DeWinton Station Garden Railway




Everything man creates or acquires begins in the form of desire...that desire is taken on the first lap of its journey, from the abstract to the concrete, into the workshop of the imagination, where plans for its transition are created and organized.

The first step is the formation of a definite, practical plan, or plans through which this transformation may be made. ~ Napoleon Hill

This quote was taken from the book, Think and Grow Rich, which best describes how many exciting and successful ventures come to be, including the concept for DeWinton Station circa 1915 “Old Town”, conceived by Barrie L. Roberts - the company founder.

Barrie L. Roberts and Katharina Derksen
Barrie & Katharina your hosts

A Message from Barrie L. Roberts, Chief Engineer of Operations:

DeWinton Station has methodically evolved over the past decade from a personal desire to develop a home based retirement hobby project - into a major undertaking, that has proven to become a first class attraction. I have always been fascinated with the railroad, its history, romance and relationship to the growth of this nation. To now pass on this interest onto the next generation of rail fans will fulfill a desire to leave behind a worthwhile project or legacy that will carry on...

DSGR's primary concentration was to create a lasting exhibit for those who have had a similar connection with the steam era of railroading. DeWinton Station has been to date the vehicle in which to support this dream by providing the focus and support system required to encourage the development of a day visit location.

Our product is excitement.

Excitement generated through the combination of the visual realistic scenery that surrounds you from all sides, friendships created with fellow train enthusiasts and the sense of freedom derived while you envision yourself traveling the winding mountain railways. The model toy trains of my youth inspired me to expand my learned abilities as a carpenter to create an imaginary world - far apart from the hectic pace of the modern city living. My modest two-acre parcel at the southern outskirts of Calgary is the perfect location to conduct this venture.

Welcome to our home and my G-scale train displays.

The era Circa 1915 depicts the year of birth of my father, Richard A. Roberts, a realtor and retired career soldier who developed the property and the Valleyview Acres subdivision. Father (a.k.a. Robbie or Dick) served with the PPCLI in Italy during WWII, then enlisted with the LdSH upon returning from overseas.

It also symbolizes the time his father, Captain A.E.W. Roberts (a.k.a. Cappy) an early Peace Country settler/pioneer, was away serving the nation as a combat soldier in the First Great War campaign. Cappy was awarded the Military Cross at Arras for his fearless actions defending his position to the last round, despite his own wounds from gunfire.

All of the trees were planted by Dick's hand (and my back) with the exception of the grouping on the east side. These native poplar trees have now matured to provide an excellent wind shelter for the home, and to allow a certain amount of privacy.

My mother Joan's love of gardening gave me the inspiration to enhance the garden aspect of the railway. My parent's once beautiful vegetable gardens have been given up considering my personal handicap and the need for continual upkeep.

As you can tell by my writings, I have a certain respect and fondness for my ancestry, all of whom have served in the great World Wars of past, and then lived through the depression years. As a baby boomer, I did not experience first hand these events but I do appreciate the life that they had endured or sacrificed to provide to my generation and yours, the freedoms we now so easily take for granted.

It is time now for me to step up to the plate and to unselfishly give of myself to make this world a better place, in a manner that I am capable of - during this stage of my life, not despite of - but in particular because of my disability.

If you can imagine life at the beginning of the last century, you would see the hardships these pioneers had to face on a daily basis, just to survive at best! Let alone to strive and build this country into the booming mecca it is today.

The history of this development, along with the introduction of the steam train, which solidified this nation from the eastern to western coastlines and into the Yukon, all within the last 100 years, is truly amazing. I hope to immortalize that picture for future generations, to reflect and to be thankful for their own being.

We live in one of the most pristine places in the world, considering the atrocious events of the day and the continual sacrifices our young men and women are making overseas, to maintain these freedoms and luxuries.

The project is at times overwhelming, and I must give credit to my friends for their assistance, in particular to Katharina Derksen who currently manages to maintain the gardens and home providing a sense of sanity amongst the madness.

Over the past decade I have had the pleasure of entertaining several groups as they have visited my home to enjoy watching the trains run. In particular the senior groups who were encouraged to bring lunches and to picnic for a few hours within the yard. The well treed park atmosphere with its water features, and full scale Western Town facade are just a few of the attractions that make this exhibit a unique and enjoyable place to visit.

Outdoor Garden Railway display
Canada Day July 1st, 2009

I still wish to enlist organizations or clubs that have the capacity of enlightening the hearts of the many underprivileged or disabled children and deserving seniors that would like to provide sponsorship for them to attend this now private venue.

Railway mural / Station House

As you approach the central entrance or breezeway, a railway mural and 3D station greets you. Once you step inside the caboose entry and go directly down to the lower level you will be surprised to see a "G" scale layout complete with scenery.

One of the enduring features of the side entryway and the lower indoor layout are the hand painted murals. I believe they enhance a certain visual enjoyment as you watch and hear the trains travel past.

The kitchen /workshop cabinets are distressed to resemble that of a vintage train station roadhouse. The “last spike” guest suite has given way to a large train yard with a turntable. The off-suite guest washroom has a wooden ceiling and walnut cabinet with a vanity sink. Curtained glass doors provide some vanity protection, however viewer discretion is advised.

This project will provide enjoyment for many cold winters to follow and is far from complete, yet still far enough along to provide the vision I have for the basement - a livable guest area with an action filled railway theme.

Enough said, now please enjoy your pictorial visit to DeWinton Station, and perhaps plan to visit us by appointment only on your next trip to the Calgary area.

~ Barrie L. Roberts

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