Anyone familiar with the OAPS ?

Discussion in 'The Real Thing- North America' started by bigun, Aug 27, 2006.

  1. bigun

    bigun New Member


    New to the Gauge, my first post so let me know if this is the wrong place for this thread...

    I'm interested in collecting more information on the Ottawa Arnprior & Parry Sound, which has mostly dissappeared now. Anybody out there knowledgeable on prototype track plans or operations from this line ?
  2. interurban

    interurban Active Member

    Hi Bigun, welcome to the gauge.

    There is a fair bit of info on the web, I think Andrew may know more on this.
    He will be here soon.
  3. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    Hi Bigun - welcome aboard! :wave:

    I don't have any knowledge about the OAPS, but I found someone else who models that road -- unless of course this is actually your website in which case oops! :oops:

  4. interurban

    interurban Active Member

    That is a good find Val.
    Nice site.
  5. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Val - good find! That webs ite belongs to my friend Ron who is modelling his fictionalized version of the OA&PS in the 1950s (in truth, it was bought by GT in the early 1900s, which was then absorbed into CN in 1923.

    Chris - Thanks for thinking of me! ;)

    Bigun - what do you need to know. Niall MacKay's Over the Hills to Georgian Bay is a great book to start with, and the Algonquin Park museum has some great books that make at least a passing mention to many of the communities with ties to the railway.

    (The OA&PS was the southern route through the park, so if you come across info about Brent, ON, etc, that's the northern line...)

    Ron's website, as noted by Val, is quite informative, but be sure to pay attention where the historical fact leaves off, and his fiction begins.

    National Archives is also a good source of info, as well as the Museum of Science & Technology in Ottawa (on the web, they host th CN archives).

    As for your question about protoype operation or trackplans, I am not sure how much of that remains. MacKay's book has the passenger schedule, and notes that at its peak, the railway sent one train every 20 minutes (24/7) over the line.

    Hope that's a good start for you.

  6. bigun

    bigun New Member


    Thanks for the leads - I am receiving some great advice from Ron (who is on the slippery slope to becomming my model RR mentor..) and a lucky strike on the web yesterday yielded an address for Niall whom I have emailed. I'm hoping to get some solid information on the Madawaska division point in terms of track plans, operation and photos. I've got the famous "Over the Hills.." book and last weekend I became the 'customer of the month' at the Algonquin Park bookshop, but nothing concrete on Maswaska. Actually there are other missing details - like the Whitney & Opeongo spur - did it have the capability to turn engines (e.g. Wye)? Trouble is, the more I dig into this RR the more I like it; maybe I'll give up on modelling and just keep on researching... .

    It's a RR that offers a great deal for the modeller (scenery, passenger & freight operations etc.) but the possibilties are not matched by the space I have available - I will try to make my first post in the track plans forum shortly....

  7. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    Glad you found stuff so quickly. Ron is a great guy, and I have a CD full of info he gave me. I have yet to make great use of the research facilities at Algonquin, but some books are on my wish list, like Living at Cache Lake - great account of life in the little village that was there. My problem is that I want to go there in person, not mail order all this stuff.

    The 100th Anniversary of The Highland Inn is 2008, and I am hoping to have a diorama of the hotel and station doen by then...! At my current modelling speed, I will need every second :rolleyes: ;) :D

    I am interested in what Niall might have to say - could you share his response? I also think that the W&O has great potential for modelling. You don't need to go to New England or out west for logging roads - there were interesting ones right here! :cool:

  8. galt904

    galt904 Member

  9. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    Thanks for linking those pics. I knew there were some around here somewhere... ;)

    I think that layout was featured in RMC last fall/early winter? It is a nice looking layout, and I always like the prototype info for reference. I have several binders' worth for my upcoming projects... :rolleyes: :D

  10. stuart_canada

    stuart_canada Member

    there is a guy in renfrew who or did model the renfrew CN line he is or was a member of ovar, contact me off line I can get his name to you, he had a lot of infor on it
    it ran up the street from me
  11. bigun

    bigun New Member

    the elusive layout has been found !


    Those pics are great - despite lots of searching I have yet to find anything on the web of anyone having modelled this line in HO (the pics look to me like HO) so this is quite exciting for me. It looks like the model starts at Depot Harbour, and I see the infamous Trestle who's failure brought the whole line down, but I don't recognize some of the other areas. It would be really great if I could get more information - a track plan for starters. Do you have contact information for Graham (is he on email ?), maybe I can visit him.


  12. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    The four photos that Chad posted I believe represent...

    1) Depot Harbour elevators

    2) Depot Harbour (town) - single family homes. Dual family homes I believe had flat roofs.

    3) Covered bridge and water mill - ? I don't know. I do not believe that the majority of the saw mills relied on water power. This one has the appearance of a flour mill though. There's no "yard" to dry the wood, and there doesn't seem to be a mill pond that is used for handling inbound logs.

