Below are model train photos taken on layout tours during the National Model Railroad Association's (NMRA) Niagara Frontier Region (NFR) "Bytown Bobber" April, 2008 convention in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
Ottawa is Canada's capital and was once known as Bytown. A Bobber is a short 4-axle caboose. There are some incredible model railroads around Ottawa and across the river in Hull and Aylmer, Quebec.
There used to be a wonderful tourist railroad that operated from Ottawa to Wakefield where engines are turned on an "Armstrong" turntable, ie, by hand. This was a very pretty excursion during the autumn when the leaves are turning into the bright reds, yellows and browns. The railroad was shut down after a wash-out.
I've tried to capture the essence of these layouts in these model train photos. There are lots of creative ideas here and, as you'll see, excellent modelling.
One doesn't have much opportunity to plan the shots because you're crowded in with other modellers and time is limited. I have much greater respect for cameramen who take pictures for a living. If you would like to improve your digital photography you might like to check out this site by professional photographer, Tony Pages: Take Better Digital Pictures.
Someone must have been doing clinics on backdrop painting because many of the layouts have hand-painted murals, often directly on the walls. I've put a few other background photos on the Scenery Backdrop page.
Those of you interested in benchwork ideas will find several photos on the Benchwork page including model train photos of a sector plate, transfer table and sliding storage drawer. More model railroad pictures, both model and prototype, can be accessed at Train Photos Overview .
My apologies if I've mixed up who owns which railroad. I think I've gotten them right. If you should spot an error, please go to my Contact page and send me an email.
Click on the thumbnails for a larger view.
You may have seen Michel's layout in Railroad Model Craftsman. The layout depicts operations in 1975 on the Delaware & Hudson's Adirondack Branch in New York State. The railroad goes from Saratoga to North Creek with an extension to Sanford Lake. The layout runs 80 feet along the walls with open staging. Convention notes explained that the length of the mainline is 221 linear feet. Track is Code 100 and the power system is Lenz DCC. Operation is by car cards, dispatcher, a telephone system, and fast clock with a typical operating crew of 4 to 8. The backdrop is painted on the wall. You'll notice that Michel uses a "window box" style of valence and fascia. This is very effective in focusing your attention on the scenes.
Click on the thumbnails for a larger view of these model train photos.
Below are model train photos from Bill Scobie's impressive layout. This SN3 layout is 30 X 50 feet and the effect when you enter the room is spectacular. You immediately are presented with sound-equipped RGS locomotives struggling up the line with freight cars in tow. Bill models 66 miles of the RGS from Ridgeway and the interchange with the Denver and Rio Grande Western to Rico. The layout includes famous places like Placerville, the Vanadium mining complex, Vance Junction, Pandora, Lizard Head and it's wye under a snowshed, Telleride, Ophir and Rico. Scenery rises to touch the ceiling. It's the summer of 1940. The mainline is 500 feet. Power system is Lenz DCC with sound and operation is by Rail Op.
These model train photos were taken on Fernand Leroux's HO-scale model railroad. This pike recalls Fernand's roots growing up in Iroquois Falls, Ontario. The railroad's 100-foot mainline runs from Iroquois Falls through Ansonville, Porquis Jct. and Nellie Lake to North Bay. Buildings reflect the protype such as the Abitibi paper plant. Benchwork is modular. The backdrop is hand-painted on 1/8" Masonite hardboard. Track is Atlas flextrack. The layout is DCC-powered and operation is with car cards and waybills with 1 to 3 operators.
Chris Lyon freelanced HO-scale layout is modern in theme and depicts BNSF/CN operations from Shelby, Montana to Edmonton, Alberta. The layout has a continuous loop, 80-foot double-track mainline on Peco Code 75 track laid on cork carpet underlay.
Note his creative backdrop painting techniques. This was a new layout following Chris's move to Ottawa so was still a work-in-progress although most track was in place and scenery was well underway in 2008. I hope to return. His Friday Night Group can move a lot of tonnage!
