The town of Grafton is struggling.
Back in its boom years, long before the war, the town’s rugged miners hauled enough coal out of the mountain to load a full train every day.
But now it’s 1953, and the mine is nearly exhausted. The miners are lucky to get one car filled up in a week. The tough economic times are starting to hit the Garden River Rail and its conductor, 16-year-old Riley Jensen.
“Garden River Rail is a financially troubled railway,” he said. “The locomotives on the railway have seen better days.”
Jensen is the youngest member of RiverXingNorth, Prince Albert’s model railroad club. The world he’s created – Grafton and the plastic people who live there – was on display last weekend at the sixth annual Prince Albert Model Train and Hobby Show.
The show attracted modellers from Martensville and Saskatoon. One of them was Johannes Vogt, a German-born nuclear physicist who works at the Canadian Light Source. Over six years of crafting, Vogt and his wife Iris created an intricately detailed landscape, with rivers, mountains, forests – even beaver dams and gopher holes.
For more on this story, see the April 4 print or e-edition of the Prince Albert Daily Herald.
More photos of the train show: