The St. Jacobs & Aberfoyle Model Railway showcases southern Ontario in the 1950s in “O” scale, meaning that one quarter inch is equivalent to twelve inches in real life. Many modellers prefer the higher level of detail that can be achieved in this larger scale. Guests can take in the full interior detailing in the buildings and the miniature passengers riding the many passenger trains, such as CP’s “Canadian” and CN’s “Transcontinental.” Nearly everything on this 3,000 square foot (280 square meter) display has been custom built, from scratch, by six friends who have spent a considerable amount of time on its development and construction.
The railway’s operation includes both steam engines and early diesels, including local freight switching, a unit train and a variety of passenger trains. See cities, towns and villages, industries and rail yards, campers and picnickers, and families at the beach. Enjoy the night scene as the sun sets and over 450 miniature bulbs light up the landscape, including the movie theatre, a wedding reception, the City of Wellington, a welder on the night shift at the foundry and many more mini-scenes.
The St. Jacobs & Aberfoyle Model Railway began in 1972 and was originally located on the second floor of the barn at the Aberfoyle Sunday Flea Market for its first ten years. It moved to its own building across Highway 6 for the next 30 years. In 2012 a move was necessary and its current location in St. Jacobs was acquired. The move began for 20 volunteers who spent 12,000 hours disassembling the diorama and re-assembling its 45 pieces in the new location. It opened to the public again on October 18, 2013. The model railway is now owned by Waterloo County Heritage Preservation Inc.
Watch the many freight and passenger trains moving throughout this detailed display. It is open to the public on weekends and statutory holidays from May to December and select dates in February, March and April; see www.stjacobsmodelrailway.com for detailed dates and hours.
Groups of 10 or more are welcomed at special rates. Due to the height of the railway, they suggest parents bring a small stool for their young children.