Sunday 31 March 2013

NEB&W Club on Facebook

I noted this week that the VTR Yahoo group posted a link to the Facebook page for the NEB&W layout of Troy, NY. It appears they are posting New England historical photos, plans and club layout shots on this might want to check it out...George Dutka

NEB&W/Rensselaer Model Railroad Society Fanpage | Facebook

Saturday 30 March 2013

Snapshot - March 2013

Railfanning the White River Division
The mid day B&M  passenger train arrives at Bellows Crossing with B&M's newly painted  F-2 set A-B 4225.

Newly painted B&M F-2's at Bellows Crossing

 Back on a warm fall day in 1957 I railfanned the White River Division arriving at Bellows Crossing, Vermont prior to the arrival of the passenger train. It was early afternoon and I was hoping to catch the CV through freight, the mid day passenger train and if I was really lucky the local arriving back into town.  As it turned out the local had already arrived and put the engine away. The engineman and conductor could be found discussing the days events out front of the station. The brakeman had already got into his shiny new red pickup truck and would shortly depart for home. I could hear the sound of what I thought were EMD's and hopefully F's coming from behind the trees. I had heard that a few B&M engines had been repainted in experimental schemes. Would I be lucky and see one today. As I scrambled to get my camera out the lead engine peeked out from behind the well kept station.

I had arrived just in time to catch a great shot of the old F-2's sharply painted in the new McGinnis blue and white scheme. What a find. These two engines were leading the mid day passenger train bound for Montreal from White River Jct. Today it had a express car and Pullman coach on the head end. Also included on the train was a CV coach and two American Flyer coaches, one from the B&M and the other from the NH. The train does make a short stop at the station giving me a minute to position myself just past the diamond for another view of the train and the neat looking engines. I did not have time to find the best spot for my photo as the train began to pull away from the station as I crossed the diamond, but any shot with this new paint scheme was a bonus. Although I missed much of the early days action seeing the newly painted F-2's made for another great visit to the White River Division.

I was just about to cross the diamond for a shot of the B&M trains departure when I thought this photo would also make a great view.
The lead engine crosses the diamond at Bellows Crossing on the White River Division after a short station stop in town.
The Prototype
15 freight F-2's came to the B&M in 1946. A few months later the B&M purchased three A-B sets with steam generators for use in passenger service. They were numbered 4224 A-B to 4226 A-B. In 1956 Patrick McGinnis took over the B&M and experimented with variations of a blue, black and white paint scheme. B&M 4225 A-B was a pair of engines that received this scheme. The F-2's left the B&M roster by 1966. The original 4225A was wrecked in 1949 and replaced with 4262.
The Model
A few years back Don Janes was able at acquire this pair of Athearn F units for me via ebay. Originally I had thought I had a pair on order but the engines never arrived due to some confusion. Anyhow I was happy to get the pair through Don which sound as great as they look and are fine running models. They both have factory DCC and sound included. I did not do much to the engines other than some light weathering to the trucks. I wanted these units to look new and lightly used on the White River Division...George Dutka

Thursday 28 March 2013

50,000 Blog Views

A B&M freight passes the busy  frt. house in Fairlee, Vermont bound for White River Junction.
When I began this blog I never imagined that the White River Division would have 50,000 viewings in the first 16 months. As of today one of you viewers has set a new milestone, 50,000. Just 6 months ago I was commenting on the fact that 20,000 viewers had stopped by. I once again want to thank-you for stopping by and also posting your comments from time to time. I hope to continue with my mixed bag of ramblings at a regular pace as my Modeler's Season is ending and my trips up to the lake beginning. I am changing harbours due to low water on the Great Lakes and will not have Internet access any more while away. I may get Don to do some extra posting during the lean times.

This winter I did about 75% less modelling than during the last two Modeler's Seasons. Working on our grand kids room (basement rec. room) and renovating my daughters kitchen took up most of my winter. I have had a big push on to get these projects done since returning from a short Florida vacation. I will be all done the first week of April and just in time for getting my boat into shape. I never thought I would be working 7 days a week from early morning till it gets dark once I retired but that is what it is taking the last few weeks to get the job done.The one bright spot about this is I did not spent any modeling money this winter, which is a first. The last time I was in a hobby shop was early December. I guess I should stop by and tell them I am still alive. The other good thing about this push to get projects done was Peter and I finally finished our On30 W&Q modular layout that was in the way of my basement renovation and had been sitting collecting cob webs for over a year.  I will cover this project at some point.

