“Surely, If it wasn’t for the last minute - nothing would get done at all!”
Once again, 2008 and 2009 have been extremely busy years keeping pace with yard maintenance, construction projects and general upkeep around the acreage. Trains were not running in the garden, except for track maintenance and our annual Canada Day open house events.
Other major accomplishments were made to the outdoor layouts, such as adding a second large water feature in the north garden, with streams flowing from two directions into the lower lake. Several large rocks had to be strategically placed to dam the water flow, creating multiple tiered ponds.
Jytte was busy planting perennials wherever she could and then nurturing them throughout the summer. Plus she worked tirelessly in the wooded areas to eliminate the long grasses and deadfall there, to provide room and sunlight for the wild Alberta rose bushes to flourish. It is remarkable to see how she can transform the garden, as she does, apparently working best alone - which is my clue to disappear and find my own projects to work on.
Most of the track on the layout is supported by raised treated posts to a 2� x 6” framework structure. The track had been removed prior to the winter snow last season. It has been cleaned and re-laid after the supporting framework had received a weather resistant topping.
I had also made advances into the red roofed roundhouse structure, to get a foothold on the development of the town of Skagway. The track plan being determined, has now been laid, the docks with a radio controlled boom crane has been constructed, as well as the rail yards which include a six bay roundhouse with a gallows turntable. Construction starts were made to some of the other buildings, such as the Golden North Hotel, ore bunker towers and the rail side coal chutes, which are located next to a busy lumber mill with storage yard.
The scratch built church buildings shown here are replicated from the ones in Jytte�s birthplace - the village of Greve near Copenhagen, Denmark.
The straw roof building in the foreground is the rectory, the roofing materials were made from local straw gathered in the fields. To learn how to build a tile roof as shown on the chapel, refer to the helpful tips section.
The western town facade has now received a new �live in addition� as an extension to Jytte’s room, to allow for her own private sitting area with a garden view.
For the first stage in the development of the garden railway I had planned to stay focused on the rail plan, water features and to establish the garden. This would also include the construction of bridges, mountains, tunnels, snow sheds and ancillary features such as retaining walls and so forth. I do not plan to place any buildings other than the existing small village on the two main layouts, only to enhance the view from Jytte’s room. The second stage will incorporate building the town of Skagway Alaska under a 30’ octagon style enclosure to include the docks on the Lynn Canal and the rail yards with a 4’ turntable and roundhouse. Work has begun with the track now in place, town buildings will be constructed over the winter months.
The basic plan as shown here has changed/evolved on a regular basis, the final track plan still bears some resemblance to the original.
The current track plan consists of three independently controlled layouts. Two larger continuous loops that can be transversely crossed by any engine. There is a reverse loop section within, to allow the trains to change direction and return to the town site on the same outbound track - yet in the opposite travel direction. The third layout would be into the Frontier town of Skagway. Once within the Town, the engines would then have to be turned on the gallows turntable at the roundhouse, before leaving the town site to venture into the mountainous ranges again.
We have now completed the two main water features, and have laid the sub-structure with track for the expanded rail lines within the town of Skagway. Analog train operations are now functional. We are now finalizing the computerized �digital command control� (DCC) option, with dedicated DCC track routing/switching to work in conjunction with the option of either running trains on analog or DCC.
When completed, the entire layout will measure 85’ wide x 200� in length. This 2009 season planned expansion into the 30’ diameter roundhouse structure (shown below) will eventually house the bustling frontier port town of Skagway, Alaska shortly after the gold rush, circa 1915.
This open sided structure will provide some overhead weather protection for the buildings and rolling stock. For the winter months, temporary panels provide additional wind and snow shields to allow some construction to continue on without too much discomfort, if needed a forced air heat source can be utilized to increase the comfort level.
The full scale Western Town facade stretches 100’ in length and is two stories high, with a vista view roof top deck, behind the Saloon front doors. I have aptly named this private lounge area �TOOTERS.�
I also designed and built the unique circular stairway to the second floor balcony and Saloon entrance. This stairway is a one-of-a-kind marvel. The unique stairway leading to the Hotel & Saloon frontage and rooftop deck provides spectacular sunset views of Alberta's Southern Foothills country and the breathtaking scenery of the Canadian Rocky Mountains to the West.
Looking east above the tree tops, the mountain view is to the west (not shown) and stretches across the horizon for a distance of 500 miles. I can only imagine what my parents thought when they found this piece of property nearly 40 years ago. I remember it then as, ‘the little house on the prairie.” Now that the trees have matured and I have added my input towards the development of the acreage and expansion projects, I now suspect that I will never leave from here.
I am well aware that there are grander places to go and see - but I can not imagine a better place to live. I do not plan to ever move again, therefore the model railroad and building facade is a permanent addition to the home. Hopefully, these developments will remain to entertain for several generations to follow.
The front lawn and the south side - barn end of the western town as shown above are just two of the many great sitting spots for visiting guests. Senior groups enjoy having their lunch and to reminisce of days gone by in a serene setting. Many of the seniors from our senior home groups have resided in this community and either grew up nearby in the rural areas, or came from farms and homesteads within the province of Alberta.
The east side pathways and entrances leading into the woods area that were once unmanaged scrub brush will soon be adorned with natural grown Alberta Rose spring flowers. Myself, I do enjoy the rustic privacy barrier, while Jytte has plans to pretty it up - just a tad! When it comes to the garden it is her decisions that rule!
DeWinton Station's office is located under the cupola bell tower, behind the 3D mountain wall on the northern end of the residence; my personal suite with the solarium hot tub extension has the brown exterior siding. The railway layout wraps around the corner, and is evident on both the north and east sides of the residence. The green rustic siding area below the bell tower will soon resemble a fire station frontage circa 1915.
To see the features that I have described, pay us a visit; I will be pleased to show you around!
Please note: As we are not generally open to the public on a regular basis, please phone ahead to schedule a convenient time to visit. Try to put together a small grouping to maximize your appointed time. Our suggested donation chart reflects modest group rates.
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