Friday 28 February 2014

Snapshot - February 2014

I took this photo in the yard at Brattleboro, Vermont back on Oct. 12, 2011. Nothing all that spectacular about the photo other than that track machine next to the engine was one of two that was working on its own. I think the track crew just programs them and they go along pulling and adding spikes and whatever else they can do. Each track was flagged as seen here with one machine working on each track. Funny thing about the scene was none of the track men seemed to be paying any attention to the machines. Boy have times and technology changed since I last worked on a railroad....George Dutka

Tuesday 25 February 2014

Athearn Taxi's

My new taxi has yet to be added to the layout, but I think its first run will be taking a train crew change to the station.
While at the show this past weekend I found a table a guy was clearing out some hobby products for great prices. I picked up this taxi that was once offered by Athearn. A really nice looking and detailed vehicle. I now have a service to transfer crews from the station to their layover site.

It included a nice advertising sign on the trunk.

Monday 24 February 2014

Highball Products - Ballast

This past weekend I helped Peter Mumby with his booth at the Essex, Ont. train show. While there I had a chance to check out and purchase some Highball Products ballast from Action Hobbies (from Kingsville, Ont). They carry various colours and scales of Highball. I was hoping for more, but I did purchased the only two bags of cinder ballast they had. One is N scale while the other is Z scale. I also purchased one bag of N scale black ballast.  I noted they did not carry any HO scale cinder Highball ballast...and I knew the reason why which he also confirmed.

Once home I opened the bags and compared what it looked like to my HO scale Highball cinders. The N scale ballast was what I thought was right for HO scale and the Z would work of N scale. I mixed the two together with half the bag of black N scale ballast. I now have enough ballast to finish my projects this winter without doing any more ballast crushing. Not sure why the scale sizes have changed. If you are ordering Highball Products ballast order one scale size smaller than needed....George Dutka

Sunday 23 February 2014

Adding a Billboard to the WRD

My finished billboard. I used the White Truck sign which was included with the billboard. 

 Blair Line Pole Style Billboard
I have a couple of locations that a billboard would work while adding some more interest to open areas. I purchased a kit recently that was a breeze to construct. Blair Line #2433 is a pole construction model. This prototype was used from the 1950's onward.

One short evening assembling the parts and a second painting and staining the billboard was all it took. Canopy glue was used to attach all the wood. The kit comes with both a vintage and modern grill. I used the vintage one. The structure got a coat of Hunterline light gray followed by a coat of Floquil white then grime while wet. The overhead lights are also painted white. Once dry the trim is painted RR tie brown. I used Bragdon lime white powder for some weathering. Walthers Goo is used to attach the billboard sign included with the kit and also to attach the sign to my layout. The kit includes six signs....George Dutka

All the pieces that are included in this kit are seen here.
The finished billboard is near the coal tower along the yards roadway.
An overhead view of the WRJ scene which includes my new Billboard. I plan on building one more to be used in Westboro.

Friday 21 February 2014

Rolling stock Metal Billboards

A CV RS-3 handles a milk train into WRJ on the White River Division. I had saved some decals for decades before I got around to using them. I wanted a good size fleet but needed a plan to maximise what little I had on hand.

Colour Copying Decals for a more reliable Billboard

Over the last couple of decades I have found myself exclusively modeling New England railway lines, and have built a growing number of rolling stock and structures that reflects the 1950’s era. My HO scale White River Division layout currently has a fleet of milk cars that can fill out two milk trains consists. Many of these cars are billboard cars. I was luck enough to purchase some of the decals I would need decades ago for the cars that I am now completing. Many of these decals are currently not available. During the assembly of these milk car kits, my thoughts were “how am I going to build a similar second or third car for my milk trains without a decal set”.

Four milk cars which have photocopied decals applied are seen sitting on my extra colour photocopy sheets.

