I’ve attended one flea-market style model train show in the past 25 years, and that was just over a year and a half ago. At the time, I had only been back into the hobby for a short while, and I went to the show with the intention of getting some exposure to the hobby’s new landscape. Despite the fact that I bought nothing at the show (my accumulation of models has been advancing at the pace of a glacier) I came away with something more valuable.
In a smaller room off of the main vendor’s room, I met Geoff and Richard Chrysler as they worked on an HO scale module depicting the town of Port Rowan Ontario. I watched quietly for a bit, then struck up a conversation with both of them. Within a very short time I recognized the scope of the talent in this father-son partnership. We talked about the layout they’d built, depicting CN’s Hagersville Sub in the ’50s. The topic intrigued me because over twenty years ago I had also considered building a layout depicting the same route.
Most people attend these shows to buy something, but they have nothing specific in mind before they walk through the doors. Presumably, they hope to score that elusive discontinued model they’ve been hunting down for ages. They’ll know what they want when they see it. The brief conversation I had with Geoff and Richard amounted to “that thing” for me, and I left the show as soon as we were finished talking.
It wasn’t long after that show that I found some video of their home layout, compiled by Geoff and posted on Youtube. And not too long after that, I was visiting the layout as part of a tour. This would be the only chance I’d have to see the layout because it was slated to be dismantled shortly afterward. Luckily, I had a chance to ask Geoff about some techniques he used in specific places on the layout, including the backdrop at the Port Dover scene that, if memory serves, he painted while he lived on the other side of the country.
Geoff recently posted an updated video on Youtube that you should see. Besides enjoying an excellent soundtrack, you’ll get a tour of the line from Hamilton to Port Dover. This is one of the nicest layouts I’ve had the privilege to visit.
Running on the Hagersville Sub by Geoff Chrysler