• operations photographs

    Since operations are a top priority for the layout, we have commenced formal operating sessions that are hosted usually every one or two months. We will also be hosting various special operating sessions for events such as the local 7th Division PNR/NMRA fall meet, and for the VanRail invitational operating weekend that takes place here in greater Vancouver in the fall of odd numbered years. (http://www.vanrail.ca/)

    vanrail 2017 op session

    The VanRail operations invitational event occurs in Greater Vancouver every second odd year. The “new” Boundary Sub. hosted guests for its second VanRail since the layout was started. There were 3 back to back sessions from Sept 8 to 10, 2017 during which 30 guest operators joined us. We were also fortunate to have guest Dispatchers for all 3 sessions.

    Sessions generally ran between 3.5 and 4 hours and averaged 13 to 15 trains each. These sessions are an ongoing opportunity to keep testing the layout, equipment and the operations scheme we have been developing since the layout was initialled designed.

    I am very grateful for the home road crew assistance in preparing for VanRail, in particular Ken Catlin, Bill Dixon and John Martin.

    There were visitors from all over North America, with particular interest from our friends in California. The committee members for the event were; Scott Calvert; Chairman, Brian Clogg, Rene Gourley & Mike Chandler. Here is a sampling of photos from the sessions:

    Rick K volunteered for the Dispatcher’s position during the September 8th session.

    Jim D engineer of extra 4080 west O/S ing the dispatcher to advise his train has terminated in the east staging yard.

    Tom L; engineer of #807 the Slocan Turn is running past the Nelson station on the main under the close eye of Nelson yard crew member Lloyd L.

    Karl L switching the east end staging yard, while Brian S (background) performs a runaround move with extra GN X707 west at Troup Junction.

    Ray D switching the east end staging yard.

    Seth N updating the dispatchers sheet as another train O/Sed in.

    Eric D (right) running #46 Kettle Valley Express downgrade through Bulldog siding while engineer Jim W throws the turnout so extra 8556 westward coal train can depart.

    Bill J engineer of the #45 Kootenay Express just clearing the west switch at Coykendahl siding as the train begins the 2.2% ascent to Bulldog tunnel.

    Joe G, east staging yardmaster has a busy place, but seems to be enjoying himself regardless.

    Dave A performs a runaround move with extra GN X662 west at Troup Junction in preparation for the run to Nelson.

    Engineer Al F (foreground) running #968 eastward through freight as it approaches Nelson while engineer; Ken R holds the Slocan Turn train in the wye behind the station.

    Dispatcher Don M completing some orders for extra 8556; eastward ore/coal train.


    The second annual RMMBC meet took place May 5/6/7, a mere 6 months from the one last fall. This year’s meet offered a new venue, significantly more lop sessions & layouts, and great clinics.

    The Boundary Sub again hosted op sessions, and welcomed 16 guests over 32 days to put the layout through its paces. Anthony Craig and Rene Gourley graciously took on the dispatching duties, while home crew members Ken Catlin and Bill Dixon were extremely helpful in assisting the guests. Once again, I need to say that having a group of friends helping me with the layout is what makes it such a success and so enjoyable for folks to visit.

    Tentative dates for the 2018 RMMBC are May 4th to 6th and we hope you will consider attending the event and the op sessions. There will be lots to do. Watch the web site for more information over the coming months; http://railwaymodellersmeetofbc.ca/

    Here are some of the photos taken by myself, or John Green of these two sessions.
    RMM Session #1

    Nelson Yardmaster; Ken R reviewing the car cards for the ice house and freight shed.

    East staging yard master; Dave L classifying cars in preparation for the next outbound through freight.

    Road engineer; Rick W setting out some cars in the Castlegar yard.

    Dispatcher; Anthony C receiving an OS from a road crew.

    Train #46; Kettle Valley Express with engineer Raymond W at the throttle slowing as it approaches Fraine siding just west of South Slocan.

    Discussion between road engineer; Rick C (right), Dispatcher; Anthony C (centre) and home crew member; Ken C at the entrance to the room.

    RMM Session #2

  • East staging yard master; Nelson G reviewing the consist of a terminating train

    Nelson Yardmaster Bill S (right) and east end switching crew; Doug W working feverishly in the yard.

    Road engineer Josh G at the throttle of Trains #45; Kootenay Express west of South Slocan.

    Road engineer; John S (right) receiving some mentoring from home road team member; Ken C with Josh G in the background.