    I don't know if there is a prototype equivalent of a covered bridge anywhere in the Algonquin section of the line, but there may have been in the Ottawa - Madawaska section.

    4) Likely a representation of the Cache Lake Trestle - condemned in 1933, ending through trains. Passenger service was continued with a railbus for some time. (I wonder if the trestle had been west of the Highland Inn if it would have been repaired. Many of the guest would have been coming from Toronto, switching at Scotia Junction to get into the park. However, the Inn was closed during most of the 1930s, so maybe not...).


    EDIT - Here is an interesting site that might give you some leads into the eastern end of the OA&PS:
  13. bigun

    bigun New Member


    I didn't realize you were a fan of the OAPS, I'd love to see a completed dioramma of the Highland Inn - do you want me to leave space for it in my layout :D

    I have the books you are missing, a facinating read. The frustrating part about going there to get them is that there is so little left of the original line and villages in the park that you end up feeling a little sad. If you read the history of Rock Lake you'll learn how the Park authorities razed to the ground a lot of old properties in their drive to return the Park to a more natural state.

  14. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    Yes, I am a big fan, thanks in large part to Ron :D It is an interesting "little" line, upon which much of the early economy of eastern Ontario and Ottawa relied.

    I also think it is sad that the Inn and most of the buildings and so on were demolished. I think that Hwy 60 has had far more impact on the so-called "natural" state of the Park than the railway ever did. Imagine what a tourist line it would be today!

    To see the beginnings of my Highland Inn, click here to go to another Gauge thread.

    If you like the OA&PS, you might also like the K&P - Kingston & Pembroke - that ran through similar country: the Lanark Highlands. It was acquired by CPR, but ran into the 1950s if I recall correctly. Check out for a variety of eastern Ontario railway history. Bob is another member of; he is constructing two modules called Irondale and Bancroft, also detailed on his site.

  15. bigun

    bigun New Member

    it never ends...

    I'm pleased to see a lot of interest in the OAPs. Originally, looking at the magazines and on the web it felt as if I'd 'discovered' the OAPS myself and would soon become famous. This line should be getting way more attention - I think I'm going to submit a magazine article next year in an attempt to promote this gem !

    You are right, the potential in Ontatio alone is huge for RR prototypes. Just looking along the OAPS I find Scotia Junction. Now which line crosses here ? - ahh, we find a line that not only gives us the gorgeous Muskoka region to the south, along with it's history, but it goes up north too and includes the mineral deposits and the colonization of northern Ontario. I heard the gold that came out exceeded the entire Klondike gold rush. And then there's the story of the guy working on the railway and saw something in the bushes that was shiny, went to check it out and discovered a massive hunk of silver ... Hmmm, I need a bigger basement ...

  16. galt904

    galt904 Member

    Picture 3 could have been just a generic town on the layout, but judging by the research into the rest of the layout that wouldn't jive with his theme. I'll see if I can dig up the Doubleheaders tour guide from the spring, I believe they had the phone numbers there.
  17. galt904

    galt904 Member

    From the Doubleheaders tour guide: "The Ottawa, Arnprior & Parry Sound Rwy represents the Canada Atlantic Western Division as it was in 1922 as Grand Trunk was merging with CNR. Depot Harbour, port and town site, are modeled as the prototype scene. It is fully scenicked with grain elevator, coal unloader, and ships at dockside. Small steam locos serve freight and passenger trains that now run through to Madawaska and east staging. Madawaska and Environs are now scenicked with handlaid track, coaling trestle, and a new turntable. Scratch and kit built structures, code 83 and 70 rail handlaid and flextrack are used. Digitrax radio control, and sound are used. This layout is backed by plenty of historical research and was featured in Canadian Railway Modeler Aug/Sept 2005."

    I'll PM bigun with the contact info. PM me if anyone else wants it too, or perhaps bigun can keep us posted with what he finds out. :)
  18. bigun

    bigun New Member


    Thanks for the magazine reference. I've ordered a backissue. I've never seen this magazine before so it will be interesting to get a copy.

    Depot Harbour seems to attract lots of attention, but just so I can be different (it looks to difficult to model if you ask me) I'm leaving it out of my layout altogether - I do want to include Madawaska as a the main centre of operations so the article you describe should be quite relevant :thumb:

  19. railwaybob

    railwaybob Member

    Hi Gareth. If you happen to live in the Ottawa area, why don't you join us this Saturday. Ottawa Valley HOTRAK is having our first meet of the season this Saturday at St Anthony's Soccer Hall on Preston St at the Queensway overpass (in the basement). You'll be able to meet Ron, David, Mason Jar, Colin, and a whole bunch of other guys who do historical research on the railways of Eastern Ontario

    Also, this Tuesday, Ottawa Valley Associated Railroaders (OVAR) is holding our first dinner meeting of the season. You get the chance to meet over 180 model railroaders, railway historians, Texas-style model railroaders, and other fanatiques ferroviaire. Tuesday 5:30 pm St Anthony's Soccer Hall.

    Bob M.

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