So onward with fixing my basement leaks and seeing what I can come up with for my layout before next fall's Modeler's Season...George Dutka

Monday 25 March 2013

Crossing the Connecticut River

The Southbound Vermonter is seen crossing the Connecticut River on Sept. 27 1996. Note the Vermonter baggage car is in tow. I crawled down the bank of the river that day to get a view looking underneath the covered bridge. The river was calm which gave me a nice reflection at the time. That morning there was no sunshine so this type of photo worked well with no sky visible.

The photos included in this post compliment my first Snapshot posted back in January. I did revisit the Connecticut River covered bridge a couple more times back in the 1990's to get a few different angles of this scene. I was luck to actually get two trains a short time apart during the fall of 1996. In this post I have also added Dwight Smith's interesting notes about this location that was included in my original CVRHS Ambassador CV Snapshot...George Dutka

"The inclusion of USA's longest wooden covered bridge adds an additional point of interest to any photo. The bulky profile of Vermont's Mount Ascutney rises in the background of most views. Many do not realise that the bridge lies entirely within the State of New Hampshire, inasmuch as the Vermont state line is found on the west bank of the Connecticut River. Currently the bridge is used by NECR, Amtrak and PanAm."

I was luck to get a second chance to catch a train in a similar view. The Vermonter had a meet with NECR #323 not to far south of this location on Sept. 27, 1996.

Saturday 23 March 2013

White River Division...Off the Tracks

The area under the window is the point that I think water is coming through and running down behind the drywall and insulation.
Water issues...
A few weeks back we had a very heavy rain that leaked into my basement. I did already have one spot that I need to repair by the furnace when I replace it this year. This has to be dug out from the outside. I also need to remove the central air unit (which also needs replacing) from the same location. This winter a second leak has appeared about 10 ft from the first. I store by sailboat gear under the layout. When I found a puddle under my gear I pulled everything out from under there and realised the water had run down the wall under the drywall. I also have a window in the same area which I am hoping is the problem. I can't really check this out till it warms up a little and the snow is gone. The insulation is wet meaning that section of the wall has to be removed and insulation removed before mold sets in. My staging yard and West Barre are located here and can not be just moved away...means that section of the layout and wiring needs to be cut out and removed to do the work.

Replacing the drywall, mud and sanding is going to make a mess so a lot of the structures, trees need to be removed. My rolling stock gets put away for the summer so that is not an issue. I also have to figure out how I can blend in the sky colour as the whole layout room was painted at one time blending in the white and blue as I went along. Any touch ups will be really noticed.

This leads me to the next question. If I am pulling out a major section of the layout, replacing the furnace and piping should happen at the same time. The furnace piping runs over WRJ and West Barre.  Do I  re-figure the layout into one that does not have a duck under. I am finding I hate the duck under as I am getting older. I could leave half of the layout as is and rebuild the outside wall into a free standing area which does not need the wall for support. The layout would then become a point to point operation instead of the circle it is now.

One learns a lot about layout design and construction from issues like this. In the future I am planning on module design with the mini scenes to be removable such as I currently have at West Barre. I have keep my wiring simplistic which I will do once again. Lots to think about over the next month or two. I think the White River Division can be a much better layout if rebuilt but I do like what I have and will see if it can be fixed...George Dutka

As one can see the drywall and insulation is only applied down to the frost line or four feet from the ceiling. The concrete wall is seen under the layout. I attached the layout to the bottom supports of the drywall. One can see I have removed some of my sailboat gear to get a better look at the area under the layout and clean up the water. I also pulled off the plastic I have applied to the bottom of the layout.

