Links on this page
The most recent updates are at the top of the page
June 29, 2018 - The layout has been running well for almost two years. Pictures are long overdue. Most recently Kurt Vollenwyder designed automatic switching with sensors at both loops to allow for continuous running. It will also help with operations if someone forgets to set a turnout correctly for the next move. Lots of buildings and scenic details have been acquired, many as stand-ins until I can build proper models. Scenery will come once everything is working smoothly with multiple operators. I will try and get some pictures posted soon.
August 24, 2016 - The track is installed and wiring has begun. We have had two wiring work bees and a third one scheduled next week. Thanks to Kurt Vollenwyder who has spent hours working on the schematic and helping with the installation. The electrics will be rock solid when we are done. Thanks to Kurt Vollenwyder, Bob Farquhar, Andrew Taylor, Tim and Jeremiah Kuhlmann, Michael Pasch, Raul Cirne, Mark Collier, Michael Nicoll-Griffith and Bill Kelly for all their help with the wiring. See the August 24, 2016 Update for some pictures.
4, 2016 - I've installed most of the cork and track. The
Oxford Sub (Granton / Abercrombie) still needs to have some of the track work
designed as well as the Pictou Landing Sub. I was able to reuse a lot of
the track and turnouts from the previous layout. The next tasks are
finishing the track design / work on the Oxford Sub and Pictou Landing and then
begin the wiring.
9, 2016 - I've had a couple of work sessions and done some
things on my own in recent weeks. All of the foam in now installed and
painted as is the fascia. Thanks to Robert Peck. Ron Snipe, Bob Farquhar,
Andrew Taylor and Michael Pasch for their help on April 27th. Michael
worked away on installing cork and track in the Stellarton yard. We have
another work session coming up soon to get the rest of the risers installed and
draw some centerlines for the curves.
January 15, 2016 - We had another work session in January. Thanks to Rob Peck, Mark Collier, Grant Ledrew and Ron Snipe for helping to build more of the bench work. Rob also assisted with some centre lines for the wye at Stellarton. We decided that it was not going to be easy to re-use the remaining pieces of steel from the previous layout, so I took them to the metal recycling depot. The remaining section of the bottom deck should be completed at the next session in February. The connections to the top deck will be built after the inclines and levels have been determined with the lower section. See the January 15, 2016 Update for some pictures. The next work bee will be building the rest of the benchwork.
December 30, 2015 - I have had a few days of holidays between Christmas and New Year's so I have spent some time doing some things on my own. All of the foam or gator board has been placed on the existing benchwork. I have painted it all black as I find it a good base to work from. I purchased the fascia board with a Christmas gift card and have secured it to the lower level. I painted it a maroon colour using some very nice and inexpensive recycled paint from Rona. I am happy with how the colour looks on the layout. My plan is to now lay some cork and track to at least have the ability to run some trains. See the December 30, 2015 Update for some pictures. The next work bee will be building the rest of the benchwork.
November 7, 2015 - It's been a busy fall so this is the first chance to get back at the railroad for our fourth work bee on the benchwork. Robert Peck and Kevin Lougheed were joined by Grant Ledrew as we got all the portals cut into the walls and built the first peninsula for the Abercrombie Spur. See the November 7, 2015 Update for some pictures. Two more work bees should complete the bench work.
August 26, 2015 - Third work bee on the benchwork. We completed the benchwork for the staging area on both levels, bracing both levels. The benchwork for loops on the other side of staging were completed and we put the first of six holes in the wall for the trains to go through. We added a few more sections to the benchwork in the main train room and put up the only part of the old layout that was saved, the foam and the cork from the Stellarton yard. At the end of the session we hooked up the Lenz DCC system to 9 feet of track and ran a short train back and forth with two different Rapido engines, a VIA FPA4 and a CN GMD-1. Thanks to Rob Peck, Michael Pasch, Dustin Pasch, Tim Kuhlmann and Mark Collier for helping out. 14 year old Dustin did a great deal of the work on the loops at both sessions so we are calling it the Dustin Loop. See the August 26, 2015 Update for some pictures.
July 9, 2015 - Second work bee on the benchwork. We got the benchwork for both levels of the staging completed and the first section in the main train room as well as the top level loop. Thanks to Bill Kelly, Rob Peck, Ron Snippe, Michael Pasch, Dustin Pasch, John Licharson, Doug Burrell and Grant Ledrew for helping out. See the July 9, 2015 Update for some pictures.
