Friday 30 March 2012

Bachmann S-4

A new out-of-the-box S-4 by Bachmann is test running on the White River Division before heading to the paint shop.

New S-4 offering by Bachmann
including DCC and Sound at a great price

On my March 2012 road trip I stopped at five hobby shops in a week away. On my way home one hobby shop, Paris Jct. Hobbies, in Paris, Ontario, had an interesting new offering by Bachmann. It seems Bachmann has recently released a S-4 including DCC and sound. The DCC sound decoder used is by SoundTraxx and sounds really great. Paris Jct. had one on their switching layout to try out. I did find the engine at the hobby shop ran a little jerky, the DCC settings may have to be adjusted or the track might have been a little dirty. The engine I purchased ran well at home right out of the box. The price ($139.00) seems great also for a good looking DCC sound engine. If one has the time to check around one may be able to find a S-4 cheaper. I did not want to miss out since I had not seen this engine on my travels and Paris Jct. only had the two.

Although this unit looks great the way it is lettered, my plans are to strip and repaint my model as Central Vermont #8027. I also wonder if  my Atlas S-4 shell would fit over the drive...this could quickly get my custom shells rolling on the White River Division....happy Alco hunting...George

A sharp looking unit with a great sound.

Thursday 29 March 2012

Rouses Point after Dark

The last time I visited Rouses Point, NY the platform was under construction. They have done a nice job, now if the station can get the same treatment, Sunday March 18, 2012 about 9pm.

A Stop in Rouses Point 

I just recently returned from a road trip to New England. I actually started by driving to the Toronto area for a train show and to visit an area hobby show then off to a couple of boat stores to pick up supplies to begin working on my sailboat next week...well I decided before I left that morning to just keep going to New England. The weather was also to be the best ever for March. I had actually planned on leaving later this week but with that great weather last week, I changed my plans. This also was my first time getting bit in New England by Mosquito's in March.

 By the time I was picking up my boat supplies I was three hours into an eight hour drive for my first day. My last stop before calling it a night was at the ex-D&H Rouses Point, NY station. Since it was well after dark I pulled out my tripod and my pocket Canon digital camera. The photos shown here are taken with a $120 camera. I did have my Canon Rebel along but it still had a telephoto lens on, and I was way to tired to spend the time to change it out. I think my little camera did a great job.

I talked to the customs officer as he was giving me the eye anyway. It appears he just scanned two CPR southbound trains just before I arrived. They would have been nice to see pass by, but at that time of day a moving train photo is out of the question...George

The customs officer had just did an inspection on a southbound CPR freight.

Tuesday 27 March 2012

Sheffield Farms Milk Car

Rutland Ry. RS-1 405 leads a milk train on the White River Division with a Sheffield Farms wooden 40' milk car first up.
Sheffield Farms Milk Car Model
Built by John Blatherwick

Last year I purchased a few completed models from my late friend John Blatherwick's collection. A little about John first. I met John at the first CVRHS convention many years ago. We made a connection as we both had a great interest in the CV and Rutland Ry. Both of us also became involved with the CVRHS and RRHS writing and contributing at times. We both lived in Canada a two hour drive apart plus we had some mutual friends that John visited on a regular basis. These modellers and rail fans live near me. So over the years we spoke a lot of New England RRing. John had just retired as an Architect about the time we met. John also has a New England connection as his parents lived in Brattleboro, Vermont at one time.

John built a nice layout of northern Vermont including Swanton, Alburgh, plus one of my favourite locations which he built using features from Brattleboro and Bellows Falls, calling his town Brattlefalls. Unfortunately I never did get the chance to photograph his layout, only because he wanted a few spots to be totally done before we took the photos. That never came to be as he became ill a few years back and past away a year ago this month.

I was lucky to pick up some of his built and kit models that were sold from his estate. I  recently was able to purchased a few more, mostly passenger cars. So from time to time I will cover John's models and what I have done to complete some of the unfinished projects.

This is how John Blatherwick's milk car looked when I got it home. There had been some damage when his equipment was packed away. Two missing ladders and some stirrup steps needed replacing.  I had already pulled out the grab irons so finer wire replacements could be added.
The Sheffield milk car is one of the F&C early kits that are made as a solid block, not one of my favourite kind of kits to work on. Johns car was completed but had been damages with a few parts knocked off. I decided to update the car a bit, touch up the paint and add some weathering. This was all done in one afternoon and sure makes a difference. I took a photo before I started so you can compare this mini project.

