Friday 20 February 2015

Back in the Day

More than half the TVC members were present for this group photo.  London was George Dutka's home terminal and he was able to use work contacts to arrange a club tour of the Rectory St. roundhouse and servicing facility.  Standing on the steps was Jim McAllister.  Other members (left to right) included Dan Robilliard, Dave Harding, George Goddard, Fred Sachse, Larry Hugill, Peter Mumby, John Kanakos, George Dutka, and Bob Hannah.      Peter Mumby collection
Bob Hannah and the Thames Valley Peter Mumby

Once you start reminiscing, one thing invariably leads to another.  Case in point: in our Dec. 19th post on the Woodchip Train 25th Anniversary, the caption for CN 9526 north refers to the construction of the unit "in conjunction with our mutual friend, Bob Hannah."  That started us thinking about the other units in Bob's roster, and about how Bob, George, and I originally met circa 1980....and this is where the Thames Valley Central Modular Railroad Club comes in to the picture.

 The TVC was a London, Ontario area club which periodically showcased its modular set-up in local shopping malls.  The large oval display consisted of club-owned corner sections and member-owned side units.  The length of the display depended on how many members were able to participate in any particular show.  In addition, regular meetings at members' homes featured discussions, movies, and clinics.  The TVC still exists today, albeit in a much different form.  No longer modular in form, the group now displays a fixed-form portable layout, and has regular meetings in its Thorndale, Ontario clubhouse.

Doesn't every kid wish at some point to be a locomotive engineer?  On this fine fall day, Bob Hannah got to live out at least a small part of this fantasy.  Now, why do you suppose he chose to eventually build a model of CN 4507? Peter Mumby photo
Here is an over all view of the Rectory St. facility.  All of this railway infrastructure has now disappeared.  In its place today stands a large indoor soccer structure.  Peter Mumby photo
The TVC was originally established in the 1970s by Fred Sachse, and had developed the modular concept by the time George, Bob, and I joined.  My modules were built in partnership with Larry Hugill who worked as a welder at General Motors Diesel Division.  Larry provided us with a good connection with prototype happenings through GM.  Larry retired to Seaforth, and at last report was still working on a home layout.  Chris Martin, who worked for CN at the time, was another source of valuable prototype information at a time when I was just getting my feet wet in the hobby.  Today Chris is still a top notch model builder and a railfan photographer par excellence.  He is an authority on all things Penn Central (with special emphasis on the Canada Division). George Dutka at that time was a young engineman with CN, so you can see we had lots of opportunities to tend towards prototypical modelling practices.

TVC 5409 is a bit of a rare bird.  Prior to a club meeting at my house I volunteered to mount a clinic on decalling rolling stock.  Members wishing to participate provided me with a car in advance which I painted for them.  Decals were acquired from Champion Decals.  About a half dozen members participated.  This particular model is based on an old Lionel HO product.      George Dutka photo
Club member Dave Rodwell developed an interest in helping me with my tables at local train shows.  So too did Bob Hannah, and our discussions at train shows led us to do some model building together, including the CN 9526 mentioned earlier.  We each started a model, and I agreed to do the final paint work.  My (unfinished) model still languishes in a drawer near my work bench to this very day, but Bob's unit became an integral part of his HO locomotive roster.  Over the years Bob has continued to construct models, although not always of the railroad variety.  It was during one of his "non-railroad" phases that his locomotives became part of my collection.

Here we have a meet at the WRD diamond between engines built by Bob Hannah.  George Dutka photo.

The models featured in the following photos appear on George's WRD layout of today, although they were built more than thirty years ago.  The Thames Valley members were photographed at CN's Rectory St. shop area in October, 1982.

In this photo we see Bob Hannah's entire model locomotive roster as of the early 1980s.  This 1:87 fleet was based on Atlas and Athearn products.  Shown are CN GR-17h GP-9 number 4507, GS-9c SW-900 number 7235, and GF-430b GP40-2 number 9526.  Both prototypes and models were proudly assembled in London, Ontario.      George Dutka photo

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