Thursday 31 January 2013

Wiscasset & Quebec Ry.

A flat has just been spotted for loading at Quebec Junction on Peter Mumby's six foot diorama.

All aboard
Maine two footers in On30"

A couple of years ago Peter Mumby and I spent a good part of one winter building a number of On30" rolling stock based on the Maine two footers. We also each build a six foot long module that could be connected running trains on occasion. Peter had some rail, switches and module legs, while I had leftover cork roadbed, wiring, Masonite, various pine boards and paint. In other words we built these diorama's with no cost incurred. This all came together that same winter as three quarter finished diorama's.

We decided to name our railway the Wiscasset & Quebec Ry. which was actually a real railroad in the early days before the WW&F. Peter decided to model a small yard and junction point which we called Quebec Jct. I modelled the junction section house, turntable and frt. house. We located our models at the border of Canada and the USA. Peter's diorama is in Canada while mine is just over the border in the US.

Our Maine two footer equipment is a mix of castoff engines and cars from all the Maine lines. Since the W&Q is the last line still operating in Maine the best of the last is still in service. The crossing sign is a WW&F prototype  model available from Train Troll.

Last winter we did not touch the modules but this year is different. Our kids play room which is a mess after 5 children grew up in there is getting a make over by yours truly under the guidance of my wife. We have 3 grandchildren with another on the way. Her plan is to have this room again work as a play and rec. room. Well guess were the diorama's are stored. A big push is currently on so Peter can take his diorama home and mine can be stored under my new yard location. This week Peter and I got the fencing up, some trees planted and the road crossing in service. Peter is in the process of building the Junction yard office-station. The rest of the trees will be planted once Peter gets his diorama home next week. I decided to photo  document where we are at the moment.

Now back to work on the kids room...Arrr...George Dutka

My forney and caboose is seen operating on Peter's W&Q diorama. The truck is an Athearn model.

I recently  found an interesting fact about the original W&Q.  Harry Percival had been working to restoring the WW&F right of way for many years.  He finally was able to purchase the right of way and quickly applied for a charter to start a corporation called the Wiscasset and Quebec Railroad, with the thought of rebuilding a portion of the line. Harry  was told by the state that the W&Q had never been declared abandoned, and if he held a stockholder's meeting he could get the corporation back in business. Thus, the original Wiscasset and Quebec Railroad corporation is now back.

Monday 28 January 2013

West Barre Section House - A Look Ahead

CV Section House

My post later this week will cover another new small drop-in diorama. It is of my old CV section house that sits at West Barre on the White River Division. It has sat at this location for years but is now interchangeable with my milk platform. These are a few extra photos that gives one an overall view of the scene...George Dutka

Sunday 27 January 2013

St. J & LC Combine Kit

St.J&LC or B&C  RPO-baggage-coach
Bruce Douglas sent me this ad found in RMC for a kit he just purchased. He has been modelling the St. J for decades and recently decided to get out of HO scale modelling. Here are his comments.
"Sheesh, George, I;m trying to get out of HO trains???...I've just ordered one of these SJL combines! Number #113...I really like it! This ad is appearing in the new RMC, Jan. 2013, page 30. John informed me there's only twenty of each car produced and now he's hoping he'll have one of each left for the Springfield Show. CEO St.J&LC BRUCE"
I'm getting the feeling Bruce is not getting out of HO scale any time soon...George Dutka

Saturday 26 January 2013

Bartonsville, Vt. Covered Bridge to Reopen

New covered bridge for Bartonsville

The covered bridge that has graced many Rutland Ry. and Green Mountain photos was washed away during the heavy flood waters a couple of years ago. During 2012 the bridge was rebuilt and looks almost identical to the original. Today the new sign is to be hung marking the opening of the much needed crossing. These photos and more details can be found on their Facebook page...George Dutka

Friday 25 January 2013

Bachmann Sound B&M RS-3's

Fresh out of the box two B&M RS-3's have arrived on the White River Division. Although they currently are both wearing the same number, one will become 1538. I had originally thought to strip and repaint one for the CV but they look too good for that.
New power arrives on the White River Division

On Monday Don Janes visited with two B&M RS-3's in hand. Don found a deal if he committed to a half dozen sound RS-3 B&M engines. Next to me Don found two other New England modeller's to take up his offer and the deal was done. On his visit Don also brought along Bill Moore. Bill was also in on the RS-3 deal. Bill's B&M layout was featured in the Aug. 2012 MR. His layout was also featured on that cover. We had a nice visit and ran a few trains.

