About

AVR Colour Maple Leaf Logo

What We Do

The Assiniboine Valley Railway, Inc. is a club of 1:8 scale rail enthusiasts.  The club was founded in 1995 by Bill Taylor, on his property, with Peter Abel, Len La Rue, Mary-Lou Taylor and two other friends.  It is located in Winnipeg immediately west of Assiniboine Park, at 3001 Roblin Blvd.

Most of the club activities take place outside the public eye.  Thousands and thousands of hours of fun and work have been had here laying track, shoveling gravel, building cars, maintaining locomotives, constructing buildings, chasing deer, sharing beers and eating hamburgers.  Several AVR members have visited & continue to visit many of the 1/8th scale clubs around North America, taking both private & club equipment.  We have developed many friends over the years, and look forward to renewing these friendships as we travel – the AVR is known far & wide!  We are always ready to welcome new friends who would like to do any or all of these things!

Dinner Trains Waiting at Charleswood StationThe club has been known for several high profile public events.  For many years, the club put on a “Dinner Train Weekend” on the 3rd weekend in September, where diners enjoyed a meal while riding on the 1:8 scale train.  Inspired by Bill’s service in a Canadian Pacific Railway dining car as a young man, the AVR is one of the few scale railways to capture the importance of food in the rail experience, and we proudly resurrected this endeavour in 2015, with great success!  Unfortunately, we could not repeat in 2016, but will try again for 2017…

Candy Cane and RailsProbably the biggest claim to fame was the “Taylor Family Christmas Light Display”:  Bill Taylor started doing a large Christmas light display on his wooded property long before the AVR came into existence.  It was only natural for the club to think of running the trains in the glow of Bill’s 7 acre Christmas display, which achieved wide-spread popularity, with as many as 17,000 passengers riding in the 2011-2012 season.  Overall, well over 200,000 rides were been given by volunteer club members, brightening the holiday, generating donations for the Winnipeg Christmas Cheer Board, and allowing the club to grow.

Bill’s death in 2013 made for some big changes.  Because the AVR is located on Bill’s property, he was able to really live the railway – which was an instrumental part in him putting in many hours every day for several months going over & repairing all the lights and power distribution system!  For many reasons, the Family & the AVR have not been able to continue this work, but hope someday to give re-birth to this Winnipeg Christmas tradition .  In keeping with Bill’s wishes, it will fall to the Taylor family, with AVR help, to see if a light display can be put on in the future.  We face some really large challenges, but if it is possible to resurrect the lights, the club will be ready to consider running the Christmas Light Trains again…  In the meantime, we are offering afternoon rides on the weekends around Christmas.

In spite of Bill’s death, the AVR is still “alive & well”!  We continue to work on maintenance of track & cars, are building several new cars and are holding the Summer Open House/Rails as usual.  The Christmas Open House/Rails will run in the afternoons on the weekends around Christmas..  For further updates & details on these & other events, look at the Events page.

We have continued Bill’s tradition of offering our facilities for Birthday Parties, Day Cares, Kindergartens, etc.  Included in the price of just $3/person is the use of the picnic tables, the washroom in the station, and 2 rides each on the train.  These must be booked ahead of time by contacting Len La Rue, the AVR President, but confirmation needs the availability of 2 AVR members for the chosen date.

Facilities

The AVR is 1.6″ scale 7.5″ gauge and is located on a 7 acre site immediately west of Assiniboine Park. The railway started in 1995 and currently has about 30 members. A few of us spend most Wednesday & Saturday afternoons at the track. We currently have 3 diesel locomotives (2 F7s & a GP9), 1 electric box cab locomotive, one club live steamer, several live steamers owned by various members, and about 45 cars.

Assiniboine Valley Railway Track

Assiniboine Valley Railway Track

We use aluminium rail on wood ties & ballast, on a gravel roadbed. Our ruling radius is 50’ & we have 6,400 feet of track on the ground. The main line is 3700’: the Old Loop & the New Loop, with a total of seven sidings & spurs, reversing loops, and a short turning wye.  We have a movable 12 foot lift for unloading/loading, and 3 elevated  steaming/repair bays.  The railway winds through an aspen and hardwood forest making for a very enjoyable ride. Main line allows bi-directional travel for a total run of 7400’ and a time of ~25 minutes, plus waits for opposing traffic. A CTC signal system (which also operates one of the switches) is in place on the Old Loop, and expansion is being planned.

We have a 24’ x 12.5’ CNR-style Station Bldg that serves as a club room and will store up to 12 pieces of equipment in an attached “Dog House”,  a 31’ x 10’  4-track Car Barn for additional rolling stock and miscellaneous storage, a 50′ long 2-track Car Storage Building, a 14′ x 10′ Maintenance Building, a 24′ x 30′ Engine House and Machine Shop & two additional small storage buildings.

We welcome new members who enjoy the art of large scale live steam railroading. Come ride “The Route Of The Hazel Nuts”

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