Tuesday 29 September 2015

Snapshot - Sept 2015

The southbound excursion is seen passing the round barn in East Barnet, Vt. on Oct 4, 1998.
Back in October 1998, the Sunday after the CVRHS convention at Essex Jct. I headed over to St. Johnsbury to photograph a passenger special being run south of town through the great fall foliage. Don't recall how far south it ran but I did catch it coming and going from St. J and a few locations along the line...here are a few views...George Dutka

The southbound excursion is seen heading south on Oct 4, 1998. I was able to catch a view looking through the turntable...not sure if it still remains today but always made for an interesting view.
Northern Vermont Railroad fall foliage excursion at St. Johnsbury, Vt.

Sunday 27 September 2015

Ottawa Layout Tour.....Part 2

This is John's scratchbuilt model of the huge Detroit NYC station and REA depot
    John Mitchell's CASO Layout
     The next layout I visited in Ottawa was John Mitchell's layout representing the Canada Southern (CASO) from Detroit, MI to Buffalo, NY.  John is very operation oriented and has represented the New York Central line as well as a C&O line through Southern Ontario. This layout fills John's entire basement.  Passenger trains play a big role in his operating scheme. Trains start in Detroit on the upper level of his double deck railroad and end in Buffalo on the lower level.  Both places are represented by large passenger terminals and freight yards.  To accommodate Baltimore and Ohio passenger trains coming into Detroit from the west John has built a large model of  the Illinois Central station in Chicago which the B&O used.  This is basically visible staging.
     The line through Southern Ontario includes Windsor, Ont., the large NYC division point of St. Thomas and the Leamington area with it's large Heinz plant as well as other town and other industries along the line.   John has scratchbuilt a great looking model of the NYC St. Thomas passenger station which still stands today and has been renovated with commercial offices.  There is also a freight yard here.  Recently John also added the C&O line from Chatham Ont. to Sarnia and is building a large oil refinery and C&O car ferry dock in the Sarnia scene.
    John has spent a lot of time planning how his layout will operate and says that operating sessions run quite smoothly considering all the ground there is to cover and the numerous industries that need to be switched.  
     It was great to see John again and finally get to visit his layout which I have heard so much about.  I think another trip to Ottawa is definitely in the future.

This scene represents the Illinois Central Station in Chicago where B&O trains are staged and where they depart east to Detroit with connections for the NYC.  The bottom photo shows the transfer table John's friend built to move incoming engines off their train and allows them to run up a clear track to get to the other end of an outbound train.  It also works as a turntable to turn steam engines.
A CPR passenger train bound for Toronto is leaving Detroit and is passing through a heavy industrial area.

This is John's great looking St. Thomas, Ont. NYC passenger station.  It features a lighted full interior.

These two GP-7`s were superdetailed and custom painted by Mark Roach.  The top model represents one of the Canadian built C&O units that were sold to NYC and displays the interim lettering used shortly after the purchase.  The lower locomotive is a Canadian built C&O unit. These engines were built for service in Canada.
A C&O transfer run behind an ALCO RSD-17 is emerging from the Detroit River Tunnel and heading towards the Windsor freight yard.
John's friend painted a rendition of the  Windsor, Ont. station on the backdrop.  Below John is standing in front of the Detroit station scene.  The large structure on the lower level is part of the NYC Buffalo station complex

Ottawa Layout Tour...Part 1


 Two Ottawa Layouts...by Don Janes

     A few weeks a go my wife and I took an RV trip which included a three day stop in Ottawa. While there I decided to call my friend John Mitchell and set up a time to visit his New York Central layout.  While there I also wanted to meet Mike Hamer, a friend of John's and a fellow B&M modeller.  Mike's layout was the cover story in the 2004 edition of Great Model Railroads so I was really hoping John could arrange a visit there also.  Mike graciously invited me to his home and a tour of his beautiful model railroad.  Both layouts were a treat to visit and both were very different.  John's layout filled his entire basement and is very operation oriented while Mike's is in a 11' x 13' basement bedroom and is also operation oriented.  I had a great time visiting both layouts and as usual the time at each place flew by since our interests are so similar and we have so much to talk about.  I also learned there are many more fine modellers in the Ottawa area and some very nice layouts so I definitely have to get back there and do another layout tour someday.
Three GP-7's lead a forty car freight train over the New England River on Mike Hamer's B&M Western Route layout

