Monday 31 August 2015

Collin's Diner - Canaan, Ct.

Collin's Diner has been at this location since 1941.
At Canaan, Ct. Collin's diner can be found in the same parking lot as the station. A kind of neat looking structure that I thought you might like to see. Don and I had a big breakfast already but have put this on our list for a stop next time through town. If the diner look familiar to you, it has been used in numerous Hollywood films. Some vintage views can be found on the diners web page below...George Dutka

 Welcome to the Collin ' s Diner

Collin's Diner on a wet May 31, 2015 morning.
One can see the location is well within sight of the station at Canaan, Ct.

A great deal for breakfast.

Thursday 27 August 2015

Real or Model?

I am really impressed now with Don's new not only takes photos of the present but it can also take photos from the past!
Don Janes sent me this photo in colour which I posted regarding his new camera a few days ago. Since then he has played around with it a little more and edited a few others of his photo. This one in particular he sent me looks real...I had to take a second look...I know a few others that got the same e-mail are thinking the same thing...enjoy the Rutland Ry. as it once was...George Dutka

Niagara Central Hobbies

The sign in the window says it all.  Niagara Central Hobbies is closing its doors after nearly sixty years in business.
The Changing Face of Hobby Retailing
Photos and Commentary by Peter Mumby

On Friday, August 14, I made a short pilgrimage to St Catharines - and had a long trip down memory lane.  I had heard that Niagara Central Hobbies was going to close up shop after being in business since 1947.  I had no idea what kind of stock remained, but I decided I wanted to visit the store one last time.

When I first started getting serious about model trains in the early 1970s, there were two major hobby shops in Southern Ontario - George's Trains in Toronto, and Niagara Central in St Catharines.  With its rows of glass cases full of brass locomotives and rolling stock, Niagara Central was my shop of choice.  My first brass locomotive was purchased there, circa 1973; it looked great, but never did actually run particularly well.  As I recall, subsequent visits often involved taking items to trade.  Allowances were fair, and Ray Lounsbury was always reasonable to deal with.

By the late 1970s I had started doing a fair bit of custom painting.  This didn't last for too many years, with the main reasons being twofold.  First, the solvent-based paints of the era didn't really agree with my nasal passages.  Most important, however, after working on an item for 4-6 weeks, I really hated to give it up. Imagine my pleasant surprise when, on one visit to Niagara Central, Ray's display case included a brass FP7  diesel I had recently painted in CP colours for a customer!  By buying this unit back, I was finally able to have my cake and eat it too.

By the early 1980s I had gotten serious about becoming a train show vendor.  I can remember reading letters to the editor in MR and RMC magazines about the perceived threat such vendors, with their low overhead and discount prices, posed for bricks and mortar hobby shops.  Little did we know at that point that, thirty years down the line, something called the Internet would spawn businesses capable of offering even deeper discounts - tough competition for both the storefront shops and the train show dealers!

So, back to my pilgrimage of August 14.  Did I return to London with a trunk full of hobby bargains?  Prices were being discounted by 60%, but stock by then was pretty well limited to bits and parts.  I probably didn't really need a few more decal sets and detail parts, but I picked them up anyway - and I hope my grandson will enjoy the Thomas the Tank locomotive I selected for his wooden train set!

Your final possible date for a visit to Niagara Central Hobbies on St Paul Street in St Catharines is August 29.

My first brass locomotive was purchased at Niagara Central around 1973.  If you look carefully you can see that the price had been reduced from $119.98 to $99.98.  And I didn't have to pay HST!

Here is the brass FP7 model that made my day on one of those late 1970s visits.  State of the art back then, but I hesitate to put it side-to-side with one of today's Rapido models!

Tuesday 25 August 2015

New Camera

A Panasonic view of the White River Division with Don's new pocket camera. The photo is done on auto setting which gives limited depth of field.
Don Janes stopped by yesterday after doing some errands plus some shopping in London. His Canon pocket camera is toast and he needed a new one. He picked up a Panasonic LUMIX LF 1 camera. It is a nice and thin camera about the size of a I-phone. We took it downstairs to see what sort of model railroad photos it takes (the camera is actually mainly for his wife use) but he wants to use it on trips. Right out of the box the photos seemed to look pretty good although we did not figure out the depth of field...Don did some reading when he got home and took some additional photo. None of the photos are edited although resized to fit this get to be the camera  judge...George Dutka

Once home Don took the following photos with AV setting and proper depth of field. This is one of his newer scenes.

