An edited version was published in
June/July1995 page 26.

This is the original manuscript written in 1994.

In April, 1992, the Vancouver HO Model Railway Club was given final notice to clear out of a 1,600 square foot room in the top section of the Canadian National railway station on Main Street in Vancouver, British Columbia.

VIA Rail, the new owners of the station, were going to do renovations, and negotiations with them for the club to stay had failed. In great distress, we started planning what to do with the club's HO scale layout. Moving it to a new premises was not possible as we could not find a suitable space without strings attached. Finally, we had no other choice but to break-up a great layout in order to clear out the room for VIA.

This layout was very popular with the public, who were invited to attend our running sessions every last Friday of the month. Over the years since I have been asked by many people about the circum stances of it's demise, so here is the story.

The layout had its beginnings in 1949 and had seen many changes over the years. Very little remained of the original trackwork and scenery at the end.
The concept and theme of the club was running a fictional railway line through the coast mountains of western Canada. The single track mainline was about 600 feet long and, as with mountain railways, there were numerous bridges and trestles over rivers and creeks and of course, a few tunnels. In order to have a realistic, point-to-point operation of train movements, there were large yards at each end of the mainline. In between were six sidings with industrial spurs, and a town with a connection to a narrow gauge railway. Trains were run on a time-table and a card system kept track of all freight car movements.
It was a joy to operate and a whole lot of fun and the public was always thrilled and amazed. Many a youngster left the layout with visions of his own model trains dancing in his head.

New Expansion
In 1987 it was decided to rebuild a large section of mountain scenery from the ground up. The design policy of having the railway go through the scenery was maintained, as opposed to adding scenery around pre existing track.
The new track plan called for the mainline to run through a spiral tunnel (helix). A siding for meeting trains running in the opposite direction was created, along with two spurs serving the lumber industry.

The main visual attraction of this new section was a large, forbidding mountain housing the spiral tunnel, and a river running into a small lake. The tracks were carried over a very narrow part of the lake on a timber trestle and went into a tunnel. A spur to a sawmill and another spur to a log dump added operational opportunities along with visual interest.
Vancouver_Model_Railway_Club-14 Vancouver_Model_Railway_Club-5


All track on the layout was hand-laid code 70, spiked-down using a Kadee Spiker tool. Switches were all hand made, Number 6's and electrically controlled from a dispatcher's panel.

Track ballast was real crushed granite fixed in place with acrylic matte medium and the scenery was all done using the plaster 'hard-shell' technique with considerable emphasis put on the creation of exposed rock faces and mountain sides. Many evenings were spent applying rock moulds and hand-carving the mountain.
After painting the dried plaster with rock-coloured latex paint, highlights were dry-brushed on using acrylics and loose rocks and 'rip rap' was added, some of which was authentic small rocks.

Ground foam, hand made trees and other scenery materials were added to finish this new section.


The End
Of course no one ever thought that this layout would have to be moved some day and no provisions were ever made for it to be dismantled during its construction.
As it turned out, most of the scenery broke up when we tried to salvage larger pieces for distribution to club members.
There were never many photos taken of the layout, and those for this article were done on the last day of operation.
Club members brought out their finest models for a farewell run on what was, at that time, western Canada's largest and most spectacular layout.

Pictures and text: ´┐ŻAndy Wegmuller