50 years of loving trains
My Muskoka Tour Home Page.
Welcome to my Muskoka Tour Home Page. This is a gathering place for a taste of what could be seen on the layout tour in the Muskoka region, about two hours north of Toronto, Canada. The 8th annual tour was held on Sunday, September 30, 2012. The weather was pleasant and the autumn colors were in full bloom throughout the Muskoka region. The leaves can be awesome when the sun is shining. The area is alive with some terrific model railroads, both club and personal layouts, and there are many spectacular model railroads in many scales. Many members belong to the Niagara Frontier Region NFR) of the National Model Railroad Association (NMRA) and/or the Canadian Association of Railway Modellers (CARM). We even have some Master Model Railroaders (MMRs) in the region, such as Al Crisp (MMR 430) and John Brown (MMR 449). Both of their layouts were on the tour again.This year there were 22 layouts on display between Tottenham in the south to Huntsville in the northern part of the region. There were layouts in N, OO, HO, ON30, O, G and 7 1/2" live steam.
I visited layouts in the southern tier of the region that I hadn't videotaped before or hadn't visited for a few years. Here's a sampling. I revisited John and Laura Spring's extensive 20' x 30' HO layout that features TH & B equipment running on three levels. There are 8 yards, 2 helixes, a 28 stall roundhouse and steam and diesel power operated with DCC. The video also shows engine 51 on Dave Smith's ON30 Ontario & Eastern, Roger Hauka's Muskoka Regional Railroad with a motorized bascule bridge for entry, and John Clark's Blackhorse Junction Railroad that is a 1940s style layout with a terrific logging camp and bridges reminiscent of John Allen's Gorre & and Daphetid.
Photos of the Spring's layout
Photos of Dave Smith's ON30 layout
Photos from Peter Hocking's railroad
Peter makes great trees and demonstrates his techniques at the NMRA clinic at Trainfest in Milwaukee. He has some wonderful detailed scenes on his 7 x 16 foot HO layout. Click on the thumbnails for a larger view.
Here's a taste of some of the model railroads visited during past tours that were also on this year's 8th annual Muskoka Tour.. For the first time a live steam railroad was on the tour. It's in Craighurst, near Barrie. I had the opportunity to ride it and will post a video. Here's a short preview from an earlier video that was given to me.
Take a ride through the woods
I boarded Ambrose's train at his station platform for a 2500 foot ride through the woods on his property. Come on along.
Use the links on this page to previous tours or to layouts I have visited that will be on the tour this year. Some of the hosts have sent me some photos. I've put them here.
Muskoka Regional Railroad of Roger Hauka
To see photos of Roger Hauka's layout, go to the Muskoka Regional Railroad.
John Brown's HO layout
This is a beautiful layout that is 98% scenicked (is a model railroad ever truly finished?). John Brown's "coal country" HO layout features the Chesapeake & Ohio and Virginian with many scratchbuilt scenes based on real locations. There is also a third Ontario-themed railway, the Waubaushene Central. John usually operates with a dozen operators using a car card system. One removable section featuring a car float operation is often displayed at train shows in Ontario, Canada. The 22 x 26 foot layout is located north of Toronto near Coldwater and Waubaushene on Georgian Bay.
John's other hobby is rebuilding and running his track inspection "speeders" on prototype railroads. I've included a photo here.
For some still photos for closer study and a video tour, go to John Brown's layout.
John's HO model railroad was featured during the Muskoka Tour, September 30, 2012.\
Ken Bartlett's Algoma Central Railway
Ken sent me some photos of his layout that will be on the tour. Ken says he started building the HO layout in 2001. The era is the 50s. It is a continuous run DC layout with two helixes. (ken is contemplating changing to DCC.) He built the Agawa canyon from books and pictures. The Agawa station was only a white sectional house in the 50s. The canyon lodge is visible in the back left of that photo. There is a photo of the Montreal River trestle with the hydro dam below. The next photo location is now known as Bear Lake hunt camp and Bear Lake trail. Back in the 50s it was known as Paddy's cabin and Paddy's trail. There is also a photo of the south end of the canyon where Bridal Veil falls is located. Another photo is of Ken's model of the Hawk Jct. station and maintenance yard. The ore plant is the Wawa sinter ore plant. The ore was shipped from the Helen mine and is changed into ore pellets. Ken has also modelled the Sault Ste. Marie steel mill. There's also a photo of a train climbing out of the canyon and another photo of the canyon and trails. You should try to visit Ken's layout during the tour. It is well worth a visit to see what he has accomplished. Click on the thumbnails for a larger view.
Bill Smith's G Scale Layout
Bill told me he started rebuilding his layout in the Spring of 2009 after moving from Vankoughnet near Bracebridge to Beaver Ridge Estates mobile home park south of Gravenhurst. He built the railroad on a pad of pressure treated 2 X 6 inch lumber and a roadbed of plywood instead of crushed gravel. For those building garden railroads Bill noted that this method has had minimal effect from winter frost greatly reducing maintenance. He has about 300 feet of track. There is a Muskoka style downtown, a rural commercial/industrial area, and new this year, a plywood lake. The 7 X 15 foot lake is pictured below. The lake is bordered by a 2-storey Bed & Breakfast hotel, cottages, and a model of the steamship Segwun that cruises these waters. The model is scaled down, otherwise it would be 8 feet long! Bill cleverly installed an island between the scale model buildings to fool the eye. There is also a scene reminiscent of the early 1900s with a steam loco on the wharf at Gravenhurst.
Bill operates with three LGB locomotives: One steam and two diesels. Three other locos are parked on dead tracks for effect. The railroad is under three large pine trees and is surrounded by gardens Bill's wife looks after. Visitors often enjoy the gardens as much as the trains making this a true garden railroad.
Here are a few scenes from Bill's G scale outdoor railroad that he sent to me. Visit it on the Muskoka Tour.
If you missed the Muskoka Tour this year try to include it in your agenda for next autumn. It's worth the effort. I and Gary Robinson, fellow member of our Nottawasaga Model Railway Club skipped the Brampton Train Show on Sunday so we could do the tour. We worked the show on Saturday. I'll also be posting some photos and videos from that show as soon as I can get them organized. For more information about the Niagara Frontier Region and upcoming events go to the nfr website.
Here's the video I took on the 2011 Muskoka Tour.
See the 2009 Muskoka Tour.
A look at an operating session on Al Crisp's layout.
Go from "muskoka-tour" to my Train Photos overview link page.
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