I began by adding Kadee true scale #58 couples, some under body piping, bleed rods and chain. I changed out all the stirrups with Tichy #3045 double step stirrups. Two ladders did need adding from my parts box. The side grabs needed replacing with finer Tichy brass wire grabs.

The under body and roof got a coat of Floquil grimy black. The body paint condition was in good shape so only the ladder and grab irons needed some touch ups. This I did with Floquil coach green which seems to be a good match. I then added some weathering to finish the milk car off.

The updates are done and the car is now operating on the White River Division.

John had added some of the under body details. I added additional chain and piping that could be see during operations.
Sheffield Farms was a large company that later became Sealtest. Sheffield Farms in the late 1940's owned about 34 wooden 40 foot milk cars similar to this model. They also used and or leased a lot of GPEX cars during the same era which also where 40 foot cars. The Sheffield Farms milk cars are SFCX series, randomly numbered from 995 -1050. John Nenrich has found 34 car numbers in this series. John's car is numbered 1081 which is outside that group. Knowing John modelled from photos he must have found a car with that number. I left the car numbered as is on the model thinking I may find the photo John had used. If not I may change the number to one I have seen in photos at a later date.

So there you have it a quick update then back in service on my Rutland milk runs...George Dutka

Brake end details.

The prototype.

Sunday 25 March 2012

White River Division Milk Train

The Central Vermont Ry. milk extra is headed by CV RS-3 #3901 with northbound empties from White River Jct. This overall  view depicts one of my typical milk trains crossing the White River with a good mix of milk, baggage and boxcars.

Central Vermont Milk Extra
on the White River Division

The viewed photo is my version of a CV milk train along the White River Division using my current fleet of rolling stock. CV RS-3 #3901 heads a northbound empties train from White River Junction to St. Albans, Vermont. The train includes CNR baggage car loaded with express goods, one empty Whiting milk car, three empty Central Vermont milk cars, a loaded CV boxcar, a empty CNR boxcar which came all the way up from the New Haven Ry. and the Central Vermont caboose.

The equipment used to model this train starting from the head end are a CNR pre-1954 Rapido baggage car that is seen in my Jan 15th 2012 post. The first milk car is a Whiting 40' version made from a Roundhouse milk car model. The next two milk cars are Central Vermont milk cars, one in the green with the red metal placard. The other is in the original silver scheme, but heavily weathered since I wanted one of these milk cars in my fleet as a carry over from an earlier era. The silver milk cars would have been painted over into the green by the end of the 1940's but this one escaped the paint shop untouched. These two models are also Roundhouse models that I will cover in a future post. The last CV milk car is a F&C kit done in the green with the red metal CV placard. The boxcar behind the milk cars is a CV wooden outside brace boxcar that has been converted from a Walthers or Train Minitures kit. The next boxcar is a Proto 1000, CNR 36' Fowler boxcar followed by a brass Central Vermont caboose.

Since the time I took this photo I have acquired two CNR express baggage car, one a Bethlehem Car Works 63' kit which I need to build and the other a finished AHM conversion done 20 plus years ago by my good friend John Blatherwick. These two cars would be commonly found operating on the CV in Vermont and can be used on my milk extras or my Ambassador passenger train...George Dutka

Friday 23 March 2012

B&M Milk Car #1920

B&M 1920 is finished and ready to roll on the White River Division. This car was delivered to the B&M in late 1957 or early 1958 and is one of the last milk cars ever built.

A Single Door B&M Milk car
 - Converting a Walther Express Reefer -

One of the milk cars I have yet to build for my fleet is from the group of 20, B&M 50' single door milk cars. They are the 1915-1934 series delivered in late 1957 and early 1958. I recently found a Walthers express reefer done in the REA scheme for $12.00 at one of our local RR flea markets. I have a few photos of B&M #1920 and a part decal set of unknown origin to work with. Walthers product number for this particular car is 932-6242 if you are thinking of building one.

The Walthers Express car prior to beginning the conversion.

Pine-Sol was used to remove the lettering.

The lettering was removed with Pine-Sol and a Q-tip and a few passes of 400 grit sandpaper as see in my March 5th post. The grabs are included but not attached to the Walthers cars so I did need to drill holes and attach the required wire pieces. I added one large grab at each door. I also added lift rings which I bent myself. I changed out the couplers with Kadee True Scale #58's.