Monday 24 August 2015

Yesterday's Postcard

The Central Vermont shop track on the White River Division.
I was playing around with my old Blackberry Playbook at the lake last week using some of the apps and photos I had took. Here is one I came up with. This postcard is one I actually made last year. I will share a few newer ones shortly....George Dutka

Friday 21 August 2015

Visit by Bill Brigham

That's Bill on the left next to the White River Jct. station.
Yesterday an old friend from Vermont stopped by for a visit. Bill Brigham past CVRHS president is on his way to Michigan for a wedding and wanted to stop by for a visit and to check out the White River Division. He actually stayed in London for the night with another old friend and travel companion to New England from years ago Warren Dodgson. Warren lives only a few blocks away. A really nice visit and catch-up. Years ago I used to visit Bill at the stations along the CV he worked at as Amtrak agent...George Dutka

Thursday 20 August 2015

Summer Update

Guess it has to be the late 1960's or 1970's by the looks of this photo on the WRD. A CV freight is headed to White River Jct.
I have not been down in the basement much but I did get a few jobs completed this summer. One, my Rapido smoker and a MEC caboose. Peter Mumby stopped by on Sunday to download some photos and scan a few slide for a few upcoming posts he is planning. We made a trip down to the layout as he had not seen the modern fleet (modern to me...old to others) staged on the WRD. We counted up 40 pieces of rolling stock and 4 engines...more than I though I had. Don Janes has just finished the roadway to his rock crusher scene which looks great. He sent me 4 photos to pick from for this post...they are all so good I decided to post them all.

I am trying to get to the lake (boat) as much as I can the last couple of weeks of summer so you may find days in a row and weekends that I am away from a computer...I hope to get back to RRing again by the end of September...George Dutka

The crusher office if part of a two pack - Bar Mills utilities office. Don has done a nice job with his office. Additional posts regarding Bar Mills utility sheds are found Feb 26, 27 March 1, 5, 2015.
The crusher scene is looking good. Don had just finished the roadway this week.
Looking into the scene from near the main line.
The bridge to the right covers the hole in the wall to the White River Jct. scene.  Don has done a nice job with the roadway.
Last Tuesday's visit to Toronto took us from the St. Lawrence Market along the waterfront then up to Steam Whistle for a cold one before boarding the train for home. The brewery is in the far end of the old CPR John St. roundhouse. The grounds is now a museum of Canadian railway equipment. More on that later.

Tuesday 18 August 2015

General Steel Castings Pulpwood Cars

In the White River Jct. yard two ex-D&H pulpwood cars are renumbered as MEC cars. The models are by Atlas which needed a bit of assembly, grabs and so on. The pulp loads looked too shiny and not that distinct when viewed from the sides. My loads got a wash of black water based paint which added shadows to the logs.
The current (Aug 2015) RMC has a nice article on General Steel Castings pulpwood cars. I had assembled a couple of MEC cars a few years back that I wondered about. They are painted D&H and had blackened areas with MEC added. It was interesting to see these particular cars are noted as built for the C&O in 1956 (100 cars) and at some point sold to D&H, MEC, ACL, SCL and CSXT. It appears some or all the D&H cars then went to the MEC. A thought, some transfers from D&H to MEC might have been through the Guilford era...George Dutka.

I had two other pulpwood D&H cars set aside for years...maybe it is time to get them rolling. You can see the difference in the wood loads.
As one can see there are many grabs that need to be added to the D&H black pulpwood cars.

Monday 17 August 2015

Snapshot - Aug 2015

My view of a nice new CN engine leading a morning eastbound towards London, Ont.
On Saturday I was on my way home taking my usual route which takes me over the CPR and CNR tracks just west of London. It is kind of a back way home down River Rd. through Kilworth. To my surprise Peter Mumby was standing at the crossing with his scanner. Not being in a hurry I pull over and had a bit of a visit. Peter was allowing himself 15 minutes at this location as he was headed to Hamilton to take in a CFL game later in the day with his son. I took one last look down the track before I left and there was a headlight heading our way. I quick trip to the car for a camera while Peter sets up his video camera and we both got a similar shot. To our surprise the eastbound had a brand new shiny unit on the lead. It has been a long time since I saw a shiny new engine on the well worth the Saturday track side visit. Oh by the way Peter blew his 15 minutes by at least 15 minutes...George Dutka

Peter Mumby's view of the eastbound. Although we both are standing in the same general area we each caught a different view. I was using a Canon telephoto zoom lens while Peter was using the stock Canon zoom lens.

Sunday 16 August 2015

Union - Pearson Express, Toronto, Ont.

