Model Train Empire Opens its Doors!
By: Graham Bryan
October 24th, 2012
Guelph. On Sunday November 4th there will be a chance to see the little known world of the Pacific Western railroad. Just off Edinburgh Road long coal trains and express freights snake through tall mountains and pass commuters waiting on station platforms for the next passenger train. Occasionally the 1 inch tall passengers look up from their tiny newspapers and miniature coffees and catch a glimpse of Thomas the Tank Engine as he zips along on his morning run.
This is the Guelph Model Railroad Society (GMRS) and on November 4th visitors will be treated to HO scale trains running along 800 feet of mainline, buy a ticket to win their own custom-built model railroad, and have a chance to talk to GMRS members.
About the Pacific Western and the GMRS:
The GMRS has been around since 1968 and in the current Crimea Street location over 30 years. The number of members has varied over the years, starting with 10 and growing to the current 30. The members range in age, expertise and skills and over the years have built an impressive 2,500 square feet layout with thousands of feet of wire, mountains over 8 feet high, dozens of bridges, and four rail yards. “We’ve lost count of how many freight cars we have but it’s over 200” notes club president Steve Anderson.
‘Playing trains’ takes on a different dimension on the railroad: starting at 6:30 pm on most Wednesdays the members don radio headsets and are assigned trains by a dispatcher, just like on real railroad. They set out with their train on a scale 300 mile journey. That journey can take up to 8 hours in ‘scale time’ – an hour in the real world. The dispatcher sits in a separate room tracking the movements of dozens of trains and giving instructions to each engineer over the radio. “It sounds complicated but it’s an amazing experience. And above all else its fun, having fun is our number one rule” explains Steve. The club always welcomes visitors who want to learn more and maybe even join – just show up on a Wednesday night.
About the train show:
The Pacific Western is located at 50 Crimea Street, Guelph, west of Edinburgh Road North. Tickets are $5 with children 12 and under free. The GMRS regrets that their facilities are not wheelchair accessible.
George Watson 519-856-4983 John Heimbuch 905-878-5009
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