The roof takes a little effort as milk cars do not have hatches on the roof that open as are found on the Walthers car. I removed the 4 hatches. Using my hobby knife I cut away the hinges and latch details. I just cut 4 small square styrene pieces that fit snug in the openings. I did not fill or sand the hatch areas as two are then covered by new corner roof platforms (these are metal not wooden) from my parts bin. The other two covered openings, one would not notice unless closely examined or pointed out. I did take the roof off for this part of the project. The roof is best removed by reaching in the hatch openings using a screwdriver to pop the four corner end tabs. The tabs can be seen in the photo below.

After my B&M prototype milk car post I was asked about the roof details. None of my photos show the roof clearly and these days it is not wise to crawl up on the rolling stock to take photos in yards and museums anyway. The B&M plans found in Feb. 1986, RMC do reveal the roof details of both the two and four door versions. They are diagonal-panel roofs which are replicated on the Walthers cars.

The roof has been removed and hatches are filled with styrene. Note the location of the corner tabs.

The under body was painted Floquil grimy black. The sides, roof and ends are painted Floquil engine black then coated with gloss coat. After drying for a couple of days I added the decals that I have had on hand for a couple of decades. They are thick but came off the sheet nicely with little effort. I believe I purchased them from John Nehrich when the NEB&W ran a hobby shop. I am not sure of the origin but you may purchase a nice new set from Highball Graphics, #F-191 that will do two milk cars.

Lastly I applied a coat of dullcote over the entire car, then chalk weathered the model. This was a really easy project to complete and adds a late 1950's feel to my milk train when #1920 is added to the consist.

The real challenge would be to convert one of these cars to the four door version. RMC did published plans for this milk car on pages 95-96, Feb. 1986...happy modelling...George

Tuesday 20 March 2012

B&M Milk Cars #1900-1934

Builder's Photo

B&M 50' Milk Cars
The last milk cars built for the Boston and Maine Ry.

The Boston and Maine took delivery in late 1957 and early 1958 of 35 all steel replacement milk cars as older cars where being retired. These turned out to be the last milk cars ever built. They fell into two groups. 15 cars numbered 1900-1914 are mechanically refrigerated cars and are the four door version. These milk cars assignment was the Bellows Falls to Boston run for the Bellows Falls Creamery and First National Stores which sent processed milk  in glass containers. The second group, 20 cars numbering 1915-1934 are two door ice cooled models. These milk cars held 300 to 500 cans and would be used in general milk service. The milk cars came painted completely black wearing the McGinnis blue and white herald. Over the years they weathered to a dark green tone.

I was following the WRJ Glory Days train ,which was running to South Royalton. I came across an ex-B&M single door milk car while chasing the train at Sharon, Vermont Sept 12, 1998. This is were the CV transfer yard once was...George Dutka photo
Restored B&M #1920, Sept 30, 1994 at Essex, Ct.
B&M milk car #1920 truck, Sept. 1994.

The cars features included steam heat lines, air signal lines and marker brackets which I find interesting since cabooses, coaches and combines would have been still in use at the tail end of the milk carrying trains. Also during that era passenger trains were disappearing at a fast rate with may becoming Budd car only trains. By the mid 1960's many of these milk cars became storage units along the railroad as milk was being moved by trucks. Seems a shame such a new car became useless.

Two milk cars were purchased in 1989 and are preserved at The Railroad Museum of New England. They are 1910 a four door  and 1920 a two door version. B&M 1920 condition was the best of the two and became fully restored in 1992.

In my next post I will cover the simple construction of a two door version of the B&M 50' milk car...George

Unknown photographer, George Dutka collection

At Mechanicsville, NY April 22, 1990 George Dutka photo
North Walpole, NH May 15, 1996 George Dutka photo
Mechanicsville, NY May 19 1992 Warren Dodgson photo

Mechanicsville, NY May 19, 1992 Warren Dodgson photo

Sunday 18 March 2012

Building a Portal

The finished portals in HO and O scale. Peter used Driftwood weathering stain for his O scale model while I used one of the new Hunterline colours, Cordovan Brown on my HO model.