The next day I got my engines out, test running them and reprogramming both. They both run great and sound as good as they look. I currently have CV-3 set at 40 and CV-4 also at 40, which was suggested by Don. Using these CV's the RS-3 throttle up nicely before moving. They also coast a good way before coming to a stop. Don mentioned if you need to stop them in a hurry just hit the reverse button...but if you are in the yard that is what the stop blocks are for...I know from personal experience...cheers...George Dutka.

My two units will be given some additional details and  weathering before they are assigned to regular runs. I also have to put a hogger behind the control stand.

Thursday 24 January 2013

Vergennes, Vt. Section House

The old Rutland Ry. section house as it looked back on Sept. 7, 1991. I spent my fall trip to New England that year fallowing the old Rutland Ry.

The last days for a
Rutland Ry. Section House

During the spring of 2012 I stopped in at Vergennes, Vermont to take a look at what still remained of the Rutland Ry. My last visit here was the fall of 2002 or a decade ago. One structure that I found beyond repair was the Rutland Ry. section house as seen in this weeks Wordless Wednesday. I thought that photo might inspire someone to model such a ram shackled scene. I have included a few shots from the structures better days and a couple more from last spring...George Dutka

This is how the section house looked in the fall of 2002. There appears to have been a lot of ballast dumped against the section house causing future problems with the structure. Note the ribbon rail also in the photo.

The weather has lifted the green paint off leaving the under colour in view on the main sliding door. Note the golden yellow that was once used by the Rutland Ry in the early years.

Another view from the Spring of 2012. Kind of neat structure scene...maybe one could copy this into a scale model.

Monday 21 January 2013

Fairlee Milk Platform - Another look

Milk Platform Diorama 
A few more photos

When I finished the B&M milk platform post I realised I did not include any photo of the diorama on its own. Here is a second look at that scene...George Dutka

Saturday 19 January 2013

B&M Milk Platform - Prototype

This milk platform is at an unknown location along the B&M

Prototype Inspiration
The two photos found here are what I used for inspiration when I built my own milk platform as seen in the last post. The photo above I photocopied years ago while doing some research in Vermont. The other views the platform in the background of a B&M photo, Bob Nimke's collection. As you can see both structures are similar in size and appearance. These platforms were used in the early era of milk train operations. I am not sure when the last one was finally scrapped...I would like to think in the early 1950s but most likely in the late 1930's or sometime in the 1940's...George Dutka

B&M milk platform 1930.

Friday 18 January 2013

B&M Style Milk Platform

Milk Shed at Fairlee
On the White River Division I wanted to add a milk platform and shed similar to what the B&M used on their branch lines. I will cover the prototype photos in a later post. Currently the best location to place the milk platform would be across the tracks from the Fairlee frt. house when in use. The milk platform would be built as a small diorama.

Once the Gatorfoam was cut to fit the layout, I cut a paper mock up of the platform to determine the size. I used the small shed that RailroadKITS gave out this year at the Lancaster Expo. This structure fit nicely on the platform and when the end window was exchanged for a door, it looked exactly like what was used by the B&M. The kit has laser cut walls, doors and windows. There was extra doors and windows included so it was an easy build. For the roof I substituted small scraps of NorthEastern Scale Co. slate roof #HOSHG3.

The RailroadKITS shed is set on my paper mock-up of the raised platform.The Gatorfoam diorama base is also seen in the photo. I usually add the date built and some other related data to the bottom side.
The shed is painted and ready for the roofing. The base is glued and squared.