This is a 28 X 14 foot HO-scale layout representing this CPR subdivision and a piece of the B&M's Connecticut River Line in 1956. The railroad runs from Newport, Vermont to White River Junction, Vermont. The Canadian Pacific Railway has owned the line since 1946. Dave has set the time period as October, 1956 when the autumn foliage is at its peak in Vermont. The linear along the walls mainline is 80 feet. The backdrop is painted on the walls and on free-standing Masonite hardboard. Power in 2008 was DC with six cabs. An operating crew of 5 to 7 worked with a timetable, car cards and waybills, a dispatcher, radios and a fast clock.
I've put several model train photos of his backdrop painting technique in my Scenery Backdrop page.
The main focus of Chuck's mid-70s railroad is the CP yard in Vancouver, British Columbia that acts as a redistribution center and interchange with BNSF and BC Rail. The 15 X 28 foot layout is point to point with a semi-hidden loop for open houses. Chuck used the "domino" approach for building benchwork.
The backdrop is painted on the walls. Staging is hidden in an adjacent room. Chuck uses Digitrax DCC and operates with car cards. The layout accommodates a crew of 5-6.
Tom's 70 X 28 foot HO-scale railroad is amazing. Steam is king in the summer of 1948. According to the convention notes Tom had his contractor building his house dig out below the garage to extend the basement area. This area now houses a huge passenger terminal and engine servicing area. Photos are below.
The layout combines single and double-deck construction. The scenery is superb. I have included a photo of a marsh his friend Carl Swail created along the mainline. The mainline is so long an operator can spend the entire evening handling one train. All the 130 turnouts are hand-laid code 70.
Lenz DCC with sound-equipped locomotives and the Rail Op system for operation can keep six or more model railroaders busy all evening without bumping into each other. I think you'll enjoy looking at these model train photos of Tom's railroad.
This branchline serves Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec, the bordering province. The period is the 1990s and the prototype would be the Canadian Pacific and Ottawa Central railways. The single level dogbone has brachlines and interchanges. Don's HO-scale layout is 10 X 16 feet. The background is painted on Masonite hardboard. Scenery work is partially completed. Control is by Northcoast Engineering DCC with wireless cabs. The layout operates with 4-6 man crews.
I only managed a few photos. Hopefully I'll get a second chance in the future.
Here are model train photos of an incredible OO (4 mm to the foot, slightly larger than HO-scale) British-style layout.
What is particularly fascinating is that the layout features continuous automated running of trains on seven loops. The computer-controlled DCC system allows more than one train at a time on any of the loops. Trains start, stop at stations and signals, and speed around the layout all by themselves.
You can watch progress on TV screens from a couch in front of a console or even watch a movie playing on the screen at an outdoor drive-in theatre!
Some locomotives have onboard color video cameras. Trains include some of the best-known from the region such as The Flying Scotsman. There is even a return loop area (see below) that is modeled after the Hogsmeade Station where Harry Potter disembarks for Hogswart School.
The layout is fully scenicked, illuminated, and peopled. You can hear them talking! The layout is controlled with Zimo DCC with occupancy detection.
The goods yard in the center of the layout is manually operated and includes a self-indexing Fleischmann turntable and a DCC driven Heljan container crane. To top it off, the room is completely finished and framed in stained hardwood. It's a showpiece.
John's 23 X 43 foot HO-scale layout is based on New York Central (NYC), Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O) and the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) in the 1950s. The locale is Detroit, Michigan to St. Thomas, Ontario. Areas represented include the Detroit passenger terminal, the Detroit River Tunnel, Leamington, Chatham and St. Thomas, Ontario. Toronto to the east is handled by staging.
Trackwork ranges from Microengineering Code 55, 70 and 83 to Atlas 83 and 100 in staging. The mainline is over 180 feet with 50 feet of staging and 90 feet in a double-track helix to the upper level. The backdrop is painted Masonite hardboard and includes printed backdrops as well. Power is by Digitrax DCC and operations are handled by ProTrak computerized switchlists. The operating drew is 8 to 12.
Here's a sampling of model train photos from this magnificent model railroad.
I didn't get to see all the layouts on the tour so I'm sure I missed some good model train photos. If you've never gone on a layout tour it is a very enjoyable excursion. Seeing such beautifully constructed layouts will get your creative juices flowing and encourage you to improve your own layout. Plan to attend a tour or a convention in your area. You won't regret it.
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