Model Train Photos
of the 2008 NMRA NFR
Regional Convention In
Ottawa, Ontario

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.

Michel Boucher's HO scale layout

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.

model train window box yard 1 model train window box yard 2 model train track winding through country
model train paper mill model train town in corner scale model of factory on hill
model train engine terminal servicing model train forest and rocks scene model train lumber mill

Bill Scobie's Rio Grande Southern 

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.

SN3 model train layout overview SN3 layout with RGS20 locomotive SN3 model railroad mine and railway yard
SN3 model railroad camp buildings SN3 model train mine on hillside SN3 model train snowplow
SN3 model train mine on curve

Fernand Leroux's Ontario Northland Railway

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.

HO-scale model train layout town scene HO-scale model train layout Nellie Lake HO-scale model train layout industries
HO-scale model train Iroquois Falls HO-scale model train Abitibi paper plant HO-scale model train Ontario Northland layout
HO-scale model train trestles HO-scale model train rock quarry

Chris Lyon's "The Lyon Valley Northern"

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!

modern HO-scale layout container yard modern HO-scale layout grain terminal modern HO-scale layout grain silos
modern HO-scale Safeway building modern HO-scale layout coal mine modern HO-scale layout oil storage tanks

Dave Primeau's CPR Lyndonville Subdivision

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.

model trains autumn scene model trains autumn village model trains autumn town scene

Chuck Larabie's CP yard in Vancouver

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.

model train point to point layout model train point to point layout coop building model train point to point layout factory

Tom Hood's Canadian Northern Railway

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.

HO-scale large model railroad peninsula HO-scale large model railroad passenger terminal HO-scale large model railroad locomotive servicing
HO-scale large model railroad city HO-scale large model railroad HO-scale large model railroad country scene
HO-scale large model railroad ice building HO-scale large model railroad factory with oil tanks HO-scale large model railroad highway overpass
HO-scale large model railroad corner scene HO-scale large model railroad steel trestle HO-scale large model railroad marsh by tracks
HO-scale large model railroad mainline with CN freight train HO-scale large model railroad lineside industry HO-scale large model railroad ferry barge

Don Leger's freelanced Canadian branchline

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.

Canadian model railroad Walkley Yard Canadian model railroad Petro Canada storage tanks

Tony & Kathy Wither's computer-controlled
British layout

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.

computer-controlled OO model railway layout computer-controlled OO model railway overview computer-controlled OO model railway town
computer-controlled OO model railway curving track scene computer-controlled OO model railway control console computer-controlled OO model railway Harry Potter scene

John Mitchell's Canada Southern Railroad

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.

HO-scale model railroad Detroit HO-scale model railroad city railyard HO-scale model railroad truck
HO-scale model railroad yard scene HO-scale model railroad lineside factory HO-scale model railroad photo background
HO-scale model railroad photo with water tower HO-scale model railroad trackside industries HO-scale model railroad factory with NYC locomotive

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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