By Terry Hughes
When recalling our one hundredth birthday in 1967 there was so much excitement and high- level activities. That included a special train containing cars with Canadian artifacts that visited many cities across the country. The only drawback was it was not steam powered.
For Canadians steam powered trains were and are very popular and can be seen in Alberta and British Columbia. For easterners the closest Canadian steam engines operate is out of Scranton, Pennsylvania… a foreign country! Unlike the American and British governments, our federal government has made no effort to assemble equipment and a steam engine to move it across country.
In spite of some local operation of museums that harbour a static display, there are no places that offer a display of Canadian railway equipment and structures that were once part of our past and contributed to our everyday life.
That fact presented a challenge to some modellers. Unlike clubs such as the Fenwick club who do a great job on their pike, some model railroaders from across southwestern Ontario formed a group whose aim was to display and operate a quality layout reflecting Canadian railways. A portable layout named the Ontario and Eastern evolved and was received with a great deal of enthusiasm by both men and women at shows across the province.
In recent years, I have been able to use two public venues that show what local railways were all about. Canal Days offers a look at how the CNR, CPR, TH&B and the NS&T complimented the marine industry in Pt. Colborne. The second, Marshville, offers a different look at our railways while being displayed in a station that was built in 1885 and is now located on the hallowed grounds of that community.
The photo for this month shows a model of a CNR freight engine passing through Welland Junction (Dain City) on its way to Fort Erie on my home layout. Take an opportunity and visit one of these two venues to see how quality modelling brings back what was once part of our railway heritage.
Next Column: Don’t Mess With Lake Erie.
(Terry Hughes is a Wellander who is passionate about heritage, history and model railroading. His column, Heritage Lives, appears on the blog once or twice monthly.)