Wednesday 29 August 2012

Blog Photos

For the last few months when I had a moment I played around with the photo settings and sizes to see what I can do to add more photos to my blog. It appears by posting them one size smaller...I normally post at extra large...the file sizes are cut in half. I also have been downsizing the files to 590 pixels as it appears that files under 600 pixels do not effect my blog storage capacity. By rearranging some of my past post photo sizes plus keeping the files smaller, I should be able to squeeze another year out of this blog...George Dutka

Tuesday 28 August 2012

MEC 40 foot Boxcars

MEC 4250 is an Atlas model that needed minimal changes. The boxcar to the left is my Train Miniatures conversion that I built decades ago.

A trio of MEC steam era boxcars

Over the years I have accumulated a small fleet of MEC boxcars. Three date back to the steam era. The Atlas model seen above is my most recent being added to the fleet in 2010. The other two are a Yankee Clipper model and a Train Miniatures conversion.

My first MEC boxcar was #5684 which began as a x-29 Train Miniatures model.

MEC 5684
This boxcar was built using Kyle Williams MEC ARA boxcar model article found in Febuary 1986, RMC. I believe the RMC model is still running on the Rensselaer NEB&W layout. I began the project with a Train Miniature x-29 model. I stripped off the roof walks, grabs, stirrups, and ladders. the door and sliders are redone also. I do not recall all the changes since this was about 1990 when I did the project. The lettering is Walthers and the paint was Floquil boxcar red. I used the trucks included with the kit but added Kadee couplers. Wire grabs, and stirrups are added along with new ladders. I believe I used an Athearn door.

MEC 4609 is a Yankee Clipper kit built by my friend Warren Dodgson back in the 1990s and was added to my collection about 10 years ago. The only change was the adding of some weathering.

MEC 4609
When my friend Warren Dodgson was getting out of model railroading about 10 years ago I had the opportunity to acquire his MEC Yankee Clipper kit. He really did a great job on it. All I needed to do was give the car a light over spray of Floquil boxcar red and add some very light chalk weathering.

The MEC trio are seen together on my workbench. You will note that all three are carrying different style logos. The Atlas model has a rectangular herald as first introduced about 1930, the Yankee Clipper a more modern round herald and the T-M has Maine Central spelled out as would have been seen on the cars when first built.
 MEC 4250
My most recent MEC boxcar is a ready to run model produced by Atlas. This is a very nice model that runs great right out of the box. The only change was adding Kadee #58 true scale couplers as the ones supplied by Atlas look over scale. I over sprayed the model with Floquil boxcar red then added a little chalk weathering while the paint was still tacky.

These three boxcars are among my favourites rolling along the White River Division...George Dutka

Monday 27 August 2012

Crosby Coal in O scale

I was looking through the current Walthers flyer when I came across a Branchline Trains listing for a O scale version of Crosby Coal. I have seen the N scale version but did not know they also made it in larger scales. It is  numbered 181-494 and currently on sale. I think this would make a great building for modellers in O scale...George Dutka

Saturday 25 August 2012

Barns of the Midwest blog

If you are interested in barns and interesting angles that one can photograph barns you might want to check out Ernest J. Schweit blog. Ernest is a photographer who has a good eye for details and spends his time photographing barns in the Midwest. His views may inspire you to model such a scene along your right of way...his link is below...George Dutka

Barns of the midwest

Saturday 18 August 2012

CV outside brace boxcar - Part 2

A Walthers 40 foot outside brace boxcar which I have upgraded to reflect the looks of the CV prototype.

 Another CV 40' outside braced boxcars
Upgrading a Train Miniatures or Walthers model

One of the aspects of this hobby that I enjoy is the challenge of converting a piece of equipment that may or may not resemble a prototype properly and change it into something that reflects the feel of that prototype. It does not have to be exact but a good stand in. One such model that works well for a Central Vermont boxcar is the Walthers or Train Miniatures outside braced wooden end car. These cars can be picked up for a song at train shows and the conversion can be completed with minimal part costs.

Before I get started with my model I would like to point out that in this post I have also added the nice looking CV model that Jack Kelly built using a CV lettered Accurail boxcar model and my CVRHS Ambassador article...also included in a past post. Jack sent me his nice photograph seen near the bottom of this post. There also is a prototype photo I took back in the 1980's of a CV outside braced boxcar used as storage near the CV St. Albans,Vermont yard.

The project begins with the ladders on the sides plus grabs and stirrups being scraped off. I removed the bottom door hardware and the brake wheel plus housing. I also removed the roof walk and built a new one using 2x8 styrene strips. I did reuse the end platforms. The platforms got Tichy corner grabs added.

The door on the car looked good but the cross bracing needed to be closer to the top of the car. So I just turned the door around. A new latch was added to the sides. With the ladders removed I used a Tichy jig to line up and drill the holes for the wire grabs. I used Tichy grabs on this model.

Styrene pieces are used to construct the end cowls and end supports. I also built up a new roof walk. The grabs are from Tichy.
On the car ends if you look closely you will note the boards run up and down and not across as on the prototype. This was left as is. I felt by the time I added the end bracing made from styrene 2x4 and the styrene cowl you would not really notice it that much. If you wish you could strip the ends smooth and add new thin styrene sheathing, The cowl is 10 inches at the ends with a 30 inch by 6 inch centre section. 