Thursday 21 March 2013

Strasburg Ry. in Railpace Magazine

In the March 2013 issue of Railpace Magazine one can find an eight page feature on the Strasburg Ry. located in Pennsylvania. I was happy to see a photo I took last fall used on the lead off page. The same photo was used as Wordless Wednesday No. 1. The feature includes a nice map which can help one locate the best photo locations. The map marks the locations of the photos used in the article. Don and I did find most of the locations found on the map during our visit last fall  but there are a few interesting areas we missed that we will have to visit next time around.. Here are a few more photo from my visit to Strasburg....George Dutka

Monday 18 March 2013

RailroadKITS - Gleason Garage

Gleason Garage on display at the fall 2012 Expo. A structure with some appealing angles and sizes.
A garage based on a Jamaica, Vermont prototype
RailroadKITS new offering is a neat looking service garage once found in the area of the West River Ry., which became a narrow gauge subsidiary of the Central Vermont Ry. I saw this structure at the fall 2012 Expo in Lancaster, Pa. I liked the lines of the structure and took a photo of it at that time. I did not know it at the time but it was based on a Vermont structure that stood near the CV. At last falls Expo I had purchased way to many kits by the point I came across the garage to consider it, but I may take a second look at it next fall as I really do like the garage's appearance. Check out RailroadKITS website below...George Dutka

Railroad Kits!, HO Scale Structures and Details

Saturday 16 March 2013

Along the Central Vermont No.1 - Randolph Coal & Ice Co.

This is the main line view of the structure. Some trackage can be seen still in place near the structure.
 A past industry still stands in Randolph, Vt.

During my fall 2012 visit to Vermont I stopped by the station area of Randolph, Vermont as I had not been there since 1992. I was very surprised to see the old coal shed still standing and still in not bad shape for the age. I had covered this structure with a group of detailed photos in the CVRHS Ambassador Vol. 10, No. 1 (2000). I am not sure when it was built but an easement map from the Stearns Jenkins collection dates it back to at least 1919 in a reduced size. At that time the structure was used by R.B. Osha Coal Sheds. Warren Dodgson's 1929 fire insurance maps shows the coal sheds as see today. The small lettering under the Randolph Coal and Ice Co. reads A.C. Wells Prop. who must have been the operator when last used.  The following photos details how the coal shed looks in 2012...George Dutka

Looking north along the main line one can see the overall view of  Randolph Coal. The station and frt. house are behind me at the crossing as I take this photo.
Chronology of Randolph, Vt. Weather
It was noted that there was a coal shortage during 1917-18. Many of the residence were cutting firewood to replace the non existent coal supply. The winter of 1917-18 turned out to be the coldest recorded winter in 50 years in Vermont.  Records indicate that the coldest day was on December 30th and 31st  with the temperature at 50 degrees below zero. Aren't you glad for global warming...This factor alone may have been enough for such a large coal storage shed to be built shorty after.

This is the opposite side of the building from the photos above.

There are many interesting angles to this structure which would make a great modelling project. Seems all the bands are still on the silo's although some have slipped down.

Friday 15 March 2013

White River Junction Sandhouse - Installed

I finally got around to taking some more photos around the layout...I will explain the layout status in another post. One of the scenes I updated back in the fall was the area around the coal tower. At that time the tower just sat over the end of WRJ's scenic area. My hidden staging yard is without any ballast or scenery. When I decided to add the sandhouse I thought I best add some ground details for any photos I will take. More on the sandhouse can be found in an Oct 2012 post. These few photos give you an idea how the area looks like today. The area is actually only visible when standing on my footstool or if you are really tall, but I wanted to add it for photo ops. For photos I have to use my Canon point and shoot camera resting it on the track or a small wood block. There is no room to get my tripod and Canon Rebel in enjoy the view from there...George Dutka

This photo has been cropped to the edge of the finished scenery in the staging area. The WRJ station can be partly seen way off to the left.
The sandhouse can be seen though the coal tower opening.
A CV steam engine and diesel can be seen around the engine facilities.

Monday 11 March 2013

Bachmann Alco S-2 - Central Vermont

CV #7919 handles a caboose out front of the White River Junction station.

  Another Alco switching my White River Jct. yard
Central Vermont # 7919

I liked my Bachmann S-4 so much I purchased a Bachmann S-2 just before Christmas. It has DCC and sound included and runs smooth and sounds great. My S-4 is CV 8027 which I covered in my post of Oct. 10, 2012. The S-2 switcher I also detailed as a CV switcher but this time in an earlier scheme. I really wanted to try a lettering scheme I had not yet tried.

