First time here?

If so, then welcome!

If you’re new to S scale…

Or interested in modelling a modest branch line (of the Canadian National Railway, or another railroad)…

Or looking for ideas to make a relatively simple layout entertaining…

Then there’s a lot here that I hope you find interesting or useful.

While you’re free to poke about and explore my blog in your own way, I’d like to suggest you start with the following postings. They will give you some sense of what I’m doing:

Breaking Marley’s Chains
Why Port Rowan?
Why S Scale?
Why the Canadian National in S?
How about a Layout Plan?

These were the first posts I made to this blog back in the summer of 2011. Construction has progressed rapidly and in June of 2012 most of the track was in and wired, and all structures were represented with mock ups, so I was able to run my first operating session on the layout.

This layout has progressed far beyond any of my previous endeavours in the hobby, as these photos will attest:

First Time Here - 01

First Time Here - 02

First Time Here - 03

First Time Here - 04

First Time Here - 05

First Time Here - 06

First Time Here - 07

First Time Here - 08

First Time Here - 09

First Time Here - 10

First Time Here - 11

First Time Here - 12

First Time Here - 13

First Time Here - 14

First Time Here - 15

First Time Here - 16

First Time Here - 17

First Time Here - 18

First Time Here - 19

First Time Here - 20

First Time Here - 21

That says something about how much fun I’m having, I think…

There’s still much to do and I post to this blog regularly. If, after reading through the entries, you decide you would like to continue to follow my iDrivel – and if you know what RSS is – then here is the link to add to your RSS reader. You can also go back to the home page and enter your email address in the signup form on the right. Either way, you’ll never miss a post.

Enjoy your visit!

45 thoughts on “First time here?

  1. Nice simple design, which I trust will give both hours of entertainment, and some great photos.
    Thanks for sharing..

    • Hi John:
      Thank you – I’m glad you enjoyed your visit and I hope you return regularly. I post fairly frequently.

    • Jeez. Just saw this layout for the first time. It’s so beautifully modeled it practically brought tears to my eyes. Looking forward to seeing it April 1.

  2. Trevor,
    I’ve been following your progress for several weeks. Very nice work, thanks for sharing with us all.
    Another CN 2-6-0 is in nearby Wilmington, Delaware, number 92. I fired her for a while in the late 60s. Easy firing engine and tough for her size.

    • Hi John:
      Thanks for the nice words and the note about the mogul. Good to know.
      I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog! I’m enjoying writing it – and building this layout.

  3. Trevor,
    Your site is truly an inspiration and resource for not only S scale, but the entire thought process, and execution, of a model railroad layout, with realistic decisions to keep the process moving.

    • Thank you, Hugh!
      I’m glad you’re finding my blog useful. Realistic decisions are pretty important to avoiding planning paralysis.

  4. I’m very interested and admire your approach to model railroading. Although I model N scale, I am looking to authentically (as much as possible) a classic branch line. Your layout is giving me the inspiration and guide I needed. So many of the layouts in the model railroading press are what my hobby shop dealer calls “wedding cakes” because of the way things are piled upon each other. Your blog is just what I needed.

    • Hi Robin:

      Thanks for the nice note – and I’m glad you’re finding my blog inspiring!

      Thanks, too, for sharing your hobby shop dealer’s expression. “Wedding Cakes” – what a great description!


  5. Hello Trevor,

    I am so pleased to have just come across your inspiring and informative site. Very nice work.
    It’s been a year since I had my last HO scale CNR branch line torn down, I’m currently researching and designing a new layout that will depict a CNR coastal branch line in the Maritimes circa 1956.

    Looking forward to navigating through your blog.


  6. just realized, that with a 15 mph speed limit, the run to port rowan and back
    from hamilton, would have been at least 8 hours, with no switching, and
    10-12 with, how often did this run actually operate?

    • Hi Mel:
      I should clarify. The speed limit is 15 mph from Simcoe to Port Rowan (and Port Dover). The line from Simcoe to Port Rowan is just under 18 miles.
      I’m not sure what the speed limit is north of Simcoe – I’ve never looked. But it is an all-day run.

  7. Just spent an enjoyable 20 minutes on your blog. I really like your simple and uncluttered track plan and your execution so far. Your relaxed approach to the hobby seems about the same as mine. However, as a Maine two-footer fan, I just gotta wonder why you ran out of gas on the beautiful On2 layout you removed. I’m now going to look around the internet to see if I can get access to or a copy of the RMC article you refer to in one of the pics. What a great little slate quarry; hmmm, wonder where I have room for one of those on my layout.

    • Hi Sandy:
      Thanks for writing – I’m glad you enjoyed the visit.
      As for what happened with the Maine On2 layout, it was no longer fun. Here’s a post I wrote about why the On2 layout came down.
      That was the main (Maine?) reason – but not the only one.
      Geography was also an issue. I live in Southern Ontario and it’s a 12-hour highway marathon to the collection at the Maine Narrow Gauge RR Museum in Portland. It’s even farther to the other two-foot museums in the state. So, I could not visit as often as I’d like. By contrast, the prototype for my S scale layout is two hours away – and books, photos and other sources of information I need often show up at local events.
      The other factor is the social side of the hobby. Most of my friends in the hobby model local prototypes and those friendships have improved now that we’re all talking the same language. In addition, I have a number of friends in this area also working in S. It was easy to fall in with that crowd.