 I realised that maybe I could colour photocopy the decal sheets, using the billboards cut from the photocopy sheets on my models. The numbering and lettering I could easily find on other decal sheets. The colour photocopy sheets are thick and sturdy and will work well. The first project I tried my billboard idea on were two Brookside 40 foot milk cars. These cars had two metal billboards, one on each side of the door. On one car I used thin styrene and placed a decal over top. On the second car I used my photocopy billboards. The billboards were cut with a new sharp hobby knife. When the photocopy is cut I did find a white edge around the billboard which should be red. I used a fine tip red marker to colour the edges. On other billboards I have used black permanent ink markers. Be sure to try your marker on the edge of the sheet first. I have found some pens and marks apply way to much ink which bleeds farther into the billboard than one would desire. I attached these billboards using a thin spread of Walthers Goo. I mainly applied the Goo on the edges and near the corners. You really do not want to have a lump of glue in the middle of the placard as it will clearly be seen once the billboard is set.  It has now been a few years since this project, or my first attempt of photocopy placards was completed and I find that the photocopy billboards have been the better choice. The styrene placard which I think looks thicker when completed has warped a little with time, although not enough to be replaced yet.

A B&M switcher handles two Brookside milk cars. Since I did not have enough decals for the billboards on these cars photocopies are used.

I have used the same billboard colour photocopy method when modeling a few Whiting cars that have a triangle shaped “W” on one side and a rectangle metal billboard on the other. Other Whiting cars such as the 50’ version I built, have the “W” on both ends. I had only one Whiting decal set to work with and wanted at least three cars. Photocopies were my only option. When I modeled my Central Vermont Railway milk cars the metal square wafer billboards were also made with colour photocopies. The wafer herald size for the Central Vermont car is 42” by 42” which I had measured years ago. The Central Vermont used a similar but smaller metal placard, 21” by 21” on many of the stations. I actually have one of the original herald signs used on South Royalton then White River Junction stations at home. It appears as these metal signs were taken off and repainted from time to time. On the back the station name it was to return to was marked on with crayon. It is interesting to note these station metal herald were made of brass sheeting while the milk car wafer placards were sheet metal. I have made extra billboard copies which will come in handy for use on future stations and milk cars.

Two CV milk cars with photocopied decal  billboard. One car is a Steam Shack kit while the other is a Roundhouse model.
Once again I copied my Whiting decals to make these two placards which would have been metal on the prototype.

I have recently started using billboards on building that I think would appear more realistic on my layout. I came across a 1986 Hoods Milk calendar which was an anniversary issue. A few pages had a display of old metal billboard placards that were used on building, trucks or possibly rail cars.  I decided to use some of these once photocopied for my structures, rail cars and also a truck on my layout. I wanted extra Hoods signs for future use so I enlarged and reduced the pages I really liked. The August 2011 issue of RMC has an article describing how I used the Hoods photocopies on an On30 milk car.

On this ice house I added a Hood's placard which was found in a milk calendar.

While I was building my White River Junction scene I build a reduced size rendition of the station. On the prototype station there were large signs attached during the 1950’s. I colour photocopied the photos that these sign appear in, then cut out the signs and glued them on my station. They have worked out very well. I have in some cases also photocopied colour photos of actual cars sides, adjusting the size of the billboards to fill my needs. It all began with photocopying decals. Today my options are becoming endless as I find resources that could be used in modeling my favourite company or railroad logo...George Dutka

Tuesday 18 February 2014

Railfanning in Utica, NY

Engine 703 heading up train 232 from Niagara Falls to New York  pulls into Utica at the same time as train 63, the Maple Leaf from New York to  Toronto pulls in on Track 2 in the background.

