DAWSON CREEK SUBDIVISION

RAILWAY PROTOTYPE MODELLING IN N SCALE

Timothy J. Horton

RECENT NEWS


26 NOVEMBER 2022

Four new freight cars are ready for service, including three Rapido Trains tank cars decorated for NCTX (North American) and an Atlas tank car decorated for UTLX. Other rolling stock projects are progressing towards completion, hopefully by year end.


5 OCTOBER 2022

My website is back up after a lengthy outage due to a server malfunction. I have migrated the site to a professional web hosting service which should result in faster and more reliable performance. I have posted several updates from the period during the outage.

Work continues on preparation and re-installation of the layout in its new home. I am posting occasional layout video updates to my YouTube channel which can be found by clicking the link at the top of the page.

Thank you to everyone for your continued encouragement and support!

P.S. After some initial teething troubles the site now appears to be working well in all browsers. Thank you to those who contacted me with issues; that was helpful in getting them solved.


2 OCTOBER 2022

I have completed two plywood cabooses for my work equipment fleet. They were built from the Briggs Models 3D printed kits. They are equipped with interior lighting and front and rear track inspection lights. More details on the Rolling Stock-Work Equipment Page.


1 SEPTEMBER 2022

Eight of my models were judged for the NMRA AP Program's Master Builder - Cars Certificate. The four scratchbuilt cars submitted were successful in receiving individual Merit Awards. This will be my third certificate in the AP Program. I encourage others to explore and participate in this program.


28 AUGUST 2022

New layout sections for Septimus have been constructed and painted. They will be mounted in the room adjacent to the layout room with the tracks for the Fort St. John Subdivision passing through the wall.


4 JULY 2022

I am very pleased to add these six cars to the fleet. These scratchbuilt models represent the PGE's two series of woodchip cars received from Vancouver Iron & Engineering Works in 1964-1965 and 1966. An extensive build thread may be found on the N Scale board of the Railwire forum here .


12 MARCH 2022

The lighting canopies above Dawson Creek have been installed, completing the original set of layout sections along the south wall. Work is now underway on the Highway 97 overpass section and the Fort St. John Sub extension.


1 MARCH 2022

My YouTube channel continues to grow in content and subscribers. I have added several tutorials and layout updates, including a new update for February. Click on the YouTube icon above to visit the channel.


19 FEBRUARY 2022

After five months of repairs and revisions to backdrops, track, wiring and turnout control, the layout sections for Chetwynd Yard and Dawson Creek were installed in the new layout room today! It is encouraging to see the first sections back up. Work now shifts to the sections for Highway 97 overpass, Pine River bridge and Sundance.


28 JANUARY 2022

I am pleased to announce the creation of my own YouTube channel to complement this website! The first five videos provide an overview of the prototype, layout design, construction and operations. Over time I hope to add some PGE/BCR prototype reference guides and some modelling tutorials. You can check out the YouTube channel here, and if you like what you see, please consider liking and subscribing!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3MbxkZkx7zApSYCHqu2IYQ


22 JANUARY 2022

I have completed all of the wiring revisions underneath Chetwynd Yard, including connecting new feeders, terminating old ones, moving servo controllers, supplying power to the frog juicers and servo controllers, and rearranging the toggle runs from the control panels to the controllers.


15 JANUARY 2022

Today marks the fifth anniversary of the second version of this website! The previous version ran from 2005 to 2017. I am currently working on wiring and turnout control for the trackwork revisions at Chetwynd.


9 JANUARY 2022

I have completed a cardboard structure mock-up for the Alberta Wheat Pool elevator and fertilizer shed at Groundbirch (adjacent to Tremblay siding). This was represented previously by a partially assembled Walthers kit which was the wrong colour. These mock-ups will serve the layout until permanent models can be built.


1 JANUARY 2022

I have finished re-laying the new trackwork in Chetwynd Yard. The new shop track will be able to accommodate additional locomotives, the Imperial Oil spur is now in its correct location, and when the extension is added, the Canfor mill trackage will have increased capacity. I now have to complete the wiring and turnout control alterations underneath. A new taller backdrop for Chetwynd Yard is also in preparation.


21 DECEMBER 2021

I have completed new layout plans for the lower and upper deck to illustrate the changes required or made possible in the new layout room. These can be viewed on the Layout Design Page. Work continues to prepare the various layout sections for installation in the new room, including backdrop, track and wiring revisions.


11 DECEMBER 2021

My Provincial Museum Train project has taken another step forward with completion of the Dolbeer Donkey and Climax Locomotive for the display flatcars. These two models are the result of several years of research and development, and are probably the smallest models I have built!


11 DECEMBER 2021

Two new freight cars have joined the fleet. The Railbox and St. Lawrence boxcars will be occasional visitors during operating sessions.


