Tuesday 31 March 2015

Tank Car Placard Holders

Some switching is being done in White River Junctions.
I took some photos on the layout using my pocket Canon camera. It gives me a good down low view of how things look up close. I noted the tank car placard holders look really thick and kind of ugly looking. They do look good when viewed straight on. I did not do all that much to this car before putting it into service. I think I might make some new thinner styrene holders as replacements shortly...George Dutka

Monday 30 March 2015

N Scale Rolling Stock

These are four of the five N scale cars I recently picked up at a local train show for $5.00 each. Not sure if it was a good deal, but they sure looked good and I needed a few more variation in rolling stock for photos I plan on taking. I also got a length of track...code 55. The ties and rails appears to be a lot better suited for N scale. I had an older piece of Atlas code 83 that I was using till now and had used for my HOn30 modeling. There is a huge difference in appearance. One thing you must look out for...many of the older N scale cars have large flanges which hinder the operations on code 55...George Dutka

Vector Cuts - Updade

I really like the looks of the shingled walls on this Vector Cuts display model. I can see a lot of these being sold.
This neat little structure was to be on display at this years EXPO by Vector Cuts. The kit is reportedly going to be released later this year...think I just might pick up this model for the WRD...George Dutka

Sunday 29 March 2015

2015 Doubleheaders Layout Tour

I feel this might have been the best detailed module on the Free-Mo layout at this years Doubleheaders layout tour.
Yesterday I took off last minute to the Kitchener, Ontario area for the 32nd annual layout tour. It has been at least 10 years since I last attended. The tour begins at the Hespeler arena located in Cambridge, Ont. There I found 5 layout set up with 4 running. The Free-mo layout was a monster size setup which pulled 4 groups together. They began setup at 6am and still had not got any train running yet at 930am. This is the largest HO scale modular layout I think I have ever seen.

I visited two layouts in Kitchener finding the traffic well beyond what I wanted to spend the day in. I did plan on heading up to St. Jacobs, the new home of the famed Aberfoyle O scale layout and also the Maple Syrup Festival which was in full swing. Early morning radio reports during my drive over from London indicated the roads north to St. Jacobs were already jammed up. Instead I decided to cover some layouts I had never seen before and in the rural area of Ayr and the outskirts of Cambridge. From there it was over to the Paris Jct. Hobbies before calling it a day.

A friendly welcome to David Johns layout in Ayr, Ont.
It think I may have brought gremlins with me because a good amount of layouts I saw seemed to have run into electrical problems while I was there. All used DCC. The first layout I visited had Dan Kirlin our area DCC guru under the layout trying to keep it up and running for it's owner....and the list went on....enjoy the photos...George Dutka

CPR shop area photo of the Ayr Junction layout.
This is what one saw entering the doorway of the Ayr Junction Railway. The layout features Mount Stephen and Cathedral Mountain from out west and a glimpse at the Grand River Ry freight motors from here in Ontario.
More power ready to go at Ayr.
Another view of a nicely detailed Free-Mo layout section.
I think I found the source of the electrical problem.

Saturday 28 March 2015

White River Division General Store

Elwell's seems at home on the WRD. I have yet to apply the ballast to the ROW. Think the track gang is getting close.
I have been taking a few photos now that the BEST model, Elwell's General Store is in place. There are a few minor details that will still be added as time goes along...enjoy...George Dutka

Friday 27 March 2015

Fine Scale Expo 2015

This weekend is the 2015 addition of the Fine Scale MR Expo. The last one was fall 2013.  Don Janes and I talked at lengths about going but with the change in time of year and similar clinics that we have seen the last few years we are passing it up. The venue is changing with more focus on paid clinics. Being March Scranton and Steamtown is not the greatest time to visit. So hopefully next year something will spark our interest and we will attend once again...George Dutka

1983 Meet on the White River Division

CN 9656 is an out-of-the-box Atlas model while the VIA train is handled by Model Power units detailed by Peter Mumby.
Staging a Meet on the White River Division - Circa March 1983
Words by Peter Mumby...........Photos by George Dutka.

As a follow-up to the recent post on the CN at Princeton, we thought it might be fun to stage a meet of similar equipment on the WRD.  When we showed you a train of woodchip cars a few months ago we used a model of CN GP40-2W 9526 which had been built over 30 years ago using models, parts, and techniques available at that time.  In the last couple of years both Atlas and Athearn Genesis have produced highly detailed models of these Canadian-built units.  For the photos accompanying this post we have used one of the Atlas models.  The Via FPA-4 units presented in these photos illustrate some of the history of the hobby, being based on an early Model Power product.  This was a model based on a hybrid of Alco FA1 and FB2 characteristics, so the Via units I built at that time were merely stand-ins at best.  However, the wait for a proper CN/Via MLW FPA-4 is almost over - the release of the promised Rapido model is imminent!

