Layout Construction · Model Building · Narrow Gauge

The Crowsnest Tramway Co.

Off topic, I suppose, but I thought I’d share a few photos of one of my favorite layout themes: Roy C. Link’s Crowsnest Tramway Co., the 1:32 version. It was on display at the 2015 Narrow Gauge Convention in Augusta, ME. I had seen the odd B&W photo in publications but never dreamed I’d get to see it in person. What a surprise when I walked into the convention display room!


If you are familiar with the Narrow Gauge & Industrial Railway Modeling Review magazine then Roy Link needs no introduction. He’s as famous in the UK as Bob Brown and the Gazette are over here.

Roy is a master model builder. The Crowsnest Tramway is an ongoing theme. A new diorama pops up from time to time in whatever scale Roy chooses. There have been versions in O14 (On2 over here) and 16mm (a popular large modeling scale in the UK) in addition to the one pictured here in 1:32.

[A collection of photos gathered from the web.]

See the Crowsnest in action at this link: Crowsnest Tramway

I love everything about it. The scenery connotes an airy, sparse landscape up in the hills. The backdrop is beautifully done. Trackwork is typical industrial narrow gauge. As far as I know most everything is scratch built. The detail is enchanting. Notice the chickens next to the scale house.

Roy sold the diorama to another notable UK modeler, the late Mike South, who brought it with him to Calgary, Alberta. After Mike’s passing, it passed into obscurity until located by Canadian Craig Parry. Craig restored the diorama and built the wonderful display cabinet you see above. He has been bringing it to various conventions in North America.

As I recall, this Crowsnest Tramway diorama represents the end of the line where lead ore is weighed and then tipped into road vehicles.

The D&NE is a modest achievable layout intended to be built to a high standard. And then you see workmanship like this and just ponder…

9 thoughts on “The Crowsnest Tramway Co.

  1. I definitely agree with you about the Crowsnest Tramway. It was also at the NNGC this past September in Minneapolis. It was my favorite module/diorama/layout of all. I was so taken by it that I recently subscribed to the Narrow Gauge & Industrial Railway Modelling Review (a great publication). Thanks for your post.


  2. This diorama was built by Roy Link in Norfolk, England in the early 1980s and sold to Mike South a few years later. At that time it had just 1 loco, 3 tipper wagons, and a flat wagon. The loco was based on Bagnall’s 0-4-0 IST works number 300 built in 1880 and was scratch built by Roy, as were the other items of rolling stock. Mike had it all shipped to his home in Calgary, Alberta, Canada where it stayed until Mike’s death in August 2009, when it became mine. And it immediately disappeared for a few months until I discovered it in someone’s garage in rural southern Alberta. Coincidentally, Craig Parry had posted a request for information about this diorama in the ezine of the Calgary Model Railway Society. A few emails back and forth and, after help in crating it all up again by some other friends of Mike South, it made its way to Craig in Belleville, Ontario, where it now resides. However, in the meantime, Craig has been successful in obtaining some of the other 20 or so locomotives, and other wagons that had been built by various artisans around the world, on commission for Mike South, but which had somehow been divorced from the layout. Craig has also taken the diorama on the road to a number of shows on both sides of the 49 parallel to much deserved acclaim.

    I am so glad it is now in the right hands and is promised a safe and enjoyable future.
    Roger Marler, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.


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