January 9, 2019 10:48 pm
Updated: January 9, 2019 10:55 pm

Montreal model railroader seeks new home for sprawling landscape set in 1901

WATCH: A local model train collector is looking for a new, loving home for his railroad. Joseph Swift has spent 30 years creating this model world in his home. Global Video journalist Karol Dahl met up with Joseph Swift to take a tour of the fictional world of Bumble Bay.


A large-scale model railroad depicting an area of England’s South Coast, set in 1901, has been a source of pride for Joseph Swift for more than 30 years.

The intricate and sprawling landscape of Bumble Bay is dotted with detailed trees, houses and ships — and it fills up an entire room in the basement of Swift’s Montreal residence.

“This one is heavily dependent on the houses, because these are collectible sculptures made in England,” said Swift. “They are cast in a mould and hand-painted.”

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The model railroader and writer has gradually built his landscape set since the 1980s, but he is now officially looking for a new and loving home for his railroad.

After experiencing heart problems in 2017, Swift said he started thinking about what he would do with his collection in the future. While he doesn’t have a bucket list, Swift wants to share his passion with others.

“I wanted people to see this because very few people have seen this and I spent a lot of time on it,” he said.

Swift is hoping to find a person, model railroad club or museum to take over his decades-old project and maintain it.

“You need to have some model railroading skills to do that,” he said.

The model railroad and the area of Bumble Bay take up an entire room of Joseph Swift’s basement.

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After years of effort, Swift’s wish is that his work will also be on display and accessible to the public.

“Maybe they could put a little plaque with my name on it,” he said. “And then people would be able to see it after I’m gone.”

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The landscape is probably worth more than $30,000, according to Swift. While he has no intention of selling his collection and is happy to donate it, he said it would cost a taker to pack it up and transport it piece by piece.

Swift said anyone who is interested taking over his model railroad and developing it can get in contact with him through his website.

“They can come see it and we can decide how we’re going to go ahead,” he said.

— With files from Global’s Karol Dahl

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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