June 18, 2015 - The new layout has begun! See June 18, 2015 Update for some pictures and the Layout Track Plan for the new design. Thanks to Robert Peck, Warren Thwing and Grant Ledrew for helping get the upper deck benchwork in. Next work day will be in July.
UPDATES BELOW THIS LINE ARE FROM THE OLD LAYOUT
December 2, 2014 - The layout has been completely dismantled in preparation for a move in the spring of 2015. A new layout will be designed for the new space. At this point, I am still planning to follow the same prototype.
May 31, 2014 - I hosted another operating session. Robert Peck helped with the operating scheme and I think I have a much better scheme to keep 5 operators busy. I know that I need to post some pictures because there have been some changes and additions since the last time I posted pictures. I'll try and do that this month. I hope to get another operating session in before long.
April 10, 2014 - I've been working away at all sorts of things, including the harbour scene at Pictou Landing and other parts of the layout. Mike Venables was over yesterday and we placed is small video camera on the front of a flatcar and pushed it around the layout with an S-4 and C630. It's kind of fun to see the layout from the engineer's perspective.
May 22, 2012 - It's been a while since I have updated this site. I have been working away at small things including caulking all of the gaps between the facia and the foam as well as filling in all of the large gaps around the curves of the edge of the layout. I have plastered over the last visible remnants of the gate which never was at New Glasgow. This means that most of the layout is finally ready for ballasting.
In early January I had my first operating session with Simon Langan, Graeme Cook, and Robert Peck. We came up with some minor fixes as well as some better operating ideas. The identified issues have been fixed.
I've acquired a few new pieces of rolling stock including more coal hoppers to allow coal delivery to the coal fired power station at Point Tupper as well as supplying coal to the kiln at Lafarge in Brookfield. I am working on a summer excursion train to take people from Stellarton to Pictou Landing. I've acquired a lot of HO people to fill up the cars.
I'll post some pictures soon.
January 3, 2011 - I decided to work on some buildings at the Michelin plant over the holidays to try and complete one scene. It is by no means complete but most of the buildings are now in place. The new buildings are built from the Walthers Magic Bakery" kit (a Christmas gift from my wife) and the Armstrong Motors background buildings. The tanks and piping were quite challenging but they eventually got done. I may paint some of these buildings later when I have access to a air brush. For the moment I'm pretty happy with how they look and where they sit. I have painted the bridges that were built in December and they are ready to have the girders put on them once I decide on abutments.
See the January 3, 2011 Update Page for pictures of some of the Michelin plant.
December 12, 2010 - I got very little done on the railroad in the summer and fall. Now that the lousy weather is here, it's time to get back to the basement world. I've built a few buildings, painted some track and thanks to some more wonderful help from Eric Halpin I have the gatorboard in for the three bridges on the layout. All of these bridges are over other track so I am following the prototype practice of ballasted bridges over roads and tracks. I am going to work on the bridges over the holidays and then schedule a testing / operating session in January before I start ballasting and scenicing the centre section
See the December 12, 2010 Update Page for pictures of some of the progress.
March 31, 2010 - Thanks to some great help from Eric Halpin and Simon Langan, I have been able to get some ballasting and scenic work done at Granton and Abercrombie. I've painted most of the track and ties on the Pictou Landing Branch and it will be next for ballasting. I found the ballast I used in Granton to be to "sand like," but Simon has some ideas to get the shiny pieces out. I've switched to the more expensive Woodland Scenics Medium Gray Ballast for the rest of the layout. I'm making my own mix for some of the sections that has a little bit of fine and some of the two colour ballast.
See the March 31, 2010 Update Page for pictures of some of the progress.
March 12, 2010 - I've been working on painting ties and track in Granton and Abercrombie. The painting is all done in those areas and I have started ballasting. I'm using Pollyscale Roof Brown for the mainline track and Pollyscale DRG&W Building Brown for sidings. Ties are being painted with Pollyscale Grimy Black. There's nothing too much to take pictures of, but when there is, I will post some.
February 20, 2010 - It's been ages since I have worked on the railroad. I'm finally back at it thanks to some unexpected time off. I've added some buildings and been perfecting the track work. This past week has been mostly cleaning and quality control. I ballasted a short section to see how the track colour looked. It's a little too rusty, so I am going to change the colour. I am happy with the grimy black colour of the ties. I also added another track at the Michelin plant as well as some tanks. This track at the plant is actually a wye, but here it will simply represent that and will add a switching challenge. I'm going to paint the track and finish the ballasting at the Michelin plant this week.