We had some fun staging these engines that I would have never expected to see running on the WRD.
Via 6772 has the removable ditch lights.  To be perfectly faithful to the 1983 era, neither Via unit would have had the ditch lights at all.  These accessories would have been added shortly after this time frame.  The locomotives themselves lasted about until 1990.
In this 1983 photo Peter Mumby at Princeton, Ont. VIA had yet to begin the use of ditch lights.
Via 6783 has the permanently-mounted style of ditch lights.

Thursday 26 March 2015

Throwback Thursday

CN 9488 East threads its way through the crossover switches in front of the 9550.
A Visit to Princeton in March 1983
Reminiscences and Photos by Peter Mumby

In his rymalstation blog, our friend Peter MacCauley has a feature he calls "Throwback Thursday" where in he presents a vintage railway photo and analyzes the contents of that photo.  Contrasts are made between what was visible then and what, if anything, remains of the particular scene today.  It's a neat turn of phrase, and I hope he'll take as a compliment that I have chosen to borrow it for use in today's post.

In this series of photos we are situated along CN's Dundas Subdivision mainline east of downtown Princeton ( located between Woodstock and Paris).  CN Extra  9550 West is found standing on the north track.  A switch-tender's shanty and temporary train order signal has been set up on the south side of the right-of-way.  There must be a work block ahead on the south track.  Our train is waiting for two eastbounds which will be travelling on the north track against the flow of traffic. 

Your author got to play "conductor" in the cab of 9550.
 While awaiting the eastbound traffic, there is time to accept an invitation into the cab of 9550 and pose for a "conductor" shot.  A look down the track shows the two hand-thrown turnouts of the crossover and spurs running off each main further to the west.  Our first train arrives, Extra 9488 East, and crosses in front of us to the south main.  The last few cars (open auto racks) and the caboose clear and we are left alone again for another few minutes.  The next headlight we see belongs to Via 6780 and it soon rattles through the crossover.  It's baggage car and string of coaches follow along, leaking wisps of steam at every joint.  The switch-tender quickly realigns the turnout on the north track and 9550 starts to pull towards Sarnia.

So what shows up in this series of photos to justify the "throwback" moniker?  As it turns out, there are lots of differences between the railroad practices and equipment of 1983 and what is in place in 2015.

First of all - I was invited up into the locomotive cab.  I'm not expecting this to happen again any time soon on CN!  Operationally speaking, at that time directional running on CN's double track mainline was governed by ABS signals (Automatic Block Signals) and train orders.  This made for much more chatter on the scanner and offered more clues as to the whereabouts of traffic.  Now, CTC signals and systems allow trains to run on either main in either direction, and power turnouts controling the crossovers.

All freight trains at that time ran as "extras," hence the white flags on each lead unit.  3000 hp 4-axel units were the preferred mainline power in 1983, as opposed to today's high horsepower 6-axel locomotives. Via trains were typically powered by MLW FPA-4 or GMD FP9-A units, and coach heating was provided by steam generators.  Today such units would only show up on tourist operations, executive trains, or the Ontario Southland Railway!

Seeing a switch-tender today would be a rare occurrence - and he (or she) would certainly be wearing a bright orange reflective CN vest!  The westward views show a spur tracks running off the south main and a double ended siding off the north. Today the south side spur still exists, while the siding on the north has been lifted and the crossover removed.

So, there you have a brief visit to Princeton 32 years ago.  In a later post we'll illustrate a meet between similar units on the White River Division.

CN Extra 9550 West is on the north track at Princeton in March of 1983.
Visible in the shot are the switch-tender's shanty and the temporary train order signal.
CN 9488 East threads its way through the crossover switches in front of the 9550.
The switch-tender (red jacket) is visible in this shot as Via 6780 approaches.

Snapshot - March 2015

An additional view Peter took of the EB VIA back in 1983. The most common reason for what we on the CNR called single or wrong tracking would be a derailment on the other track or a track maintenance work block. In that era the Dundas Sub. was having it's rail changed out to ribbon rail.
The lead photo in today's post by Peter Mumby was originally going to be this months snapshot. It was in a group of slides passed along to me a few years ago by Bob Hannah. When I showed this slide to Peter he recognized the day  right off saying "I was there too" and in that engines cab also. Well I held off posting the photo till Peter took a look through his slide collection and to his surprise the slide number I had fell into the group of slides he took. It is now in his collection once again. At that point we decided to scan in the whole group of slides and Peter would tell us what he saw and remembers. I explained to Peter the operational reasons for the wrong tracking.

