Friday, 19 December 2014

Woodchip Train 25th Anniversary

CN 78556 represents a wood van built by Pointe St. Charles shop forces in 1943.  The 1/87 version was built from a kit produced by Custom Trains of Dartmouth Nova Scotia.
Words by Peter Mumby...........Photos by George Dutka

With both of us fully retired now, George and I have been able to get together most weeks during the winter season to do a little collaborative model building.  This, however, is not an entirely new process - over the years we have been able to build rolling stock, write articles, and engage in railfan photography together on an irregular basis.

Several weeks ago we were reminiscing about a project that resulted in the construction of six woodchip cars.  These were based on cars converted by CN workers at Moncton from obsolete forty foot boxcars.
Roofs were removed and doors were welded shut to create a high-sided gondola suitable for carrying woodchips along the branch lines of New Brunswick and Northeastern Ontario.  Although we never witnessed these cars on their home turf, we were able to photograph them at home in London Ontario as they made their final trip to the local reclamation yard.

George and I decided it would be fun to reunite these six cars (plus three others I had acquired at a swap meet) for a photo session on his current layout.  Upon digging out our original slides of these models, we realized this would actually be a 25th anniversary woodchip train - so here's to models (and modellers) that have stood the test of time!

The following photos and captions will tell you more about this special train.  George will provide a separate post later dealing with the construction of the cars themselves.

The headend brakeman on Extra CN 9526 North takes advantage of a long inside curve to check back over his train of woodchip cars.  This GP40-2L was modelled after a unit constructed at London's General Motors Diesel Division plant in 1974.  The model consists of a Canadian Prototype Replicas cab grafted on to an early Atlas (Roco) GP40 body.  Today's modellers might scoff at the oversized handrails and the bizarre shape of the fuel tank, but in its day this was considered to be a top quality product.  This unit was built "back in the day" in conjunction with our mutual friend, Bob Hannah.
The 25th anniversary woodchip train has just crossed the White River bridge on its way to Bellows Falls. The second unit is an Athearn GR17 which is loaded with Juneco casting to emulate the CNR prototype.
On the tail end of 9526 North rides Hawker-Siddeley van 79249 (NE series 79200-79349) built in 1967 at Trenton Nova Scotia and Fort William Ontario.  These cars pre-dated the more numerous (and better-known) Pointe St. Charles cabooses built in the early 1970's.  This is a brass model that I painted about thirty years ago.
E-units in passenger service often tread these rails, but a six-axle freight locomotive is a rare visitor to the White River Division.  CN 5354 (a GF-30u SD40-2 of 1980) was based on an Athearn blue-box model detailed according to its as-built appearance.  Note the horn mounted on the bell hanger - and check out the lack of ditch lights!

1 comment:

  1. Nice collection. I'm always a fan of oddball and rebuilt equipment, and I have a couple of CP versions of this on my workbench.