I picked up Lou, we headed out along Wilkes Avenue heading out of town. We caught a bunch of CN trains including two parked east bounds waiting to head into Winnipeg.  It was looking promising!  We headed north and followed CP out to Portage la Prairie but only saw some maintenance crews around.

Just past Austin, we headed out to follow CN. The farther west we went the more we realized CN was having issues. Other one moving westbound everything was parked in sidings and on the mainline. CN was a giant parking lot! We got as far as Moffat and saw a parked oil train there.

We decided not to sit around and stare at empty track and headed south to try our luck with CP, but we saw nothing there as well.  Headed to Portage la Prairie, nothing in town. Closer to Winnipeg around Elie, CN finally started to unplug the drain. We saw a few in the fading daylight. Too bad it wasn't summer, with a longer day we would have sat at Elie and probably caught a ton of backed up trains.