Saturday, July 24, 2021

The WInnipeg Railway Museum and the Gateway Western Railway are open again

Great news! You can now visit the Winnipeg Railway Museum and view the Winnipeg Model Railroad Club's Gateway Western Railway again! As of Saturday, July 17 the museum will be open seven days a week from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

The Gateway Western Railway, the largest modular HO layout in the province, will be open for viewing. Only members of the WMRC and the Winnipeg Railway Museum are allowed inside the structure that houses the layout. The Gateway's Tuesday operating nights and maintenance sessions are still suspended pending on a decision from Via Rail to have the station open later. 

The museum is located on the second level of the Via Rail station at 123 Main Street. Admission to the museum is $7.00. Seniors get in for $6.00.  Students over 16 years of age with ID get in for $6.00. 

To enter the museum you must show proof that you're fully vaccinated. You also must wear a mask and practice social distancing at all times. Children under 12 years of age are not allowed in the museum at this time.

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Winnipeg Model Railroad Club mourns passing of Vern Gibson

Vern Gibson (right) is pictured with his good friend Hilt Friesen in their store, Elmwood Hobby Works, on the cover of the Sunday Herald in 1999.

Long time WMRC member Vern Gibson passed away on Friday, July 16 at age 89, just short of his 90th birthday in August. He was a resident of Deer Lodge Centre during his final years.

Vern spent most of his working life at the Centennial Concert Hall. He will be fondly remembered by the model railroad community as the founder of Elmwood Hobby Works, which he started in a small section of his good friend Hilt Friesen’s furniture, window treatment and blind shop. Hilt became a co-partner and the shop expanded to take over the entire building.

Vern and Hilt built the business up, providing an excellent stock of model train equipment for all gauges along with great service. Their mail order business was well received by hobbyists across Western Canada. Vern eventually sold his half of the business to Hilt and devoted the rest of his time to his favourite hobby. He and his good friend Marvin Fetch built a spectacular layout in Marvin’s house, which has been featured in several model railroad publications and posts on-line.

Vern was a lifetime member of the NMRA, and he encouraged almost everyone who entered his shop to join. He kept membership forms in a desk drawer right by the cash register. He attended many regional and national conventions, the last one being the 2006 TLR convention held in St. Paul, Minnesota.


Friday, July 09, 2021

CN Portage station makes top 10 endangered structures list for 2021.

This archive photo of the Portage CNR station was taken from the files of the Manitoba Historical Society.

 The CN Portage station has made the  Manitoba Historical Society’s top 10 endangered structures list for 2021. The station was originally built by the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway in 1908. It was later used by CN Rail when the Canadian government took over the bankrupt Grand Trunk Pacific and the Canadian Northern Railway in 1919. Via Rail still uses it as a stop. For many years it was a bus depot used by Greyhound Bus Lines. It was closed  in October 2018, and it is presently vacant.

The Manitoba Historical Society tracks historically significant buildings around the province that they feel deserve to be preserved and better known. For Canada Historic Places Day on Saturday, July 3 2021, they released their annual list of the ten most endangered buildings and other structures, in order from oldest to newest.  To access this list, click here

This image of the CN station, taken from the files of the Manitoba Historical Society, was taken by our own Hilt Friesen sometime in the 1970's.


Saturday, July 03, 2021

Exclusive images of a Loram rail grinding train on the CP main line

Our main man and ace photographer Felix Lesiuk captured these rare images of a Loram maintenance of way rail grinding train in action on the CP mainline this spring. Although he regretted not finding it later in the day when the sunlight would've exposed a shower of sparks, it's still great to see these unique units hard at work. He also took some neat images along the CN line, including a very short Via train. 

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Local rail fanning in Winnipeg presents a plethora of possibilities

Some of our readers have asked about where they can take rail fan photos without having to travel to remote locations hundreds of kilometers out of town. Fortunately, Winnipeg has both the CN and CP main lines running through town, and there are many rail fanning opportunities, all within a short drive.

WMRC social media director Paul Ullrich cycled over to the CP yards last week and took these shots from Jarvis Avenue, the parking lot of the strip mall on McPhillips Street and the aqueduct off of Logan Avenue overlooking the Weston shops. He stayed at a safe distance away from railroad property and used a 25X zoom lens to capture the action. Pleased be advised that the rail lines are private property and take trespassing very seriously. 

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Felix Lesiuk's springtime rail fanning reaps a harvest of great shots

Felix Lesiuk always has had a great eye for the unique rail fanning shot. Pictured above is a coal train coming down the track with a strong wind blowing an enormous cloud of coal dust from the open hoppers. He also captured a unique CP consist featuring a Milwaukee Road passenger car, a bunk car and a converted heavyweight passenger car seen outside of Rosser. He has also taken notice of the proliferation of Union Pacific motive power recently seen on the CP line. 


Saturday, June 12, 2021

The further rail fanning adventures of Felix Lesiuk

We have a backlog of images sent to us by our stalwart, award winning photographer Felix Lesiuk that we're going to run for the next few weeks. These photos were taken in March, but they're very striking, as seen above with this great shot of the snowplow with the pigeons in the foreground. 

He also captured some unique images, such as the CP-BNSF lash-up and a rare blue former Illinois Central CN locomotive. Chasing VIA trains has always been his specialty, and he got some great shots this time around! Felix has won multiple awards for his photography work and was once the club's photo contest chair.

