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Great Model Railroads By Allen Keller Vol. # 28


Volume 28 - John Armstrong's Canandaigua Southern Railway
John Armstrong's Canandaigua Southern is one of the most famous O scale model railroads ever built. The CS has been under construction since 1950 and belongs to the hobby's premier trackplanning expert. Many of John's ideas were first tested in theory and practice on this layout, such as walking with your train and only allowing a train to pass through a scene in one direction.

The Canandaigua Southern has inspired many modelers to build layouts even though John has not finished his layout. As an engineer, John believes in research & development, but once he's figured out how to make or do something, the challenge is gone. He says he has never really finished any project. Of course he explains this with a wink and his gentle sense of humor.

John will show you his famous vertical turnout, layout lighting techniques, modifications to cars for coupling on curves, and how to mount locomotive bodies.

His structures are highly detailed but few in number. His mammoth scratchbuilt locomotives are impressive especially since he built them more than 50 years ago, when there were few parts other than motors. John has contributed to the hobby for more than 60 years by writing four trackplanning books and over 100 articles. And he offers some unexpected thoughts on the good and bad hobby developments over the years.

The CS is a Great Model Railroad because John has used it to continually improve and refine his trackplan ideas and create some distinctive gadgets.


By George Ardwin
There is a huge amount of diversity in both model train layouts, AND their builders. One such layout is the O scale CANANDAIGUA SOUTHERN, Owned by Mr. JOHN ARMSTRONG.

John is well known as a master track planner, and has had several books and a hundred or so articles about the subject published through the years. Although this tape does not offer much in the way of demonstrations, it does offer insight into the mind of a special model railroader.

John's layout is 24' X 34' and covers an era of about twenty years. There are both steam and diesel power, and John built the steam engines from scratch. He also handlaid all the two rail "O" Gauge track. The location is the eastern part of the U.S. and is somewhat mountainous. The backgrounds are hand painted, structures are scratchbuilt and the weathering is quite well done. There are many structures in "mock up" form that will never be finished.

There are VERY few people populating this layout, but quite a few vehicles are seen. It will also be noticed that the layout is not built up to today's super detailed standards, but it still has a lot to offer those that view it, and operate it.

There is both freight and passenger service and the trackage is a point-to-point system. One item that is mentioned is that the ore cars contain REAL ORE so each car is quite heavy.

Here are the demos shown:

John says there are three types of model railroaders. The RAIL FAN, The CRAFTSMAN, and The COLLECTOR. Some of us are ALL of them, and others are ONE of them. Which one are YOU??

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