Sunday 27 September 2015

Ottawa Layout Tour.....Part 2

This is John's scratchbuilt model of the huge Detroit NYC station and REA depot
    John Mitchell's CASO Layout
     The next layout I visited in Ottawa was John Mitchell's layout representing the Canada Southern (CASO) from Detroit, MI to Buffalo, NY.  John is very operation oriented and has represented the New York Central line as well as a C&O line through Southern Ontario. This layout fills John's entire basement.  Passenger trains play a big role in his operating scheme. Trains start in Detroit on the upper level of his double deck railroad and end in Buffalo on the lower level.  Both places are represented by large passenger terminals and freight yards.  To accommodate Baltimore and Ohio passenger trains coming into Detroit from the west John has built a large model of  the Illinois Central station in Chicago which the B&O used.  This is basically visible staging.
     The line through Southern Ontario includes Windsor, Ont., the large NYC division point of St. Thomas and the Leamington area with it's large Heinz plant as well as other town and other industries along the line.   John has scratchbuilt a great looking model of the NYC St. Thomas passenger station which still stands today and has been renovated with commercial offices.  There is also a freight yard here.  Recently John also added the C&O line from Chatham Ont. to Sarnia and is building a large oil refinery and C&O car ferry dock in the Sarnia scene.
    John has spent a lot of time planning how his layout will operate and says that operating sessions run quite smoothly considering all the ground there is to cover and the numerous industries that need to be switched.  
     It was great to see John again and finally get to visit his layout which I have heard so much about.  I think another trip to Ottawa is definitely in the future.

This scene represents the Illinois Central Station in Chicago where B&O trains are staged and where they depart east to Detroit with connections for the NYC.  The bottom photo shows the transfer table John's friend built to move incoming engines off their train and allows them to run up a clear track to get to the other end of an outbound train.  It also works as a turntable to turn steam engines.
A CPR passenger train bound for Toronto is leaving Detroit and is passing through a heavy industrial area.

This is John's great looking St. Thomas, Ont. NYC passenger station.  It features a lighted full interior.

These two GP-7`s were superdetailed and custom painted by Mark Roach.  The top model represents one of the Canadian built C&O units that were sold to NYC and displays the interim lettering used shortly after the purchase.  The lower locomotive is a Canadian built C&O unit. These engines were built for service in Canada.
A C&O transfer run behind an ALCO RSD-17 is emerging from the Detroit River Tunnel and heading towards the Windsor freight yard.
John's friend painted a rendition of the  Windsor, Ont. station on the backdrop.  Below John is standing in front of the Detroit station scene.  The large structure on the lower level is part of the NYC Buffalo station complex


  1. Thanks for posting this, I was not aware of John's layout until now. I'm getting a lot of ideas and inspiration from John's layout for planning my own layout which will feature the Cleveland Union Terminal and passenger operations in the late 1940's-early 1950's. I've been struggling to figure out how to fit a decent representation of CUT into a 13x34 space and seeing how John models some very large terminals proves that it can be done.

    Jeff Leslie

  2. Hi Jeff:
    Glad you liked Don's post...I thought it was really interesting also...George