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The OVAR Modular Rally January 2012

Published in The Interchange February 2012

By Larry Lanctot

This web page was last updated on February 16th, 2012.

The OVAR Rally was held at St. Anthony’s Soccer Club in Ottawa on the weekend of Jan. 7-8, 2012.  HOTRAK, the undisputed king of HO scale modular layouts, was there with its largest layout.

With over 100 modules coming from in and around the Ottawa area and from as far away as Cornwall, the layout was the largest of its kind  with multiple freight, passenger and commuter trains running simultaneously on single and double track modules.

The little guy on the left showed up with his dad on Sunday and for the first time used a hand held radio throttle to run an RDC.  Having to stand on a chair to see the action and not wanting to lose sight of the RDC, he would only make the engine go a scale five mph! This boy was having maximum fun! His dad’s reflection can be seen in the mirror.
Yard crews populated the layout with 128 cars and another 60 cars in the yard to keep 9 locals and one through freight ready to go.  Here Tom Patterson and Bernie Goodman sort through some of the cars and car cards.
Here we can see one of the many locals being switched on a highly detailed module.  The layout provided an excellent opportunity to display one’s modelling and switching skills.
Not everything goes according to plan and it is an experience common to all men to find that, on any special occasion, everything that can go wrong will go wrong. Whether we must attribute this to the malignity of matter or to the total depravity of inanimate things, whether the exciting cause is hurry, worry, or what not, the fact remains. Here Peter Parkinson and Charles Spencer make it right.
Throughout the weekend there was a steady stream of visitors of all ages who equally enjoyed watching the action as there was something of interest for everyone. Here a passenger and intermodal train pass on double track while Thomas brings up the rear. Great action
There is an exception to every rule and not all motive power and equipment on the modular layout was HO Scale or North American as evidenced by Colin Churcher’s Maenclochog Treacle Mine Narrow Gauge Railway (MTMNGR).  In this case, even the acronym is difficult for most of us to say.

Graeme Chase brought out two very nice engines. One being #729 a Drummond T9 (originally from the LSWR). 
The other Dominion of Canada, a Gresley A4 in BR livery  (which was originally LNER and sister to the famous Mallard and holder of the world steam speed record).

One of the visiting teens, Tim, spent most of the weekend operating trains. It was amazing to hear how much he knew about trains and refreshing to see his passion and enthusiasm for the hobby. Here he accelerates a passenger train out of Fallowfield station. 

Men in the club out number females by 50 to 1. That didn’t stop Bonnie, the sole female member in the apprenticeship program, from having fun as she eases Thomas and train through some slow moving traffic.

The younger generation seem to have little problem understanding DCC and hand held throttles. Tristan (one of the most enthusiastic guests) was there most of the weekend and ran various types of trains including this high speed intermodal.
Records are meant to be broken and according to the latest HOTRAK statistics, Paul Anderson ran the largest road railer train consisting of 73 trailers pulled by two Atlas GP38 locomotives. The train was 43’ 10” in length, a scale 4023.5 feet. During this session, he also derailed the largest number of cars at one time - approximately 30 cars. Paul takes full credit for running the longest road railer train, but says he had some help with the derailment! Ha Ha….. way to go Paul.

Here we see Scott Harris and his son Edward laughing with excitement as Thomas runs round the bend.  Thomas was a big hit with visitors of all ages.

With grade crossing lights flashing and diesel horns blaring, a pair of CN GP40-2W’s rumble through a grade crossing on one of Gilbert Lacroix’s modules.

HOTRAK will have an operating layout at the new Ottawa Train Expo to be held in Ottawa on May 5 & 6, 2012. Hope to see you, your friends and the young ones there!

Please visit our HOTRAK site at http://www.hotrak.ca/ for more club info

 and Larry’s Trains on Flickr at


for more pictures.

More pictures taken at the 2012 modular rally can be found at