The Canandaigua Southern model railroad belongs to one of the hobby’s most famous riders, railfans, and modelers. John Armstrong is the layout’s president, the hobby’s premiere track planner, and the originator of many ideas and inventions that we take for granted today. The idea of modelers walking with their trains, and only allowing a train to pass through the scene in one direction are just a few such inventions. John’s O scale Canandaigua Southern has inspired many modelers to build a layout, even though it is still not entirely finished. John believes in research and development, but once he has figured out how to make or do something, the challenge is gone.
The Canandaigua Southern has been under construction since 1950. His structures are highly detailed, but few in number. His large scratch built locomotives are especially impressive, since he built them more than 50 years ago, when there were few parts other than motors. John has been involved in the hobby for more than 50 years. He has a special viewpoint on the early history and even the latest developments. Railroading has become his life. The Canandaigua Southern is a 1960’s regional carrier with a lot of bridge traffic. It has a 54 inch minimum radius with hand laid track. The point to point route fills a 24 by 34 foot wood base. Both ends, Canandaigua and Pittsburgh, are represented by the hidden loops in the center of the room. The top layered curve is actually a reverted loop. The tour of the Canandaigua Southern begins at that loop’s exit.