Mike Hamer's B&M Western Route Layout

     Upon walking into Mike's basement I was a little surprised as I was expecting a layout as soon as I walked in.  In fact I didn't even see the layout at first.  Instead  there were beautiful structure dioramas on a shelf all around the basement and some G scale locomotive on a coffee table in the middle of the room.  There were also several guitars on stands and in cases at one end of the basement.  This is another interest of mine so I could see we definitely had a lot in common.  It turns out that besides being an excellent model builder Mike is an awesome guitarist.  I know he blew me away with his talent.  After making introductions Mike showed me his work then we proceeded to the back of the basement where the layout is located.  I was surprised how little space it took up but the room was filled with everything from the big city scene of North Dover, NH to peaceful countryside scenes like the New England River Bridge and small village along the Salmon River, all beautifully executed in this small space.  
A B&M passenger train is just pulling into North Dover.  The scene behind where the train is coming out from beneath the street and buildings was based on the tunnel in Bellow's Falls, VT
     Mike's layout is quite unique in the fact that there are three hidden staging tracks that run all around the layout behind the backdrop and the layout is in the middle of the room.  They come together at the entrance of the room and trains can be routed either into staging or onto the layout from there.  If you can get your hands on a copy of great Model Railroads 2004 you can see an excellent track plan showing exactly what I am trying to describe.  Mike told me that Trevor Marshall, our mutual friend had a lot to do with this impressive track plan.  
     It was a pleasure to meet Mike and visit his excellent model railroad.  His work top notch and he is willing to share everything about his modelling skills.  The following photos will show you what I am talking about.
These two views show the staging tracks and how they wrap around the outside of the layout.

Here are two more views of North Dover showing the various industries and all the operating potential.
Mike likes to add a personal touch to his scenes as illustrated by his model of the Martin Guitar Co. building.
This rural scene includes a model of the first country school that Mike taught in.
North Tower is where trains enter or leave the layout in either direction.  Here  an MEC freight is waiting for the B&M train to clear the junction.

The New England River bridge is a good spot to railfan and this day we were lucky to catch three trains crossing the bridge.

I got two more shots of B&M 1746, one at North Tower and the other crossing the stone arch bridge over the Salmon River before it was time to pack up and head back to my trailer.
Here's Mike proudly displays his recently completed Mt. Albert Scale Lumber new HO scale kit.  Behind him is the poster of his GMR cover and several of his structures.


Tuesday 22 September 2015

Fall 2015

N scale meet HO.
We are currently knee deep in a kitchen renovation...hardwood floors are being refinished on Thursday and Friday booting us out of the house till Monday. A ton to do before Thursday. Cupboards go in mid Oct. and my boat out on Oct. 6th. I am tied up with chores till Thanksgiving...no modeling this fall. I will try to post when I can but I am thinking Wordless Wednesday's will be about as far I will be able to commit to for a bit...see you soon...George Dutka

Sunday 20 September 2015

DCC on the White River Division

A NCE Power Cab controls the White River Division and has worked flawlessly so far.
As mentioned before I use NCE Power Cab for controlling my layout. Since the layout is not all that large this has worked fine over the past few years. With an extension into the next room a second controller is needed. I worked out a deal with Don for his 06 cab since he is now NCE wireless. Some long cable purchased from Doug's Trains here in town and a cab bus terminal for Bellows Falls, I hope I have all that I need to get trains rolling. I did a test fit to see if the power would be sufficient and it appears OK...will see when the track goes down...George Dutka

Here is what I need to operate into the next room from my power cab. I do have a longer cord for the power routing. This short one will give me another control location in the future on the opposite side of Westboro. Don was a great guy and gave me an extra controller holder back in the spring.

This is Don's controller that I purchase from him after the Collinsville show...he picked up the same unit but wireless at a hobby shop on the way home. It is good to use the same system as other modelers one hangs around with. That way you can pick their brains when problems arise.

Saturday 19 September 2015

New out on the Shelves

It appears the Rapido NH FL9's are out now. The front display case at Credit Valley Railway had one on display. Check out the price.
Yesterday I headed over to Pt. Credit near Toronto for the fall boat show and to find out about getting some canvas work done on my boat this fall. After looking at all the nice new and used boat (by the time I left a $150,000 boat sounded cheap...don't tell my wife) I then headed over to Credit Valley Railway hobby shop one of the bigger locations near Toronto and a short drive away from the boat show. By the time I left Credit Valley my $200 plus engines purchased last winter and this spring sounded cheap also. I was amazed how much more engines cost these days. Guess it does not help that our Canadian dollar has taken a plunge. So the day did not bring me any deals on boats or trains... guess hiding my charge card before I left home was not necessary...George Dutka

Atlas has a new Alco out lettered for the Central Vermont. A great looking model but at a steep price around here. Sorry about the quality of the photos they are shot through the glass display case.
I found this 38 foot sailboat one of the more interesting offerings at this years boat show...at $144,000 it is five feet longer than my current sailboat and the price...well two and a half times more expensive does not sound like a sensible upgrade for five feet.

Thursday 17 September 2015

No Parking

Throwback Thursday: Mind Those "No Parking" Signs!
Photo and Commentary by Peter Mumby

This little post only throws back as far as Sept 07, 1998, but illustrates for me the validity of my "take photos now and ask questions later" policy.  I have not seen another railway sign like this anywhere else, and this particular sign is long gone from this specific location.  Presumably CP (or StLH, as the sign implies) had received some complaints about parked idling locomotives in this vicinity, but I'm not sure that the notice was totally successful; CP5637 in the background was parked and idling at the time of the picture.  CP crews in London Ontario refer to this location as McCormick's.  It is at the end of McCormick Blvd, near the former McCormick's Candy factory.  At the time of the photo this was a sometime crew change point, so power was bound to be parked here on occasion.  Oh, well - some official must have thought they had stumbled onto a good plan!