Looking once again at the views prior to posting I realized that the lead photo (the one with the open multi-level cars) are Chrysler's which means a train beginning in Windsor. This actually was a London job (the terminal I worked out of) and the train was our auto train 221. In that era we were just coming out of a rescission so this train would have had a mix of freight on the head end as car sales would have been way down. The other thought that came to mind was I could have been the head end brakeman on that train....will have to dig out my old time books from the attic to confirm....George Dutka

Added Note
On CNR even number trains are eastbound and odd numbers are westbound. So why is the eastbound train going through Princeton an odd number ( train 221). Although this train starts out east from Windsor, once arriving in Toronto it heads for the west coast. Since all but the first 250 miles is heading west a westbound number is used.

Monday 23 March 2015

Twin State Fruit - White River Jct. Vermont

Sept 27, 1992 White River Jct. Vermont George Dutka photo
I scanned in a few of my photos of Twin State Fruit for Marty as reference. I thought I would share them with you also. I measured this structure many years ago and built a building flat at 80 per cent for my layout. My drawings may be found in the CVRHS Ambassador including a brief history...George Dutka

June 12, 1994 George Dutka photo
Sept 8, 1991 George Dutka photo
Sept 18, 1993 George Dutka photo
Sept 19, 1993 Matt Flynn photo
Sept 19, 1993 Matt Flynn photo

Sunday 22 March 2015

Crosby's Coal - Big and Small Models

The finished N scale version rests on the mainline next to my HO scale model on the White River Division. I hope to fill you in on how it all went together shortly...George Dutka

Saturday 21 March 2015

Structure Size?

Holding my just finished Mount Blue Model Co. general store next to a Northeastern Models barn one can see they are close to the same size. One would not want these two structures close to each other. My model will be set by a grouping of small structures. It should work out well on the WRD.
Doug Currie stopped by this week to take a look at the WRD and some of my narrow gauge projects. I had a really busy week but it worked out just right for Doug's early morning visit. At one point we discussed sizing of kits being produced. I had just finished my Andover, Maine general store which was this month's What's in the Box No. 13. I mentioned the larger size of this building in that post. I placed the model beside some of my other structures so Doug could see the comparison I was talking about. He agreed and quickly said it could work well for S scale if a larger front door was added. Doug models Maine in Sn2 and this could make a good addition to his collection.

Yesterday I spent a few minutes taking these two photo. Once I examined them on my laptop I  realized the front door was actually too large for HO scale and I think it could be easily used in S scale as is. I do not have a S scale figure to place by the door, but I am sure it will work....George Dutka

When I took a closer look at this photo I noticed the HO scale figures seem maybe too small next to the doorway. I think one can easily use this structure as an S scale model as is. The front window is large also. This kit uses larger size Tichy windows on the sidewalls and and up above.

Friday 20 March 2015

B&M - Southern Ontario

AEQX 3039 and 3000 are sitting in the CP yard at Havelock.......Keith Hansen photo, Mar. 2015.
Southern Ontario Lading - With a New England Twist
by Peter Mumby

Today's ready-to-roll models are something to behold, with their exquisite details, fine lettering - and fresh, shiny paint.  When I am out railfanning, I enjoy photographing as-new equipment, but that is likely because such cars are unusual.  When it comes to models for the layout or display shelf, I prefer pieces that show a little history.  I like cars with a little rusting and dusting, patched data, and changed reporting marks - hence my interest in the hoppers presented in this post.

These AEQX cars (Atel Equipment Corp) are part of a pool of covered hoppers delivering roofing granules produced by IKO Industries Ltd of Madoc, Ontario.  Not all the cars in this pool are AEQX, but it is specifically the group of ex-Boston and Maine cars that caught my attention.

I first noticed these cars two or three years ago.  At that time IKO was trucking their product south from Madoc to the CN yard at Belleville where the transfer to rail cars was effected.  As of the last few months, CP now holds the contract, and IKO's trucks have started moving west along highway 7 to the yard at Havelock.  The portable transfer equipment has been set up on the south side of the yard where the former GE Railcar repair facility was located.  Loaded cars then are marshalled together with the syenite hoppers from the Nephton mines to form trains bound for Toronto's Agincourt yard.

