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Greater Toronto Toy Trains History

2010: Introduction

Like many of us, John had enjoyed trains in his childhood. Running an old Marx wind up Commodore Vanderbilt set at his Grand Parent's farm ignited his interest in trains.

In the fall of 2010 he was recruited by Phil Russell to join the Triple R Modelers, a modular O gauge club founded by Rob Young. Thus began John's train show "career".


2011: Improvements

With a full season of train shows under his belt, John initiated a total repaint of the tables during the summer, with help from Phil. As well, the two of them conceived and produced new scenic backdrops for the club's display. These two enhancements boosted the impact of the layout to a whole new level.


2012: Rebranding

In January, John invited Darrell Martin to join the club. As a kid, Darrell enjoyed playing with his older brothers' Lionel train set. A lucky purchase at an antique store brought him back into the hobby as an adult.

Triple R Modelers was officially rebranded as Triple Rail Modelers, or 3RM for short. Together, John and Darrell implemented more improvements, including a new logo, proper signage, table flyers, interior decluttering and blackening, a new full featured website and new YouTube channel with professional quality videos. In two short years the display had improved dramatically. Crowds gathered around, with children poking their noses as close as they could. Even old timers were impressed!


2013, Jan/Sept: Restructuring and The End of 3RM

The new year found 3RM attempting to restructure, working towards a new concept with each member transporting their own new modular tables. After the last show of the spring season the original layout tables were sold. Despite efforts to keep the group together, differences of opinion eventually led to the closure of Triple Rail Modelers by the club's founder in Sept. 2013, but it was later reformed as Triple R Modelers, going back to the original name.

During the short period from 2011 to 2013, under John and Darrell's influence, the 3RM display saw constant improvement, reaching it's pinnacle during the 2012 and 2013 train show season. You can see the evolution of the 3RM display in various videos here: 3RM YouTube videos

John and Darrell had learned plenty from their 3RM days, from layout concepts to club dynamics. Now it was time for them to create something new!


2013, Oct: Greater Toronto Toy Trains - Proof of Concept

Armed with cartloads of track, trains and accessories John and Darrell descended upon Darrell's work space one Saturday to test their tubular track layout idea. With pre-printed track plans in hand and a recently acquired black theatre curtain for a table cloth, they quickly had the structure of the layout in place. Trains were up and running shortly afterwards, six of them at the same time. Their idea worked! It went up fast, operated flawlessly, and looked great! Scenic accessories were placed and they had a display that would surely impress. See the video here.


2014, Jan: GT3 Inaugural Appearance

Woodstock was the setting for Greater Toronto Toy Trains to take the spotlight for the first time and the reception was overwhelmingly positive. With only minor hiccups during setup, the layout performed exceptionally well. The trains ran as they should, and the display was indeed a spectacle that captured lots of attention. All in all, it was a perfect debut of the new entity that is GT3.