Welcome to the Canada Southern Railway - Reliving history in 1:87 scale








It is our plan to model prototype scenes of the Canada Southern Railway ( CASO ) using the principles of the Free-Mo module standard. With the resources available today and the high quality modeling it is possible without too much effort to capture the flavour of the former mighty CASO. To that end we have a number of guidelines to which we expect new prospective participants to adhere.

The original idea of this project came about after Jim Yaworsky contacted Pierre Oliver on the possibility of building a Free-mo style layout based on the Canada Southern - this was July 2007. Jim had been spending alot of time reviewing material on the website and the spark was lit. From there, a call went out on the Canada Southern Yahoo group looking for modelers with some interest in participating. Only half a dozen people responded and they all had some interest in the Canada Southern and as it turns out - are among some of the most talented modelers in Southern Ontario. In October 2007 - the construction of the module bases occurred in two small work sessions. By the time of the first group construction session occurred in December 2007 - we had gained a couple more modelers and were on the way to a large portable layout. A total of 3 construction sessions occurred in December 2007 and February 2008 with the emphasis on being operational in time for our public debut at the February 2008 Copetown show. Next stop - St. Thomas on the first weekend in May 2008. The layout was carried up stairs in the MCRR station for display and most recently - at the November 2008 Christmas train show. With each event - more scenery is complete and more operational equipment appears on the layout.




All modules are to meet the current Free-Mo standard as described at These standards include specifications for double-track mainlines that we are using.

All equipment, structures and details should reflect the CASO as it was between 1935 and 1955, though almost anything pre 1957 would be acceptable.

All rolling stock should be correct for the 1935-1955 period, and be of high quality with features such as separately-installed grab irons, proper numbering and realistic weathering. Scale couplers and semi-scale wheelsets are strongly encouraged.

Motive power should be reflective of what was used on the CASO in the 1935-1955 period. Though there are some steam locomotives close to the ones used on the CASO - they are not always easily to locate and purchase (e.g. there have only been 50 J1d brass models produced by Key Models ). To this end, reasonably detailed 'stand-in' models will be allowed until suitable more accurate models can be obtained. Most diesel locomotives used on through trains on the CASO are readily available in plastic. Also remember the Pere Marquette used trackage rights from St. Thomas to Niagara Falls/Fort Erie, so modeling their equipment is also acceptable.

Cabooses are probably the most difficult to model. In the timeframe being modelled, cabooses were generally assigned to divisions. In the case of the CASO, these were cars built at West Detroit to Michigan Central specs. The only models produced were brass ones by Overland back in the early 1990's and they represent the more common MCRR version than the CASO version - though a couple of the MCRR cabooses did operate on the CASO. The other option is kitbash or scratchbuilding. Though the NYC rostered bay window cabooses that were meant be used across divisions, they generally did not appear on the CASO until the 1960's when union labour rules changed.

To ensure a consistent appearance, the CASO Free-mo group will specify easily obtainable ballast and scenery products and specify standard colours for items such as fascia paint.