Al Crisp, master model railroader (MMR 430) in our Ontario region of the NMRA, has a terrific CPR HO layout set in the rocky wilds north of Lake Superior. He follows Canadian Pacific operating procedures complete with handwritten shipping lists. The model railway is run with colour-coded wireless DC throttles (not DCC) and rotary switches control the blocks. The railway is a lot of fun to operate. It takes at least a dozen people to run it efficiently (ha, ha!). One of my favourite trains is the 'turn' at Milligan Jct where it really takes all your wits to get the engine on the opposite end of the train with the van at the tail end. It takes two people to run the major yard at Great White and the learning curve to set the rotaries and the turnouts can be daunting. It's not uncommon to sit around drinking coffee and eating donuts on a Sunday afternoon while waiting for clearance to proceed. We can move a lot of tonnage in 3 or 4 hours when all goes well.
l asked me to take a new model railway video of the layout in January 2015 as there have been a number of upgrades since the previous videos I did in previous years. Much of the ongoing construction involves additions to the paper mill complex in Spadina. Ron Colpitts recently added a wonderful big wood pile. The other buildings are coming along nicely. The railway operates with live loads so we have to be very careful not to derail and spill the hoppers' contents all over the layout.
Wednesday afternoons are maintenance and construction periods. I took my video camera over to Al's and we set up and ran a through freight over the entire railway. We limited the switching to putting on the assigned van and diesel road engines, set up a passenger train meet at Somerset, and ran a short ore train up to Echo Valley. Al is still installing the catenary on that branchline so we had to use a diesel switcher.
Follow along for a model railway video of the Great White North.
Al's layout is a highlight of the annual Muskoka Tour in September. It is worth a visit. My earlier model railway videos can be found on my train videos page.
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