The Prototype 
CV 7919 came to the Central Vermont along with #7918 in 1941. CV 7917 arrived later in 1948 from the GTW. Engine 7917 and 7918 had a brand new paint job on them by 1955 with a square herald on the cab and the long Central Vermont herald on the engine housing with a stripe along the running boards. Engine 7919 may have remained as delivered till it was refurbished and renumbered in 1956. I have not been able to find a photo of this engines after 1951 and before 1956. In 1956, 7919 became 8095. The engines scheme when delivered had a metal square placard attached to the cab on each side with smaller numbering on the front of the hood and on the rear of the cab. Larger numbers were found on the engine body sides with a wide gold strip along the running board and a finer strip on the top edge of the engine body. The two stripes lasted till just before 1950 when they either faded out or were painting out. I found a 1951 photo on page 54 of Central Vermont in Color, Morning Sun Books. This photo was taken at WRJ with no stripping top or bottom. The engine had orange handrails at that time. I thought the engine looked interesting in that view so I used it for my project's inspiration. All photo's of  #7919 I have seen are at White River Junction also. Since WRJ is the location I am modelling this was a good engine to include on my roster. One can find a good 1947 photo of CV #7919 in the Feb. 2000 issue of Model Railroader showing the original stripes. That article was done by CV fan and friend Marty McGuirk. All three original S-2, 7900s were sent to the GTW in 1967.

CV 7918 in WRJ during the summer of 1952. Note the top and running board stripe has been removed. The engineman's awning is squared off and extremely narrow. The glass wind deflectors on both side of the engineman's window are folded flat on this day.
Details added
I did add a good amount of details to my model before repainting. I began by adding to the cab, wiper blades, 4 are needed, styrene arm rests are added on each side were the crewman would be sitting, styrene sun shades, a formed wire door handle, and a filler valve on the end of the cab by Details West, #FF-167 fuel filler. On the cab sides I also added brass wind deflectors #CB 2304 Detail Associates. Two painted figures are added to the cab interior once the engine is completed.

I added Kadee #58 couplers that needed to have the brass metal insert trimmed somewhat to fit the Bachmann pocket. Juneco Alco re-railers are used. On the top of the body I added Detail Associates lift hoops #6214, Precision Scale #31334 markers and Juneco jewels, Cal-Scale #190-529  curved corner grabs and Tichy grabs on the hood front and fireman's side.
On the cab I have added a styrene arm rest and awning. A new metal filler pipe is also added. A wire door handle is also  applied. The lettering is off the cab but still needs a little more scrubbing on the engine hood.

My Alco S-2 is seen next to the photo I used as inspiration to complete my model.
Paint and Lettering
The engine was scrubbed clean of lettering followed by a coat of Floquil engine black and a coat of gloss. I used the large numbering from Micro Scale CV #87-990. For the number boards, front and rear small numbers I used leftover Accu-Cal #5808 H numbering. The metal herald on the cab sides was made by photocopying the Micro Scale herald then trimming and gluing it to the sides. I used a pencil on the edges to hide the white surface after the trimming. The Engine got a coat of Floquil flat finish, an over spray of grimy black and some chalk weathering. The end handrails I bush painted Floquil CN #11 orange to match the photograph.

My two Alco switchers are seen out front of the WRJ station. One is about to depart with a cut of propane tanks destined for a local customer.
Final Thoughts
My favourite pass time is not switching (as I spent too many years doing this on the prototype) but now that I have two Bachmann Alco switchers that do everything but belch out smoke, I am finding it fun spending some time working the yard. I also love that this engine has added a bit more prototype history to my WRJ scene...George Dutka

I adjusted this DCC equipped unit to allow for a slower operating pace with more throttling up sounds and  longer stop times which adds to the switching fun.
The CV engineman seems comfortable on a warm fall day with his window open.

Saturday 9 March 2013

Atlas S-2's

Recently Atlas has announced that they will be releasing  a re-tooled S-2 which can be purchased with DCC or DCC with sound. This got me looking at my own S-2 collection. I do have a Bachmann S-2 with sound that I will cover is CV 7919. The other is a Atlas B&M factory painted S-2 that I have added additional details to many years ago. This unit is still DC only and is used only for display and photo-ops. I also have a few photos and comments from Bruce Douglas covering his S-2's projects from the same Atlas Alco era.

