Russ Watson

My interest in model railroading originated with my father. He always had an operating layout in various scales from before my birth until his death in 2009.
I didn’t start dabbling in the hobby until I was 15 years old, although those efforts didn’t amount to much. I had a ten-year hiatus from the hobby to get married, buy a house and father the first two of my three children before I started building my first layout - a freelance N scale effort. That layout never reached the scenery stage before we sold our house and moved in the early 1980s. A few years later, I started my second layout, again freelance and in N scale. In 1990, I built a 4-foot NTrak module and finally had some scenery. In 2004, I retired and moved to Quesnel. The only item salvaged from what had become a good sized layout was a 7-track balloon staging section.
I started building my freelance On30 North Cariboo Railway layout in 2005. I had completed 80% of the track work and about 20% of the scenery when I sold my house in 2020 and moved back to Vancouver Island. I salvaged a few major layout sections and have plans to reassemble them and a new N scale layout is also in the planning process.
In 1989, I joined the NMRA and started attending conventions and shortly afterwards became a member of the Victoria NTrak club. I started participating in the NMRA Achievement Program (AP) by scratchbuilding N scale models worthy of earning Merit Awards. I entered the models in convention contests with good results and I was awarded the Model Railroader Magazine Model of the Month award for my scratchbuilt N scale CNR caboose. I became interested in photography in my early teens and used my years of experience to help me write model railway articles to earn the AP Author certificate. I have had over 60 articles published in commercial magazines. My participation in the AP dramatically increased my modelling skills and lead me to becoming an author. I have not reached the ultimate goal of Master Model Railroader (MMR), although I have earned 5 of the minimum 7 certificates required.
I have been fortunate to have served in a number of positions within the 7th Division. I was on the founding committee of the Victoria Model Railway show and held that position for 7 years. I also served as the 7th Division AP Chairperson, the Bulletin Board Editor, the Assistant Superintendent and the Superintendent. I was a co-chair for the spring meets in Quesnel in 2005 and 2012. Recently, I served as the area rep for the North and organized one-day mini meets in Quesnel and Prince George. It was an honour to be presented with the Ross Heriot Award in 2005.
I am very grateful to my friend Andy Barber, who donated a small metal whistle, once owned by pioneer modeller Jack Work, to the 7th Division on the premise that it be used to create an annual award in memory of Jack. I was a member of the Jack Work Award founding committee and served as the award coordinator for the first four years. Later, I was privileged to receive the trophy myself in 2004. Being recognized for your accomplishments by your peers is the ultimate reward.
The greatest enjoyment I have received from the hobby is from the many friendships that have developed over the years - friends with a common interest that not only provide support and encouragement within the hobby, but also with the broader issues of life. Thank you all very much!