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Central Ontario Garden Railroad Association

The ownership group of the CWN is a proud member of the Central Ontario Garden Railroader Association. Members of COGRA have played a huge role in helping the CWN developing as a railroad through the weeds. Thank you everyone. Interested in becoming a member? Email me at

In 3 years of service, the CWN has moved about 8 yards of dirt, dug a pond, and lifted far too many rocks but created infinite smiles. We have met our corporate mandate!

The railroad was intended to balance my love of trains with my wife's growing love of gardening. The line is developing a few vignettes where we are attempting to garden in scale, but we did not want to limit the garden to scale. The results are railroad dioramas separated by the colour and beauty of diverse plantings. We love the balance.

The line is a tri-oval loop about 100 feet long. I use LGB sectional and flex track. Having visited several COGRA members layouts and having had the opportunity to see a couple of other garden railroads while travelling, I must admit that hand laid rail absolutely looks better and is less costly, but I lacked the skill to manufacture quality parallel curves and wanted to get up and running more quickly than hand laying would have allowed me.

I have had good success and great pleasure using Kadee couplers and a Kadee magnet plate. I recommend the use of the portable magnet. It affords more opportunity to experiment with different track locations to optimize operations. I have had my magnet in place 3 years now with no problems. Setting the "hose" height is critical to good operation. I also found cars with some weight to them perform better. For instance the small unloaded 4 wheel flat car pictured on the roster page does not uncouple 100% of the time unless I load it up. I will probably glue some weight to the underbody as I like the look of having some cars with no loads.

The CWN relies on track power controlled by an Aristo (Crest) Train Engineer. All joints are filled with conductive paste and have jumpers soldered across them. Several jumpers broke free over the winter, probably as a result of poor soldering and jumpers that were too short for the amount of rail contraction that occurred. As of writing, none of the jumpers have been repaired but performance has not suffered. I still plan to fix them all before the leaves are off the trees this year.

In 2002 track length will double and the shape will change to an over under design. Two significant trestle sections and a small bridge will be manufactured in the winter to support this expansion. Every effort is being made during this design phase to limit grades to 2.5%. I am also looking for opportunities to have the line disappear from normal sight lines to help with the illusion of a longer line than really exists.

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Last Modified June 25, 2001