John Marlor's Canadian Pacific

        The Layout Location Design Operation Slide Views Continue

Scenery Marvelous, Operations a Dream

The Mountain Division: Kamloops to Field was John’s second layout,

which modelled the crossing of Rogers Pass in the Selkirk Mountains.

It benefited in many ways from the first. The existence of

locomotives, rolling stock, structures and scenery, even backdrops,

allowed it to be completed in a relatively short period time; it was

constructed between 2000 and 2003. This resulted in a consistency in

scenic appearance, which was marvelous. John also took advantage

of his experiences with his first layout to design and construct a

layout that was not only esthetically pleasing, but was also a dream

to operate.


Central to the operation of John Marlor’s Canadian Pacific was the

climb over both the Eagle Pass and Rogers Pass. Rogers Pass, at an

elevation of 4,364 feet (1,330 m), was the more challenging of the

two. On John’s layout, trains of more than 8 cars literally could not

make the grade east up the Illecillewaet River Valley to Albert

Canyon, Glacier and the west portal of the Connaught Tunnel.

Likewise, trains of more than 10 cars had difficulty making the grade

west from Revelstoke to Clanwilliam, Eagle Pass (elevation 1,804

feet; 550 m) and on to Taft.

Helper locomotives were added at Revelstoke to take the trains over

the passes. With the Digitrax control system an additional locomotive

could be added anywhere in the consist, although it was usual to add

it to the head end. The Digitrax control module was then

programmed to handle both locomotives off of one throttle. Helper

locomotives were cut out at Glacier and Taft and run light back down

grade to Revelstoke.

Passenger Operations

The two passenger tracks at the Revelstoke station accommodated

meets of the east- and westbound passenger trains although this was

not prototypical. The railway usually didn’t like to have two

passenger trains in the station at one time as the one farthest from

the station was difficult for passengers to access and, of course,

there was always the possibility that passenger would re-board the

wrong train. But John liked passenger trains and always had four

complete trains, two at Kamloops and two at Field, ready to run

through the layout.

Taft, Glacier and Albert Canyon were regular stops for passenger

trains. All had passing sidings long enough to accommodate meets.

Trains descending the Illecillewaet Valley from Rogers Pass via Glacier

were required to stop at both Glacier and Albert Canyon for a brake

check. Often they met trains ascending to the pass.

Revelstoke’s yard also accommodated the Arrowhead Express, a two

coach, one baggage car passenger, which ran regularly from

Revelstoke to Arrowhead on the branch. A siding beside the

Revelstoke station accommodated the baggage car, and often a

Sperry rail car. A tail track east of the station was used to store the

two coaches, and sometimes the baggage car.


Through freight consisted of trains moving east from Vancouver with

products from around the world, and west from eastern Canada and

the prairies with products for coast and foreign markets. In 1937, the

era modeled by John, wheat from the prairies was moved in boxcars.

Thus John had a sizable fleet of boxcars on his layout, over 105 in all.

Boxcars were also used to move wood products to both to the coast

and inland, adding to the need for a substantial fleet. Cattle were

moved both east and west from the Kamloops region and the prairies,

respectively. Ore cars moved coal and minerals, particularly to the



The town of Albert Canyon was situated 2 miles (3 km) west of the

canyon or gorge. It was originally the headquarters of the Waverly

Mining Company. The mine was situated 24 miles from the village on

the headwaters of Bownie creek. John moved the mine to west end of

the yard and made it a coal mine. This enhanced operations by

allowing for supplying of the Revelstoke and Arrowhead yard service


The mine made for interesting switching at Albert Canyon, the yard

being on the north side of the main line and the mine on the south. In

addition to the exchange of loaded coal cars with empties, boxcars of

mine supplies and flat cars with loads of timber were also delivered.

A hoist was provided next to the mine building for unloading the

timbers. Bunkhouses were provided for the workers just east of the

mine, between the mine and the station.

John also modelled Clanwilliam as a mining town. The mine was a

much smaller and, apparently, a less profitable operation than that at

Albert Canyon. Mining was carried out on a smaller scale and the

buildings were very makeshift.

The Arrowhead Branch

On John’s layout, Clanwilliam also served as the junction of the

branch line south to Arrowhead and the Arrow Lakes.

Arrowhead was built on a narrow strip of land on the shore of the

lake hugging the mountains. Thus, it essentially consisted of

one main street as depicted in John's layout. A small fruit packing

company with a single siding, which could accommodate one or two

cars, was the only industry depicted on John’s layout at Arrowhead.

From an operational point of view this tied in nicely with the

icehouse at Revelstoke. Reefers could be iced at Revelstoke then

moved to Arrowhead for loading, or east and west on the main line.

The small yard provided services, coal, water and maintenance, for

arriving trains and for the yard locomotive kept at Arrowhead.

The station had a run around siding and a dock siding to

accommodate the Arrowhead Express.

Two tracks behind the station accessed the barge for loading and

unloading, as was the case from early days. A gondola filled with

stone was kept at Arrowhead to “reach” onto the barge so that cars

could be loaded and unloaded without the heavy yard locomotive

crossing onto the barge. The short length of tail track, which

accessed the barge tracks, added to operation difficulty. Taking into

account the length of the yard locomotive, tender and gondola, only

two cars at a time could be loaded or unloaded from the barge. The

barge could accommodate ten cars, five on each track.

It was easy to envisage John’s layout having the walkways as the

Arrow Lakes. Indeed the lakes extended into the workroom where the

barge functioned as a means of transferring cars to and from the

layout to the work bench and to storage tracks which were separate

from the layout.