February 15th, 2017 by lenlarue Leave a reply »
 Editor’s Note:  I have no idea what happened to most of the pictures throughout the site!  I had accessed the AVR site to do some editing of current info, and noticed they were gone.  They must have disappeared during an editing session when I lost the entire site for a while (scary!!).  I got the text back, but I guess the pictures disappeared into the ether!  I have managed to replace most of them…

AVR 2018 AGM – 1:00 pm, Saturday, February 10, 2018

The Annual General Meeting of the AVR, covering 2017 activities and planning for 2018, was held in our Charleswood Station at the AVR, 3001 Roblin Blvd.  Minutes will be e-mailed to members.

Christmas Weekends Afternoon Public Rides 2018

      After Bill Taylor’s death in August, 2013, the Family & the AVR have simply not been able to do the massive amount of work that Bill did in maintaining the 100,000+ lights!   If we can come up with a workable plan to modernize and reduce maintainance, we’ll let you know…

      This Christmas season, we will again give daylight afternoon rides, 1 – 4 pm, Saturday & Sunday, December 22/23, Saturday & Sunday, December 29/30 & Saturday & Sunday, January 5/6

Check out a great video from Christmas 2015 on YouTube from City TV’s “Wheeler in the Morning”:

Public Open House Rides – Weekends in 2018

These are traditionally held the 2nd full weekend of each month, from June through October
June 9/10, July 14/15, August 11/12, September 8/9 & October 13/14, 2018
Saturdays: 11:00 – 5:oo           Sundays: 1:00 – 5:00
1 ride – $2
12 ride pass – $20 (good for any AVR Public Event)
2 & under ride free
(All minors must be accompanied by an adult)

Hallowe’en Weekend Rides 2018

Last year, for the first time, the AVR offered Hallowe’en themed rides on the weekend before Hallowe’en  from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM.  There were lights, pumpkins, skeletons, bone piles & lots of ghosts.  Occasionally someone jumped from behind a tree to scare the passengers, but not too much!  Many thanks to Maurice & Susan, Dwayne & Joanne & family for help with the decorations, & to all the members who helped during the Public Rides.  A great time was had by all of us and I’m pretty sure by all who rode, judging by the SMILES!!!

This year we will hold our Hallowe’en Weekend rides on October 27 & 28, 6 – 9 PM.


 The AVR re-introduced the Fall Dinner Train Weekend in 2015, but we were unable to follow-up in 2016, having no way to process Credit Cards!  Last year we obtained our own credit card processing system, so held the Dinner Train Weekend on September 16 & 17, 2017.
We will be holding the 2018 Dinner Train Weekend on September 15 & 16, 2018.

As before, participants will eat on the train, 2 people to a car, up to 16 people per train.   The meal starts with refreshments (soft drink, coffee, tea, or water), nibblies, & a fresh tossed salad with choice of dressing, for the first loop around the track.  The main course is a deluxe hamburger platter (or a hot dog platter), consumed over 2 loops.  Dessert is pie with ice cream or whipped cream, or a dish of ice cream, for the 4th loop.  Each meal lasts about an hour.

Cost is $15 for adults & $12 for kids.  Reservations have to have been made and paid for by credit card, for specific times on a “first come first served basis”, with trains leaving about every 1 1/2 hours.

Many thanks to all who helped in 2017:  Joanne Michelin who made the burgers, Wayne Hamel who cooked them, their daughters who took orders & helped out generally, also Zach & Ben Cox, Krista McKenzie, Gord Kushner, Richard & Marietta Persian, Dwight & Carmelina Kjartanson and Helen La Rue who helped with veggie prep & clean-up.  Yours truly, Len La Rue, did the planning, shopping & plate prep/serving.  About 90 meals were served over the weekend, and a good time was had by all!


A few of us continue to show up at the AVR on most Wednesday & Saturday afternoons to do some work & share stories over a cool one.