The walls had nail holes and loose boards added before they were glued together and the windows and trim added. As mentioned earlier the end door was added to the window opening. The doors are left off till the model was built as I wanted them to be open. The structure was painted Floquil Tuscan red followed by red chalk and dark rust Bragdon weathering powder. The platform was built from left over scrap lumber. The decking is 1by 8" lumber which is undersized but looks good. I had a lot of this lumber available. The window glazing got a coating of flat finish to appear dusty and dirty. The slate roof got some weathering also.

I used about three quarters of a milk cans 50 pack on the platform and the surrounding grounds.
Garbage cans, boxes, brooms and broken windows are added around the shed.
Added Details
I used most of a 50 pack of CMA milk cans on the diorama. They are now Tichy milk cans #8173. I added two brooms, a couple of workers, some crates and a garbage can. The rear window is boarded up, so I just leaned the broken window against the rear wall. Behind the window I put a Hood's milk sign. It is a colour copied, reduced sized decal image. I made a small shelf with some milk can lists just outside the door. The paper is sanded down thin before cutting to size. I leaned a skid and put a barrel below the platform. Some older milk cans are knocked over and can be found in the brush near the platform...George Dutka

Thursday 17 January 2013

Bruce Douglas - Old Varney HO Scale Car Collection

Bruce Douglas sent me this photo of his old Varney HO scale car collection. He notes that one could buy these HO Varney's for fifteen cents each when he started modelling. That's a 1953 Varney Studebaker, painted light blue in the foreground  which is rare. There is one exception to this collection. There is a 1935 dark blue Ford in the photo that is not a Varney model. The Varney pickup and the two vans at the end of the line (background) are chocolate brown in colour.

Boy we have come a long way in our modelling...what will we see next...sound in our cars and trucks...George Dutka

Monday 14 January 2013

Fairlee, Vermont - A look ahead

New Milk Shed at Fairlee
A preview of my milk platform and shed added to my Fairlee, Vermont scene last week.  It is a drop in diorama that is very simple to construct. It took me most of a day to build between other pojects. I will cover this diorama in more detail later this pop back...George Dutka

Sunday 13 January 2013

Snapshot - January 2012

Snapshot Sept. 30, 1994
Crossing the Connecticut River to Windsor, Vermont

The above photo was  taken during a fall visit to Vermont while attending the CVRHS 1994 convention held in Brattleboro, Vermont. I always leave myself a couple of days for railfanning on my visits and decided to catch a couple of trains in the White River Jct. area an hours drive north of Brattleboro. This weeks Wordless Wednesday photo is the same location but taken during the fall of 2012. Boy it has been a long time since I had stopped by this location. There were no trains but it was nice to see it once again.

Back in 1994 I was in WRJ the morning before the convention taking photos of a Guilford unit on layover and the area in general. I was hoping to catch CV #323 at the Junction and follow it north. It was still too early in the morning for the northbound to arrive. CV #323 normally would leave Brattleboro between 0800-1000. Being impatient, I decided to follow the track south along the Conn River line till I would meet up with the train., then chase it north. I was not totally familiar with the roads and trackage at the time. The day before was the first time I had followed a train north from Bellows Falls to Windsor. A state atlas helped me stay close to the tracks.

I passed through North Hartland, checking out the covered bridge there, then Windsor. I crossed the covered bridge in Windsor, Vt. to NH following the tracks south to Claremont Jct. As I approached the Claremont high bridge #323 was half over the bridge. This day #323 was handled by a trio of units. Since my photo is small and low resolution it is hard to make out the unit numbers. They are CN 9573-CN5351-GT5801 followed by 70 plus cars. In haste I turned around and headed back to the Cornish-Windsor covered bridge (the longest in the US at 460 feet). I had always wanted to take a photo here. I can remember seeing a great photo by Benjamin B. Bachman in Trains. A trio of CPR Alcos working the B&M pool freight southbound on a morning misty day. It was a similar morning once again but with a little more sunshine.

The morning sun angle was exactly what one needed for the photo. The ideal time for this location is mid to late morning. The covered bridge was out of the shade and the mountains and trestle were in full sunlight. A real tranquil setting.

