Amuse bouche of operations

My sister and her family came to visit this week. Between sandcastling, fireworks and eating together, we found time to check out the progress on Pembroke. Now, when you have a rabid foamer like me in your family, you’re likely to find a more productive way to spend your energy than building trains too. However, […]


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Running Around

I’ve not seen one in ages, but model railroad magazines used to publish switching puzzles. They would present a situation where a train arrived on a scene and had to deliver some cars and pick up others. The game was to complete the job in as few moves as possible. Over the years, these switching […]

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Daily except Sunday

There were no trains on the Pembroke branch on Sundays. According to the schedule, even the first class to Ottawa ran daily except on Sundays, and freight trains were outlawed by the Lord’s Day Act, of course. So, on Sundays the branch slumbered. Starting on August 1st, 1905 and running one or two trains almost […]

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All trains will register…

With a visiting nephew occupying the train room, I had an enforced break from modelling. That didn’t mean progress would stop, however. Being an easterner, he went to bed early, leaving me at loose ends in the evenings. Idle hands are the devil’s playground, my Mum used to say. In this instance, I was possessed […]

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Impending operations

Now that I have Percy operational, and most of the turnout controls are in, I am starting to turn my thoughts once again to operations. The layout doesn’t operate well enough to share it with others yet, so Marc Simpson is in no danger of losing the bet. However, it won’t get any better if […]

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Operations ideas from BC Hydro

My friend, Colin Dover, intimated to me last night that he builds layouts purely so he can have a place to switch.  A couple of years ago, he tore out his representation of Vancouver Waterfront to build his “much simpler” Central Park line of BC Hydro. I put “much simpler” in quotes because, well, it […]

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Near miss on the Boundary Sub

On Wednesday evening, I had an opportunity to dispatch on my friend Scott Calvert’s layout.  His is a timetable and train order operation, just as the real Boundary was.  If you’ve never had an opportunity to participate in a TT&TO operation, I encourage you to come to Vancouver for the annual Railway Modellers’ Meet.   This […]

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Shaking down the Boundary Sub

My friend Scott invited a bunch of us over today for an informal operating session. This was the first session on the new Boundary Sub.  I’ve been helping Scott out with construction occasionally for many years, and it was great to finally see trains running.  There are some important lessons from Scott’s first session. Perhaps […]

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