Building a Hunterline Wooden Portal
NMRA - Western Ontario Division Meet
 "Make & Take Modelling Clinic"

The WOD hosted in Ingersoll, Ont. a hands on clinic conducted by Rick and Maureen Hunter. They supplied a Hunterline wooden tunnel portal and two weathering stains to each attendant in their favourite scale. Peter Mumby and I decided to attend and learn what is involved in portal construction. I picked a HO model while Peter went with the O scale version. Rick took us through the steps of weathering and distressing the wood pieces. We then spent the morning cutting all the timbers needed to build the bracing and frame areas using the included full scale plans. There were portals being built in all scales, N, HO, S and O. One gentleman I was talking to was building a S scale portal for his On30" layout which appears to work well in that scale.

Starting from the left Rick Hunter, John Kanakos, Maureen Hunter and David Galloway discuss stain choices.

My HO scale portal in the early stages.

Peter Mumby uses his stain bottles as weights while the glue dries.

While we worked away Rick gave us a quick history of Hunterline and other products they carry. He explained how his famous stains have come to be and the best way to use them. Rick noted that Maureen is the tint master, inventing all the various weathering stain tints. She also was working on the same kit as us at the head table. This gave us a chance to look over and see what we should be doing. Rick's instructions are very good and by lunch the frame was stained and assembled. As the clinic was held in a seniors hall the seniors supplied us with a beautiful lunch not to mention the Tim Horton's donuts, cookies, tea and coffee that the WOD supplied when we first arrived in the morning.

The main structure is together and awaiting bracing on my portal model.

After lunch we got back at it cutting and staining the planking that was glued to the bracing. Some of the guys did work a lot harder than Peter and I. Some had packed up and left by 2pm with a finished model. We seemed to spend more time socialising with some of the guys we have not seen in a while. We did get the structure together by 2:30 pm. We still had the NBW casting to add and some final weathering to do when we got home. Peter and I did get together the following Monday and finished our kits. My portal will be made into a bookend style display using Gatorfoam for the base. I plan to display one of my cabooses or engines at the entrance.

I was quite surprised that one could finish a portal kit including staining and weathering in a 4 hour time frame and that includes coffee breaks and lunch...a project you might wish to try. I want to thank the WOD and in particular John Kanakos for organising the days events and also to Rick and Maureen Hunter for giving us this great hands on clinic...George Dutka

Peter Mumby and I are seen at the start of the day opening our kits. John Kanakos photo.

An overall shot viewing most of the gang that attended the hands on clinic.

The great lunch spread.

Peters O scale model at the end of the clinic.

My portal at home with the NBW casting added and painted Floquil rust. I added  additional weathering stain and chalk weathering above the portal entrance.

Wednesday 14 March 2012

New England Postcard

 Boston bound CPR E-8 is seen at St. Jean, Quebec in July 1951. At this time the engine was only two years old.
 Railway Scenes 

Peter Mumby gave me a few New England railway scene postcards from his collection a few weeks ago. They were printed by Conestoga Press in Heathcote, Ont. Canada with no details of the photographers or the company that published the cards. They are gray-yellowing which leads me to believe they are from the 1960's or early 70's at best. I have cleaned them up a little so more of the details maybe seen. Peter has other postcards from this collection that are of Canadian Railways operating in Canada. These three postcards are connected to New England and shot in Canada or very near the border. All the postcard photos date from the early 1950's...enjoy...George

Rutland Ry.  #402 is switching at Rouses Point, NY in August 1952. 

The Montreal Limited during August 1952 at Rouses Point, NY. The engine is D&H 311 a 4-8-4 Northern type.

Tuesday 13 March 2012

Central Vermont Ry. Caboose #4015

CV 4015 overall view shows us it has a good coat of paint on most of the body. You can still see some of the Green Mountain green on the cupola.

 Central Vermont 4015
 Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum 2011

If you are a member of the CVRHS you will have the current issue of the Ambassador (Vol. 19 No. 3) which has a nice article about the May 2000 acquisition and movement of CV caboose #4015 by the Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum.. If you are not a member but are interested in this issue I think they sell back issues to non member for a fee. CV 4015 is currently at the Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum located in Massachusetts. 4015 has been restored although not yet painted or letter for the CV. The CV sold the caboose to the Green Mountain Ry and became their #41. The Green Mountain sold the caboose in the late 1970's to a private individual who displayed it for many years before the Museum acquired it. The Amherst Railway Society made a generous donation at that time which made the deal happen and saved a piece of CV history.

