I like to look beyond my own chosen little corner of the world and offer up suggestions for relatively simple layout themes that I think would offer the hobbyist a project that’s both attainable and satisfying.
A while ago, I gave the example of the CNR’s Waterloo Sub to Galt, Ontario. David Woodhead visited my layout yesterday and reminded me of another – this one from the west end of the country, and the other national railway.
David is a professional musician and he just got back from a tour that included parts of the British Columbia Interior. That location was home to a unique railway operation in Canada.
Until 1989, CP Rail operated a 31.2-mile line between Rosebery and Nakusp. What made this line special was its reliance on a barge operation to move traffic from Slocan City to Rosebery, along Slocan Lake. For more information, I recommend Railways of the West Kootenay, Part 1 by Corwin and Gerry Doeksen:
(While you’re searching for that, here’s a short video documenting the last run, including footage of the barge operation.)
If this all sounds familiar, it may be because modeller Mark Dance is building this line on line level of a large, complex multi-deck N scale layout called the Columbia and Western, which was featured in Model Railroad Planning 2012 (available from Kalmbach). A perusal through Mark’s online layout gallery will show that it’s an ambitious project.
I admire anyone with the time, energy and resources to tackle such a layout because I know I don’t have it in me. But have a look at Level 4 of his layout plan. This segment could easily be unwound and run around the walls of a layout room (with the tail of the Rosebery wye jutting into the space on a short peninsula). I think it would fit in my space in HO, and a slightly larger space in S. But it would really shine as a layout project in Proto:48 (fine scale O), using an upgraded Red Caboose GP-9 in CP Rail Action Red as motive power.
Just a thought prompted by a friend’s visit.