My friend Pierre Oliver got in touch the other day, and said, “Are you going to the Brampton Model Railway Show on Sunday? Dave and Mark are exhibiting their Proto:48 layout for the first time…”
Well, I hadn’t planned on attending – I’d just been away for a long weekend, doing train things in California – but I wasn’t going to miss this!
(An overview of the Proto:48 layout – still very much under construction – at the show)
I met David Higgott and Mark Hill when the three of us – and several others, including Pierre – were part of a group that modelled the Canada Southern Railway as an HO scale exhibition layout using the double-track Free-mo standard. David and Mark had each tackled a portion of Waterford, Ontario – Mark had built the yard, while David did the unique-to-the-CASO-in-Canada track pans for refilling locomotive tenders at speed. I knew they were talking about Proto:48, but I didn’t know they were ready to exhibit. This I had to see.
Mark and David have built a whopping 40 feet of Proto:48 exhibition layout. This is still very much a work in progress – the track has not yet been ballasted, many of the structures are simply mock-ups of printed paper on foam core, the trees need shaping, and so on. But it’s already very impressive!
(The track is hand laid, with tie plates and spikes on each tie.)
(A mocked-up placeholder for a future customer of the railway. Looking at this photo, it’s hard to appreciate that the boxcar is O scale. That building is huge – as it should be!)
(Another view of the big industry at the left end of the layout)
I particularly enjoy the amount of open space they’ve planned into the layout. They decided to put the main track to one edge instead of up the middle (which is more common on today’s Free-mo style modular layouts) to maximize the space for large structures. But then, rather than fill all of that space, they intend to leave much of it as open field, with trees and grass. It’s going to be very realistic, and give the eye places to rest between the vignettes of activity.
(An open space to rest the eye. Those are Scale Trees – no longer made – which Dave and Mark found at a local hobby shop at fire sale prices. They’ll get worked on to be made more realistic.)
(Another railroad customer, at the right end of the exhibit. This is also a mock-up.)
I’m very glad I made the trek to the show. This was a highlight for me. While I’m not ready to build 20 feet of module – I’m already overcommitted to the exhibition circuit with my 20+ feet of modules for the S Scale Workshop – I do have some Proto:48 equipment, including steam engines, that may get an opportunity to turn a wheel at a future show. Meantime, David and Mark have plans to expand their layout – including the addition of staging. And maybe they’ll find some more people to join their effort: I saw at least one other person from our CASO days who spent a lot of time running trains with them…
Thanks for exhibiting, David and Mark – it was great to see you both, and you’re onto something big here! I look forward to seeing your progress at future shows…
(Train time – Proto:48 style. An RDC makes for a manageable passenger train in O.)