Last fall while rail fanning the East Deerfield, Mass. area I did a quick side trip to Shelburne so I could look at the CV caboose. I found the museum closed but the caboose on display. The following photos are from October 2011 and detail what I saw...George

I took a photo through the door window. We are looking towards the cupola end. The interior is in excellent condition. The interior is Gray and green.

Monday 12 March 2012

Walthers Central Vermont Caboose Model

The caboose on the right is by Walthers with the True Line Trains frame and end walks. The weights have to be removed. The nice Walthers interior is seen in the foreground. On the left is the True Line Trains CNR caboose painted up for the CV which is not accurate. The roof is from the Walthers model and will be used to finish the model.

Modeling a CV Caboose
Guess What!
Walthers CV model and True Line Trains CNR caboose parts do work.

Peter Mumby and I have split a two pack of Central Vermont Maple Leaf cabooses. We took the cabooses apart anticipating rebuilding the steps with CNR Juneco parts or possibly Sylvan Scale Models brass etchings. We also would cut apart and rework the frame so they will actually operate. I found a great deal on a True Line Train CNR style caboose which is painted up CV. The True Line Trains coloring is correct, but the body style is not correct for the CV. I decided to see if the frame, trucks, ends and steps would work. To my surprise once I had the models apart they actually do fit together very nicely. So guys if you have a Walthers model lettered CV it can be an easy fix. I will post a full article once we are done with our models.

The roof from the True Line Trains model is a little wider but could work with some messing around. I am using the Walters roof, but am switching the rooftop stacks as the True Line stack is much nicer detailed. Also the cupola needs to be changed to reflect the prototype. My still in the box F&C CV kit has two cupola's included, so I am all set with cupolas. I also have a second CV True Line Trains caboose to use with my F&C CV caboose kit. This will really cut down on my under body work. Peter also has a CV cupola on hand. 

So stay tuned this project is well underway...George

Friday 9 March 2012

Connecticut Eastern Railroad Museum

The roundhouse in Willimantic, Ct. is built on the old footings of the original NH structure in 2000. Since then the group has been very busy restoring and upgrading the grounds of the museum.
The Connecticut Eastern Railroad Museum
 Fall 2011 Visit

CV caboose 4029 is seen with plywood siding.

Last fall I visited the Connecticut Eastern museum located in Willimantic, Ct. The main reason for my stop was the CV cabooses in their collection. I wanted to take a close look at CV #4052 as I am building a model of this series.  Both of the CV cabooses I found tucked inside the roundhouse which left little room to manoeuvre for photos. It was nice to see the volunteers hard at work residing 4052. The original siding had been removed from both sides, and a lot of the interior flooring was also removed as work was being done on the frame. The end door was off and partly burned as someone at one point had started a fire inside. CV 4029 was in the next bay with plywood sheathing and awaiting its turn to be refurbished.

CV 4052 has all the original siding removed and a good amount of replacements have been already added.

Outside there was one CV outside braced boxcar in good condition and a CV flat. The string of equipment that ran down the side of the roundhouse was interesting to see but much of it was covered over to save it from the weather. Many of the pieces are NH but at the very end to my surprised was a wood sided Soo Line caboose. Also in the lineup is CV 8081. It is now in the black and white scheme with no indications of the green it once had. Speaking to CVRHS member Alan Irwin a few days after my visit, he mentioned the green paint was of poor quality and was peeling off. He thinks it just all flaked and peeled off through the years, maybe with a little help from the museum crew. I did get inside the 8081 and talk to the museum worker who was in the process of rewired. He mentioned working on it for a few years now. CV 8081 currently is not running but the hopes are bright for the future.

Below you will see a small group of photos documenting some of the equipment I saw on my visit. It was hard to choose which ones to share with you, so sorry if some of your favourite pieces are not seen.

On a final note back in the 1990's while I was the editor of the Central Vermont Railway Historical Society, I was invited to attend one of the early meetings, when this group was just starting out. The group was established in 1991 and currently has over 200 members. I did attend and was really impressed in the vision and focus they had. I also felt humbled that they looked for input from me and other members of the railroad historical groups that operated through Willimantic...George

A museum works endures many hours of wiring during the past few years inside the electrical cabinet of CV 8081

The last version of the Budd cars.

Ex-NH switcher

The last car in a long string of equipment is a Soo Line caboose.

All the bays are full and a lot is happening the day I visited the museum site. The group appears to have a very good volunteer base that comes out regularly.