Loading cars with roofing granules might be a new activity for Havelock, but this is certainly not the first time that hoppers loaded with this product have appeared in the yard.  Ten years ago a large 3M plant was in operation just east of Havelock and CP picked up loads of roofing granules from this facility five days per week.  3M has now moved on, and the spur to the plant lies dormant.

So there you have it - a little excuse to run some Boston and Maine equipment on your Southern Ontario-themed layout.  Anyone for dirtying up a few models?

 AEQX 3040 is sitting in the CN yard at Belleville.  Belleville is the crew change point on the Kingston Sub for trains operating between Montreal and Toronto.........Peter Mumby photo, Aug. 28, 2014.
AEQX 3005 is westbound (loaded) on the CN Kingston Sub at Newcastle........Peter Mumby photo, Sept. 12, 2014.

Thursday 19 March 2015

What's in the Box No. 14

N scale Laser-Art kit by Branchline.
Crosby's Coal - N Scale
You may remember I promised to build a couple of kits for Gary. Here we have a look at what is in the box of the N scale Crosby's Coal kit. I had already built this kit in HO scale, now to try a tiny little one. I found this Branchline kit taxing in HO scale although it did come out well in the end. I am wondering what is to come in a smaller scale. The parts are all nicely cut with no warps. The base is also a nice straight one. My HO scale base was warped which took a good amount of effort to make useful. This kit also has stick on slate roofing which was a nice surprise. The trim is peel and stick which speeds things up....George Dutka

The decals are nice and flow off easy on the wooden siding. One gets a choice of red or white. One has to cut the plastic chute material to length.
The base is a nice flat casting.

Monday 16 March 2015

Press Update

Dean J. Splittgerber passed along this view of Andy's and my mug shots taken at Jim Dufour's open house.
In the April 2015 RMC you can find an article on my Westboro engine facility. One of my photos is currently seen on their web page. On another note seems Andy and I could not avoid the camera's while visiting Jim Dufour's B&M layout. The March edition of Trainmasters TV will include a segment on his open house held in January, the day before the Springfield show....enjoy...George Dutka

Sunday 15 March 2015

N Scale Rollingstock - Adding some interest to the interior

A placard and some scrap lumber to the interior is added for some added interest. Although this is an N scale model one can do the same in HO or O scale to a few cars in your yard.
One of my new N scale boxcar finds is modeled with the door open...I actually did not know doors open on N scale boxcars. It was a very simple upgrade that one can complete in minutes. I gave the interior floor a wash of stain and powders then just glued some of my small leftover wood pieces to the floor. Cars that do not carry lumber do have scraps laying around inside as bracing and spacing material. Other material one could add is wire as banding and brown paper as cardboard wrapping. I once again added a placard to my car which is HO scale. It reads unload this side and the reverse on the other door...and no I am not converting to N scale, just having some fun in another scale...George Dutka

Friday 13 March 2015

CNR Slab Side Covered Hoppers - True Line Trains

CV 4547 handles a string of CNR freight cars offered by True Line Trains.
Once Peter and I finished our CNR reefers I went through my rolling stock packages that have yet to be opened. I came across two CNR slab side covered hoppers I had purchased a few years back but have yet to put in service. Not sure why it is taking so long, but now might be the right time. The cars are beautifully detailed and ready to roll. I got out my powders and toned down the shine a bit and off they go...George Dutka

CNR 135613 was built in 5-1960. It was a group built over a two year period. These hoppers had 8 round hatches on the roof. This car will work well in 1960's and onward trains as these cars had a long life.
CNR 135220 built 6-54 was a group of cars which had 6 square roof hatches. I can add this hopper into my 1950's fleet.

Thursday 12 March 2015

N Scale - New Haven Insulated Boxcar

My Atlas NH car got a light coat of Bragdon weathering and placards on the sides. I actually used HO scale placards which are cut down as small as I could. They still can be read on the car and actually look pretty good.
Peter and I found a deal on a group of N scale rolling stock recently at a local train show. I got five cars and Peter four. One a New Haven insulated boxcar was of special interest. I have one in HO scale, but from the days it ran in red, white and blue. Some of these red, white and blue cars continued through till the end of the NH in 1967. Changes to their appearance began once McGinnis left the NH in January 1956. Beginning sometime in 1956  the paint scheme was simplified. They were painted boxcar red with all white lettering including the large block herald. These reefers also had their charcoal heaters removed by the time of repaint.

The NH originally ordered 100  (no. 45000-45099) of these insulated boxcars for use in potato and news print traffic shipments in 1953. Their order was attached to a BAR order of 450 cars...George Dutka