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I started Model Railroading as many other modellers do - my first train was a mechanical windup with a loop of track, 1 engine and 3 cars. This happened in the dim fog of the past between 1940 and 1943. The next addition was a gift from a neighbor of a vintage O gauge Lionel electric locomotive and 2 passenger cars, a loop of track and a transformer. The next Christmas this was added to by Santa with new Lionel steam locomotive, some O-27 track, some freight cars and another transformer. With additional cars freight and passenger, more track and turnouts (manual and electric) this collection moved from under the Christmas tree to a layout on the old dinning room table. With purchased building kits, scratch paper/cardboard structures and elementary scenery, my Christmas presents became a father / son model railroad layout. This all took place in the midst of 1944 to 1947. In 1947 the growing popularity and availability of HO models and magazines the father portion of the team investigated HO with the purchase of a Varney wood/cardboard HO box car kit, 3 lengths of Atlas flex track, and a turnout. After building the car and testing it on the track HO was in the beginnings of takeover. The purchase of a Model Diecast 0-6-0 switcher and a Scintilla power pack, things were operational.
In 1948 Lionel went the way of the dinosaur and an HO layout took over the dinning room table complete with new scenery. The son part of the team entered HO with a Varney Dockside kit. This was my first locomotive and still runs on the STR. Building kits, scenery materials, more track, more cars and locomotives were added along the route. High school days I built a portable HO layout for shows with steel rail laid on Truescale roadbed and closed frog switch kits. This was fully scenicked and had detail lighting on it. This period was also the difficult time with couplers. We settled on Mantua couplers for operation purposes. Later as most dedicated modellers did we switched to KD Magnematics.
1958 brought university and I moved from home but supported home base rebuild of a new layout. The new layout was well planned for many years and did get built to operational level. Over the past years a card system was developed and used for operations. The scenery was partially completed but with the team head being alone activities diminished and it was never fully scenicked. I did construct a layout for my landlord's son where I roomed during University.
In 1960 I built in my 1 room the original STR Railroad. It was 2' by 7' portable with a main loop of flex track, a passing track, a yard, a cross reverse track, team track siding, an industrial siding, a coal tower track, a mine spur, and a switchback to a second level with 2 mine sidings. It had 5 blocks of 3 color Twin-T signal system on it, 2 throttles, and fully lighted. This was used for shows and other local activities.
In 1966 marriage and establishment of my own home moved me to an apartment. A bedroom was setup with fold away cots to accommodate the layout. The original STR was added on to and 2 10' sections were added around the walls of the room. These were code 70 handlaid track, stub switches, and wider curves for better operation. I had joined the Boomers Model Railroad Club and this expanded my activities in that I volunteered for the Convention Chairman job for NFR (NMRA region).
I worked on contest models and my expanded layout and achieved merit awards and contest awards to get some points collected for my NMRA Achievement certificates. 1969 I received certificates - Model Railroad Engineer Civil, Master Builder scenery, Master Builder Structures, Model Railroad Engineer Electrical. In 1970 I received my Association Volunteer certificate.
In 1970 I left the Boomers and started with some volunteers assisting the Doubleheaders Model Railroad Club. At this time with the addition to my family we moved to our first house. The layout was moved and set up, and operated successfully. The Monday night operation on the STR started at this time and has continued every Monday night until 2006. The volunteers that operate have been many over the years but they are an informal group called the STR Operators.
The new STR was started to very detailed plans in 1970. It was built until 1975 and then moved to my second house. It has been finished with full scenery since 1985. Of course a model railroad is never finished.
The father member, Edgar Ackland, took his last ride in 1987. His railroad collection has been sustained with a merger with the STR. The models are all in service to this day. I thank him for the best legacy a father can leave a son.
The continued work and operations qualified me for the certificate Chief Dispatcher in 1989. I also received Master Builder Cars in 1989. With the NMRA certificates received I then qualified and received April 19,1989 my Master Model Railroader #149 certificate.
In 2006 the STR Railroad Layout verII was dismantled and the basic railroad structure was moved to a new owner in Elora Ontario.
The rolling stock, buildings and details as well as support materials were transported during my move in 2007 to Victoria BC.
The STR verIII is under developement with a new historical link to the K&S Railway in BC. The STR version will be patterned after the K&S Railway in BC 1897
The STR will be the CPR-N&S portion and the Buells Creek Rwy will be the K&S_GN portion.
The plan is drawn for a small 2' x 9' x 4' layout representing the Sandon and the Kaslo portions of the K&S only since the size is restricted.
The K&S engines #1 and #2 are on site along with a coach and combine, a caboose and some scratchbuilt box cars in 3 ft gauge.
Construction of frame and track laying will start shortly
I am Master Model Railroader # 149, President of the STR Railroad, Bill Ackland.