See the February 22, 2010 Update Page for pictures of some of the progress.
September 14, 2008 - The phase 3 trackwork is all in and is a little different from the plan. It is designed so that a loop at either end of the staging could one day be put in. At the moment, I have kept the current loop in and will use it only to show off trains to guests. This coming week I hope to get all the wiring done. Phase 3 will be a separate block powered by a Lenz booster.
For operations, the layout will now be point to point. Possible future phases include the addition of loops at the end of staging and turning around Stellarton yard to get rid of the duck under. I have not decided whether or not I will do either. I would like to get to work on scenery, painting track and ballasting before any further expansions are undertaken.
See September 14 Update Page for pictures of the track work.
July 20, 2008 - The phase 3 benchwork is up, the plumber has re-arranged the piping to have most of it hidden below the benchwork, the styrofoam is on an painted and the fascia is up and painted as well. Pictures are posted on the July 20 Update Page. Thanks to Matt Kydd, and Robert Peck for also helping with this phase.
July 1, 2008 - I made some changes to the plans and have now decided that it is going to be too complicated to do North Sydney and the ferry in the space I have. The space that was to be North Sydney will now be outside of Truro and will be D.C. Trueman Lumber (formerly Riversdale Lumber).
I have started putting up the bench work to phase 3 and hope to complete it by the weekend. Thanks to my brother in law, Peter Frise and my wife, Lisa, for helping me put together the bench work.
My plan is to have the tracks end at two levels of staging, one for Truro, one for Sydney. The loop around the hot water tank will happen and a phase 3 1/2.
I have started to paint some track in preparation for ballasting on the other sections. Some more structures have gone up and lots more to come.
Pictures will posted when the bench work is up.
April 12, 2008 - The carpet is in, the walls are painted. I am working on a track plan at the moment including a possible Phase 4 which will take out the duck under. I will involve turning around the Stellarton yard portion, which should be reasonably easy because of the modular nature of the steel benchwork. Here is a track plan which shows Phase 3 and the completed Phase 2. The phase three will actually look quite different from this plan having a loop at both ends rather than connecting the two ends. Also, the North Sydney yard will be moved further out to allow for better operating. Truro Yard may me on another level. I will post a revised plan when it is completed. A plan with Phase 4 will be coming quite a bit later because there are some issues to work out on it.
February 25, 2008 - The electrical panel is framed in and the expansion area has been painted in the sky blue colour of the rest of the layout. Carpet will likely go in today. I'll need to get a friend to help with the drop ceiling some time in the next few weeks.
February 19, 2008 - I have been working away at preparing the space for Phase 3. My neighbour, Luc, helped me to frame in the electrical panel and build doors for it. I have purchased carpet and underpad for this phase and my plumber has moved around some of the plumbing to make the expansion work. My friend, Steve Adamson, who has helped me with my track planning will be coming by in a few weeks to help me develop a plan for this phase and put it into XTrack Cad to make sure it will work.
I will be using an idea from an early 1970's Model Railroader Magazine project Layout (The Kinnickinnic Railway and Dock Co.) for my Newfoundland Ferry at North Sydney that will have a hidden track to hold 20-30 cars with a static ferry that will allow cars to be sent off to Newfoundland and return. I have a track plan from another MR layout (The Arven Bay Terminal RR) that should work for North Sydney
I spent Sunday afternoon and Family Day moving my work bench to my office and finishing off the box around the electrical panel. I need to paint the area, carpet and then finish the drop ceiling and lighting. Hopefully with a workable track plan, I can actually put up bench work later in March. Here FINALLY are some pictures.
November 26, 2007 - Have not had too much time to work on the layout. I need to wire and put tortoises on a few of the turnouts then phase and one and two and ready to be ballasted. Phase 3 is in the preparation stages. I will be building a cabinet around the electrical panel and do some minor plumbing changes in order to prepare the space for phase three. That should be completed by the end of the week. Following that the wall needs to be patched, primed and painted. The ceiling and lighting will then be put in, carpeting put down. Hopefully by that time I will have a track plan completed to prepare for benchwork to go up up sometime in the new year.