Saturday, June 05, 2021

Five great entries for the Winnipeg Model Railroad Club's annual photo contest's prototype category

 WMRC members Cliff Davidson, Christopher Robinson and Dave Downie submitted these great entries for the club's annual photo contest in the prototype category at our AGM, which was held via Zoom on May 14.

Cliff caught this striking image of a CP lash up at sunset (pictured above). He also took this photo of a CP freight rolling under the overpass at Portage La Prairie (pictured below). WMRC program director Dave Downie submitted photos of a structure in Beacon, New York that he took in 1980. He also sent in this image of the Milwaukee Road's famous observation car when it passed through Portage in 2007. Christopher Robinson submitted this pastoral scene of a turnout at a lakeside. Great work, guys!

Saturday, May 29, 2021

More great photos from the Winnipeg Model Railroad Club's annual photo contest for 2021

Felix Lesiuk submitted this timely and humorous "social distancing" locomotive for the photo contest.

We had such great photos submitted for our annual photo contest that we decided to post more of them! The model contest was held at the club's virtual GM, which was held on Zoom on Friday, May 14. This week we're featuring the model contest entries. 

Felix Lesiuk tickled our funny bone with a "socially distant" BNSF Geep wearing a mask. Christopher Robinson submitted two o=images of his great Algoma Central model work. Cliff Davidson showed us a CP and a Kansas City Southern (soon to be CP?) unit coming out of the same tunnel. Ed Hector sent in a model or a water tower that he's been working on. 

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Winners of Winnipeg Model Railroad Club's 2021 annual photo contest announced

Long time WMRC members Felix Lesiuk and Dave Downie have won the club's annual photo contest for 2021. The winners were announced at the club's AGM, which was held on Zoom on May 14 by photo contest chair Bart Hasslefield. 

Felix, who has served in the past as the club's photo contest chair, won in the prototype category. Felix is a dedicated and talented rail fan photographer, and his images have graced the posts of this blog and the WMRC Facebook page for many years.

Dave won in the model category. Dave is currently the club's program director, which is a position he has held previously. He has also served two separate terms as the club's president.

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Exclusive photos of the Canadian Pacific's 2816 excursion train in 2007


For one of our monthly photo displays this season Dave Downie dug into his files and submitted these images of the legendary CP 2816 excursion train which traveled through Manitoba from Calgary on its way to Milwaukee and Chicago in 2007. 

The trip was sponsored by CP Rail and the Friends of the 261, a Minneapolis based group which has restored and owns the Milwaukee Road's 261 steamer and a fleet of the famous Hiawatha passenger cars.   

The excursion train featured a mixed consist of vintage restored CP and Milwaukee Road passenger cars, including the famous sky top lounge Cedar Rapids observation car.  The 2816 double headed with the 261 from Minneapolis to La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Saturday, May 08, 2021

Draw prizes and a guest speaker featured at Winnipeg Model Railroad Club's virtual AGM

 Draw prizes (not exactly as shown) will be given out at the WMRC's 2021 AGM.

At our virtual Zoom AGM we will have our annual photo contest, awarding of trophies and even door prizes! How are we going to give out door prizes at a Zoom meeting? You'll have to attend to find out!

Our special guest speaker will be the International Plastic Modeller's Society of Winnipeg's President, Peter Kallenbach. Peter will talk about his organization, its history and their meetings. He will also talk about decals and describe some of his favorite techniques for applying decals. The Winnipeg IPMS group have been displaying their fine work at the Manitoba Mega Train shows for many years. 

 The meeting starts at 7:30PM on Friday, May 14. If you are not a member and wish to attend this Zoom meeting, please contact us before the meeting at to receive a link. Guests (even virtual ones) are always warmly welcomed!

Friday, April 30, 2021

Exclusive photos of Ed Mulholland's N gauge layout of northern England

For one of the club's monthly on-line photo displays, WMRC program director Dave Downie submitted three images from Ed Mulholland's spectacular N gauge layout. Ed, a retired school teacher who was born and raised in northern England, painstakingly recreated many scenes of his birthplace in his layout. He fully researched and photographed each structure and scene during his annual trips to his homeland. 

Ed's layout was even featured on CBC Radio (yes, radio) on Ron Robinson's weekend morning show. Sadly, this layout is no more, as Ed decided to switch scales and build an even more spectacular layout in HO gauge.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Assiniboine Valley Railway is being forced to move

The Assiniboine Valley Railway is being forced to move from its present location by October. The 1:8 scale 7.5" gauge railway was founded in 1995 by the late Bill Taylor on his seven acre property in Charleswood. When he died in 2013, the group was allowed to remain on the premises by his widow, Mary-Lou Taylor. No information has been released on whether they will be able to find another location. The railway has been closed to the public since 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions. 

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Take a trip to Europe with Tommy Kuchera's rail fanning photos

Long time WMRC member Tommy Kuchera's rail fanning photos always stand out at the club's monthly photo display. Globe trotting Tommy has an impressive collection of railroad images that he's taken from his many trips overseas, and it's a delightful change of pace from the usual fare of Canadian and American photos that the club receives. 

Pictured above is an image he took of two vintage diesel locomotives from the East Lancashire Railway in the UK.  The East Lancashire Railway is a 12 1/2 mile heritage railway line in northwest England which runs between Heywood in Greater Manchester and Rawtenstall in Lancashire.