14 NOVEMBER 2021

Eleven new freight cars have joined the fleet. Previous operating sessions revealed a serious shortage of woodchip cars so these cars will remedy that. I have completed two additional cars from the 90341-90440 series and eight additional cars from the 90441-90840 series. Please see the Rolling Stock-Home Freight Cars page for further information and photographs.


12 NOVEMBER 2021

Preparation of the new layout room is now complete! Today saw all of the shelving uprights located and installed along the south and north walls, based on measurements taken in the old apartment before they were taken down. Work is now underway to prepare the various layout sections for the new room.


9 OCTOBER 2021

Preparation of the new layout room continues. The new south wall has been primed and painted, and locations for the shelving uprights have been marked out. The 2x2 posts for the north wall have been cut to length, primed and painted, mounting holes drilled, and their locations along the north wall marked out:


1 OCTOBER 2021

Today saw completion of the first phase of room preparation for re-installing the layout. A sub wall has been installed along the south wall to match the build-out for the heating pipes so that the layout sections can be re-hung. This will now be painted to match the room, and locations marked for the uprights to support the layout:


16 JULY 2021

Today I received my eagerly anticipated Lenz wireless system, comprising one LTM101 receiver and two LH101-R wireless throttles. If the batteries run out, the wireless throttles can also be used as trethered units. Also received was a firmware upgrade for the LZV200 command station.


3 JULY 2021

Today the layout was dismantled and moved to my new apartment. I am indebted to my friends Michael, David, Nolan and John who graciously volunteered to help move the layout.

A final view of the layout in its present location:


One by one the sections were removed, taken down in the elevator and over to the new building, then up in the elevator to the new location:


Fifteen hours after the last train had departed, only the shelving standards and support brackets remained:


The layout is now in storage at the new apartment, where hopefully it can be set up once again.


2 JULY 2021

The final operating session at the present location was held tonight with friends Michael, Nolan and Philippe in attendance. During Op Session 24 all cars were routed south to Chetwynd and then off the layout and into storage.


25 JUNE 2021

A pending move to a new apartment means that the layout will have to be dismantled and removed from its present location. A final op session has been scheduled for July 2 and the removal is scheduled for July 3. It is hoped that the layout can be re-installed in the new apartment at a future date. I have yet to decide if I will keep the website up or let it go.

The Lenz LH101 throttles have received a firmware upgrade, and a similar upgrade for the command station is en route to me. I am also eagerly awaiting arrival of the new Lenz wireless system to replace the CVP wireless throttles.


25 JUNE 2021

The layout has returned to operational status for a brief period following the easing of health restrictions and in advance of the pending move. Op Session 23 was held tonight with friends Michael, Nolan and John in attendance. Train 23 (the Vancouver-Peace freight) is the last to bring cars north to Chetwynd as all cars will be routed south off the layout next session. The two new trailer flatcars made their operational debut, arriving at the head of Train 23:


20 JUNE 2021

I am very pleased to add these two cars to the fleet at long last. These two scratchbuilt models represent the PGE's first series of twin trailer flatcars received in 1961. An extensive build thread may be found on the N Scale board of the Railwire forum here .


30 APRIL 2021

Four new freight cars have joined the rolling stock fleet. These are duplicates of ready-to-run private owner cars I already have, but with different road numbers. They include two ACFX 33,000 gallon tank cars, a Canfor all-door car, and a UTLX tank car.


29 MARCH 2021

The Prototype Page has been updated to include an overview map of the BCR system in 1977 and a detail map showing the area modelled on the layout. These maps will be of benefit to operators and visitors who may be less familiar with the geography of northern British Columbia. The maps have also been posted on the wall in the layout room. A sincere thank you to Philippe Whyte who prepared the maps.


25 DECEMBER 2020

Well 2020 turned out to be a different year than we all expected. Despite the pandemic we managed to hold five operating sessions and I added 13 new freight cars to the fleet. Additional freight cars and work equipment are approaching completion. I wish everyone a safe and happy Christmas, and a better New Year!

RS-18 607 and RS-3 567 at Dawson Creek on the evening of 25 December 2020


9 OCTOBER 2020

Op Session 22 was held this evening with fellow BCR modellers Nolan and Philippe in attendance, and Michael serving as dispatcher from his own home via a Google Meet video link. The remote dispatcher experiment worked very well and added a crew member without being in the room. It also freed me up to run some trains!


4 OCTOBER 2020

Nine new freight cars have reached completion, including six home road cars and three other road cars.

The home road cars include two Marine Industries Limited 100-Ton 71'-0" bulkhead flatcars and four Hawker Siddeley 100-Ton 52'-6" welded gondolas, adding three new car series to the fleet:


The other road cars include a CN bulkhead flatcar, a CN cylindrical hopper, and a UTLX tank car:


More information and photographs on the Rolling Stock pages.


