Tuesday 31 January 2012

WRJ Yard Office Sign Update

Note from Dexter Cheney...

The following comments I have just received from Dexter Cheney regarding the Central Vermont Ry. White River Junction yard office sign that I discussed in my  November 29, 2011 post.

"Yes, I am the person who "rescued" the White River Junction Yard Office sign, stored it for many years and delivered it to the museum in the White River Jct. station a couple of years ago.

The building, across the roadway in the yard from the coaling tower, housed the engine house foreman's office, CV North Yard operator (staffed 24 hours), car inspectors, & freight conductors' desk, and mail boxes for consists and waybills.  All of those functions, in addition to the bunk house were moved to new quarters housed on three floors in the roundhouse, which the bridge and building gang from St. Albans constructed in the former boiler room space on the yard end of the engine house.

I have sort of lost track of the timing, but my hunch is that the old yard office was slated for demolition in 1958 or '59.  I asked if I could have the sign and as many of the stored documents (copies of train orders, messages, crew registers, etc.,) as I could haul away from the second floor of the building before it was torn down.  The documents are now part of the CVRHS archives collection."

Very best wishes.

Saturday 28 January 2012

CV Swanton

Swanton, Vermont in the 1950's. Bob Moeller collection.

CV Swanton station model in HO scale

April 1988
At the 2010 CVRHS annual convention The North Western Vermont Model Railroad Club from Essex Junction, Vermont displayed their new HO scale kit offering. It is a laser wood kit manufactured by Branchline Trains in their Laser-Art Series. The display model is not completed but it gives one the general idea of what is included in the kit. It has been built to look as it did in 1875. Most of us would be looking at constructing it as it would have looked in the 1950's. Bob Moeller has supplied me with a photo from the 1950's. I have also included some photos I took in the 1980's and later.

The station is marketed as Railroad Kit #101 for a price of $117. They appear to also include shipping. I am not sure how many of these kits are currently left but if you are interested check them out at www.nwvrailroad.org for more details.

The Swanton station was empty and the only railroad building still standing by 1998. The Swanton Historical Society had till the fall of 1999 to find a way to save the station. And save the station they did. The Station was moved on September 14, 1999. This was not an easy task considering it measures 20' by 90'. Luckily it did not have far to go. I remember viewing Jim Murphy's slides from the move. Jim Murphy was working as a  NECR dispatcher in St. Albans during that era. The NECR moved the station on a flat car. The time window was small, 5 hours to complete the move and get the equipment clear of the main line. The move had to happen between the AM southbound and PM northbound freight  trains. It all worked out and the station sat till 2002 when it was totally refurbished and now houses the Swanton Historical Society....George Dutka

The CV Swanton Station model  on display at the CVRHS convention 2010
photo by George Dutka

Swanton, Vermont station on April 29, 1988. At that time it was being used as the Abenaki Tribal Headquarters. This is the backside view. George Dutka photo
The Swanton station looking south, April 1988. George Dutka photo.

It is April 1988 and we are looking north from the siding switch. Note the frt. house in the distance. George Dutka photo
The Swanton station has been moved the previous fall and was awaiting restoration. It is seen here when I visited the area in May 2000. George Dutka photo

The Swanton station as it looks fully restored during a visit Oct. 2010. George Dutka photo
Swanton, Vermont Oct. 2010 or eight years after restoration.  George Dutka photo

Friday 27 January 2012

Sylvan Scale Models

Sylvan Scale Models operations are housed in a replica station in Clare Gilbert's back yard. The baggage cart seen to the left on the platform was pulled from the dumpster at the Burlington, Ont. CNR station years ago.  January 2012

A visit with Clare Gilbert

On Monday I tagged along with Gary Pembleton to Sylvan, Ont. about 30 minutes from London to visit with Clare Gilbert. Gary is a retired CNR dispatcher known as GAP in the rail world  and had a package for Clare to forward at the Springfield show this weekend to Bill Badger. Forget about the postal system when you have a direct route.

