Lyon Valley Northern

This site is designed to promote the hobby of ferroequinology. It also provides an opportunity to show the development of the "Lyon Valley Northern": an HO railroad featuring CN and BNSF action in the West. Please feel free to contact me if you have questions or comments at

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Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada


Friday, February 28, 2014


The Canada Southern is designed to represent the NYC high-speed double main track through South Western Ontario in the mid-fifties.  The layout is prototypical and operation oriented. It features NYC luxury passenger trains and through freights as well as local switching. Two other railroads are modeled. The Pere Marquette (C&O) is represented by symbol freights and locals running their own trackage from Detroit to St. Thomas, while CPR passenger trains use the Detroit River Tunnel during the course of their Toronto / Detroit / Chicago routes. Extensive staging is in place to handle this traffic. The comprehensive fleet of locomotives, passenger & freight equipment are all painted accurately for the mid 50's paint schemes and weathered extensively. The Detroit Passenger Terminal and area are well developed scenically, with most other areas under development with building or mockups in place.
In Part One John provides us with his approach to model railroading and the development of the concept for his Canada Southern.
In Part 2, John describes the process of selecting NYC equipment used on the prototype.  he provides the sources for his decisions as well gives us insight into using ProTrak to generate passenger trains and car forwarding for his operations.
In Part 3, John takes us on a tour of his layout from Chicago through Detroit to Windsor, then Essex to Leamington.  He explains how he took the prototype information and created a model railroad that reflects the essence of passenger and freight operations that existed in 1956.  He shows us some very interesting scratch built structures and effective trackwork including a transfer table, Y and reverse loops.  In the next part we will follow the helix and its use to create opportunities for layout expansion in a small space.
In Part 4, John Mitchell provides a tour of his complex helix and shows how the feature increases operating potential.  We then follow the CP and C&O into Chatham Ontario and on to C&O Sarnia and Union Station (CP) Toronto.
In Part 5 we travel along the NYC and C&O routes from West Lorne to St Thomas and into the large terminal in Buffalo.  Clever approaches to staging are discussed.  A bonus is an added branch of the CPR into St Thomas.
In Part 6, trains are running.  A Mail Express train is used as an example of how operations are conducted on the Canada Southern.  John's train is pulled by a NYC Hudson and makes stops in Detroit and Buffalo where switching takes place in the yard and REA sidings.  He explains how ProTrak provies a "real time" car forwarding system that also Incorperates time table information and fast clock.  Enjoy John Mitchell's layout in action..
In Part 7, John takes us through some CPR and NYC scenarios.  Cars are interchanged and appropriate equipment is added as per train requirements (sleepers and dining cars).  My wife Lela has an opportunity to take the throttle during this segment.


Blogger Eric said...

A great series of Videos, Chris! Thanks to you, John and guest engineer Lela for sharing John's layout. I particularly liked the industries, car fleet and prototype feel of the layout.

I couldn't tell if the scale was HO or possibly S scale?

Kingston Rail-O-Rama is coming up - might see you there.

Eric Gagnon
Kingston, Ontario

5:24 AM  
Blogger Chris Lyon said...

He Eric. Thanks for your comments. I will pass them on. The scale of the layout is HO. We are not able to make the show in Kingston because of other commitments. Sorry to miss you this year.

10:17 PM  

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