Lots of Train Action in Don Janes

    On Day 2 of our trip to the Model RR EXPO in Pittsfield, MA back in November,  George and I stopped in at Utica NY to check out the train action. Utica is located on the former New York Central Water Level Route between Chicago and New York.  The station has been beautifully restored both inside and out and the canopies along Track 1 date back to the original NYC days including the cast name plate at each end.  The main line is now owned by the CSX and besides their many freight trains each day Utica is an busy Amtrak stop hosting several trains each way every day.  It was also the junction where the branch line to the Adirondacks started.  This line is now operated by the Adirondack Scenic Railroad and their equipment is stored in the yard across from the depot, those tracks once being part of the many Utica station tracks.  I believe there were other lines that ran into Utica also judging from the old DL&W freight house just down the tracks from the station.  
    In the two hours or so that we spent in Utica we saw quite a few CSX freight trains with a mixed bag of power, two Amtrak trains and the Adirondack Sceneic RR in action.  The platforms are quite accessible via the overhead walkway and photography is quite easy due to a good view in each direction and lack of restrictive fences, a rarity around railroad tracks these days.  We freely explored the Adirondack yard and when approached by one of their employees we were expecting to be evicted but instead were offered a tour of the locomotives, a train ride and a ride back to our car.  It was tough to pass up that opportunity but our schedule just didn't allow that extra time.
     I am off to Arizona for about 7 weeks so will be photographing BNSF trains along Highway 40 on the way out and Union Pacific trains on the Sunset Route in the Arizona desert and enjoying not having to shovel snow every other day. 
Above is the front of the old NYC depot and below the beautifully restored interior
EX NYC 0-6-0 on display next to the station
This old ACLO RSD 4/5 is on display at a Children's Museum across the street from the station
A CSX freight head up by two UP units rolled through right ahead of the Amtrak
Here we see Amtrak train 284 accelerating away from Utica with an old ex New Haven FL-9 in the background
Another view of the FL-9 sitting in the Adirondack RR yard.  I suspect it is a source for parts now
A westbound CSX freight with a bunch of garbage cars on the head end followed the westbound  Maple Leaf 
Adirondack RR private car NEHASANE was on the rear of the train.  We were offered a ride in this car
EX CPR RS-18 1845 as seen beyond the tender of NYC 0-6-0 6721. She was  the leader on the extra Adironcak RR train
Here we see the extra departing Utica for the Adirondack Branch.  Those RS-18's look good in that colour scheme
Another view of the NEHASANE departing north up the branch
A closer look at the RS-18's
A nice surprise was this restored Boston & Maine 24 ft steel caboose in the Adirondack RR yard.  It is used on some of their excursion trains.
This old Lackawana freight house is located just down the tracks form the Utica Station.  

Whats in the box No. 6

The instructions some walls, window package and box cover.
2013 BEST Expo - Elwell General store two structure kit.
 The Freight House
 I began this BEST kit by building the smaller size freight shed. I needed a structure of this size for my new Westboro scene. The instructions are 4 pages with many good photos. I found the photos of more use than the general instruction. They really help put the construction details into perspective. The doors and windows are Tichy. The wood strips, pre-weathered walls and sub walls are of a very nice quality. This structure looked like it should go together very well....stay tuned...George Dutka

The frt. house parts are all separately packaged from those of the general store. All the parts are seen here.

Sunday 16 February 2014

HO Scale Packing Boxes

Two boxes of Stelco nails are seen on the B&M freight house platform along with a box of paint.
I have just finished a few of my Aberdeen Car Shops, HO scale shipping boxes. The larger boxes went together well or at least as good as the smaller O scale boxes that Peter Mumby and I built. The problem was the two smallest size boxes, those of the nail and paint supplies are beyond my folding ability. I can barely see the lines to cut them out. Peter and I discussed using small wooden or plastic blocks to cut and glue the box sides to. I gave it a try and they turned out not that be the judge....George Dutka

One of the Stelco nail boxes is completed. The second has the two sides glued on. The top and bottoms will be folded over and glued. The other two sides will be cut square and glued on. Two of the small wooden blocks for the other boxes are seen here. One can see how small these are when compared to the hobby knife blade.
The larger crates are being loaded for local delivery. The box near the cab is a load of CCM bikes followed by two new Gurney furnaces and a pair of Simpson's department store boxes. The dock hand is still working on getting the Gurney water heater ready for delivery. All these boxes are vintage Canadian 1950's products. What the photo does not show is the CPR outside braced boxcar they arrived in.

Saturday 15 February 2014

Weekend Leftovers

On Kip Grant's layout he built a Railway Design Associates model of the New Haven, Vermont station which is a Rutland Ry. location. He has done a fine job with this kit. I believe this kit is still available.
This weeks Wordless Wednesday photo was taken from the closed service station in Chester, Mass. looking back into town. I thought it was a nice view looking into a rural Mass. town. The winding road, church and stately homes are the kind of a scene that would make a great background view on a New England layout.