28 AUGUST 2020

The layout returned to revenue operations this evening with Op Session #21, the first since March due to the pandemic. Fellow N Scale BCR modellers Nolan and Philippe joined me for a start-up session. Numerous precautions were taken including an air cleaner for improved airflow, cleaning control panels and throttles with disinfectant wipes, reducing the crew by one operator and practising distancing as best as possible. It was very enjoyable to see the layout come alive again and see trains running.


15 AUGUST 2020

The first update for my new Lenz DCC system arrived from the present Canadian distributor (Accessory Pathways, Kingston ON - www.lenzcanada.com). The update comes on a small USB stick, and the instructions for the update can be found on pages 39-41 of the current LZV 200 manual:


The stick is inserted into the rear of the command station and a button on the stick is used to initiate the update, which only takes a few seconds. The new stick is retained as a back-up. I was also provided with a cable for future updates to the new LH101 throttles.


8 AUGUST 2020

The layout has been shutdown during the current pandemic due to the small size of the room, but I have been making progress on a number of rolling stock projects including twin trailer flatcars, chip cars, gondolas and bulkhead flatcars.

Engine 810 has returned home after a repaint to correct the original weathering which was too heavy:


The layout is currently undergoing reactivation in preparation for a cautious return to operations, with track cleaning and test runs for locomotives now in progress. In this photograph light engines 804, 807, 810 and 812 are seen arriving at Chetwynd:


6 MARCH 2020

Op Session #20 is in the books. Regular crew members Michael and Philippe were on hand and despite being short an operator again we managed to complete all scheduled movements. With another shutdown pending due to travel, all freight cars were moved off the layout at the end of the session.


29 FEBRUARY 2020
A set of farm truck for my various grain elevators has been completed. These are CinC Miniatures pewter castings which were detailed with side mirrors. They are typical of the types of trucks which served the elevators during the 1970s. The one at left was patterned on a truck often seen at Fosters Seed & Feed:


28 FEBRUARY 2020

Two of my new grain boxcars were interchanged to my friend Michael Batten's E&N Railway layout after last week's session. They are seen here on his layout southbound from Wellcox Yard in Train 52, and being spotted at Top Shelf Feeds in Duncan:


21 FEBRUARY 2020
Op Session #19 was held tonight with crew members Michael and Nolan. during the evening the 100th Manual Block Clearance was issued. Although short one operator we managed to move most cars, including two grain boxcars destined for interchange to Michael's E&N Railway layout during his op session next week:


24 JANUARY 2020

After a five month hiatus, revenue operations resumed tonight with Op Session #18. Crew members Michael, Victor, John and Philippe were in attendance. This session marked the debut of several recent developments including the new DCC system, new procedure manuals, replacement turnouts, new fast clocks, speed matching of locomotives, and inspection of locomotives and freight cars. The new RS-3s and twenty new freight cars made their operational debut, as did M-630 717 after a long-running truck problem was finally cured.


19 JANUARY 2020
Preparations for a return to revenue operations continue. I have created a Bad Order card system and a Locomotive Operating Manual, both based on the prototype. Please go to the Operating Documents Page and scroll down for details.

The new fast clock system installation is complete. The software runs on the dedicated laptop and communicates wirelessly via MQTT protocol to three Arduino-powered repeaters mounted in the lighting valance fascia. Thank you to Victor Gilbert, John Walter and Dennis at Imperial Trophies who assisted with this project. This photograph of Work Extra 570 crossing the Kiskatinaw RIver shows one of the repeaters mounted above.


18 JANUARY 2020

The first new freight cars for 2020 have joined the fleet and fill in another two series of cars which had been missing from my roster for the 1970s. BCIT 3050 and 3077 are ex-SOO Line 40' grain boxcars, and BCIT 800067 & 800069 are 50' double door lumber boxcars leased from USRM.


29 DECEMBER 2019

Four new freight cars have joined the fleet, including two cars from a lesser known series of BCR boxcars, another CP grain boxcar for NAR transfer service, and a beautiful new NAR half bay window caboose issued by Bluford Shops. 2019 has been a good year for new equipment with seven locomotives and fifty-one freight cars completed.


29 DECEMBER 2019

I am enjoying the process of getting to know the new DCC system and have been busy cleaning the layout and running some test trains. I have also successfully removed and replaced two turnouts on the layout which have been troublesome for some time. 2019 was a successful year for the layout with ten operating sessions.


23 DECEMBER 2019

The new Lenz DCC components have arrived and I have completed the installation. During the Christmas holidays I will be learning how to use the new controllers and preparing the layout for a return to regular operating sessions. Please visit the Construction - Wiring For DCC Page and scroll down to the bottom for additional information and photographs of the new equipment.


27 OCTOBER 2019

Now that I am hosting regular operating sessions, I have decided to invest in upgrades to my DCC system. My two CVP wireless throttles were recently sent back to the manufacturer for encoder replacement and other maintenance, and have performed much better since their return. I have now sent my Lenz command station and throttles away for trade-in on the new Lenz components, so the layout is currently quiet for a while.