Len & Vic replaced the failed front truck front motor/gear box assembly on 202.  Vic repaired the sheared roll pin, and Len reassembled the unit, so it’s ready to replace the next failure!  While 202 was on the lift, Len adjusted the brakes on the front truck, and later, Vic adjusted the rear brakes – it sure stops nicely now!
We finally ran out of propane in the propane cars, so Vic has been trying to negotiate a deal to get them refilled by Superior Propane, who bought Caledon Propane since we last had them filled.  Hopefully we can get the cars filled in the spring – if not, the steam engines may be idle…
Now that the snow has arrived, and will likely stay, a regular job is keeping the tracks, sidewalks & station area clear of snow until our Christmas Weekend Rides are finished.  So far, Richard & Len have managed with the shovels!   Len donated his old 21″, 5 HP Craftsman Snow Blower – We fixed the drive problem (an incredibly bad weld on the pressure mechanism that simply broke!) & Vic managed to get the carburetor  working again, so now we’ll be able to deal with heavy snowfall on the tracks much easier!
Wayne brought his chain saw again, & with help from Richard & Len, felled a dead tree that had fallen over above the tracks near Lighting Junction.
Dwight has been trying to figure out & fix a problem with the 24 V to 12 V conversion unit on 3001 – it’s intermittent!!  This supplies power to the lights & sound system, so we hope it will be working by next summer…

The 2 cabooses (cabeese?)were finally completed last winter and have run proudly at the end of each passenger train this summer!  Now our trains look like they did in the days of steam & early diesel – Bill would be very pleased!  Gil did most of the wood work in his workshop, and Ed scored all the board lines to simulate siding.  Gil & Ed did most of the main assembly & Vic helped out with various parts of the project.  All the details have been added/fabricated/painted – Len fabricated the hand rails (mostly from coat hanger wire), all end details including the ladders, 8 stair sets, and the undercarriage details – lots of silver soldering!  Castings were used for window frames, brake control components & hand rail attachment details.  We chose different colour schemes to make each caboose unique visually.

Cosmetic repairs have been completed on GP9 3001 – all the hand-rails are now reattached, and Len fabricated & installed new vertical door hand rails on F7 6109 (2 had vanished, & 1 was damaged).

Vic & Len have been working to sort out the problem of steam oil not getting to the left cylinder on 2365 – the cylinder seized up with rust over last winter. We thought we had it fixed by re-plumbing the steam oil feeds, but after running at an Open House last fall, the cylinder was seized again this winter!  This is an ongoing project!!  We tried out thicker Teflon in the cylinder drain cocks, as the original ones were too thin & suffered early failures, and we seem to have solved the problem!

Repairs are still ongoing to the dolly-moving winch – Len is working on this, with help & advice from Vic.

Len & Vic are still working on designing & building the Tank Car kit, started several years ago by Frank.  (This project has been on hold while the cabooses were built & 2365 was worked on…)

Barry & Ed show up for moral support.  Richard & Gordon are also fairly regular on Saturdays, with Richard doing a yeoman’s job on re-ballasting last summer/fall & replacing rotten ties, with help from Gord, Zach & Ben, usually using the Box Cab 25.  Richard has also done a fair bit of track leveling & un-kinking.  Dwight continues to trouble-shoot turnout & signalling issues.

Len, Dwight & Vic worked on 3001 which had lost its sound ,air compressor & headlight.  It was determined that the problem was a malfunctioning 24 V DC to 12 V DC convertor, which proved to be unrepairable.  A new one was ordered & installed successfully by Len.

This year the AGM was held on Saturday, February 10, from 1:00 to ~2:15 in the AVR Station.  All paid-up Members were welcome, and some paid at the meeting!  Copies of the minutes are e-mailed to AVR members.

The club no longer maintains a Station phone number, but e-mail, cell phone, and postal contact information is kept  up-to-date on the Contact page.  So, if you try and ring the old number and find it disconnected, it doesn’t mean we’ve gone away – come out and see for yourself on a Members’ Work Day or Public Open House/Rails.

Interested in becoming an AVR Member?

We have application forms in the Station Building. Please contact one of the members or Executive, best done at the AVR, and we will explain the categories, etc.  Annual Individual Associate Memberships are $20, Annual Family Memberships are $30.


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