Aug 10, 2018

See you at Exporail (2018)!

Once again, members of the S Scale Workshop will be at Exporail - the Canadian Railway Museum - to take part in the museum's annual model railway celebration, A Great Passion for Model Trains.

This year's event takes place August 18-19 - yes, next weekend. You can find out more information on the Exporail website.

We hope to see you there!

The Workshop at the 2018 NASG Convention

The S Scale Workshop displayed its modular model railway at the 2018 National Association of S Gaugers annual convention held at Boxborough, Massachusetts (just outside Boston), July 24-29. Member Andy Malette is a fixture at these conventions, and filed this report...


This year, the S Scale Workshop exhibited at its third NASG Convention, and we were set up around the walls in the dealer hall. The NASG conventions are always in the United States, and this also marked the fifth time we have displayed the Workshop layout in America.

This was also the first time we could call ourselves a truly international group!

Our three new U.S. members all rallied to the call and brought modules. Jamie Bothwell and Jeff English brought modules which are functional but still need the scenery completed. Jamie did some work on his scenery during the show, which some people remarked was instructive.

Jamie with his in-progress module.
The waves drawn on the base of the river are a nice touch!
Jeff with his in-progress module.
An interesting skewed through girder bridge carries the railway over this road.
Claude Demers contributed a complete module, using structures from the layout of the late Frank Titman - a well-known modeller instrumental in keeping S scale alive during the 1960s and 1970s. Claude's module is a nice tribute to Frank.

Claude with his module.
Some of Frank's structures on Claude's module.
The three Americans were joined by a number of our Canadian members. Simon Parent, John Johnston and I brought modules, while members Brian Nicholson, Darby Mariott and Paul Raham helped keep the trains running and the convention attendees entertained. We felt we had a good response to the layout and trains were running all the time.

I wonder how many other modular groups are international? At any rate, it will now be easier to display in the United States and of course our American members can display any time they like south of the border - regardless of whether the Canadians are on hand.

- Andy

Mar 6, 2018

35 Feet at Copetown 2018

Workshop member Jim Martin reports on the group's bi-annual appearance at the Copetown Train Show...


Three of our group were available to bring our modules to Copetown this year. Paul Raham exhibited his Marshall Station module, John Johnston brought out his Burnt River section, and I displayed my Culverhouse module. I also hauled out one of the group’s four-foot train turntables.

This was in fact the identical setup used three months earlier at the Belleville Christmas Train Show.  The combination creates a modest 35-foot long display, but one that works very well with a smaller crew.

Two trains were the max for this setup: One operator would use Paul’s end-of-line module to turn the loco and swap ends on the train, while a second operator ran a train after making a full 180 on the train turntable. The two trains would meet at the passing siding on John's module.

Three younger crew members also helped out…our own rogue N-scaler Fredrick Aldhoch, and visitors Darby Marriott from the Waterloo area and Chris Furman from Ottawa. Their help and companionship was greatly appreciated.

Darby and I took turns running our battery-powered S Helper Service SW-9s.

John ran his River Raisin 0-6-0 and 44-Tonner along with his S Helper Service 2-8-0. We even gave Simon Parent’s visiting 2-10-2 a short back and forth, but of course turning it on Paul’s 60-ft turntable was out of the question. (And I'd like to give a shout out to Neil Froese, another S scale enthusiast who dropped by for a visit.)

Darby’s BlueRail battery conversions generated a lot of interest and I took the opportunity to give him another loco to convert: my recently acquired CNR GP-9 that William Flatt custom detailed and painted.

We met a new modeller to the area, Wayne Wessner. Wayne, who moved here from Regina, models in HO and makes some mighty fine trees. In fact he gifted one to John so in return we’ll give him a plug. If you need some fine looking foreground trees contact Wayne:

The Copetown show's format has changed since our last appearance. The Saturday is now an RPM meet. Sunday remains as a public train show. There were only three layouts at the Sunday show:  ours, Brian Dickey’s lovely 7mm (British O scale) Roweham switching layout and a small HO table top layout. However ,the public seemed not to mind: They simply paid more attention to each of the layouts.

All in all, a fun weekend!

- Jim

Feb 17, 2018

Three so far in 2018

Check out the "Visiting the S Scale Workshop" page to find out where we're exhibiting. We have three events booked so far for 2018 - including one in just a couple of weeks.

Maybe we'll see you there!

Sep 29, 2017

No-show at Brampton

Unfortunately, a member of the S Scale Workshop has had to pull out of this weekend's Brampton Model Railway Show, due to personal reasons. Since it was to be a small portion of our group anyway, the members decided to not exhibit this year.

If you hoped to see us there, we apologize in advance.

This show is turning into the "must-attend" event for hobbyists in the Golden Horseshoe area of Southern Ontario. If you planned to attend just to see us - well, don't let our decision stop you!

We'll be at a future show - count on it.

Aug 24, 2017

The Workshop at Exporail 2017

Over the past weekend, several members of the S Scale Workshop attended the annual celebration of model railways at Exporail - Canada's national railway museum in Saint-Constant, Quebec.

Members on-hand included John Johnston, Andy Malette, Brian Nicholson and Simon Parent. Simon supplied the end loops, John brought his Burnt River scene, while Andy has his brewery and swamp modules.

Simon's CNR 2-10-2 hauled a 35-car train on the layout - which we believe is a record for the group:

(Simon created these two videos with a Sony HDR-AS50 camera - small enough to ride onboard the train.)

While the group presented a smaller layout this time out, compared to previous years, this once again demonstrates the flexibility of Free-mo for groups that like to exhibit their work to the public.

The show was well attended and everybody had a good time. And as has been noted before, the venue can't be beat: What a great opportunity to run our 1:64 models in a hall shared by 1:1 Canadian railway history!

Mar 1, 2017

"Full Throttle Steam" from ESU

(You can also watch this directly on YouTube,
where you may be able to enjoy it in larger formats)

Here's one of my S scale CNR moguls equipped with Full Throttle Steam – the new sound packages soon to be released by ESU for their Loksound Select and Loksound V4.0 decoders. It's running through the Lynn Valley on my home layout, but I'm sure that members of the S Scale Workshop will be considering upgrading some of their decoders when they hear the new sounds coming from Matt Herman at ESU North America.

I’ve spent some time running the locomotive this week, and I’m getting much more comfortable using the Heavy Load and Coast features to bring the sound to life.
I'm using a beta file of Full Throttle Steam. Matt and I installed it while shooting some segments for TrainMasters TV. The production files should be released any day now. Watch the ESU North America website for details.
Meantime, I’m getting ready to replace decoders in more locomotives. It’s a great time to be modelling steam!
- Trevor