Six new freight cars have joined the fleet, including three grain boxcars, two open hoppers, and a diesel fuel tank car:


19 OCTOBER 2019
Three new MLW RS-3 locomotives have joined the fleet after receiving their digital installations. They replace two older RS-3 models which have now been retired. Their arrival on the layout will provide some flexibility and variety in the units operated each session. These two images show them arriving at Chetwynd, and tied up overnight on the shop tracks. These models feature working inspection lights below hte cabs.


19 OCTOBER 2019
Two new locomotives are finished pending their digital installations. Engine 722 is my fourth MLW M-630 locomotive, and Engine 729 is an MLW M-630W locomotive with the safety cab. Both have now departed for installation of decoders, speakers, capacitance and lighting.


12 OCTOBER 2019

Four new freight cars have joined the fleet, including a second BCR all-door boxcar for lumber service, and three more CN and NAHX cylindrical hoppers for lime service. All of these are ready-to-run models modified with low profile metal wheels, body mount couplers, and appropriate weathering.


27 SEPTEMBER 2019

Op Session 17 was hosted tonight with friends Michael, David, Nolan and Philippe in attendance. During this session most locomotives, all revenue and work equipment was routed off the layout in preparation for a forthcoming shutdown.


7 SEPTEMBER 2019

Today the layout hosted Op Session 16 as part of Vanrail 2019. Michael served as host dispatcher and the guests included Jarrett from Quesnel B.C., Don from San Diego CA, and Cal from Blucher SK. This was my second op session as part of a larger event and the first for the bi-annual Vanrail event. The layout continues to operate well.


23 AUGUST 2019

Op Session 15 was held tonight with friends Michael, Nick and Philippe in attendance. This was a warm-up session for Vanrail 2019 in September. We tested my recently repaired CVP radio throttles, the rejuvenated Wi Throttle server, a new Fast Clock system, and some FT coupler trial installations. We also tried out the summer ops pattern with a yard job at Dawson Creek. A highlight of the session was a record 21 car westbound train from Dawson Creek to Chetwynd. The locomotives and track performed very well after a thorough cleaning.


17 AUGUST 2019

Two new freight cars have joined the roster. These are repeats of existing cars with different road numbers and include a CN 40' grain boxcar and a Canfor Thrall door car for lumber service. Additional locomotives and freight cars are in various stages of completion after a productive summer modelling season.


18 JULY 2019

Today marked the first anniversary of operations for the layout, and this was celebrated with an Open House for local modellers in the afternoon, and Op Session 14 in the evening. Friends Michael, Doug, Gary and Victor participated. A passenger special was operated to Dawson Creek in lieu of the usual switcher, and the new Jordan Spreader made its maiden trip as part of the work extra.



15 JULY 2019

Several new freight cars have joined the fleet, including two more CP grain boxcars, a third Hooker Chemicals tank car, a GATX tank car, and a PGE diesel fuel tank car. Also new is a model of Jordan Spreader BCOL 996301:


30 JUNE 2019

Op session 13 was held this evening with North Shore Modellers Michael, John and Philippe. This session introduced the summer Dawson Creek yard job, and I took one of the operator positions (Chetwynd Yard) for the first time. The layout and paperwork continue to perform well.


8 JUNE 2019
Op session 12 was held today with North Shore Modellers Michael and Graham S., and Sunshine Coast Modellers Graham M. and Jake. This was a daytime session with a lunch break halfway through. Our operating routine is now fairly set with respect to train movements, fast clock and paperwork.


25 MAY 2019

Twenty new freight cars have reached completion, including six BCOL standard flatcars, six PGE-BCOL trailer flatcars, six PGE-BCR stake cars, and two CN flat cars. I have also received the first of several log loads from Details N Scale. The flatcars and trailer flatcars replace older models which will be retired. More information and pictures on the Rolling Stock Pages.


17 MAY 2019
Op session #11 was held this evening with fellow North Shore Modellers Michael, Rene and Philippe in attendance. CN 3218 made its operational debut, and Engs 701 and 708 returned to service.



5 MAY 2019

C-630M 701 and M-630 708 have returned home after minor upgrades to cab lighting, body shell fit, and addition of a second capacitor. Also home is C-424 CN 3218 after its DCC install; it now enters service on the layout. The three engines are seen here arriving at Chetwynd:


4 MAY 2019

A milestone of sorts with my tenth operating session and the first as part of an event such as the Railway Modellers Meet of B.C. . Michael served as dispatcher and guests included meet attendees Jim, Doug and Ray.


26 APRIL 2019
Op session #9 was the second of two shakedown sessions prior to hosting a session for the Railway Modellers Meet of B.C. next weekend. Operators included fellow NSMR members Michael, Dave H. and Philippe, and fellow PGE-BCR Modeller David M. The session included a record 31-car V-P freight with mid-train remotes, and a rail and tie work train.


