Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Edmonton Model Railroad Association

Near the entrance to Fort Edmonton Park in Alberta, I noticed a sign inviting visitors to stop by the Edmonton Model Railroad Association’s exhibit.  It’s just down the tracks via a boardwalk from the Fort Edmonton Park Railroad Depot.

This is an innovative model railway layout!  It’s a ‘mushroom’ two-level design, allowing almost twice as much mainline track as a single level would permit.  There are walkways for members and visitors on both levels.
We definitely appreciated the Association’s member who offered to take us on a guided tour inside this impressive layout.  Viewing windows are available for visitors.  They give you a good overview of this complex layout but they aren’t too good for photographs…

The detail of the many active vignettes is amazing.
The Freight Shed at Fort Edmonton Park is home for this layout.  The structure was completed in 1992 using funds raised by the Association’s club members.  A full 60% of the building’s construction was completed by members.

Here we have a lumber mill complete with a drying kiln… Just across the tracks, a couple of families are enjoying their vacation outings complete with towed RVs. 

The Edmonton Model Railway Association was formed in 1946 and it will celebrate its 68th anniversary in 2014!

Given this view with so much going on and all of that track showing, it’s time for a few statistics…

So far…and this exhibit is still a work in progress…it has over 2,344 feet of track; 3.66 miles of wire; 225 switches; 9,542 ‘planted’ trees; 11,048 ‘built’ trees; 59 locomotives from various eras, and; 750 pieces of rolling stock!

There was so much detail to look at it was hard to decide what to photograph.  Note all of the trees and the hills…not to mention all of those structures!
The Edmonton Model Railroad Association has built this layout based on a real railroad that was surveyed and chartered in central British Columbia back in 1896, but which was never built.    It is called the Monashee Pacific Railroad.

I have always loved model railroads…but I’ve never had the patience or talent needed to build a proper layout.  As far as models are concerned, the most I’ve ever built were a couple of model warplanes from WWII and a couple of ships… However, I do own a toy electric train set from Montgomery Ward dated 1960 that I’ve never taken out of its original box.  I probably need to sell it on eBay!

The actual railroad would have linked Vernon British Columbia to Castlegar British Columbia by way of the Monashee Mountains.  The Club’s layout represents what members feel that the railroad would have looked like in 1959.  The names along the line are actual town names or geographical points along the original surveyed route.

Here are some passengers waiting for the express passenger train… I just noticed that the small freight shed in the photo is off its ‘foundation’.
If it had been built, the real Monashee Pacific Railroad would have had about 135 miles of mainline track.  The model version of the railroad continues into the USA south of Castlegar.  It also connects with the Canadian Pacific and Canadian National north of Vernon.  This ‘modification’ gives club members the ability to utilize some of their favorite railroad equipment from their personal collections…

I thought that ending this posting with a photo of the Monashee Pacific Railroad’s roundhouse showing a number of their locomotives was appropriate. 

My hometown, Jackson Michigan, used to have a magnificent all brick roundhouse.  I was quite young when it closed and was torn down.  However, the beautifully restored railway depot in Jackson is still in operation with daily AMTRAC trains stopping by.  It is one of the oldest continually operating railroad stations in the USA…141 years in 2014!  To learn more, go to  To view some early pictures of that station, you can go to

The Edmonton Model Railway Association is a non-profit society.  They do accept donations…and they’re always looking for new members.  To learn more about the Association, go to  Many thanks to the Association member who took the time to give us a tour of this fascinating model railroad layout!  If you like railroading, this is a great place to stop by when visiting Fort Edmonton Park.

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave


  1. That is one place I would have really enjoyed. In addition to your shots I took their virtual tour and really appreciated the work they've put into their layout. I've always been a fan of railroads and have been an on and off modeler much of my life. I finally gave all of my stuff to grandson Matthew in hopes he can get some enjoyment from it.

  2. My husband would have loved seeing it. Before he got sick we use to go to the train shows to see the layouts and what was new. He wanted to cut a hole in each room so he could have his train go all through the house, but I wouldn't let him. He is very much a train buff. He would enjoy just looking at the pictures and thank you for sharing. Hugs and Prayers from Your Missouri Friend

  3. Dear Dave, My dad used to set up trains every Christmas. It was great fun.
    This is magnificent. I bet you enjoyed this display throughly! Blessings, Catherine