If one was to build the CV yard office as mentioned a few posts ago a chimney would be needed. Model Rail Stuff offers a 3.5" tall chimney in their Mr. Plaster line that would work well on this two floor building.

Thought I would share with you two views that I really liked while visiting Kip Grant's layout this past fall...enjoy...George Dutka

Kip Grant's foreground structures are all well detailed as seen in this view.

Friday 14 February 2014

HO Scale Rail Bars

If one looks closely on Kip Grant's layout one can pick up the rail bars. Details West make this metal detail that would have to be painted a rusty colour adding a little weathering.
One of the details I really liked on Kip Grant's layout was the use of rail bars. On the prototype these are the joiners that bolts two rails together. Being a small layout this was easy for Kip to accomplish. One only needs to apply them on the rails that one sees. On a peninsula I guess both sided would be required. I plan to add some to a few locations on my layout such as Westboro. Details West sell this detail as #JB-922 which come in packages of 12...George Dutka

Thursday 13 February 2014

Homes near WRJ CV yard

This home is very similar to the old CV yard office and can be found at the north end of the WRJ CV yard. Note the distinctive canopy bracket. Spring 2012.
At the north end of the CV now NECR yard there are a group of homes built about the same time as the one once used by the CV as their yard office. They are all similar in appearance but have small differences. One being the canopy over the front door. The two that I photographed are both different but similar. Both structures did have the front door off to the side and the chimney on the left side such as on the yard office. They all have the same roof line but window placement does vary.

The canopy bracket on this WRJ home has the exact ornamental brackets found on the old CV yard office. The home is across the road from the yard near the north end. Spring 2012.
I noted Mount Blue Model Co. has canopy brackets in HO scale similar to the WRJ homes and yard office. This would add greatly to a model. They list at $3.95 and are seen below...George Dutka

Mount Blue Model Co.

Monday 10 February 2014

Packing Boxes

Things are looking up on the W&Q Ry. with a truck load of boxed paint, nails and bikes in one of Peter Mumby's O scale trucks. Clearly this is a full load ready for delivery... a Peter Mumby photo.
Today I posted on my Modeling Maine in Narrow Gauge a short feature prepared by Peter Mumby regarding a small project we have been working on. It might be of interested to you if you need some detailed packing boxes for your layout in HO, O or S scale. The boxes are offered by Aberdeen Car Shops...check it out...George Dutka
Modeling Maine in Narrow Gauge
Aberdeen Car Shops

Here is a selection of packed boxes Peter Mumby built on one of our work sessions. They are all O scale. We have yet to attempt the HO scale versions. Photo by Peter Mumby.

Sunday 9 February 2014

Weathering Boxcars

Two of my boxcars are finished being weathered. The GT boxcar was the last to be done.
A few weeks ago I helped Peter Mumby out at his booth at an area train show. His regular helper could not make it. I do help Peter out from time to time. He mentioned to bring along some stuff to sell. I had a few boxcars I built during the 1980's, early 1990's that just don't fit my era. They have been in storage. I had tried to sell them before for $5 but there was no interest. I decided to get out my Bragdon powders and practice on these cars...if they looked good I would take them along. They are blue, yellow and green boxcars or colours I have not worked on much before. Well they turned out really good, a lot better than I thought they would. The three I liked the best did sell and  for $10 each. I really liked the looks of the GT car...think I will add or change a few details and hang on to it for now...George Dutka

The Seaboard boxcar was the first to get the treatment. It had the most details parts added years ago in this fleet. It was one of the three sold and one of the best looking of the bunch. I added placards to all six cars once the weathering was done.
I decided to  take a few photos of the cars for reference before leaving for the show. They turned out so well I think I might purchase a few more built cars if I find them for a great deal...and practise some more.
The railbox was my favourite out of the bunch. It turned out really good. The car is a wood kit from years ago. The two yellow cars I did near the end of my weathering project. What I found worked best on the sides was the powders that had fallen off into my tray was just applied...all mixed together. I did add more rust to the black door though. This car also sold.
The Southern Pacific auto box was an early decal and paint job I did. I did not have an air brush at that time so it was just brush painted. The weathering job turned out really good on this car also. It also sold.