12 APRIL 2019

After a five month hiatus, the layout returned to active status with Op Session #8 including fellow NSMR members Michael, Kyle and Philippe. This session featured new locomotive 807 and ten new freight cars making their operational debut, as well as introduction of the NAR transfer job at Dawson Creek.


23 FEBRUARY 2019
C-425 807 has returned home after installation of decoder, speaker and lighting by Dave Mackinnon, and now joins the motive power fleet for a total of 14 units (ten with sound). It is seen here arriving at Chetwynd with a work train::


16 FEBRUARY 2019
A new locomotive has reached completion. CN 3218 is one of several MLW C-424s leased to the British Columbia Railway during the 1970s and which is known to have operated on the north end. The model will soon depart for installation of lighting, speaker and decoder, after which it will join the fleet:


12 JANUARY 2019

Nine new freight cars have joined the fleet, including a second PGE chip car, five U.S. road boxcars, and three new tank cars. With the exception of the PGE chip car, these are all ready-to-run cars which have received metal wheels, body mount couplers, and some weathering.


15 DECEMBER 2018

Three new freight cars have joined the fleet. These three 200-229 series open hoppers will be used to augment my ballast train. Additional new freight cars are painted and just awaiting decals.


12 NOVEMBER 2018

Op Session #7 was a landmark session in several respects. We had an all-BCR N Scale Modellers crew, we ran two additional trains and moved a record number of freight cars, and really solidified the elapsed and fast clock times for future sessions.

Philippe switches Chetwynd Yard, handling a dimensional load off the VP Freight:

Nolan was visiting from Vancouver Island and models BC Rail in the mid 1980s. He is seen here piloting the Dawson Creek Switcher through Tremblay:

It was a special pleasure to host Andy Thomas from New Zealand, who is building a layout depicting Fort St. John in the same era as my layout. Here he runs Work Extra 581 south through Septimus, just down the line from where he is modelling.


10 NOVEMBER 2018

This was an eventful weekend for the layout as three new freight cars were commissioned, the annual visit from the PGE/BCR Modellers in town for Vancouver Train Expo was held, and the third op session in as many weeks was held (see above).

The three new freight cars include two PGE riveted flat cars and a welded gondola, all built from the new 3D printed kits by Briggs Models (www.briggsmodels.ca):

Eleven fellow PGE-BCR Modellers visited the layout on Saturday as part of the annual Vancouver Train Expo show. A passenger special was run from Chetwynd to Dawson Creek to mark the occasion:


3 NOVEMBER 2018
Today I hosted some friends from the Sunshine Coast for Op Session #6. This was the first daytime session, and a break was taken at the halfway point for lunch and social. The operating system is now fairly set and working well.

Graham goes to work making up the outbound trains in Chetwynd Yard:


Dispatcher Gord dictates a clearance for the Dawson Creek Switcher to Jake:


Bob arrives in Septimus with the northbound turn:


27 OCTOBER 2018

Op Session #5 was held last night with an all-new crew drafted from our local North Shore Modellers Group. Some refinements to the fast clock and hours run were tried out, and engines 804 and 812 made their operational debut.

John making up trains in Chetwynd Yard:


Dave crosses the Kiskatinaw River with the eastbound Dawson Creek Switcher:


Kyle arrives in Septimus with the northbound Septimus Turn:


13 OCTOBER 2018

I have completed a fourth ALCO C-425 unit: No. 807. In 1977 this locomotive was still in Erie Lackawanna paint with only a BCR logogram and new number on the cab sides. The model has left for installation of lighting, speaker and decoder, after which it will join the fleet:

Two other C-425s, 804 and 812, have returned home after conversion to sound. They also received a tune up and some paint touch-ups, and now have engineers in the cabs. They are seen here arriving in Chetwynd:

Their return will provide more flexibility in assigning locomotives during operating sessions.


2-3 OCTOBER 2018

October 2 & 3, 2018 marked the 60th anniversary of the first trains to Dawson Creek and Fort St. John in 1958. A trio of special passenger train comprising coaches from numerous railways made the trips behind the railway's newest locomotives.


29 SEPTEMBER 2018

This was a busy week for the layout with a visit from our local North Shore Modellers Group on Wednesday and operating session #4 last night. This session tried out some revisions to the hours and fast clock, and some new freight cars made their debut. This was an all-BCR Modellers crew which was very enjoyable.


Philippe took a turn as Dispatcher, seen here dictating a Manual Block Clearance to Mike:


Brian, whose own BCR layout can be viewed at http://www.cwrailway.ca , volunteered for Chetwynd Yard:



Doug, who worked for the railway for many years and also has a BCR layout, ran the Septimus Turn:


15 SEPTEMBER 2018

Twelve new freight cars have been added to the fleet. They are mostly other road cars and mostly ready-to-run models upgraded with body mount couplers and metal wheels, and weathered appropriately. New locomotives and home road freight cars are in progress. More information and photos on the Rolling Stock Pages.


