Lower Level Railway Diorama and our traveling model railway exhibit…

Lower Level Railway Diorama — Once the restoration of the Burlington Junction Station is complete, a dedicated team of Friends of Freeman Station volunteers will be assembling a unique and special historic model railway diorama on the Lower Level.

When finished, it will recapture the nostalgia of the times, depicting early Twentieth-century bucolic life in the hamlet of Freeman, now a part of the City of Burlington, Ontario.

The Burlington Junction Station was the hub of Freeman community life for almost 100 years.  The personal and commercial comings and goings of the community were centered there — the crisscross of railway lines brought goods and people to the area, and they were the primary mode of shipping goods, especially livestock and produce, to world markets.

Logs from that era record the passage of more than 100 trains a day, so the Station was a busy place, punctuated by the roar of the steam locomotives, the wail of their whistles, the clackety clack of the railcars.  Numerous first-hand accounts, first-person interviews, and meticulous record searches have thoroughly documented life in the village.  One traveler recalled, catching a train in Winter time, “It was almost as cold in the Waiting Room as on the platform!”

More than two years of research and planning will have gone into the Lower Level Railway Diorama project by Doors Open Burlington (September 30th, 2017).

We’d like to have “Phase 1” of the model railway layout running by then, with the diorama project continuing to expand and grow after that, but the schedule is contingent on completion of the basement floor and demising walls.

The model railway in the diorama will be quite unique, unlike anything seen in this part of North America.  It will showcase a beautifully crafted 1/24th scale model of the Burlington Junction Station.  Matched to the scale of the Station model, the railway rolling stock will feature era-specific Grand Trunk Railway steam locomotives, passenger and freight cars in 1/24th scale (“G” scale).

If you would like to participate in the project, you’re invited to email us, detailing your particular interests and skills.  We need artists, painters, miniature modelers, computer and sound technicians, model railway enthusiasts, model railway display builders, and craftspersons.

BDRC team meeting, May 20th 2017

Our traveling model railway exhibit

Video by Kevin Davies

In the Summer of 2016, Friends of Freeman Station brought our portable model railway demonstration to various community venues around Burlington.  It was a chance to see a steam-era model train in operation, learn about the LLRD project as well as the restoration of the Station, and for the children some special treats.  Venues included Tansley Woods,  Appleby Carfree Sunday, the Burlington Seniors’ Centre, LaSalle Park, Paletta Lakefront Park, and Alderfest.

BDRC meeting - December 2015

Early meeting of the Basement Diorama Railway Committee

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Video by Kevin Davies; photography by Bob Chambers, Bob Miller, Nikki Wesley, John Mellow, Joel Waterman, Denny Williams, Alan Harrington, Al Pettman and others (by permission)