The New Project

Over a year ago I wrote a post about winding down my last model railroading project. After some life changes I became an apartment dweller and decided a layout was still something I wanted to do. I remembered reading an article in Model Railroad Hobbyist about a layout built in an apartment using Ikea shelving. This intrigued me since I dislike the carpentry aspect of the hobby. I set about designing the new layout based on the dimensions of the Ikea shelving.

At first I thought I was going to build an HO switching layout but elected to build an N scale layout owing to the fact I had a supply of Kato Unitrack, locomotives and rolling stock from my old Peninsula Southern.  Then to pick a subject for the layout. I was going to build s switching layout based on the Niagara St. Catharines and Toronto line (I can look out over the site of the former NS&T car-barns from my apartment window).

Then a friend gave me some old railway books he had acquired from a late relative. One of these was a book called Rusty Rails by John R. Hardy which covers the branch lines of Southwestern Ontario from the early 1960s to the 1990s. The subject matter really appealed to me, weedy branch lines that still saw both freight and passenger trains. I supplemented my research material with a borrowed copy of Under Steam to Stratford by Ian Wilson.  Wilson’s book covers the CN lines in much the same area but at the end of the steam era in the late 1950s. So which location to model? I settled on Goderich.

Why Goderich? The fact that it is a shipping port, that it had passenger service until 1970 and it was served by both Canadian National and Canadian Pacific all really appealed to me. Also, Goderich proclaims itself as Canada’s prettiest town and they’re not wrong. The town centre  alone is worth the trip. Both the CN and CP passenger stations are attractive buildings and both are still in use, albeit not for passenger service.

Next, I need to choose an era. The era I chose was the early 1960s. I like this era for the early diesels with the older paint schemes and active passenger service.  So my Goderich Eastern was born, set in 1962. It will feature mostly CN freight and passenger operations with some CP freight as well (CP ceased passenger operations to Goderich in the late 1950s).

I hope to document my progress on this project. At this stage the benchwork is up and I’m progressing on laying track and scenery, some of my work is pictured below. I will write some posts on how I got this far. Stay tuned.

CP Rail bridge over the CN

CP Rail bridge over the CN

3 Responses to The New Project

  1. Joanne & Karen says:

    This is an amazing project Chris! Should keep you out of trouble for some time. I can visualize you tinkering and dreaming …and swearing…as this develops for you. We have lots of room if you need to store materials. Ps we are now in ottawa in a downtown hotel where we walk to the parliament buildings and museums. Both Karen and I have mentioned many times that you would be an excellent guide with you political interest. We are off to the changing of the guard.

    Sent from my iPad

  2. Steve Hoshel says:

    Chris; I see you have been drawn into John Hardy’s world also. His book is quite addictive and makes a person see the beauty of the rural railways of Midwestern Ontario. I have been planning a layout based on the CPR operations out of Goderich and have accumulated quite a collection of information about the Goderich Subdivision. I’m not sure if you are aware of it, but CP ran a mixed train to Goderich from April 1955 until August 1962. Before the change to a mixed schedule, there was a dedicated passenger train that ran daily except Sunday. The power for the mixed was apparently usually an RS-18 with an ancient combine providing the passenger and express service at the rear. So you may be able to offer CP passenger service to your Goderich little people.after all.


  3. paxtonch says:


    Thanks so much. I’ve been trying to find information on the CP side of the operations and haven’t found a whole lot. I really appreciate the input.


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