5 SEPTEMBER 2018

Having hosted several successful operating sessions, I have now completed the Operations Pages of the website which describe and illustrate the documents in use, the crew positions, and the train movements. These pages are intended to be a resource for future guest operators. I have also updated the Articles & Books page with the addition to the list of some missing articles, and images of the books I have written.


25 AUGUST 2018

The third trial operating session was held last night, the first with a four man crew excluding myself. The system of train sheet, clearances and registers seems to be working well.

Michael became the first guest dispatcher, seen here dictating a manual block clearance to Nick:


Philippe ran Chetwynd Yard and made good use of the new throttle holder and beverage holder:


Greg is seen at Septimus, setting out the northbound tonnage and picking up the southbound cars:


11 AUGUST 2018

A set of vehicles for my Canfor mill at Chetwynd has arrived. These include a GHQ log loader, three GHQ forklifts, and a smaller Alloy Forms forklift. They were painted for me by Jeff Briggs and they received Canfor decals:


31 JULY 2018

The layout hosted its second trial operating session tonight, with the addition of a third operator to run the Dawson Creek Switcher. Train dispatch sheet, clearances, bulletin, train registers and fast clock were also introduced. As these documents reach maturity I will be updating my Operations Page. A third session is scheduled for August 24.


From tonight's session, Gary departs Chetwynd with the Septimus Turn:


Philippe arrives in Dawson Creek with the Dawson Switcher as Michael works below in Chetwynd Yard. Given the unavoidable location of one yard above the other, this was an important first test of operating both at the same time:


23 JULY 2018
I have added station name boards around the layout for the benefit of train crews and to facilitate the issuing of restrictions, slow orders, work limits, etc. The name boards are printed on white lamicoid and a modified typeface was selected to best represent the font used on BCR station name boards in 1977:


23 JULY 2018

Chetwynd Yard is complete! The last control panels were installed today, the last wiring underneath the layout was completed, and the yard is now fully operational:

My attention will now turn to further preparations for regular operations, and replacing temporary bridge tracks with Micro Engineering bridge flex track. I have also been working on some additions to the freight car fleet.


18 JULY 2018
The layout was host to a first trial operating session tonight! Friends Michael Batten and Philippe Whyte came over to assist in testing operations. We ran a Mon/Wed/Fri/Sat schedule with no Dawson Switcher in order to focus on Chetwynd Yard and evaluate its performance. Michael handled the yard job at Chetwynd and Philippe ran the Septimus Turn. We ran with switch lists but without clearances:

Here Michael switches the Canfor mill while Philippe returns to Chetwynd with the Septimus Turn. We have scheduled another trial session for July 31, for which we will add a third person and run the Dawson Switcher.


5 MAY 2018
ALCO C-425 No. 810 has returned home after conversion to ESU LokSound and seen here arriving at Chetwynd on symbol freight VP-04, consisted with M-630 No. 708 and C-630M No. 701:


You can see a short video taken upon 810's arrival here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQqtXti97ao

ALCO C-425s Nos. 804 and 812 have now departed for their conversion to sound.


5 MAY 2018

The final phase of work to finish Chetwynd Yard is now underway with preparation of component parts for the control panels. The angled mounts have been painted, and the toggle switches fitted with lead wires:

More information and photos on the Construction-Turnout Control Page. Thank you to Dennis at Imperial Trophies for printing the panels, Anthony Craig for manufacturing the panel mounts, and Doug Hicks for assistance with soldering the toggle switches. Work will now begin to install the panels and connect the toggle switches to the Singlets underneath the layout.


7 APRIL 2018

ALCO C-420 No. 632 has returned home after an absence for conversion to ESU LokSound. Several missing parts including the horn and some MU cables were also replaced, and an engineer was added. This my sixth locomotive with sound; with twelve currently on the roster I am now at the halfway point in re-equipping the fleet. 632 is seen here at Chetwynd after its return trip north:


25 MARCH 2018

Spring Break has afforded an opportunity to complete a number of layout projects, so there is a fair amount of news to share this time around.

All of the Singlets for Chetwynd Yard have now been installed, connected to their respective servos, and the end points programmed. It is now possible to actuate the turnouts using the push buttons on the Singlets. The next and last step will be to mount the control panels on the fascia and connect the toggle switches to the Singlets for remote operation from the fascia. This photograph shows eight of the Singlets in place underneath Chetwynd Yard:


Another big step forward toward operations was extension of the XpressNet command bus around to the other side of the layout. This project included the provision of fascia plates and throttle pockets in front of Chetwynd Yard:


Chetwynd Yard has also benefited from the provision of a shelf to accommodate the station and freight shed which extended past the fascia due to the final location of the main track and adjacent shed tracks. The shelf will also accommodate the parking lot adjacent to the station which I am keen to model. In this photograph two of the new Atlas F-100 pick-up trucks can be seen in the parking lot:


Other recently completed projects include the provision of stowage for uncoupling skewers around the layout, new power supplies for the LED layout lighting on a new shelf underneath Chetwynd Yard, painting of the fascia for the new helix cover, and LED lighting for inside the helix. I have updated the Lighting, Helix, Wiring, and Turnout Pages under Construction with additional information and photographs for these recently completed projects.

