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County model railroading builder wins National Award

Barry Silverthorn at work in his studio.Supporting and promoting 3/16 inch model railroading has won Prince Edward County’s Barry Silverthorn the S-Gauge Manufacturer of the Year Charlie Sandersfeld Memorial Award.
The award, presented annually at the National Association of S Gaugers’ Annual Convention, originated in July 1988 and was named in memory of Sandersfeld who strongly promoted S gauge and brought many high quality S gauge items to the market place.
Silverthorn’s company, Grand River Models,  was created in 2007 to fill a need in the model railroad hobby for more 1:64 scale brick buildings. His most recent building kit was inspired by the County and is named The Prince Edward Express Company.
“For years I had been noticing that many S-scalers were modifying HO-scale structures, trying to ‘make do’ with what was available,” Silverthorn said. “The result was that the same dozen-or-so modified HO models were showing up on S-scale layouts. Understandably, most hobby manufacturers are reluctant to invest in complicated tooling to make brick buildings for such a limited market. By experimenting with various techniques for reproducing brick walls, and using cast-resin manufacturing, I found cost-effective ways to make brick structures in small quantities.”

The Prince Edward Express Company by Barry Silverthorn

Barry got his start in the hobby at the age of four with a Triang train set he received from Santa Claus. Over the years he has built models in N, HO, S and O-scales.
In the 1990s he operated Grass Valley Model Train Shop in the VIA Rail train station in Brantford, Ontario. During that time he built custom model railroads for a number of clients.
He also works in film and television production (and is’s official videographer). As the modelbuilder for the 1997 short film Night of the Living, he created an operational four-by-six-foot layout.
He has had several articles and photos published in Model Railroader, Railroad Model Craftsman, and Canadian Railway Modeller magazine. His award-winning model photos have appeared in Model Railroader Magazine and the Magic of Model Railroading section of the Walthers catalog.
His aim is to offer quality products that include everything to create a complete scene. Detail parts are custom-made for Grand River Models, and are not available anywhere else. Each release is limited to a certain number of kits; once they’re sold out, they’re gone forever.
Barry makes an effort to create all his kits in a sustainable manner. Almost all of the manufacturing is done within 200 miles of his workbench. He tries to incorporate recycled materials into his products when possible. For example, the packing in the kits is foam that was destined for landfill. Any cardstock that is used is also recycled.
“As far as the big picture is concerned, it’s not going to make a huge difference, but in an age of resource scarcity I believe that we have to change our thinking about how we do everything.”

Contact Barry at

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