Wednesday 5 February 2014


Good day;

At the dawn of the twentieth century, the first rails were laid of what was to become the Kettle Valley Railway.  Sadly, by 1991 "progress" dictated that most of those tracks should be taken up, leaving only a picturesque 10 miles remaining to support a tourist railway near the original headquarters at Penticton BC.  Website:  Happily, it features CP 3716, a locomotive typical of the iron workhorses of the Kettle Valley Line.

I began my HO model version of the railway many years ago and have worked steadily on it ever since.  Skills, standards and knowledge have improved with time and thankfully my eyesight and hand skills are still good.  This blog is intended to share what I have accomplished and what I have learned through the years as there seems to be a continuing interest in all things K V.

In planning, building and operating the miniature version, many practical questions have occurred to me and fortunately, I was able to pose some of them to a few veteran railroaders at the annual August reunions.  Their answers led to an ever greater passion for developing the layout and in a small way, honoring these men and their families who worked the railway in the face of many dangers and privations.  I am not sure if I personally would have been a good professional railroader had I had the opportunity to work it, but I very much enjoy working the miniature one.

I could describe my modeling outlook and efforts as those of "an historical modeler and reenactor".  I do attempt to recreate specific scenes on the railway and operate it as they did in September of 1949.  I do however take occasional liberties with dates and lapse into generic scenery in places, especially in transition areas.  As any home layout modeler will admit, compromise and compression are unavoidable.  One has to choose a few items to duplicate and leave many, many more out as magnificent and desirable as they may be.  As my friend LGT says:"Less is more."  Thus, I have not reproduced signature scenes such as the Quintette Tunnels, Ladner Creek Bridge nor Slide Creek Bridge.  Anyway, another friend, JHG, has done them.  I have even shortened the miniature version of Bridal Veil Falls Trestle by a few bents but no one seems to notice until I point it out.  In HO, it would measure about 56 inches long and 16 1/2" high.  A modeled length of 38" x 13 1/2" seemed to come out very nicely and still have a good effect.  On the other hand, small and common details can have a lot of impact as I hope to illustrate as this blog goes on.

Here is a photo of Extra 3628 East waiting at Hope for the head-end pusher to hook on.  One day I will add the requisite extra flags but for now we employ our imagination for this detail.

The station was scratch-built in styrene following field measurements and drawings for the CPR Standard No. 4 Station.  The locomotive is a common KV assignment for the 1930's to the end of steam: a class N2 Consolidation with open cab, built by United Models in the 1960's in Japan.  An excellent model, it has been modified according to the prototype by adding a power reverse and the necessary step in the running board.  The marker lights have also been changed.  Paint is CN Lines "Warm Black" by Scalecoat.  Decals by Black Cat.  Both items recommended.  Can motor and NWSL gearbox.  Tsunami Sound decoder.  Working Train Order Board kit bashed from Athabaska Scale Models kit, a square brass tube and 2 Tortoise switch motors.  Photo by LGT.

Here is a shot of a caboose rolling by the register shack at Brodie, mile 4.0 of the Coquihalla Sub after the head-end brakeman had registered.  The Merritt Sub ended here at the junction switch to the right of the photo.

The caboose is the excellent model by Tru Line Trains.  Slight modifications include number change for a KV car, new markers, a bit of weathering, and sandblasting the end railings and steps to subdue the sheen.  Reefer is by Andy W Scale Models.  Exquisite.  Owner is not me - a friend, DH.  Shack is scratch-built in styrene with interior from a photo and footprint dimensions.  Photo by LGT.

A web site is in the cards but for now this is the beginning.

Until next time;

Coquihalla Man   


  1. This blog is a great start to a description of your fascinating and carefully built model railway. I am looking forward to enjoying reading more in the near future. JHG

  2. Thank you JHG. There will be more. Why there already is a2nd post!

  3. Nice stuff Coquihalla Man. Looking forward to seeing more.

  4. Wonderful! Having been fortunate enough to operate on your KVR I can attest that the operations are as authentic as the modeling!


  5. Thanks Mark. You have a wonderful layout for both viewing and operations. Visitors, check him out at