Chetwynd Yard is now very close to completion and the layout will soon be ready for full operations.


15 MARCH 2018

The advent of better weather has enabled me to get some planned additions to the benchwork painted out on the balcony. These include the fascia on the helix cover, a horizontal extension for the Chetwynd station & freight shed, vertical extensions for throttle pockets, uncoupling stick holders, and a shelf for the layout lighting power supplies:


With the fascia portion painted dark green, the helix cover was installed permanently on the layout this evening:



11 FEBRUARY 2018

All of the servos for Chetwynd Yard have now been installed, and all of the throw wires trimmed. In addition, all of the frog juicers have been installed and connected. More photos on the Construction-Turnout Control Page. The final step is installation of Singlet drivers and control panels. Work is now underway to prepare Singlets, control panels and toggle switches for installation.


10 FEBRUARY 2018

The long awaited helix cover has been completed and installed for a test fit on the layout. It will be removed for painting of the fascia portion and then re-installed. A test train with trailers on flat cars was run to check the clearance underneath the cover. More photos on the Construction-Helix Page.


15 JANUARY 2018

Lots of progress on the layout to start off 2018. Track bus wiring and auxiliary bus wiring underneath Chetwynd Yard are now complete and the first work train, Work Extra 581, has entered the yard under its own power:

Work is now underway on a cover for the helix. Several electronics projects are also in progress including substituting new power supplies for the LED layout lighting, extending the command bus around to the other side of the layout, and providing indicator panels for Main and Auxiliary Power. The next step in preparing Chetwynd Yard for operations will be to install the servos for the turnouts, and trim the throw wires.


27 DECEMBER 2017

The layout has taken another significant step forward with the completion of tracklaying for Chetwynd Yard. This is the last major section to be laid; only the permanent trackage for several bridges now remains. Please see the Construction - Track Page for additional information and photographs. Work will now commence on track bus and auxiliary bus wiring underneath the benchwork.


15 NOVEMBER 2017
I have completed a new Maintenance Of Way car. BCOL 993032 is one of the railway's unique cat tool cars. It will go to work on extending the roadbed into Chetwynd Yard. Please see the Rolling Stock Page for further information.


15 NOVEMBER 2017
I have arrived at a preliminary track arrangement for Chetwynd Yard which closely mirrors the prototype, and which can accommodate sufficient cars and motive power to facilitate a prototypical operating session. The arrangement includes a mock-up of the Canfor sawmill with mill buildings, chip loader and wood burner.


21 OCTOBER 2017

Several new items of rolling stock have been added to the fleet, including two private owner chemical tank cars, two CNWX cylindrical grain hoppers, and a dry van trailer for Caravan Trailer Rentals. The trailer was inspired by a 1974 photograph from Keith Hansen depicting a Caravan trailer at the BCR trailer ramp in Dawson Creek.


15 OCTOBER 2017

The final phase of tracklaying gets underway today with the commencement of work on Chetwynd Yard. This view looking north shows the cleared benchwork and the various track components assembled for the project, including flex track, offcuts from previous tracklaying, rail joiners, and turnouts.


14 OCTOBER 2017

My three M-630 locomotives have returned home after a long absence. They are now equipped with ESU LokSound decoders and Star Micron speakers, and feature the latest ESU sound file for the ALCO 251 16 cylinder prime mover which was recorded from an actual M-636. They are seen here at Septimus. At right is C-630M No. 701 whose decoder has been updated with the new sound file. ALCO C-420 No. 632 and C-425 No. 810 will be the next units to be converted and have departed the layout for a while.


31 AUGUST 2017

I have taken a break from layout construction to work on some new models which will soon join the fleet. I have also completed a major upgrade to the website with completion of the Motive Power and Rolling Stock pages. The photographs illustrate the locomotives, freight cars, trailers and work equipment which will operate on the layout. I invite you to check out these new pages.

The final phase of track-laying and wiring will be for the yard at Chetwynd. I have acquired most of the required track components and work at Chetwynd will begin this fall.


23 JULY 2017

The yard at Dawson Creek is now fully operational, and several locomotives have been brought up to Dawson Creek for the testing and adjusting of turnouts. Seen here beside the station are C-420 No. 632 on Shed Track 2, and RS-18 No. 613, RS-10 No. 581 and RS-18 No. 607 on the station track.


23 JULY 2017

The final phase of wiring for Dawson Creek Yard is complete. The control panels and toggle switches have been installed and all of the turnouts in the yard can now be controlled from the fascia. This completes a three month long process to prepare the yard for operations and is a significant step forward for the layout. More photos at the bottom of the Wiring and Turnout Control Pages. A period of testing and adjustments will now be in order. A big thank you to several friends including Anthony Craig, Doug Hicks and Michael Batten who provided assistance with various aspects of the turnout control project.