  8. Trevor,
    Wow … what can I say? I think for inspiration, your blog takes the cake! I don’t model in S scale (H0), I don’t model Canadian (Australian – Victorian and South Australian Railways) and I don’t model the 1950s (1976), but there is so, SO much to like about your blog and your blogging. I’ve been a “lurker” for a little while now and I’ll ‘fess up … your modelling approaches and posts have seen me high tail it away from the computer and into the layout room on several occasions with a “I can use that …” attitude. Sincere thanks for sharing your efforts …

    • Hi Anthony:
      Thanks for the kind words. I’m glad you’re enjoying my blog and finding it useful. I just stumbled across your Border District blog and have enjoyed looking through your posts. I find Australian railways very interesting – there are actually quite a few Australians represented in my list of interesting links – and I look forward to following your progress.

  9. Greetings…….I am looking for information on the Forestville Station….in particular any photos that may exist……Currently I am working on a project to do a “history” of Forestville……..

  10. Hi Trevor,
    I’ve just started into S scale by building a trestle kit by Hunterline.
    I also bought a few items from Ridgehill Models a while back, as I kept
    waffling between S and HO (which I have a TON of). But I’m almost 65yrs
    old and really like the size of S. Your modeling and photography are really inspiring. Thanks for sharing and all the best in 2014.

  11. Hi Trevor:

    Really enjoy reading your blogs. Very informative and insightful. I believe, after several layout attempts, that a simple, satisfying and achievable design is the way to go! My space at home is roughly 12 feet by 16 feet along two walls. To me, that’s more than enough to have an achievable layout!



  12. Interested in the CNR station in St. Williams. Have you ever heard of J.A. Tennant. I have his Brass Piper Lamp from the CNR station in St. Williams.
    I got it from my wife’s grandfather. If interested in viewing e-mail me

  13. Hi Trevor,
    I’m new to your blog and will be starting my first layout (CN) this fall. It will be based on Turcot yard in 1959 so I’ll be looking for all the ideas I can get on reasonable planing and selective compression. I’ll be working in a room approximately 9×17 and hope to include the Two Mountains electric line. I’ll be retired by the time I start so should have plenty of time. Walt

    • Welcome, Walt!
      It sounds like a fine plan and I hope you find some useful ideas here.
      I always liked the Two Mountains line…

  14. Hi, as a fine scale S scale modeller, I am wondering if you might be able to comment on whether there are good etched roofwalks in S scale (some in HO and N just use the same size rectangular pattern and I am after some that are specifically an S scale size.)

    • Hi Ben:
      “A fine scale S scale modeller” – well, I do try!
      I’m afraid I don’t know the answer to your question. I’ve never purchased S scale photo etched roof walks: Almost all of my cars have wood up top.
      Perhaps someone else who reads the blog can help. Alternately, you could post the question to the Forum on the S Scale SIG website. There are many fine modellers on that Forum who work in S and have more experience with the suppliers than have I.

  15. Hey – I’ve been mining your blog for images in and around Simcoe as I am working on a modular HO layout that resembles my home town. Great bits and pieces of information all over your site.

    I know how much modellers like an excuse to add another type of rolling stock to their proto-typical layout. So I thought you’d be interested to know that my father has vivid memories of stealing watermelons that were being transported in straw-lined stock cars through Simcoe in the mid-’50’s. He doesn’t remember whether they were loaded at Simcoe, or whether they had been brought down from points West (Pt. Rowan/St. Williams) but it may be worth some digging just so you can add a stock-car full of watermelons! (I think it would be easier to pull off in S than HO.)

    If you know of any good resources that are Simcoe specific – let me know – in the meantime I’ll just keep flipping through your blog!

  16. Love the pictures and the attention to detail. Definitely motivating. I will apply these ideas and any tips to my O scale layout in progress. Thank you for the inspiration and motivation.

  17. Congratulations on publishing an article on telegraph operations. It is nice to see others delving into the past to add an additional level of authenticity to the railroad.
    Just as an update, I will be operating my 2nd Division of the Colorado Midland for the first time next week. Yes, telegraph will be used. I will be building some stock cars and Hanrahan refrigerator cars this fall.

    • Hi Andrew:
      Thanks for getting in touch – and thanks again for the inspiration for my own telegraph system. That operating session at your place obviously really stayed with me. “Memorable sessions” are few and far between, and more often than not it’s a disaster that makes them memorable. Your session is a really positive memory for me – I’m so glad I had the opportunity to run on your On3 layout.
      I’ve been following your progress on the CM in the hobby press and look forward to reading more about your new layout in the future. I hope you have a great first ops session.

  18. Hi Trevor, first of all let me thank you for letting me roam about, so much to see and absorb. I can and have spent hours eyeing your blogs, and layout postings. Of all the superlatives great, fantastic, excellent I am struck with the sense of balance. It seems you have found a balance between all the elements in the research, building, locomotive/rolling stock, structures/details, operations, and just having fun to mention a few. What strikes me most is, rather intended or not, you have slowed down time and draw the viewer-operator into the scene almost without them knowing it. The Port Rowan does look like a lot of fun (A bit serious fun) to operate and a sight to behold.

    Leonard Lee Davis

    • Thank you, Leonard! I’m glad you’re enjoying the visit to my layout and my hobby. And yes – balance is something I’ve tried to achieve with this layout. Everything in moderation – including railway modelling.

  19. Wow! First time here and I am blown away by the photos published here. They are quite beautiful! The lighting, backdrops, structures, vegetation all come together for a beautiful, almost dreamlike, scene. I find myself wanting to go visit “that place” that you have created on your layout! I can’t wait to read your posts, very inspiring work!

  20. As you know, Im doing almost the same thing in HO. Cant tell you how much help your blogs and TM bits have been. The modelling is just awesome! Keep it up Trevor.

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