B&M 1264 is headed to Westminster Centre on the White River Division
B&M S-2 #1264
My unit is a factory painted unit offered a long time ago. I did scrape off the molded on grab irons on the nose and replaced them with wire grab steps. I also added the row of grabs on the fireman's side. Other additions include Precision Scale class lights with Juneco jewels, and Detail Associate # 6214 lift rings on the roof. On the cab I added a Details West #FF-167 fuel filler pipe, a wire door handle and wire handrails on each side of the door. I touched up all the additions with Floquil engine black. The engine got a engineman in the cab and some light Floquil grime, grimy black and chalk weathering.

Bruce Douglas painted and decaled Alco.
Bruce Douglas MEC S-2, #302
Recently Bruce had gone through his HO scale collection that has been boxed for years. He decided to take a few photos sending them along to me with a few comments regarding his S-2's. Here is what Bruce did to his engines.

Bruce used a MEC prototype photo to begin his conversion of a undecorated S-2. This MEC engine had a larger size herald than most on the cab. The engine was painted Floquil engine black and Herald King decals are applied. I don't think the decals are available any more. The pilot ends are painted orange to resemble the prototype while the handrails are painted yellow.  An engineman was also added to bring the engine to life. Bruce also modeled a CPR Alco switcher as seen below.  This engine got a little more weathering than the MEC unit and an engineman was also placed at the controls. Since Bruce's St.J&LC was modelled around St. Johnsbury, Vt. both the MEC and CPR engine fits in nicely...George Dutka

Bruce's inspiration photo from the 1980's. Bruce's collection.

Bruce Douglas CPR Alco.
A last look at my B&M Alco switcher...seems some instructions are being issued before the switch is turned.

Tuesday 5 March 2013

WRD - Update

The main line is currently shut down. Guess I should get the red flags out at both ends. My Rockingham, Vermont underpass has been removed to allow me to add a new New England Brown Stone underpass. Some of the roadbed still needs to be cut off.

I am going to be away to some warmer weather for a bit, so don't be alarmed if my posts are hit and miss. I have a couple of post almost ready to go that I might be able to post later this week from down south. Since I will be in the Keys I am not sure if I will have Internet access. Posts will be back to normal  next to run...George Dutka

Sunday 3 March 2013

Northeastern Scale Lumber - Shingles

Two packages of slate shingles I purchased in the fall along with the RMC ad found in the Oct 2012 issue. Note the other colours and styles they carry. Also viewed is the MEC section house that I built a couple of years ago which had these great shingles included with the kit.

Slate shingles are now back in stock

This fall I was surprised to see at the Northeastern Scale Lumber booth their shingles back on display. For the past year they have not had any shingles in stock. It seems the machine they use to make them broke down and they could not find anyone to fix it. From correspondences it appeared the slate shingles they make and I love using would not be available for a lengthy period. As it turned out they found someone that got the machine back on line and their whole selection of shingles are now available again. You can find their ads in RMC or by checking their web site. These shingles may cost one a bit more that other available shingle products, but are really easy to work with and look great. You may want to take a closer look at their products...they also have a neat gray fish scale shingle I would love to try next...George Dutka.

I used a lot of the loose slate shingles as leftover piles from repairs to my structures. One can see my pile next to the West Barre station.  I had noted  loose shingles lying around some of the New England structures I visited recently. It appears they may like to have a few left for future repairs.

I am adding the Gray Slate HOSNG1B1 to the roof of West Barre station. One can see the sheet size in reference to the roof size. I cut the sheets with a steel straight edge and a sharp blade.

Saturday 2 March 2013

Barns Near the O&LC

One detail I like to model is the wind vanes found on many of the barns. This one was near Lisbon, NY.

Last March I followed a portion of the Rutland's Ry. O&LC line in upstate New York. The view in this weeks Wordless Wednesday is of a long dairy barn viewed near the O&LC. During this early evening visit I crisscrossed the old Rutland Ry. ROW  a few times and made a few stops to photo some of the larger barns I found interesting. I find barns make great photo subjects and can be interesting structures along a layout's ROW.  It is interesting to see the amount of weathering these buildings get. Maybe one can find some inspiration from my views...George Dutka