I wanted to get the entire front of the covered bridge in the photo. For this my 50mm lens was appropriate. To get the train and trestle in a good location in my photo I had to stand on top of the guard rail and support which curves around the roadway. I had enough time to get in position and get a few good photos as the train approached very slowly. I was lucky to have the sun light up the bridge just as the train passed over. As it turned out the train came to a stop at the north end of the bridge, the engines were cut off and headed into Windsor to do some switching.

I did return to this location again to take photos at various angle but this was during the NECR era. This photo is still one of my favourites of the covered bridge scene. I made a 20" by 30" print of it which has been hanging over my bookcase for years...George Dutka

Saturday 12 January 2013

What's in the Box? - No. 1

RailroadKITS - Fisher Fuels

A look at what one will find inside the box of the fuel dealer. The walls are laser cut wood with lots of interior supports and corner trim. The windows I have already cleaned up and are by Tichy. The metal castings next to the windows are very nice and I think are from BEST or Crow River Products. The yellow sheet is the door instruction sheet. All other instructions are found on-line. I have already started the kit and all goes together nicely following the instructions.

Inside the box one can see a cast plaster chimney wrapped in bubble warp. The roofing is heavy card stock and the shingles are laser cut paper. There also is some formed wire pieces for making exterior lamps. The photo viewed I took at this years Lancaster, Pa. Expo. One item missing is the large oil tank that is included with the kit but was out of stock when I purchased my kit. Since then Don Janes ordered the same kit and had my oil tank shipped to his house last month. At some time we will get together and I will show you how the tank looks in the raw and possibly Don and I can do a joint post of our finished models...George Dutka

Thursday 10 January 2013

VIA coach in Basement

Recently on the news here in Southwestern Ontario a railfan has completed building a VIA coach, "full scale" in his basement. He found a old coach that was to be scrapped and used many of the items found inside. Gary Pembleton sent me the link below to the current youtube video. I found a second link for a tour of the coach...George Dutka

Tuesday 8 January 2013

New Monthly Feature - Snapshot

I introduced a few regular features to the CVRHS  Ambassador in 2002. This was during the last year I edited the quarterly. The reason being we did not have a new editor in place yet and I felt a few short features on a regular basis could fill the quarterly. One was CV Snapshot, a single view with a bit of a story about the location and what lead to the photo being taken. A railfan type of photo. The first Snapshot feature ran in my last issue as editor back in 2002. Dwight Smith took up the role of editing this feature at that time. The CVRHS is currently trying to revive this feature and Dwight is still in charge if you wish to contribute.

I received  a neat DVD from Don Janes over the holidays...kind of a history of his RR career and his modelling which got me thinking. Some of Don's views included railfan's track side on his layout taking photos. I thought that Snapshot might be kind of a neat idea as a monthly feature. A railfan shot of Don's or my layout with a bit of a story about the photo. We probably could also include a few prototype Snapshot's along the way begin this feature we will take a look at my first CV Snapshot shortly which ran in the 2002 Ambassador.

While I am at it I also will run  randomly a feature, "What's in the box", a look at what are in some of my model railroad kits before beginning construction. I myself always like to see what is included with a kit before I purchase it...this might give you a better idea before purchasing it.

Some of my other old CVRHS features maybe resurrected at some point such as Milkcans and Milktrains, Equipment Scrapbook, and Shop Track to mention a few...George Dutka

Sunday 6 January 2013

Feed Mill - Fairlee, Vermont

A roadside view of the mill in Fairlee, Vermont
A mill worth modelling
Last fall I took a group of photos of  a neat looking mill located in Fairlee, Vermont. It is located next to the ex-B&M station. Out back one can see were a siding used to be. The mill appears in good shape and probably has not changed much since the 1950's. The narrow loading structure and dock with access on both the road and rail sides is located on the south end and could be a place to add a lot of details such as sacks, barrels and boxes. A structure such as this can inspire one to built a similar looking mill...George Dutka

Looking south at the mill from the tracks. Some of the neat features are the asphalt shingles on the walls and green rolled tar paper roofing. The brick chimney, window styles add to the effect.

I took this photo from the station location. I am looking south.

