Current Projects

Some things being worked on in the shop and in the basement

This is the equivalent of a diary or journal for some of the things that are either on the workbench, or under way somewhere.

SBLK Redivivus Again

There is not much room for an operations oriented layout in the Barriefield.

What I have begun is a 2' X 17' panorama that I will be able to use as my Lenz Test Module.

The concept is that of the SBLK's Hawk Lake facilities

Hawk Lake was only a short passing siding on the original SBLK, but the new Hawk Lake's only resemblance to that is likely to be the grain elevator, which survived the move to Wilton and then again to here..

This time around I hope to be able to "finish" before going completely dotty.

[Photos and Comments]

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SBLK Redivivus!!

The St. Boniface, Lac des Bois & Kaministiquia Railway operated regularly in Ottawa from 1995 until torn up in 2001, when we moved to Wilton. Every time I saw a member of the old operating crew, the question is the same: "When do we begin operations again?"

Well, I managed a little bit of progress, but never enough to get to operating during all of our time in Wilton.

The SBLK II was torn up by Grant Knowles and David Steer in one day in late 2013 just before we had to leave Wilton.

The photos below are for the historical record only..

[ Photos & Comment ]

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The SBLK I - For the Record

The St. Boniface, Lac des Bois & Kaministiquia Railway operated regularly in Ottawa from 1995 until torn up in 2001.

It was the best railroad that I have ever built.

It ran, as my friend Michel Boucher said "Like a Swiss watch", except when another friend and regular operator, Angus Palmer, flicked the power switch on an off several times, just to test the electricals and the Lenz Digital Plus DCC. It was, I believe, one of the, if not THE, first DCC layout to be constructed and run regularly in Ottawa.

We had regular operating sessions every two weeks, alternating with Michel's Ontairio Central and later his D&H.

We had a regular dispatcher (Normand), a regular 8-9 man crew (Michel, Alan Lane, Angus, Normand, Stan Conley, Trevor Marshall, Peter Nesbitt, Neil Lowes, Tom Badenoch, ) with another dozen or so irregulars (Alex Binkley, Greg Stubbings, David McClellan and I have to apologize to those other valued friends for whose names my memory fails me now). We ran in the 1950-1958 time period and so had both steam and diesel.

We ran at least a dozen trains a session to published schedules, with a fast clock clock system, rolling stock and locomotive cards, waybills. A signalling system and computer control (C/MRI) was being put in place right up to tear down in the summenr of 2001. The whole nine yards. Even some reasonably scenicked parts on the layout. And within days after each operating session an issue of The Kaministiquia Chronicle appeared at email addresses around the region, reporting on events in the imaginary sub-province and on the activities of various scoundrels on and around the layout. The exploits of Agnes Palmreader, Marshall Consulting Engineers and the whole course of "Mad Kam" disease through the operating group were reported in prose worthy of any of Canada's national newspapers.

The SBLK was an imaginary bridge line between Winnipeg (“St. Boniface”), through Kenora (“Lac des Bois”) to just East of the Lakehead (“Kaministiquis"). Hence, the SB, LdB & K, reporting marks SBLK.

The focal point of this version was at Kaministiquia, with a major marshalling yard, engine facility, passenger facility and multiple big hauling industries. The SBLK had a monopoly on rail traffic in the whole region betwee Nipigon Junction and the manitoba boundary, thanks to superb political connections in both Ottawa and Queen's Park. Thus, CPR and CNR transcontinentals and freights all had to run on SBLK tracks. And the SBLK had its own varnish (the "West Wind" and "astern Star", as well as through and local freights.

That situation offered lots of scope for customizing locomotives and rolling stock. Which I had the best time of my life doing in my best modelling years. Some won or placed in NMRA National and Regional conventions and many more earned merit certificates in the Achievement program. Model Railroader ran a couple of photos of it back in the 90’s, as well as a article I did on light poles for the freight marshalling yard.

There used to be photos available on a link from the OVAR or the NMRA’s NFR St.Lawrence Division websites. I am not sure if they are still there, so I have put the few photos I still ahve up here for the record.

The SBLK I was torn out with care by a great group of guys on noe day in July, 2001: Michel, Neil, David, Stanley, Alex, and again I apologize to those who were there and for whom my memory fails.

The photos below are for the historical record only..

[ Photos & Comment ]

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HO Narrow Gauge SAR Beyer Garrat

Building a Backwoods Miniatures etched brass flat kit.

this is a project that got started and put away several times during our time in Wilton.

I hope to be able to open up the box again and show some more progress.

[ Photos & Comment ]

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