    Veteran dispatcher; Rene G preparing a clearance and orders for one of the many trains to run during this op session.

    Road engineer; John S working with some cars in the Fraine siding.


    The first annual Railroad Modellers meet of BC (RMMBC) took place on Nov 3 to 6th this year, and by all accounts was a great success. Operating sessions are rated as one of the top offerings at the annual meet held in the Vancouver lower mainland area each fall.

    This year the Boundary Sub. hosted two evening sessions for registrants to participate in. We had 8 guests for each one. Rene Gourley took care of the Dispatching duties, and Ken Catlin provided critical assistance to the visitors. Having both these guys helping made the sessions flow smoothly.

    The 2017 RMMBC will be held on the May 6 & 7th weekend and we hope you will consider attending the event and the op sessions. There will be lots to do. Watch the web site for more information over the coming months; http://railwaymodellersmeetofbc.ca/

    Ken C assists visitor Dave T work the phone, while Procter yardmaster; Don Y (background) is classifying cars in the yard.

    Bob M is readying the GN power for the eastward GN train heading to Salmo, and eventually the USA.

    Kurt L is clearing a westward train out of the east staging yard.

    Kyle G is on the phone with the dispatcher prior to clearing his train out of the temporary west staging yard while host crew member; Ken C provides assistance.

    Rene G looking very relaxed at eh dispatchers desk during the Friday session.

    2016 extended mainline ops

    During the spring and summer of 2016 we constructed the main peninsula that would house the first leg of the extended mainline from Castlegar up the 2% ascending grade towards Farron.

    After several months of hard work and testing by a dedicated group of the host team, the project was completed sufficiently to permit resumption of operations. Consequently, we hosted op sessions on August 18th & 25th ,and again on October 20th to test this new section and garner constructive feedback from the regular crew that participated.


  • October 20, 2016 Session

    East staging yardmaster; Brian C programming new locos into the Lenz throttles while Ken C assists.

    Andrew H performing switching duties in the east end of the divisional yard at Nelson.

    Bill D keeping track of the trains as the dispatcher for this session.

    Enginemen Ken C (R) and Greg M posing as their trains meet at Coykendahl for the first time since the mainline expansion was opened.

    August 25, 2016 Session

    Brian D preparing paperwork for the next extra train as the Dispatcher for this session.

    Nelson yardmaster; John G (foreground) operating the west end switchers while assistant; Doug H classifies cars.

    Engineman; Ken M running #46 Kootenay Express past the water tank at Coykendahl siding on his way to the summit at Farron.

    Engineman Brian P with extra 8523 east approaching the yard limits at Nelson.

    August 18, 2016 Session

    Dispatcher; Bill D preparing a clearance and orders for the next way freight.

    Engineman Marc S preparing to depart the west staging yard with #46 Kettle Valley Express passenger train.

    Engineman Michael B preforming switching duties at Salmo on the GN fifth subdivision line.

    East end Nelson yard switching engineman David M (foreground) classifying cars while yardmaster; Anthony C organizes paperwork for the next train.

  • vancouver train expo op session

    On the evening of Friday Nov 6th, 7 guest operators joined us for the first op session as part of the annual fall meet since 2010! We had a total of 27 guest operators this year and 4 host layouts including the Boundary Sub. The local Ops group uses these sessions as an opportunity for modellers to participate and learn about model railroad operations. There is no requirement for experience at all.

    Ken C did a great job on the Dispatchers duties.

    Rick C checking his orders at Castlegar.

    Dwight K classifying cars in the east staging yard. As a novice operator and first time visitor to the layout, he did a great job.

    Ed M guiding #46; the eastward passenger train into the east staging yard.

    Dave L preforming the complicated caboose drop/runaround move at Troup Jct. where the GN meets the CP mainline.

    Rob K handling the switching for train #807; South Slocan turn.


    After a several year hiatus from hosting formal operating sessions, we were very excited to host 3 back to back sessions as part of the VanRail ops event which occurs in Greater Vancouver every second year.

    We hosted 24 guests and ran 3 four hour sessions which averaged 12 to 14 trains each. These sessions were an opportunity to test the layout, equipment and the operations scheme we have been developing.

    Once again, we had visitors from all over North America, with particular interest from our friends in California. The committee members for the event were; Scott Calvert; Chairman, Brian Clogg, Rene Gourley & Mike Chandler. Here is a sampling of photos from the sessions:

    Nelson yardmaster; Jim P (background) pulling some power off the loco track at the east end while east end switching crew member; Brian S and road engineer Rene G look on.

