Membership

Membership Information

  • Interested in prototype railway modelling?
  • Interested in the CPR or northern Ontario railroading?
  • Wish to join in realistic operating sessions?
  • You’re new to the hobby, or an armchair modeller who wishes to get seriously involved?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then you should consider joining the WRMRC.

Why Join the WRMRC?

Obviously we offer the same major benefit that all other clubs do in building a larger layout than is possible by any individual owner. However there are many differences which we offer over the traditional model railroad club. The most important aspect of the WRMRC is that clear and defined goals have been set. Having goals and modelling objectives firmly established helps to limit club politics, so we can spend more time modelling, building, operating and having fun.

If I have no interest in Canadian Pacific, the ’70s or northern Ontario modelling, why should I join?

The founders of the WRMRC understood that choosing a specific prototype (versus the usual club freelanced theme) would limit membership numbers. Yet we continually attract new members who have little interest in the CPR, northern Ontario or the 1970s. Some even model in different scales. Why do they join? There is an attraction to modelling something that is real, or was real at some point in the past. Also having a set plan with definite goals produces a number of positive qualities:

  • Clear goals and set standards result in a superior layout, both in operation and appearance.
  • With such standards construction becomes well-ordered and motivated.
  • No conflicts in modelling direction, and a marked reduction in club ‘politics’.
  • Dedication of members to the good of the group and layout in general.
  • Accomplishing common objectives leads to good feelings.

Aside from the club’s modelling efforts, the WRMRC hosts regular prototype-inspired operating sessions. Not certain what that means? Think of it as a giant role-playing game like Dungeons & Dragons; but instead of wizards and dungeon masters we have dispatchers and yard masters, and our playing pieces move on their own too. Our trains are operated with 2-man crews (engineman & conductor), and communicate between themselves and isolated dispatchers via radio. Real freight and passenger schedules are followed, along with proper blocking of freight traffic between trains. Freight delivery is governed by a car-card and waybill system which mimics the real-life generation of traffic by railway customers. In short, the CP Sudbury Division is operated as a miniature transportation system.

Additional benefits to joining the WRMRC include the opportunity to build, kitbash, paint and weather models with the help and guidance from our more experienced modellers, along with access to the club’s professional painting facilities.

As an added incentive we offer your first month of membership free. This allows you to join in on our regular work nights and participate in an operating session, and make sure the WRMRC is right for you.

For more information about membership, or the WRMRC in general please send us e-mail.

Come and be a part of the action – Join the WRMRC!

Recent Posts

Signalling the Sudbury Division

Since our club’s initial decision to model the CP Sudbury Division in the 1970s era, it was understood by the membership that at some point railway signals would need to be installed on the layout. Not only did we want our layout scenes to look close to their real place counterparts despite having to selectively compress them, or operate equipment that appeared just like what really ran through northern Ontario in the ’70s, but we also wished to operate the layout in a realistic manner too.

The CP Cartier Subdivision between North Bay and Cartier was all CTC (Centralized Traffic Control) territory during the 1970s, with the exception of the six mile double-track section between Romford and Sudbury yard which was ABS (Automatic Block Signal System) signalled in one direction for current of traffic. Regardless of the two signalling methods it meant the club’s entire east-west mainline was protected by signals, and therefore we would need to duplicate this if we wished to achieve our goals of both looking right, and running right.

That said, we can report that signalling a model railway is very much more easier said than done. However after 20 years of planning, and of delaying a lot of scenery work from being started due to the wiring and complexity of the project, the 1/87 scale Sudbury Division is seeing its first signals begin to sprout around the layout.

RomfordSignals01

Temporary dual-head and permanent dwarf signals installed at Romford. Once fully programmed they will protect this busy junction just like their real-life counterparts.

Though much of the hobby has progressed quite dramatically over the past 40 years, sadly the process of signalling a layout has lagged behind despite the pioneering efforts of Allen MccLelland’s V&O, or Bruce Chubb’s Sunset Valley back in the 1970s. Yes, there are multiple sources of hardware available, and JMRI (Java Model Railroad Interface) software is free, however none of this is really plug and play. You need to program signal scripts and modify JMRI for any of this to work. Between knowing where the signals need to be installed, planning and wiring the signal blocks accordingly, selecting the detectors, switch and signal controllers and then programming it all to work, there is one other big problem for us. No one out there offers ready-to-run Canadian-style searchlight signals.

Romford, ON in October 6, 1971

From the cab of ‘The Canadian’ at Romford, ON – 06 October 1971. Photo by Roger Puta, from Marty Bernard’s Flickr album.

Though searchlight signal kits do exist in HO scale, they are US-based and need to be disassembled and pretty much scratch-build to have them appear like the real deal did. This and both CP and CN did have some differences in their ladder assemblies. For this reason, the WRMRC has decided to build their own, and to use temporary signals in the meantime. But it sure would be nice if a Canadian model manufacturer considered reproducing them for HO modellers at some point. Hello Rapido; wink, wink, nudge, nudge!

RomfordSignals02

Westbound signals guarding Romford. The mainline is on the right. The wye tracks to the left connect with the Parry Sound Sub to Toronto. The track in the middle is a set-off siding.

There is also the little wrinkle of the dispatcher needing a CTC panel for this all to work. However the good news for the WRMRC is the CP Cartier Sub was signalled in the 1960s, and thus never used one of the ‘classic’ CTC panels that railfans usually imagine. CP had their own hybrid system housed on the second floor of the Sudbury Division HQ building, featuring a large white wall panel with a black trackage schematic, and yellow lights displaying track occupancy. The dispatcher set switches and direction of traffic with a keypad assembly. Frankly, this sounds a lot like something you can duplicate on a computer screen and controlled with a keyboard, and so that’s exactly what we will be doing.

RomfordSignals03

Temporary dual-head signals protect the CP Cartier Sub diamond crossing with the CN Bala Sub at Coniston, Ontario. The diamond, much like our signals, is a work in progress.

Regardless of all these difficulties, the WRMRC has a small team working on the project and they’ve been making great strides recently. As you can tell from the photographs, the layout is already looking dramatically different. We look forward to the day we can ‘un-bag’ these signals for a future operating session, and have our engineers operate their trains as per signal indication. This also means scenery can progress in these areas too. The WRMRC’s goals of ‘looking right’ and ‘running right’ are slowly being achieved.

 

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