Tuesday, 15 November 2016

HOMES Layout Tour - Jim Ellis's Southern Ontario Layout...by Don Janes

Several of Jim's steam engines wait their next assignment around Jim's Scratchbuilt roundhouse

CNR and CPR Steam Rules On This Layout

        As mentioned in an early post by George, we took in the Homes layout tour in the Niagara Peninsula on Nov.5.  We were very impressed with the layouts we saw and the quality of workmanship that went into them.  Each one had a distinct theme and style of modelling.  I can’t help but notice how more and more people are leaning towards prototype modelling, whether it be a class one railroad or branch or short line railroad.  We saw layouts that followed prototype railroads quite closely including BC Rail, D&RGW, NS and Canadian Pacific/ACR.
      One of the more generic layouts, but one that featured several “Layout  Design Elements” (as Tony Koester calls them) was Jim Ellis’s layout in Beamsville based around Southern Ontario scenes featuring CNR and CPR protoypes.  Jim’s layout looks to be about 100 % complete with very impressive scenery and structures, several built to represent actual buildings in Southern Ontario. One of the other things that really impressed me was Jim’s collection of brass Canadian National and Canadian Pacific steam locomotives, many modified to represent models that aren’t available off the shelf. Not only did they look fantastic, they ran beautifully and were DCC/sound equipped as well.  He also had an impressive collection of passenger and freight equipment.  Many of his passenger cars were built from prototype specific BGR resin kits.

Another view of the engine terminal and some of Jim's good looking equipment

This waterfront scene features a Sylvan Scale Models resin kit of a Great Lakes freighter
Jim’s structures were equally as impressive, many being scratchbuilt or kitbashed to represent actual structures that existed in the area he models.  A couple examples are the CNR Grimsby station and the Gooderham Worts Distillery that still stands in Toronto’s Distillery District today.
     Jim was a gracious host and was very willing to share his modelling techniques.  I looks forward to returning to Jim’s layout someday for a second look when I can spend more time taking it all in.
The Gooderham & Wortz Distillery was scratchbuilt and the prototype structure still stands in Toronto.

The Grimsby Station was built from an Imagine That laser cut wood kit.
The layout is full of well detailed scenes like this coal dealer, a common scene in the 1950's. An early piggyback train is going by in the background.

Here we see an overall view of the passenger station with coach yard beside the busy freight yard.

This photo shows a couple of Jim's CNR express cars built from BGR resin kits.  They are excellent models of the prototype.

Here is another view of the Grimsby Station and surrounding industries. Note that this layout is double deck on this side of the room.
This fully sceniced swing bridge allows easy access to the layout and works flawlessly.


  1. Thanks for sharing the pictures of this impressive layout George.


    1. Hi Marc:
      Your welcome...was a really nice layout to visit with really impressive equipment and structures...George