I have know Clare for years but have never visited his home and shop. Clare's a very fine modeller and owns Sylvan Scale Models. He has build some years ago a CNR style station in his backyard that houses his company. Currently Clare has two employee's working full time. He also notes that his business has been around for over 20 years now.

We had a nice visit and a tour of his scale models operation. All the model making, packaging and shipping happens in the station. In his home he has a room which is his modelling room were prototype masters are made. Clare also has a room dedicated to his research material. As most single modellers and builders there is elements of his work on displayed throughout his home.

We had a good talk and viewed many of his current projects along with some of his masters from the past. I was impressed at how many model manufacturer's use his products and services. Lately his projects are focused on model cars, trucks and boats but he has done some non railroad projects to keep his shop humming along....if this seems interesting you might want to check out his revised web site...George

 Sylvan Scale Models 1/87 vehicles, HO-Scale, N-Scale and O-Scale models

Clare Gilbert is in the process of telling us the story behind the stations he manufactured for  Rutland Car Shop. He has one of the masters in his hand. This is Clare's modelling room were many of the masters are made.
An overall view of Sylvan Scale Models.

Wednesday 25 January 2012

Crosby Coal on the White River Division

Crosby coal replaced the Summit station scene which was a temporary stand in scene.
 A New Scene 
on the White River Division

My summit station scene gave way to a new coal dealer. The water tank and section shed at Summit that I removed were of Maine two foot origin and was intended as a stand in till I could build a more permanent scene.

Once the details were cleared from the area I used my RotoZip tool to cut out a section were I was going to add the coal dealer and siding track. I wanted to place a coal load or two at Crosby, but did not want to cut into the layout trackage since I would never spend time switching this industry anyhow. The trackage seen at Crosby is only staging and not connected to the layout. The switch area and some trackage is hidden by tree groupings.

My RotoZip is put to work opening up a space for Crosby Coal and a siding.

I built a base for my structure to rest on out of cardboard. Once I had the height adjusted right I built up the areas with cardboard and covered it with Woodland Scenic plaster cloth. For the trackage I laid out some cork roadbed over the scenery. I adjusted the height near the mainline just in case some day I want to cut in the staging. At this point some Goop is mixed up and applied along with ground foam and dirt. The roadway is limestone screenings that continued the original roadway. I spread some Woodland Scenic coal around the structure and on the trackage behind.

Crosby coal is test fitted. I had built up the area around the structure with additional cardboard before the plaster cloth was added.

This area now awaiting the arrival of Crosby coal as soon as the scenery dries and the flex track and ballast are added. The area  is seen covered with dirt, ground foam rocks, coal and a limestone roadway.

I finished off the scene with a Classic Metals Works truck, an old time Woodland Scenic tractor, a coal loader, some men, shovels, skids and barrels. For now one empty hopper is spotted on the siding...George Dutka

The Rutland Ry. rolls by the finished scene just like it would have on the prototype.

Monday 23 January 2012

Crosby Coal - the model

Ready for placement on the White River Division.

A New Coal Dealer
on the White River Division

I have recently finished construction and installed my Branchline Crosby Coal laser kit. The prototype is one of my favourite structures along the old Rutland Ry right of way. Seems ever time I passed by the area I had to stop and take a photo of the building in its present state. I decided to apply a finish to my kit similar to what I have seen on my visits.

  The Branchline kit was not all that complicated to build although the coal bin floors gave me some problems. The parts are peel and stick which adds to the ease of construction.

Two words of advice in building the kit. One, read the instructions first and follow them as close as you can...something I have a hard time doing myself. Two, leave the ladders on the back off till you are completely done. I did not and both ladders have been broken and repaired at least twice.

All the part sheets are laid out while I read the instructions.
The walls are assembled along with the bin floors. The structure is only sitting on the base. I did not glue the structure in place till it was finished.
I used two of my weights to hold the coal bin floor, walls and supports in place while the glue dried. It was tricky to get it all together. So I decided to first do one side wall, floor and supports. Once dried the other wall was glued in place. That is what is seen completed in this photo. One more floor section is still to be added. It appears to be a tough chore for one to glue the 5 floor supports to the two side walls all at once.

