The Aberfoyle Junction Ry.
A first-rate Canadian 1/4″ scale display with an interesting theme
By: Jim Hediger
Canadian railroads have always appealed to me because of their unique combination of American-style railroading with a very distinctive flair. Accordingly, I was quite pleased to visit the Toronto area and see the Aberfoyle Junction Ry. in person. The trip was well worth the effort because the Aberfoyle junction turned out to be one of the finest state-of-the-art layouts I have seen and it was built with a high degree of prototype fidelity and 1/4″ scale. The stated theme of creating a railway scene in southern Ontario during the 1950s has been accomplished.
The upper foil junction layout is different from most and the builders limited it to a single junction location. No attempt was made to model a whole railroad or a division. Instead, a major junction was simulated complete with an interchange yard and branch line engine house.
Hidden stage in yards allowed the operators to bring any combination of trains onto the scene that may be desired. In most cases, the double-track loop is used for Canadian national trains and the single-track loop carries Canadian pacific trains. Construction of the layout was started in October 1972 by Frank Duprey. With the help of some friends, Frank open the layout to the public in October 1973. At the grand opening, the Leo was fully operational, but the scenery was only about 75% completed– quite a feat when one considers that this included handling all the track and building 62 turnouts with four crossings. Most of this effort was made in their spare time and on the weekends. The balance of the scenery was completed in 1974 in the main yard and the roadhouse was added in early 1976. The construction standards of the Aberfoyle Junction Ry. We’re set a maximum grade of 1.3%, a 60″ minimum mainline curve radius, and no.8 turnouts. Great care was used in building everything that involve the track work. At each location, the proper size steel rail was used to match a similar prototype situation– 132-pound rail for main lines, 100 pounds for secondary tracks, and 85 pounds for the yards and industrial spurs.
To run the layout, a major control panel is located in a balcony which overlooks the junction. It has the usual block controls and turn-out levers +3 large Variac power packs that were built for this installation. All turnouts are equipped with a rotary relay switch machines that are controlled by the balcony. Most visitors do not even realize that anyone is controlling the action on the layout because everything below to the top of the backdrop is brightly lit. Anyone at the control panel is in the shadows above and the lightened area is nearly visible.