Great reading from across the pond


Sold at Chapters and Indigo bookstores in Canada, the price of an issue of Model Railway Journal seems rather steep at $ 16.25.  But it’s excellent value for money!  These are iPhone images, so may not be in perfect focus   

I and many Canadian railway modellers’ first model rail reads were UK books found at the local public library.  My first train set in 1972 was an OO scale (running on HO gauge track as most commercial UK outline does) Tri-Ang Hornby CP Pacific set made in Britain.  I enjoyed a visit to the other London in the UK a couple of years back.  So I’m no stranger to UK outline railways.

For about a decade now, I’ve been a reader of UK model rail magazine Model Railway Journal.  Written by and for epicurean UK railway modellers, every issue is packed with practical  articles well and colourfully illustrated by some excellent modellers.  Scales range from UK N scale to G and larger.  Many articles are of models built in UK scales and gauges Protofour, ScaleSeven, and EM gauge.  Almost all are of UK outline railway modelling.

So what does this pricey magazine have to offer a modeller of a proto-freelance Canadian railway in Eastern Ontario?


Many articles are cutting-edge in technique and execution compared to what we see in Canada and the US.

At least one gorgeous UK outline layout leads off each issue, this issue containing an article on Scale7 seaside branchline terminus “Orford”.

Here are just a few articles from my latest issue of MRJ to prove my point.


Gordon Gravett describes how to model road surfaces, including the realistic modelling of puddles, potholes, and use of colour in modelling roads.  His books on scenery should be required reading for the serious modeller.  This article shows you many of his very effective modelling techniques as applied to his latest work, Scale7 (ratio 1:43) switching layout “Arun Quay”. (Then you might do as I did, and buy some of his books to learn more!)

Some of Gordon Gravett’s superb and inspirational modelling on his layout “Arun Quay” can be found here–


A new scenic tool that augments Noch’s Gras-Master.  Expect to hear and read more of the Flockbox “fusion”.


An excellent tutorial on 3D drafting and printing for the modeller.  The author discusses how to make one-off models, multiple copies of a 3D CAD designed part, and describes 3D pattern-making for casting in resin and brass. 

I pay about eight dollars for a typical modelling magazine published in the US.  MRJ at twice the price is a magazine that I read cover to cover and then read again.   It takes time and re-reading for all the great modelling and modelling techniques contained in each MRJ issue to sink in!  Unlike other magazines, ads are limited to a few pages inside the covers of each issue.  Most of each issue of MRJ gives you scenery, mechanical, and modelling tips that I’m sure you’ll use in your modelling.

If you’re at a Chapters or Indigo Books store in Canada, check out Model Railway Journal in the magazines section.

I really should subscribe to this magazine!


2 thoughts on “Great reading from across the pond

  1. I never knew you could get MRJ at Chapters. I may have to take a run over to my local one to see if they have it. That would be a lot more efficient than the somewhat archaic method MJR have for trying to order things (unless they have recently changed)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Funny how many of we Canadians of a certain era started off with British reading material and British or non-North American model trains. In my case, the first train was a Hornby wind-up; the first rail books were all written by Brits, with some Canadian content and the first H.O. set was Fleischman, although of North American prototypes (discounting the engine which was a German industrial switcher minus buffers). The Brits are certainly fearless when it comes to scratchbuilding from what I have observed of Proto 4, etc. Thanks for this little note, it brought back memories.

    Liked by 1 person

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