 I added nail marks with a pin in rows 2 feet apart before beginning assembly. The interior of the walls and roof panel were painted black once the basic assembly was competed. The coal chutes were added last to the structure but before the roof. The details for the chutes was not that clear. It helped having my own photos. The chutes are attached with Walthers Goo which made them more flexible and less apt to being broken off. I used two glues while building this model, white glue and Walthers Goo.

The ladders included with the kit are thick wooden laser cut pieces. I did use them since they would not be seen once the model was placed on the layout. I would suggest using finer metal or plastic ladders to emulate the metal ladders found on the prototype. I used up almost all the scrap wooden bits and pieces that held the wall sections in place as bracing. Although the model is small and there seems to be a lot of bracing with the bins and roof section I did not want to take chances once I started applying the finishes. I have had smaller building warp when not braced.

Most of the paint and weathering is completed. The decals are now ready to be applied.

Two walls were painted while the front and end wall were left as weather beaten. The back and end wall had a coat of Floquil tuscan red applied. While still wet I blended in caboose red to brighten it up a bit. I then added Hunterline original weather mix once the walls were dry. The Hunterline mix was also applied to the front and side that were to be left weathered. Once dry I went over the weathered walls with dry brush Floquil grime, SP gray and concrete. I then added dry brush caboose red to locations that showed some colour in my prototype photos. I also dry brushed some reefer white at the same time. The whole process was a see what happens when a colour was added.

On the rear wall once the red's and Hunterline wash was dry I also dry brushed some caboose red and reefer white as accents. At this point I toned the whole building down with a light air brush coat of caboose red on back and one side and grimy black on the other side and front. I brushed on some gloss coat at the decal locations.

The decals went on well and I just brushed on a little dull coat over these areas. Once dry, I then dry brushed these area with Floquil grime then added a thin wash over the area.

The slate roofing is being added. I elected to use Northeastern Scale Models gray slate instead of the paper shingles included in the kit.

Crosby coal is completed. I just need to glue on the tar paper canopy. The chalk colours I used are seen in the foreground.
Crosby coal then got dirty via my chalk weathering. I streaked some white chalk down from the lettering. Black chalk on the coal chutes and doors and openings.

The roofing was added once the walls were painted and weathered. The roofing that is included with the kit just did not work for me. I decided on using BEST #3086 36" rolled tar paper on the canopy. On the main roof I used sheet Northeast Scale Models Inc. Gray slate #HOSHG3. Once all the roofing was in place a little chalk weathering is applied.

The concrete base was given a wash of Floquil grime followed by chalk weathering. The areas were the coal would sit was painted grimy black, then a coat of white glue was brushed on. I then just poured Woodland Scenic coal over the piles. Once dry the loose stuff is brushed off. All there is left to do is glue the structure on the footings and install on my layout.

Next post you will find out how the finished scene looks on the White River Division...George Dutka

Saturday 21 January 2012

Crosby Coal

Crosby Coal in Danby, Vermont., Sept 1994. The canopy has been rebuilt but the coal chutes are now missing. Take a look at the photo below and you will note there is still a good amount of coal in the chute.  George Dutka photo
A look at the prototype structure
once serviced by the Rutland Ry.

Coal chute Sept 1994

I finished my Branchline model kit of Crosby Coal just before Christmas. It took me most of December working on it on and off. I also got a chance to installed the model on the layout before the end of the year and everything looks fine. I will begin the review of my project today by showing you some of my prototype photos I had taken over the years. The structure built reportedly built in 1914 still stands as far as I know. I had last visited Danby, Vermont just over 3 years ago. My original post which details the construction of the base and an additional prototype photo was Nov 8 2011...George

A look at the rear of the structure. The prototype ladders are all metal. The ladders in the kit are laser cut wood but might be best modelled with a finer metal ladder. May 1991, George Dutka photo
At this point the coal chutes are still in place but the awning is all but gone. May, 1988, George Dutka photo
Most of the paint is gone from the front facade although the lettering is still good. May, 1988, George Dutka photo

Friday 20 January 2012

MEC Green Paint

The green machine rolls along on the White River Division.

