HISTORY - OLD LAYOUT (1970 - 2000)


Model railroading has been my hobby for many years, starting with Hornby Dublo, a British "00" scale three-rail system as my first electric train in the mid 1950s.  Even before that, I had a variety of O-gauge clockwork tinplate equipment.

As HO scale became more popular, it was adopted as the RHJ Rail standard and, as time passed, it provided a wide variety of North American prototype equipment from which to choose.  Particular interests were western Canadian prototype equipment, particularly Canadian Pacific Railway (early diesel), some CP Rail, Rockymountaineer Railtours and Heritage Park in Calgary.

RHJ Rail includes the model railroading division while RHJ Shows includes the circus and amusement park division of this vast conglomerate HO enterprise.  They are often displayed together on the club layout at model railroad shows and other events.

Home Layout

The earlier home layout was constructed in the early 1970s as the Rodgers and High Creek Junction Railway (RHJ Rail).  It was built in HO scale in a 12 x 12 foot room in the basement using sturdy benchwork.  Its configuration could be described as a folded dog-bone duck-under with fairly steep ruling grades.

The layout had conventional DC block control with 32 blocks, 45 remote control turnouts, two control panels and complete block detection with train location (and direction) indication on the main panel. It was possible to run up to four (theoretically, five) independent trains at one time.

The layout was briefly adapted so that DCC operation could be used as an alternative means of control.

The decision to abandon the layout was made in 2000 and it was completely removed in early 2002 to make room for the South Division of the new layout.

A few images of the layout are included below.

The thirteen-stall roundhouse was completely scratch-built as was the turntable. There were 25 tracks off of the turntable, with one main approach lead and two other leads as well as the roundhouse stalls and additional outside storage tracks.

This internal view of the roundhouse during demolition shows some of the construction techniques.

This control panel had complete block detection for all blocks and sub-blocks and showed the location and direction of every train on the layout.

This was the original control panel and controlled the turntable and all the tracks leading off from it as well all mainline blocks and sidings.

This early view of High Creek shows one of the first mainline trains through that location.  SD-40 locomotives were not  available from commercial sources painted in the new CP Rail paint scheme so this model of CP Rail's first such unit was hand-painted.

CP Rail pioneered the use of mid-train "slaves" or robot-controlled locomotives so RHJ Rail was eager to adopt this new technology.  In those early days, experimentation with robot control was not always a success.

Normally, cats were forbidden on the layout but a serious security breach resulted in this situation. Increased security measures were implemented.

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RHJ Rail is owned and operated by Richard H. Johnson
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