A roadside view looking north. The long loading area is seen to the right.

Saturday 5 January 2013

B&M Frt. House - Fairlee, Vermont

This weeks Wordless Wednesday gave you a sneak peak of the Fairlee frt. house in operation on the White River Division.

A New Freight House
 for the White River Division

While working on the remodel of the West Barre station I got thinking of my barn that has been sitting on my bookshelf near my workbench for about 5 years. I had originally built it for my Northfield Falls scene. I started with a paper mock-up as a stand in for a couple of years which looked great, but for some reason when I built the model it was way to big for my scene. I built a second reduced size barn leaving me with this larger version without a use.

The barn as it was originally built. It sat on my book shelf for a few years before it became useful again.
 I did not need another barn as a drop-in diorama but maybe it could be re-purposed.  If I added a loading platform, station signs, order board and other related railroad hardware it could work as a freight house. It did have the B&M colours but in reverse (walls should be cream and the trim brown-red). I thought what the heck the B&M was short of cream colour paint, but had loads of red at the time the frt. house was to be painted.

I picked the local as Fairlee, Vermont since the roof line and windows kind of reflects what I viewed on the station this fall. As far as I know there never was a frt. house in Fairlee, but if there was one mine would have been it. On the White River Division the Fairlee station burned down and the operator was moved across the tracks into the frt. house. The order board and phone box was moved to this new location also. The station location was left as a parking lot till a new milk platform was built in its place.

I started the diorama by building up the frt. house base from laser cut kits leftovers, painting it concrete with washes of chalk weathering. I then added some basic scenery to the diorama. Next I worked on building the raised platform out of strip wood which was given a coating of Hunterline stains and Bragdon weathering powders. I used 1"x8" for the planking. For the stairs I used Central Valley #1602 steps and ladders. I built a fence at the rear which has a billboard attached.

Most of the details have been added. I am in the process of applying some weeds to the base of the frt. house platform before adding it to my layout. Around the building I added old tires, skids and a fuel oil tank.

A close-up view of the loading platform.
 Station details and signs
I began by adding frosted window glazing to the building. I really like this look. I wanted the windows to look kind of dirty. I spray Floquil flat finish on clear plastic before cutting and installing in the windows. I have used this method on my barns also. To the roof I added a Juneco small metal cast brick chimney. For the order board I used a 8'x8' post weathered with Hunterline stain. I then ran the rods that link the blades. The blades are BEST #4027 detail parts. The lantern between the blades is an older Roundhouse marker #2951. I added a B&M style phone box to the front of the frt. house to reflect the buildings heritage. The platform and interior was loaded with crates, barrels, milk cans and other casting which help bring the scene to life.

The barn was originally air brushed Floquil Tuscan Red with a light coat of caboose red applied while the Tuscan was still wet. I air brushed highlights immediately with signal red. The trim and windows are painted  aged concrete.

The station signs are colour photocopies of the originals. The Look out for mail bags circle is a copy of the sign found on the B&M Ely, Vt. station. The REA signs under the station name on both ends are reduced copies of the originals found on the Ely, Vt. station. I added two Western Union metal signs. One on the parking lot end of the frt. house and one on the order board. I had also used the same REA and Western Union signs on my West Barre station.

At the moment this drop-in diorama is my favourite has a real New England feel to it...George Dutka

A B&M Geep approaches the Fairlee freight house on the White River Division.

Tuesday 1 January 2013

C&C 44 Tonner Model

 Claremont & Concord engine house fire

I recently got an e-mail from my friend Bruce Douglas with a photo of his version of a C&C Ry. Bachmann 44 tonner. Bruce lives in Stratford, Ont. and has modelled New England and in particular the St.J&LC for decades. The following are his comments. "During 1987 the shortline 'Claremont & Concord Ry' in New Hampshire suffered an Engine house fire which destroying all three rostered 44 Ton locomotives.  Numbers 18, 31 and 32 were the three.  The photo above is my HO scale model  view as how one of those units looked back then. I also added it's coupler which was just thrown on the running board at the time." Enjoy...George Dutka