    Seth N performing the Dispatcher duties.

    Brian K (foreground) talking to the Dispatcher, while road engineer; David M waits for instructions at the west end of the Nelson yard.

    Bob S performing the complicated caboose drop & runaround move for the GN train entering the CPR Nelson Sub.

    Rene G taking on the Dispatching duties.

    Nelson yardmaster; Rich B working with switching crew member; Al F on the west end of Nelson yard.

    Cal S switching the South Slocan/Fraine area.

    Larry A working in Castlegar on the Castlegar turn local freight.

    Norm S assembling eastward through freight #968 in the west staging yard.

    SP prototype Dispatcher performing the dispatcher duties for this session. He kept us all on our feet with his wonderful knowledge.

    Don M working the Slocan turn the day after the VanRail sessions.

    Regular crew member, Marc S blocking a westward train for departure from Proctor staging yard.

    Bryn E (foreground) operating the GN local on the main at Troup Junction while Ken C coaches from the Proctor staging yard.

    Dan T (L) handing the Proctor staging yard duties, while Kent C (R) is performing the complicated caboose drop & runaround move for the GN train entering the CPR Nelson Sub.

    Layout owner Scott C providing some directions while Ken C, Bryn E and Ray D look on. (photo by Marc S)

  • First regular 3rd Thursday Evening Session

    After a several year hiatus, we resumed the regular 3rd Thursday of the month evening op sessions. This session benefited from revisions and updates that came from the feedback of the previous sessions. The session lasted over 3 hours with a crew of 7 people.

    We ran 14 out of a possible 17 trains on the line up. Many thanks to Bill Dixon for taking on the Dispatcher role for the session. Here are a few photos of the session;

    Nelson yardmaster; Brian Clogg switching a cut of reefers into the ice house.

    Regular crew member Rene Gourley assembling eastward through freight #968 in the temporary west staging yard.

    Proctor Yardmaster; John Green (foreground) with road engineer; Mark Dance in the background.

    Guest operator, Ken Rutherford running the Slocan Turn way freight.

    Almost the entire op crew in Nelson yard area.

  • Inaugural Operating Session; May 3, 2015

    Almost 4 years after the last session on the previous Boundary Sub. layout, and 3 years since the construction of this layout commenced, we hosted our first formal structured session on this new layout. The session lasted close to 3 hours and was enjoyed by the 8 people that attended.

    It also served to provide valuable insight and constructive feedback on items needing improvement, or that were not working.

    Thanks to the crew; Margot Calvert, Ken Catlin, Brian Pate, Mark Dance, Anthony Craig, Mike Chandler, Bill Dixon and John Green.

    Here are a few photos of that session;

    Bill performing Proctor/east staging Yardmaster duties

    Ken working hard on the Dispatcher duties.

    Anthony handling the Nelson yardmaster duties.

    Brian guiding Extra 8901 east over the gate – it works like a charm!

    A happy looking group shot

    Enjoying the food and beverages and camaraderie after the session

    Mark switching in Castlegar


  • Test operating Sessions; March 28 & April 12, 2015

    In order to make the upcoming formal sessions as enjoyable and problem free as possible, we decided to host 2 initial “test” sessions on the layout with crews drawn from our local pool of operators.

    These were basically “run the trains and see how things go’ kind of sessions. They were intended to see how the layout and equipment performed, and to ferret out any obvious problems. We used a sequential train line up process as neither the fast clocks nor timetable had been implemented.

    Here are a few photos of that session;

  • John (foreground) performing yardmaster duties in the Proctor/East Staging yard, with Bill departs with the freight train to the Rossland Sub staging through Castlegar.

    Mike assembling through freight #968 in the temporary west staging yard. The temporary framing for the upper deck is serving as a handy shelf for the car cards!

    Ken switching the South Slocan/Fraine area where the Slocan Sub connects to the Boundary Sub.

    Anthony performing yard duties in the Nelson yard area. The open area in the lower centre of the photo will be the classification yard tracks.

    Temporary west staging yard looking pretty full at the end of the session.

    Castlegar area – the mainline to the east is in the upper left corner.

    Proctor/East staging yard looking very tidy under the hand of yardmaster John G.

    Nelson yard – west end. A westbound C-Liner led passenger train departing while an SW unit switches one of the few yard tracks.