Painting MEC boxcars green
Pierre Oliver contacted me about colours I have used on my MEC boxcars. I presumed he was looking for information about the green colour cars, but it was actually the boxcar red he was interested in. Since I went through the effort of writing about MEC green for Pierre, I decided to post my comments. I took a few photos of my boxcars a few days ago, so one may judge what looks best. 

This MEC boxcar is an example of my early modelling. Even back then I did add some details such as wire grabs, operating levers and wire stirrups. The car was painted and lettered as mentioned below. When I first started weathering my rolling stock in the early 1980's, I just put a coat of Floquil dust over the entire car. Years later when I began chalk weathering this car did get some additional chalk. Oh by the way this is an old Tyco car.

The MEC PS-1 is one of a group of boxcars Peter and I built during the 1990's. The car is pinted with Accupaint and is sandwiched between two cars that were painted with the old Floquil Vermont Green formula.
Years ago (early 1980's) I painted my first MEC boxcars using the old Floquil Vermont Green formula which looked really good to me. Since then Floquil  has changed that colour and I do not use it for any rolling stock. I really liked using that old colour as it also matched well for Vermont Railway boxcars and North Stratford Ry boxcars. I had a North Stratford car that was a custom boxcar offering back in the 1980's by Bev-Bel and did match the old Floquil Vermont Green well. I built a PS-1 as a second North Stratford boxcar and used the Vermont Green. I weathered both boxcars up so one would never notice if there was a difference anyhow.

Since then Peter Mumby and I built a small group of 40 and 50 foot MEC modern boxcars. For these I painted them in Accupaint Pine Green. In my Nov 3, 2011 post I explained painted a couple of MEC gondolas using a mix of Floquil dark green 25% and Floquil CNW Green 75%...which I think looks pretty good. The CNW paint has a gloss finish making the boxcar ready for decals. I used this mix only because I did not have any Accupaint on hand and my other greens were dried up. Check my photos and you be the judge if this mix works for you.

Over the years Bob Bennett has done numerous articles for RMC using Accupaint Pine Green as one of his choices, the other being Polly Scale MEC Pine Green. I have seen other authors describe using Polly Scale MEC green on boxcars and engines. John Nehrich used Floquil Dark Green on his MEC wooden outside brace milk car. Floquil's current dark green looks more like coach green to me and lighter than what was once available.

There are many good choices to use for MEC green. When you take into consideration weathering and the varying light angles plus the age of the cars paint, your favourite choice could be correct.

By this point looking at my photos you probably are thinking why does this guy have boxcars from the 1960's through 1980's in his collection when he models the 1950's. Well over the years I have dabbled in different era's and now have enough cars to run one train for each decade following the 1950's up till the end of the 1980's. I don't plan on building many more modern cars although it has been fun, and I did learn a lot about changes made to rolling stock through the years.

The boxcar to the right is a Bev-Bel custom offering while the PS-1 is one I  painted and lettered back in the 1980's.

This photo was taken from a different angle but in the same light a few minutes after the one above. Note the difference in colour just by changing the angle of view.

Wednesday 18 January 2012

Another Shanty

Don has added a good amount of details near his shanty which adds greatly to the finished scene. Don Janes photo.
Don Janes Dollar Shanty 
at White River Junction

Done has finished his version of the dollar shanty which I had sent him in his Christmas card this year. Out of the three built I think his looks the best displayed. Don has also added a CNR number to the end plus a lamp over the door. Peter and I only added one window to our structure as we thought for the size it is enough light would come in considering the door has a window also. Don used a solid door so a window on both sides works well.
The shanty is small enough it can be placed between two yard leads. Don Janes photo.

Tuesday 17 January 2012

Loading up a Flat

A tractor load for my new flat car

I had seen Lou Sassi, Andy Clermont's and Trevor Marshall model tractor loads in past books and magazines...and they look neat. I wanted to add one to my fleet also. I had recently purchased a Red Caboose 42' flat car kit in Erie lettering that could easily be loaded with four tractors. The tractors I had purchase over a year ago are Life-Like models that come in a two pack. One painted red and the other green. The red tractor represents a Farmall while the green tractor reflects an Oliver.

