The Island Pacific Railroad originated in 1972 while we lived in Port Alberni,
located on Vancouver Island in British Columbia.
I had an old Lionel 027 train set when I was growing up and thought there was
room in the basement to try out model railroading.
It was a simple N Gauge table top layout but I had fun and learned a number of
tricks in making scenery. The track work was pretty poor and to this day remains
the weakest area of my modeling.
This original version lasted a couple of years until we moved back to the Fraser
Valley on the mainland. It revived briefly as an HO layout in the bedroom of Colin,
our youngest son. This only lasted a short time until a move to Salmon Arm in
the interior of the province saw it dismantled again. A young family, lack of
room and a lack of funds saw the railroad reside in cardboard boxes for
approximately 18 years.
By this time we had moved back to Abbotsford in the Fraser Valley, and the
boys had moved on with their lives. Now I had a whole room to devote to my
That version started off with a bookshelf/cupboard corner unit built out of
oak with the help of my friend Ken Mead. On the top was room for an N gauge
layout that was L shaped, 7 feet long by 4 feet wide with a 2 foot by 4 foot
section cut out of the front to form the L. The whole unit is on casters so can
easily move out to give access to the tunnels for track cleaning and derailments.
(My track work still needs improving.)
The shelf unit looked great and I had a lot of fun with the scenery which looked
pretty good if I do say so. Sound was added with a couple of MRC Tech II sound
generators and speakers located around the layout. Later an additional layout
was built along three walls in a U shape. This new layout was approximately 7 feet
by 11 feet and is 2 feet deep. All track work was between 5 feet and 5 1/2 feet
above the floor so your view of both layouts is more across than down and the
highest peaks on the hills are approximately 7 feet from the floor. All track was
looped so trains could run continuously.
I decided to renovate the room so it could be used for a sitting room as well, so torn
down the layout and constructed a shelf around the entire room at the level of the door top.
A new layout has been started up there. It can only be viewed in its entirety from a stool but
while sitting the viewer catches glimpses of the trains as the move around. Track work is
completed and I will post new photos as scenry progresses.
A G Scale division was started in the garden a few years back and has
taken most of our efforts lately. It consists of approximately 200 feet of track
looping around the south end of the yard with a seperate loop and siding of about the same size
added on north side of our garden. I find the size easier to work with
than N gauge and enjoy combining the gardening with modeling.
All of the motive power for the garden has been purchased but most has been
extensively modified and weathered. The rolling stock is about half and half
ready to run and kits or in the case of the logging cars, scratch built, but all
have been weathered or modified to suit my purposes.
The structures have all been made from scraps of wood and junk found around
the house plus a few detail parts I purchased. The population is made up of
different available models from the model railroad store or Christmas figurines
that I modified with a Dremel tool.
It has been fun and I love to share ideas, so donít hesitate to e-mail me if you
have a question or an idea to share.