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Railroad Operating Sessions

What is a Railway Operating Session?

During a railway operating session the Ironwood, Peter’s Pond & Western Railway is run like a real railway delivering goods and passengers with scheduled trains.

Railway operations provide a new level of enjoyment to running trains.

If you have not tried it, we encourage you to pay us a visit. You are under no obligation to return.

But if you enjoyed yourself, we hope you will.

Railroad Operating Sessions

Every Saturday morning during the summer we run railway operating sessions from 9:30 AM to noon, weather permitting. We alternate between standard gauge trains one week and narrow gauge steam trains the next. Our operating season usually runs from the Victoria Day Holiday weekend in May to the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend in October.

There is no time clock. Each two man crew is given a simple switch list showing the locations on the railways where cars are to be dropped off or picked up. Each location is clearly marked with colourful sign. After switching a location, the crew must call the dispatcher on their two-way radio (provided by the club) to get clearance to the next point.


Visitors are accompanied by a club member until they become familiar with the locations on the railways and operating procedures. The club member will usually provide the guest with a throttle and some brief instructions on how the locomotive assigned is operated. The club member will carry the switch list and two-way radio and guide the visitor around the railways answering questions and providing any switching instructions if required.

Steam Operation

Steam operations are run like a day on a 1930s era, Colorado-style, narrow-gauge railway. LGB and Bachmann 1:20 and 1:22.5 scale motive power and rolling stock are provided, but you may bring your own locomotive including live steam if you prefer.

Diesel Operation

Standard gauge operations are run with transition era, steam locomotives and 4-axle diesels. Aristo-Craft and USA Trains 1:29th scale rolling stock are provided, but you should bring your own steam locomotive or diesel of your preferred road name. Please be aware that large steam locomotives and modern 6-axle diesels might have difficulty with the 5 foot radius switches in the freight yards.

Kadee Couplers

All rolling stock used for the railway operations have Kadee gauge 1 couplers. Steam engines and diesels used on the railways must be equipped with Kadee gauge 1 or G gauge couplers.

Battery Power and Live Steam

Motive power must be battery powered and radio controlled or live steam (preferably radio controlled) as the railways are not track powered. Battery powered locomotives must have their track power pick-ups removed or switched off to prevent shorts. The railways have several wyes, as well as, all steel bridges and turntables with un-insulated rails.

Radio Control

OVGRS members use Crest (27 MHz, 75 MHz, 2.4 GHz) and RCS (27 MHz) radio controlled systems. Please review the attached chart of frequency tables and select a frequency that is not in use before programming your transmitter and receiver. This should eliminate interference between operating locomotives and prevent accidents. To view the chart of radio control Throttle Settings used during our operating sessions, click on the link.

Switch Throws

The Ironwood, Peter’s Pond & Western Railway and their branch line partner the Rat Portage & Mattawa Railway use manually operated switch throws. After completing switching assignments, the switch must be set for the mainline or non-diverging route. Most mainline switches are marked with coloured pins as a guide: green for mainline and red for the diverging route.

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