Railway Pages Index


Rocky Mountain House, Nordegg & Pacific Railway

Photo Gallery -- Scenic Details

Photos 20 - 31 by Ross Crain 1998 - 2002, 32 - 46 by Joan Elmont 2002







Photo 20: RMH,N&P RR 0-6-6-0 Mallet #104 pulls the "CattleLiner" past Stoney Creek Mill. Above, Gorre and Daphetid 0-4-0 Porter #2, the "John A", chuffs by with the daily freight. This portion of the model railway is dedicated to the late John Allen, who inspired me (and thousands of others) to improve their modeling skills well past the toy train stage. The locomotive is an LGB Porter with custom lettering made on a copy machine. The boxcar is from the NMRA Heritage series, and the caboose is scratch built, with complete interior - including eggs frying for the crew breakfast.

Photo 21: Close-up of the G&D train. The scenery is styrofoam with a plywood underframe for the trackbed. Snow is standard Christmas decoration as are many of the trees. This train runs on an independent loop of track, alternating with a Grizzly Flats open air (brrrr) excursion train. The two trains pass at a siding with an automatic circuit with realistic momentum to eliminate sudden starts and stops.

Photo 22: RMH,N&P 2-6-0 Mogul #19 pulls into Gorre station on trackage in west central Alberta, Canada. Some RMH,N&P rolling stock is leased from D&RG and C&S, so they have not been repainted or renumbered. Most buildings on the railway have lighted and representational interiors, so that you can see "action" through the windows.

Photo 23: A posed shot at Gorgeous Gorge bridge with a RMH,N&P RR freight headed for Banff Springs. Next is the RMH,N&P excursion train pulled by 2-8-0 Consolidation #268 stopped at Inspiration Point for the photographers on board. Above is the G&D daily freight at Devils Gulch, and barely discernible in the distance, the Mystic Ridge Express bores through the mountains. This latter train is actually O scale instead of G scale to give the illusion of greater distance.

Photo 24: C&S 2-6-0 Mogul, on lease to the RMH,N&P, approaches Rocky Mountain House station. Departing lovers kiss goodbye. Workers load freight. Loiterers loiter. The Town of Rocky Mountain House is in the middle distance and Cow Creek Yard is at the rear. The backdrop painting of the Rocky Mountains extends more than 60 feet along two walls of the railway room. Sharp eyes may discern Glass Divide, a mirror that doubles the yard and backdrop to the left of the photo.

Photo 25: Another view of Rocky Mountain House, east of the previous photo. Mogul #8 is about to take on water, after which it will head across Gorgeous Gorge to Tinytown and Banff Springs. Engine servicing facilities are hidden by the passenger cars parked just behind the freight train. All trains stop here when running in automatic mode. Cow Creek East Yard is in the background, nestled at the base of Castle Mountain.

Photo 26: The local freight is "in the hole" waiting for the RMH,N&P "Rocky Mountaineer" to pull into Nordegg station. These trains pause at the station and pass each other automatically when the railway is in automatic (show-and-tell) mode. Mystic Ridge is in the far background. The RMH,N&P excursion train is paused at Furlow (named after another of my modeling heroes) at the right side of the photo. The Randy Andy Mine, owned by one of the Crown Princes of Europe, delivers silver ore to trucks or railway cars on the left. Floor to ceiling scenery adds to the feeling of "being there", and is enhanced by locomotive sound systems as well as ambient sound tapes playing in various corners of the room.

Photo 27: A Bell Telegraph crew is stringing new wires - one of dozens of mini-scenes that provide action on the railway. This one is just north of Gorre station. The RMH,N&P excursion train is creeping out of Gorre Tunnel towards Furlow and Inspiration Point. At top left, the Grizzly Flats 0-4-2 "Chloe" waits patiently for the G&D freight (barely visible in the rock cut at center right) to pull into the passing siding.

Photo 28: Moguls meet at Nordegg. The railbus is peeking from it's shed at the right. Careful attention to ballast, grass, weeds, and trees give an illusion of realism that is hard to achieve in smaller scale model railroads. People, animals, and vehicles bring life to the scene. Add sound and motion and you can virtually smell the real thing as it rumbles by. Three different tape recorders play sounds of birds, crickets, water flow, storms, distant trains at work, loons, and wolves. Even with no trains running, the layout is still alive.

Photo 29: The tail end of a mixed train leaves Nordegg, passing the Randy Andy Mine on the right, headed through Gorre Canyon. Across the canyon, Cow Creek Yard's diesel switcher #50 heads over North Fork Bridge. High above is the O scale trackage spanning the upper reaches of North Fork on a spindly steel trestle. The Mystic Ridge Express runs only once a day, so it is difficult to catch it on film while crossing the bridge.

Photo 30: Mainstreet in downtown Rocky Mountain House is a busy place. The railway station is at the right, the rail yard directly behind at right rear. In town a mechanic wreaks havoc on an auto engine in the open air gas station, ladies of the night get some daylight at the hotel, a farmer unloads his grain at the grain elevator amid a herd of milk cows bellowing for their share - just like real life in small town Alberta in 1934.

Photo 31: Overview of some of RMH,N&P RR territory taken from the Stearman Biplane. Nordegg at left, Rocky Mountain House at center, Tinytown and Banff Springs at right. Gorgeous Gorge and Devils Gulch are in center above Rocky, with Mystic Ridge far behind. Tinytown is built in N scale to represent a 1/8 scale model village and ride-on train. A cog railway runs from Banff Springs to Sulphur Mountain whereskiers and hikers catch the Gondola to higher peaks (right rear of photo).

Photo 32: The Sulphur Mountain Gondola leaves the base station headed to "The Top". The Sulphur Mountain cog tramway connects this station to Banff Springs via a 35% grade. Skiers and sight-seers can be found around the station and on the slopes. Gondolas of this design still operate at Jasper, Alberta and more modern versions run up the real Sulphur Mountain near Banff, Alberta.

Photo 33: Work Goose #6 sits waiting for orders at Stoney Creek Roundhouse. The background mountains are a real photo of the Garden of the Gods south of Denver, taken an a vacation trip. The round house is a pair of kit-bashed and weathered Pola engine house kits. The foreground is the car repair yard and is littered with spare parts, a work bench, and assorted tools. The repair crew is on coffee break according to Section 23.12.40 of the collective agreement.

Photo 34: In the bright early morning sun, Galloping Goose #2 passes Nordegg water tower, holding up traffic on the Nordegg high road. It will deliver mail and LCL freight to all points on the railroad. The bikers in 1924 are very friendly and are patiently waiting for the beer delivery man to unload his barrels from the horse drawn wagon. Two Mercedes drivers rallying to an unknown destination are frustrated by the delay, but their female companions seem undisturbed.

Photo 35: At Furlow Station, the smallest train station in the world, the RMH,N&P excursion train slows for orders, while a lonely elk looks on from the mountain side. The train will soon stop at Gorgeous Gorge so passengers can admire the tremendous view. While stopped at the Gorge, the RMH,N&P "Cattle Liner" will pull in behind the excursion train and continue on to Stoney Creek Mill and back to Banff Springs via the Spiral Tunnel - all this is under automatic control when desired.

Photo 36: Rocky Mountain House Yardmaster, George Patrick, stands in front of his tiny yard office. He will soon dispatch the crack "Rocky Mountaineer" express, which will pick up passengers at the station and run the full length of the railway. A double headed freight is just pulling past the Sunchild Reserve, where an RCMP officer is checking for contraband. Inhabitants of the teepee have a gorgeous view of Gorgeous Gorge, just off screen to the right. This photo was taken from the top of the RMH water tank.

Photo 37: RMH,N&P's new 2-6-6-2 Mallet, purchased from the Sumpter Valley and replacing Old #104, loafs past Banff Springs Station and Hotel with the "Cattle Liner", headed for the Spiral Tunnel. The cattle will be let out to graze in High Country until fall. This is a pretty noisy trip as the curves are sharp, the track is rough, and there is a sound unit in every car!

Photo 38: A really angry black bear chases the G&D freight train that woke her from a deep sleep when the engineer blew the whistle at an inappropriate location. A passenger on the caboose platform waves her off, but this effort is futile - the bear never gives up, but never catches up. (The tow wire won't let her.)

Photo 39: A dirty and forlorn Gramps tankcar sits in Cow Creek Yard next to some cleaner refrigerator cars. Weathering is done with dry poster paints, brushed on where dirt would normally collect. The weathering will wash off completely if a pristine car is needed, much like the real thing. A light spray of Dullcoat will hold the dirt in place but makes it harder to clean up.

Photo 40: The "Nordegg Flyer", with double-headed wood-burning Moguls, pulls into Nordegg Station. Snow on the mountains suggest fall is approaching, with hints of the winter to come. The opposing train will appear shortly, and will pause long enough for the Flyer to make its journey on the single track mainline - all controlled by automatic circuits leaving the owner/operator of the railway time to visit with guests and passers-by.

Photo 41: The Gorre and Daphetid local freight trundles across Devil's Gulch bridge, where it will pause (automatically) to unload freight at the second-smallest station in the world. This train is my memorial to John Allen, whose modeling and photographic skills have influenced me for more than 50 years. He set the stage for artistic scenery that is the backbone of hundreds, maybe thousands, of model railways. Hardly an issue of Model Railroader fails to mention his name as an inspiring force in our hobby.

Photo 42: The gallows-style turntable at Stoney Creek Roundhouse holds RMH,N&P Climax #5 for a few moments while the engineer admires the view over the Garden of the Gods. There is nothing like a real photo for a backdrop to give that sense of depth found in the real world. The turntable is built on a lazy susan and is rotated manually, just like the original. The turntable pit floor revolves with the turntable but most people don't notice this strange mutation of the laws of physics.

Photo 43: At Banff Springs stone bridge the "Nordegg Flyer" passes the "Cattle Liner". A dozen mini-scenes can be found, from beach-bunnies, sheep with a shepherd, a sheriff fishing beside a No Fishing sign, a pair of moose ogling each other (or the beach bunnies), cranes and herons, to bears posing for photos. Can you find the ducklings?

Photo 44: There is a lot of snow in Canada! Here at Stoney Creek Mill, RMH,N&P 4-4-0 #27 pokes her nose off Stoney Creek Bridge on a frosty December afternoon. Christmas presents and foodstuffs arrive on foot, by horse-drawn buggy and by automobile. The track at right heads off to the Spiral Tunnel down to the lower level. The backside of Sulphur Mountain looms above the scene. 

Photo 45: Passengers on the cog tram up Sulphur Mountain can look back through a short tunnel at the Post Hotel. Beer and wine, good food, zither music, and fantastic scenery greet the patrons here.

Photo 46: More snow - the gondola up Sulphur Mountain runs even in near white-out conditions. Visitors to the log cabin and skiers on the steep hills barely notice the minus 20 degree temperatures.