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Welcome to the 2021 edition of the model railroad web site of
RHJ Rail

Layout by Richard H. Johnson



RHJ Rail is a large HO home layout influenced by Western Canadian railroad operations. One of its goals is to collect, preserve and restore railroad equipment of historical significance.


New on the layout last year was the British Columbia Railway Royal Hudson 2860 which pulled a consist or British Columbia Railway passenger cars for special tours on the layout.

Featured for the first time was a new semi-prototypical signal system which monitors trains and adjusts the signals around the layout. The signal system is controlled by the Automatic Operations Control Centre which runs on a Windows computer using JMRI, a model railroad computer interface. Details of how this works can be found on the website below for those with a technical interest. See Technical 8. Signal System

Still in operation is a set of replica cars, based on the real ones as they appeared at Heritage Park in Calgary 20 or more years ago. These were “kit-bashed” and painted by RHJ Rail some two decades ago. The train with these cars shares the single-track Arrow Park subdivision with another train which operates there the rest of the time and automatic procedures enable the swapping of the two trains when required.

The telegraph system permits Morse Code messages to be sent automatically to any one of fours stations on the layout or to a full-size, real telegraph key from a century ago. Messages are sent automatically and custom messages can be written as required.

The layout has areas representing all four seasons; an historical park with rides, animation, lighting and music; several train yards, including remote storage and staging areas; finished scenery; many special effects; nighttime operation; a collection of restored railroad equipment of historical significance and many other features.

Much of the time recently has been spent in designing, installing and integrating the new signal system with the layout, improving automatic running of trains and integrating the various systems together to provide smoother and more reliable operations. In general, automatic operations have proven much more reliable than manual ones, but of course when visitors are present, this doesn’t always apply!

New features are being implemented all the time, so be sure to check the web site for the latest additions.


To see what we've been working on lately, see RECENT DEVELOPMENTS and LAYOUT TODAY.

For details on how all this works, see TECHNICAL DESCRIPTION

For photos of the history and development of the layout, see LAYOUT OVER THE YEARS


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Unless otherwise specified, photo credits: Richard H. Johnson

RHJ Rail is owned and operated by Richard H. Johnson
© Copyright 2021 Richard H. Johnson