I used Kadee true scale # 58 couplers and pockets, and a Kadee brake wheel and housing. New stirrups came from my parts box. Operating levers are bent from wire along with a bleed rod. A piece of wire and chain are also added to the brake piston. The original trucks are used but at some point steel wheels will be added.

I use all Floquil paints and began by a coat of grimy black on the under body and couplers. The car body got a coat of boxcar red. The decals I used are Champ Decals - CV boxcar HB-361 if you can still find any.  The car got an overspray of flat finish and boxcar red followed by some chalk weathering...another nice piece to add to my fleet at a really low cost...George

The boxcar door was removed and turned upside down so the cross brace is near the top, The door bottom hardware was removed since it was very bulky looking.

Jack Kelly's  model using a CV lettered Accurail model and my instructions found in the CVRHS Ambassador or in a recent blog post. Jack painted out the CV noodle to back date the model. He also touched up the carved off details and added grabs with Floquil boxcar red which was a great match.

CV 40035 in St. Albans used as storage during April 1988, George Dutka photo

Friday 17 August 2012

B&M Buskirk, NY Station

The ex-B&M Buskirk, NY station as it looked in March 2012 from the roadway.
A B&M Station as it looks today
Buskirk, NY
During my March 2012 road trip through New England I stopped at a few locations along the B&M West End. I was on my way to the tracks at East Buskirk to see what still remains when I came across the old Buskirk station. The tracks that once passed by this station was the Eastbound B&M main line. The Westbound main is located about a mile down the road. A smaller shelter was located there called East Buskirk. It is no longer standing. The two stations were manned by the same operator stationed in Buskirk.

The B&M at one time had a double track section from Eagle Bridge to Johnsonville, NY of about 7 miles or so.  The track spacing was so far apart that the northern main was actually .9 miles longer than the southern main in a seven mile stretch. East Buskirk and Buskirk  are located at a wide spot in the double trackage. When the B&M single tracked the area the longer section was abandoned and the station at Buskirk was eliminated.

When I stopped to take a photo of the station as it looks today the owner was outside doing some early spring cleaning. It was an extremely warm week for March. I though I would ask her a little about the structure. She told me the building came up for sale over 10 years ago, around 2000. It still was all original at that time and in need of a lot of work. She and her husband decided to purchase the station and turn it into a home. At first all their family though it was a crazy idea but it all worked out. She mentioned that it was quite small inside but I noticed a large garage about the same size as the station or possibly a little larger for overflow home goods. The space is just enough for the two of them as they only live in the station during the good weather and head to Florida for the winter months. She asked if I would like to see some photos of how the station once looked and also as it did when they purchased it. They are great photos which I took photos of as seen in this post..George Dutka

A undated photo of the Buskirk station from the Joseph A Smith collection
The current owner of Buskirk station holds up an old photo she has of the station as it once looks when in use by the B&M. It has not changed much even with renovations into a home.

The Buskirk station as it looked when the owners purchase it around 2000. From the station owners collection.

Sunday 12 August 2012


A couple of weeks ago I discovered a link through one of the Yahoo groups I follow regarding old modelling articles. It appears there is a site that gives one access to out of print railfan and model railway magazines.  Early issues of magazines such as Rail Model Journal, Model Railroading, Prototype Modeler plus some railfan monthlies are included. Some magazines are the complete series. These nice oldies can be found at the link below...George Dutka


Thursday 9 August 2012

A Camp along the White River Division

The tail end of a Central Vermont freight enters the yard at White River Junction just above a camp located along the rivers edge. The WRJ yard limit sign can be seen near the camp.

Modelling a Camp Scene
Just outside of White River Junction on my White River Division layout is a camp scene that is along the shore of the causeway. This scene is built almost inside the WRJ town, but is blocked out by a forest of trees.

This type of scene can be found in many locations in Vermont especially along rivers, ponds and lakes. I have also found good examples along some railway ROW's. In New England and in particular Vermont the local population seem to refer to their lake or pond retreats as Ontario we just call them cottages or cabins...but what ever you wish to call one I wanted to include such a scene on my layout. The space needed to model a camp is very minimal at best and the structures are very small.

My main structure is the add-on building that was included with a Sylvan Scale Models wooden home kit. I just made a new roof and repainted the walls. The garage is a kitbash of card stock, wood, and parts from an AHM farmhouse garage. Most of the camp residents are Woodland Scenics including the car. The canoes are resin Sylvan Scale Models. I added a little beach sand, limestone road and yard details to complete my scene. I even added a boat trailer in the garage to fill it up a little.

If I were to add another camp I would build it as a cluster of  small cabins in various forms plus a few outbuildings in just a little bit bigger area...George Dutka

Looking into the scene from the layouts edge one can see a CV Geep peeking out from a grouping of trees that somewhat separate the two scenes.

In the foreground one can see my two resin canoes along the sandy shore which also includes a good dose of stone and rocks. Most of the figures are Woodland Scenics.

Sunday 5 August 2012

Dave Frary update- Building an Expo module

Dave Frary has posted the final two video's, or parts three and four which I found very interesting and informative. I hope he has this module on display at this years Fine Scale Model Railroad EXPO. One can view all four videos at the link below...cheers...George Dutka

The 2012 Fine Scale Model Railroader EXPO