An inside joke for the Canyon Road Diorama

Anyone who has known me long enough, knows that once upon a time, I had a bit of a challenging relationship with the Canadian Pacific Railway when I would go out railfanning. I saw a lot of nothing, or worse, a lot of guys in pickup trucks working on the railway, but not a lot of trains! That’s fortunately gotten better thanks to friends and as I’ve learned when and where they are moving during the daytime.

With that in mind, I recently picked up a River Point Station CPR High Rail Pickup Truck. If I’m going to build a CPR Diorama, might as well be able to laugh at myself by occasionally having it be a giant shelf with a tiny pickup truck on it. I also ordered a replacement tool bed for the standard pickup bed. The bed came undecorated, but fortunately, for some reason, I have a sheet of CPR Maintenance of Way vehicle Decals from Highball Graphics (I think from a Speeder Car for the Toronto Railway Museum Railway Village diorama). The final add for the pickup was the guy in the truck in a high vis vest. For this, I ordered a 3D Printed figure from Modelu3D in the UK, along with a number of other HO and OO Gauge figures for a variety of projects. More on some of those projects down the line when I get to them.

Replacing the bed of the pickup, painting the driver and getting them in the truck, and adding some grime to weather the truck.

The final thing to do was spray the truck with some grime to take off some of the shine and make it look like it had been out and about. I have actually caught a truck almost exactly like this at Canyon Road, with a signal maintainer working on repairs and doing a roll by inspection, so I can have the truck out on its own as a joke, or as part of the regular diorama scenery. I don’t have any pictures of it on the diorama, as its in a spot with the scenery that is not at all photogenic and I need to make some trees to improve that.

10 thoughts on “An inside joke for the Canyon Road Diorama

  1. I understand your railfanning trials and tribulations. My issue was that whenever I didn’t have film in my camera (or left it at home) a great looking railroad train subject would present itself. When I remembered my camera and went searching for something interesting… nothing.

    Can’t win them all.

  2. Hi Stephen,

    I’ve added your blog as a Featured Blog in Trackside Treasure’s sidebar. Great presentation on Liberty Village last night for our ARK group! So many boxes ticked on my path to modelling my Kingston’s Hanley Spur similar to your that you’ve also ticked in our similar process. i’ve visited your blog before but visiting it again after last night’s presentation made me realize I need to read through all your posts. If you haven’t visited my Hanley Spur blog, as also found in my sidebar, please do. It’s not as organized as your Liberty Village posts, as I bounce back and forth between prototype and model, but that’s just how my short attention span mind works.

    Then I find out a Boyko named Steve and a Mears named Chris have also traipsed through your blog posts. And that confirms my realization. Surrounding yourself with good people and all that!

    Awesome work and looking forward to more modelling and more operation in your Liberty Village!


    • Thank you Eric,

      I hope your group enjoyed the presentation, it’s nice to talk about what I’m working on with like minded folks. Have to admit I have read your blog, but not regularly, either when I see you link to a post somewhere or when it pops up searching for something online. I really need to rectify that myself and give it a proper read.

      As to Mr Mears, he’s one of only a handful of people who have visited the layout who weren’t cajoled into coming help build benchwork or wire track with the promise of a free meal and a good time! Hopefully as I said we are closer to a point where visitors can happen again than we are to when he visited in early 2020!

      Good luck reading all the posts, some are definitely better written than others!


    • Eric, you will really enjoy this read. I’ve read through this blog, in its entirety, a couple times and it’s an absolute joy. Highly recommended.

      As for not getting invited into the benchwork…I would have loved to have been there to help out though perhaps the best help I can offer is to let those who know alone to do the real work.


      • Trackwork? Well, it’s lead, follow or get out of the way, indeed, Chris!

        I am trying to figure out which blog I want to highlight Liberty Village in. So far Trackside Treasure, for my own reference. Purely modelling, or process-related re: the Hanley Spur? Not sure yet.

        I have on-layout staging (more accurately, one-track staging!) but I sure like Stephen’s transfer table idea!


        • Trackwork. Well, it all ties together. It rail-y does!

          Stephen’s planning for this layout and use of space is superb. Visiting it was a real treat and I love how well he’s communicated the feeling of being in the place, albeit it in miniature. Instead of just feeling like you’re looking at an urban place you’re feeling like you’re in that urban place and exploring it as people there would have. It’s beautifully accessible modelling.

          And that staging! Love it.


        • Thank you Chris, hopefully when you visit again we can actually run some trains! The staging is very much a theft from my British side of the hobby and looking for ways to make things work in limited space.



        • Hi Eric, there are things that work well with the transfer tables, and things that I still haven’t entirely got a handle on. I still don’t have a satisfactory means to ensure positive track alignment and the tables not shifting. I find that it takes very minimal contact for them to shift alignment. It’s fine for me, but for guests, I do eventually need to work out a more reliable system to make sure that they stay in place. It’s one of those things, we got them so they don’t drift on their own, and move easily, but it sometimes seems they move too easily.


  3. This is a superb model.

    I laughed and laughed when I read this post because we share a similar experience with CP. When I lived in Bowmanville I could walk down to CN’s line and usually see a train, either their’s or VIA, but CP’s that ran right through town…nothing.

    Back east now and that same pattern happens with CBNS. In the early CBNS years I could never seem to catch a regular train of theirs. I remember seeing their special trains they’d run during the model train shows hosted in Truro but a regular train? Nope. Never. I’m in Halifax now and our family and friends are in PEI and trips to the Island are still frequent. Most trips, for work or friendly visiting, detour my car into Truro as I just really like town town. In a repeat of my Bowmanville problem: I can usually find CN at work in Truro but CBNS? Only a tease of what happened or what was about to happen. It wasn’t until this past October that I finally saw a regular, working, CBNS train. I’m certain that crew have been disciplined for breaking the “Never let Mears see us moving” rule. Previous to that, as with you and CP, I have at best only ever seen their hirail trucks at work on the line.


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