15 JUNE 2017

The servos and frog juicers for all of the turnouts in the yard at Dawson Creek are now installed. Work will now commence to install the control panels, toggles and servo controllers. This is the final step in preparing the yard for regular operations.


15 MAY 2017

The first two phases of wiring underneath the yard at Dawson Creek are now complete. The track bus is in place and connected to the feeder wires for the track sections and frog juicers. The auxiliary bus is also in place and connected to the feeder wires for the servo controllers. Work is now underway to install the servos, controllers and frog juicers.


15 MARCH 2017

Track-laying is now complete at Dawson Creek, with all of the remaining tracks for the east half of the yard now laid down. This includes the elevator lead, the spur tracks for Peace River Lime and BC Hydro, and the tracks serving the station and freight shed. I have yet to install missing ties at the joints between track sections.

Several months of track bus wiring and turnout control are next.


5 MARCH 2017

Track-laying continues at Dawson Creek, with all of the tracks for the west half of the yard now laid down. This includes the spur track to the Alberta Wheat Pool and the two tracks to the trailer ramp. This view is looking west:

My attention now turns to the elevator track on the far side of the yard, and the east half of the yard tracks.


25 FEBRUARY 2017

C-630M No. 701 came home today after a lengthy absence and has rejoined the motive power fleet. The TCS AMD4 decoder has been replaced with an ESU LokSound Micro Select programmed with the ALCO 16 cylinder 251 engine (air start version) and the distinctive K5H horn. It becomes my second locomotive with sound, and is pictured here with C-425 No. 810 southbound through Septimus:

Locomotive Location Report 2017-02-25

570 RS-3 out of service with defective gear tower

573 RS-3 in service in DC mode for shows only

581 RS-10 in service; u/a on hand at Septimus

584 RS-10 in service; u/a on hand at Septimus

607 RS-18 in service; u/a on hand at Septimus

613 RS-18 in service; u/a on hand at Septimus

632 C-420 in service; Work Extra 632 Dawson Creek

701 C-630M in service; Extra 701 South Septimus

708 M-630 out of service with defective truck

710 M-630 out of service; away for sound installation

717 M-630 out of service; away for sound installation

804 C-425 in service; Work Extra 812 Sundance

810 C-425 in service; Extra 701 South Septimus

812 C-425 in service; Work Extra 812 Sundance


20 FEBRUARY 2017

All of the sub-roadbed for the yard at Dawson Creek is now in place, and the track centres have been marked on the foam track-bed. The yard is now ready for track to be laid:


15 FEBRUARY 2017

The trackage for the Northwest Wood Preservers mill at Dawson Creek has been installed. This includes the turnouts, a chip loading track, a lumber loading track, and a tie spur as per the prototype. Work Extra 584 arrived with a train of revenue freight cars to test the new trackage:



5 FEBRUARY 2017

Tracklaying at Dawson Creek has commenced with installation of the approach curve from the end of the Kiskatinaw power district up to the first turnout in Dawson Creek yard. Work Extra 632 was the first train to pass over the new trackage. This was also the first train to reach the benchwork on the south wall and the first to arrive at the start of the Dawson Creek yard:


15 JANUARY 2017

Welcome to my new website which has replaced the old one using the same URL. The first site was online from 2006 to 2016 and reached the point where it became too difficult to maintain, or even update. This new site retains much of the content from the original site, but there has been an effort to simplify and streamline the content. Please note that some pages (Operations, Structures, Motive Power, Rolling Stock) are still under construction and will be completed in due course.


New features include a slider for photographs on the Home Page, a new page in the Construction section on turnout control, a new page listing articles and books I have written over the years, a new page acknowledging those who have assisted with my layout construction, and a Contact Page for getting in touch with me or providing feedback.


Much has happened on the layout since the last update to the old site. During 2016 the entire mainline was laid with Atlas Code 55 track and permanently wired. The turnouts at Septimus, Sundance and Tremblay were powered with servos and the control panels were installed. It is now possible to run work trains over the mainline and along the staging tracks at Septimus, and all of the turnouts can be operated from the fascia control panels. Several successful Open Houses were held in November 2016.


On the equipment side, I acquired nine new BCOL bulkhead flatcars as part of the second run from Prairie Shadows, and completed my fleet of BCR van trailers and flatdeck trailers. The trailers are pictured on the Rolling Stock Sub-Page titled Home Road Trailers.


As we enter 2017, work is in progress to re-install the permanent bridge across the Pine River with Micro Engineering Code 55 bridge flex track, and preparations are underway for tracklaying at Dawson Creek. The scenic mats, temporary structures and vehicles have been cleared away from the benchwork and surveying for location of the yard tracks is now in progress.