Muskoka Tour Video
From the 2011 Muskoka Tour

On October 2, 2011 I went on the Muskoka Tour of model railroad layouts in this "cottage country" area north of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

I managed to get in seven layouts in various scales: HO, N and G-scale garden railways. There was a lot of ground to cover because the layouts were from Huntsville down to Tottenham. About 20 in all.

Richard Tatley's HO scale CNR branchline

Richard's layout, the first railroad I visited, blew me away so I've made a video of it as a standalone. It depicts an imaginary branch in Ontario running from Bridgeport to Thornton, Springville, Lyndhurst and Kenogami.

The layout is wired for DC sound (not DCC) and the era is 1950-1955. The scenery is practically 100% completed and there is a wonderful balance of scenery to track as you'll see in the video.

The layout fits in a 11 by 32-foot space. There are pop-ups concealed around the room and a 'duck under' to get to the main aisle. Richard has added night effects with lit windows in many buildings and street lamps in the towns. I was unable to capture this on the video. He ran the trains under a soft, subdued lighting. The effect was excellent although it made it a little difficult to shoot the video under this available light condition.

It's an impressive model railroad that captures the feel of rural Ontario towns and countryside in the 1950s.

Muskoka Model Railroad Club & The Bourgon's Layout

The second video was taken of two HO layouts in Bracebridge, Ontario. The first was shot at the Muskoka Model Railroad Club. They have both a permanent layout and a modular layout they take to train shows. The second video is of the Bourgon Family's CN/CP layout. The youngsters were running the trains while dad handled derailments or other mainenance problems that crept in. It's a fun smaller layout that's about 75% finished.

Ed Sutherland's & John Thompson's Layouts

These two layouts are both located in the Bracebridge area. Ed's is called the Nome Valley and features CPR and CDN railways terminal.  Era is 1930-1950 and uses DC radio control. Track is Code 100.  Ed still uses a probe to operate twin-coil switch machines, a technique I learned many years ago. It's an inexpensive and efficient way of setting up a control panel.

John Thompson's layout has some original scenes including cattle pens and a grain elevator based on his memories of living in Western Canada. There's also about to be a shoot out in town and the sherriff is about to stop it. A working oil drill rig is operating and John also has a nice circus scene with an operating ride.

G scale layouts by Bill & Sherry Smith
and Ron & Marion Colpitts

These are two of the garden railways featured in the 2011 tour. It had been raining from time to time and was causing some electrical problems. However, the trains still managed to run despite falling leaves and pine needles.  The Smith railroad is 20 by 6- feet with 250 feet of track and combines Bill's love of trains with Sherry's love of gardening. The locale is Muskoka and northern Ontario. Bill runs G (1:29) & LGB (1:22) G scale trains.<

I had seen Ron's layouts during the Toronto NMRA National Train Show a few years ago. Ron also operates on Al Crisp's layout and is on our team that goes to Trainfest in Milwaukee in November. Ron's indoor layout is N scale. The outdoor G scale trains run in a 30 by 60 foot garden along the fence line. The White Pass garden railway operates with DC radio throttles. Scenery is natural shrubs and flowers.

Ron Colpitts' N scale Canadian Pacific
Revelstoke Division

Ron was running a consist of three CP modern diesels pulling a loaded coal train of 49 hoppers. This is a very impressive layout that wanders through the finished basement and shares space with the built-in furniture and bookcases. There's one room  10 X 20 feet dedicated to the railroad, but the line expanded considerably. The mainline loop is 25 X 50 feet and even snakes under the stairs into a tunnel and behind the washer and dryer. The model railroad runs with radio control DC. Ron's collection of rolling stock is also extensive and the scenery and industrial sites are amazing.

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