The UP Express is seen from one of the very few openings just outside of the Toronto Skywalk.
My wife and I went to Toronto, Ont. by train on Tuesday...the main reason was the St. Lawrence market but I did sneak away for a few photos of the new Union Pearson Express service. It runs every 15 minutes out of Union Station to Pearson Airport. The run is 25 minutes long with additional stops at Bloor and Weston. Service is 7 days a week from 530am till 1am. I was told 5 sets of equipment are required for the service to work.  I found it hard to find a good spot to get a great photo of the train around Union station with all the glass walkways in your way...shooting through the glass is not great. When the train leaves the station one can wait around for the next train to arrive in about  5 minutes...they must pass each other not far west of Union station which would make for an interesting view...have yet to visit the other stations. At Union Station, UP Express re-built a separate station on the Toronto Skywalk not far from VIA and GO connections. At Pearson airport the train arrives beside the Link Train at Terminal 1...George Dutka

Looking from the Toronto Skywalk one can see an arriving UP Express train.

Looking through the station window one can see the lead end of the just arrived UP Express with a GO train arriving at Union Station in the background.

UP Express has just arrived at Union. A change of ends and off this train goes once again. The best light for this shot is mornings. Many areas in the afternoon are shaded.
UP Express passes under Blue Jays Way which leads to the dome and CN tower.
Looking into the newly finished UP Express Union station. As you can see there are many the moment they outnumber the passengers.

This billboard is seen by passengers arriving Union Station.

This is looking inside the station, east to west. The glass walls are actually opening doorways that passengers board through.

Thursday 13 August 2015

New Haven 10 Window Smoker-Coach

NH smoker-coach is put into service on the White River Division after a few added details and paint.
This spring I picked up a Rapido NH 10 window smoker-coach. It is a great model that could go into service as is but I want it to look similar to my other coaches in appearance. The model comes with a partial skirt or without skirting in three numbers each. Mine has partial skirting. The model also comes with the proper roof vents over the smoking lounge. On my model I began by taking off the roof and added the batteries for the interior lighting. The roof, trucks and underframe got a coat of Floquil grimy black. I added a few passenger as I do with all my coaches followed by interior shades made from paper bags. The blinds are at various heights. The trucks and roof are applied and it is ready to roll...George Dutka

The roof and trucks are removed from the coach for painting. Grimy black takes away the shine from the roofing and trucks. Some chalk weathering will add to the final look. I have done this with all my Rapido coaches and baggage cars.
Two more passengers are ready for painting. One can see through the windows how much more interest passengers add to the coach.
Passengers are added to the interior. Some are Woodland Scenics while others are painted metal castings. Note the shine is gone from the roof with a more weathered look. Floquil grimy black is my go-to colour for roofing.

The paper shades are partly installed with a section still to go. The smoker section will get longer blinds.

Sunday 9 August 2015

White River Jct. Yardmaster's Fax

This Fax is the B&M yardmaster's copy of train #390's consisit for Nov. 13, 1978 arriving WRJ. I found this document while measuring up the yard office in the 1990's. Note. the destinations of the railcars...George Dutka

Saturday 8 August 2015

Jim Dufour's Layout - B&M Cheshire Branch

A B&M local is seen in the siding at Webb, NH.
On the way to this years Springfield, Mass. train show Andy and I dropped by to see Jim Dufour's B&M Cheshire Branch . He occasionally has an open house the Friday before the Springfield show. Jim's layout has been documented through youtube videos in the past and more recently on TrainMaster.TV.

Jim's layout is a slice of the Cheshire Branch, Circa 1947-1951. He models 5 consecutive stations. They are State Line, Fitzwilliam, Troy, Webb and Joslin. In a recent B&M Bulletin, Volume XXIX, No. 1 has two really nice article on the Cheshire that might be worth reading if interested in this line. The Cheshire Branch running from South Ashburnham, Mass. to Bellows Falls, Vt. just after WWII was a very busy single track line. Here are a few views from our visit to Jim's layout I took with my pocket Canon camera...George Dutka

Bill Badger is in control of the lone freight train this January day. I don't see any paperwork in his hands...I am glad he had the main track all to himself.
On our visit Barry Silverthron of TrainMaster.TV was filming Jim's open house. Jim has his back to both of us...I wonder why. As you can see I was filming Barry also. No hiding from the camera's that day...I think there are views of Andy and I in that segment.

Andy checks "the Troy ledges"out, a newly finished location.

B&M 2730 is at Webb, NH on the Cheshire Branch. I really love the great job Jim has done with his static grass.

A view of Golding-Keene a local company that mined feldspar, the main ingredient in Bon Ami cleaner.

The feldspar was trucked to this siding in dump trucks and stored in these two silos. One silo loaded boxcars while the other was setup for loading hoppers. Interesting how Jim can model such a scene and not crowd the others in a smaller basement.

A early era pickup truck is being loaded at the J M Parker mill.