The tractors have had some painting detail done. The brackets for the headlights are seen in white styrene. The car deck still needs painting along with the wooden bracing.
Trevor Marshall had an article published in Model Railroader (July 2002) which details changes that better reflects the prototype of the Farmall tractor. I followed his article to detail my two red tractors. The green tractors were left as is since I did not have enough information to better detail the Oliver tractors. Lou's material regarding farm equipment has been published in his most recent book "How to build and detail Model Railroad Scenes Vol. 2" by Kalmbach Books.  John Nehrich wrote an article about Andy Clermont's tractor load flat car in RMC, Aug 1989. Between all the articles you can easily research how to build your own.

On my model the flat was already lettered. I repainted the deck with Floquil grime and roof  brown. I also had added some wooden strips that I stained a driftwood colour for bracing. The finished tractors were then glued in place. Since I had two of each builder I just made it a mixed load. Normally the tractors would all be the same. For tie downs I used fine electrical wire painted black and fastened to the stake pockets. For the record the flat car cost me 5 bucks and two packages of tractors 20 bucks. No wonder the farmers are complaining. That's it...so get to work on your own...George

The tractors and flat car are completed. Shorty the tractors will be loaded and tied down.

The B&M local switcher heads back to White River Junction on my White River Division layout with a load of tractors.

Sunday 15 January 2012

CNR pre-1954 Baggage Car

Lots of head end business today at White River Junction as the CPR NB train is about to depart and  a CNR baggage car is awaiting pickup on the White River Division.

 One more for the road

Over the holidays I tackled a few of my easier projects. Seems in little less than a week I had added four more cars to the White River Division fleet. None of the projects really taxed my abilities but were fun to do.

The first project was my Rapido CNR baggage car which I had taken apart in early December. I did not really need another baggage car but I could not turn down a great deal and I loved how my other two turned out. The procedure was the same as from the post of December 14th...my other baggage cars. Roof, ends and underframe are painted Floquil grimy black. The interior floor was painted were one can see inside and mostly Juneco parts are added to the interior. Some chalk weathering is added.

The floor is painted at the door opening and various Juneco metal details have been added.

Tip of the Day...
Here is the tip of the day, called "cleaning up my mess". I do not mask my cars when I paint the underframe and ends most of the time. I have a good airbrush that I can set up to spray very little paint for this particular type of job. Since the ends and underframe are already black very little paint is applied anyway. I just dirty them up a little with Floquil grimy black. When I angle the car and spray the paint I always take into account the over spray and usually do not get any on the car but on occasion as with the CNR baggage car I did get some black on the car sides under one of the baggage car doors plus I got a bit of a black finger print near the cars corner.

I use Floquil paint for most of my modelling projects. Floquil does not sell large containers of their brand thinner anymore which I used to reduce my paints. I now substitute lacquer thinner for the job. For cleaning up the messes that I on occasion make I sill use Floquil thinner-brush cleaner (270-110001 in one ounce jar) and once called Dio-Sol on a Q-tip. I normally only add enough thinner to dampen the Q-tip. I do not have to clean up the mess right away. I finish my painting and clean the spray gun first. The over spray will come off easy even in 30 minutes to an hour later. I have tried straight lacquer thinner but it has affected the plastic and painted surfaces. I also use the same process for cleaning up any over spray that may get under my masking jobs when there is multi-colours involved. If you use Floquil paints...you might want to keep your eyes open and pick up a jar of Floquil thinner.

The car is finished and is awaiting the roof to be applied.

A look through the baggage car doors.

This photo was taken with my new Olympus Tough waterproof, shock proof and freeze proof camera my kids gave me for my birthday last month. It is Olympus last 14mp $120 version that is smaller in size than a pack of cigarettes. Olympus has recently released a new Tough that has many upgraded for three times the price of mine.  For this photo I just set my camera on the yard trackage and took a picture with the auto setting but flash off...amazing what these little cameras can do. Forgot to mention that it takes pictures underwater to the depth of nine feet...just in case the basement floods.