October 14, 2007 - Have been so busy at the church that I have done little more than operate the railroad for some R&R. Yesterday we moved the concrete dealer to New Glasgow. It is now Inter Supply Ltd. Ready Mix Concrete. They had a private siding in 1978. I don't believe they are around any more. The old Casey Concrete track has now become Superior Propane as the propane dealer was in Trenton. Also added an engine servicing track in the Stellarton yard. I have a few electrical issues to work out in the Shinohara turnouts and then I think I will be ready to start ballasting. Hopefully a work party will happen in November to begin Phase 3.August 24, 2007 - Have been operating for just over a week. Seems to be working well. Thanks to a suggestion of Robert's, staging will be at the end of Phase 3 with two tracks going to staging, one for the Hopewell / Sydney subdivision ending at staging in Sydney and the other the Hopewell subdivision ending at staging in Truro. This will allow for a much longer continuous loop as well as substantially more main line running. Current staging will become Antigonish and the track will be turned to continue out to the staging at the end of Phase 3. I will add a ferry terminal for North Sydney on this line. The other track going to Truro will have D.C. Trueman Lumber as an industry representing Riversdale Lumber.
August 14, 2007 - Wiring is completed and working. Will try operating it for a few days to see how it all works. Pictures soon.
August 13, 2007 - Track and expressnet are in at Pictou Landing. Wiring should be completed in the next few days and then I will try operating the layout with the car cards and way bills I have created. Cleaned out much of the main train room to allow for a 28 ft. extension to Truro. Railway is still negotiating for the newly cleared land. Pictures of Pictou Landing will be coming soon.
July 19, 2007 - Completed the bench work and foam top for the Pictou Landing Branch, put up the masonite and painted it. Pictou Landing historian, Fergy McKay, provided me with some great photos of Pictou Landing. We have tried to recreate it. Here are some pictures of the Pictou Landing Branch and the promised pictures from a couple weeks ago. No cork or track has been laid, although Robert Peck helped develop a plan for that. Should be in sometime in the next couple of weeks.
July 2, 2007 - Decided to purchase a way bill making system from Albion Software called Ship It! Car Cards. I have input all the information in the trial version and am waiting for the full version via E-mail. Implemented one of the ideas from the NMRA visit so that I can manually move the turnouts in staging from Stellarton yard. Works great. Pictures coming soon. Added an 8 foot track along the back wall that will eventually lead to Phase 3 (Hopewell sub to Truro). In the meantime it gives me some hidden storage tracks and extra staging. This month I plan on trying out some operations to see if the current track work is sufficient or needs changing. I also plan on working on some of the buildings.
May 26, 2007 - Track is through the walls. The Merrickville Model Railroad Club helped me switch offices with my wife so that we could run trains through. I have Abercrombie (Scott Paper) track in and wired with a Throttle connection. We are also through the wall on the way to Pictou Landing, but I need to completely re-work Pictou Landing and decide on what is going to be switched there. The NMRA, St. Lawrence Division visited today. They are a great bunch of people and I have learned lots from there this past year. They were very encouraging and had some great suggestions today. Here are some pictures of some of the changes.
May 8, 2007 - Track is in to Granton now as is the sidings to Tibbett's Paints in Trenton and Sobey's in
Stellarton. The NMRA St. Lawrence Division is visiting on May 26, so I am rushing to get some things done. Trenton Works now has a second building and Sobey's warehouse has a building. Tibbett's Paints is taped together and will be assembled soon. Have acquired quite a few freight cars in the past few months and set up a card system based on the model taught to me by Michel Boucher and his
Delaware and Hudson Adirondack Branch Layout. I will post pictures of some of these changes
soon. I have re-written the web page for Michel Boucher's layout.
Feb 9, 2007 - I got my new Lenz system from
TLA Custom Hobbies in Wilton,
ON. It has been working flawlessly. Some problems I was having with a QSI chip are non-existent with this system. Next step is to finish the industry tracks in Stellarton
(Sobey's), and in New Glasgow (Maritime Foundry, Tibbett's Paints). After that Granton (Michelin) needs to be laid. After that the bridges need to be finished and then I begin fine tuning the track work before ballasting. Sold my Digitrax system.
June 17, 2006 - track was penciled out on benchwork and Woodland Scenics 2% grade was added as well as the cork in the staging yards and Stellarton. See pictures here. Thanks to some great members of the Merrickville Model Railroad Club, Robert Peck, Thomas Gray and Ian Hunter we got a lot done today. Next stage is getting the gate built, and the rest of the track penciled out and then track laid.
In the summer of
2006 I was able to spend a day with Pictou Landing historian, Fergy
McKay. He is working on a great book about Pictou Landing and loaned
some chapters of it's railway history. Some his pictures will help with
the design of Pictou Landing.