One of the interesting things about modelling a steam era prototype branch line is knowing the story of when and why it was abandoned. In the case of Port Rowan, the death knell was rung when the Canadian National Railways system lost the post office contracts to trucking in the mid-1950s.
The CNR had tried to abandon the line previously – an example is shown above – and the railway’s application had always been rejected. However, without the guaranteed government injection of the postal contract, there was insufficient reason to keep the trains rolling. The line’s last passenger train ran in the autumn of 1957 and then the line was served on an as-needed freight-only basis until the plug was finally pulled in the mid-1960s.
On this day in 2011, I started blogging about my plans to build Port Rowan in 1:64. It’s been quite a journey – with several friendships formed along the way. Thank you to everyone who has followed along.
There were also technical hiccups, resulting in the decision earlier this year to move the Port Rowan blog to a new online home. I removed the blog from my ISP’s servers, where it had lived since 2011, and built this new blog hosted directly by WordPress. Thanks, again, to those of you who have followed me and found Port Rowan here.
Now, Port Rowan is about to move to another new home – this time, physically. In a few weeks, my wife and I are moving from southern Ontario to the Prairies – about 3,000 km west. I am packing up everything I can keep from Port Rowan – including the equipment, structures, details, electronics and trees – and chopping up the rest.
I used to think tearing down a layout was an awful thing. It’s not. I have learned many things while building Port Rowan – from what I like and don’t like in a layout, to various techniques – and all of that learning will be applied to the next project. I am pleased, overall, with what I accomplished with Port Rowan. But I also know I can – and will – do better next time.
I am not sure what that “next time” will look like, just yet. I do know that I have a much larger, much nicer space in which to build a layout. But I plan to measure the space properly and then live with it for a bit before I commit to a specific project. I do have ideas – but I’m not ready to share them.
Also, an apology: I likely will not have time to engage in a discussion about the fate of Port Rowan or my plans for the future. Not at this time.
In addition to tearing out the layout, my wife and I have a lot of stuff to sort, pack, throw out, donate, and so on. We have very little time to do it – and the physical distancing requirements imposed on us by this year’s global pandemic are making an already challenging task even more difficult. It’s harder to organize a move, and impossible to have a large crew over to tear out the layout or help with other packing.
I debated even posting this much, now, because I should be packing boxes or swinging a wrecking bar. But I owed you all at least this much.
I will go into a tunnel for a while now, and you won’t hear from me until I emerge into the daylight on the other side. Thanks, friends, for reading and for understanding. Talk to you all down the line…