Today this location is all fenced off, another urban site lost to the railfan photographer in the name of increased security.

Tuesday 15 September 2015

Re-Purposed Rail Cars

Havelock's steel van is ex-CP 434700.  Today's conductor is Caiden Mumby, my three year old grandson.
The Cabooses of Havelock, Ont.
Photos and Commentary by Peter Mumby

Locomotives and cabooses are the most popular pieces of out-moded rail equipment to be put on display for the general public.  Railway museums are obvious places to seek out rolling stock, but many communities and private groups have such pieces as well.  The railway village of Havelock has two cabooses, one on display and the other in use as an office.  An ex-CP steel van is located by the tourist information booth along highway 7,  while an ex-CP wood van serves as the church office for Fellowship Baptist Church a couple of blocks north and west of the commercial area.  Modern era modellers take note: you can legitimately have a caboose or two on your layout!

When this photo was taken on August 03, 1996, this wood van was a recent arrival on the property of Fellowship Baptist Church, so it's latest paint work was relatively intact.
By July 04, 2015, the caboose had been re-sided and was fully labelled as being the church office.  This is probably one of a very few wood CP vans with Wi Fi on board!  I could have crawled underneath to check on the car number stamped on the frame, but the Canadian Trackside Guide saved me the effort!  It is ex-CP 437247.

Saturday 12 September 2015

NH RDC Unit - N Scale

The NH RDC unit is ready to roll while the Mikado needs some detail parts added. Most are included in a separate package, but with all used equipment there always are a few missing components. On this model the handrails need to be bent and a bell added. Both units are made by Kato
Peter and I plan on building a N scale module that can be fit together. We are looking at using foam for the base this time around. Neither of us have yet worked with this material. I picked up a Kato CNR Mikado as my freight power for my section of the line. Peter has a more contemporary fleet on the go...so things will be interesting. I recently picked up a Kato NH RDC unit which I could not resist...it is used but runs great. Both units will be used on my module set in the 1950's. The scene will be set so both CNR in Southwestern Ontario and the NH in Connecticut can be visualized. I did have a thought of repainting the RDC in CNR colours, but I really like the look of the NH on it...will see what happens this winter...George Dutka

The RDC needed the air horns, mail hook and roof vents added before it could go in service. Here we see it posed on the White River Division will all available parts applied. I also gave the trucks and vents a dusting of Bragdon powders.
The vents on the roof were missing in the parts package. I made these from HO Branchline passenger car leftovers. This unit has operating marker lights which I was surprised to see.

Friday 11 September 2015

Zubick's Scrap Metals - London, Ont.

Any car arriving for scrapping will have some sort of stencilled notice to keep it from being loaded en route.
An Industry You Can Model - Zubick's Scrap Metals
Article and photos by Peter Mumby

This week as you put out your blue boxes, you can look up and down the street and note with some satisfaction that most of your neighbours have bought into your municipality's recycling programme.  However, if you have been a homeowner for 20+ years, you know it wasn't always this way.  North Americans have been notorious with regard to filling landfills with recyclable items.  The major exception over the years has been scrap metals.

This Zubick's logo appears on trucks and bins.  The company has been extant since 1946; my visit occurred on August 05, 2015
 Since couplers cannot be painted, here is a place where a good dose of rusty weathering is justified.  Save all those "Kadee compatible" couplers as you replace them with the real thing, and you are well on the way to modelling your scrap yard!
Scrap metal has been of great value to individuals and governments - swords have been "beaten into ploughshares" (and vice versa) for hundreds of years.  Who knows - that blade you shaved with this morning could trace its heritage back to the industrial revolution!

The title of this piece might be a bit of a misnomer.  Occupying a 24-acre site in east London, Zubick's would take up a huge area even in Z scale.  It's mountains of carefully segregated material and huge pieces of equipment would have to be very selectively compressed.  Besides, the vast majority of its deliveries and shipments are by truck, so we'll concentrate on those aspects of the industry that are rail-related.  One hint to the prospective scrap yard modeller - don't make those piles of material look as rusty as they do in the model railway magazines.  Most of the material received at Zubick's is quickly resold, leaving the site within two weeks!

In business since 1946, John Zubick Ltd. is currently located at 105 Clarke Road in London, Ontario.  It has a private rail spur off the north mainline track of the CN Dundas Subdivision just west of the control point known as Frauts (m.p. 74.0).  Ten years ago, local CN freight #511 could often be seen shoving hopper cars full of railroad scrap as well as complete cars (mostly tanks) into the site by way of this spur.  Today rail car recycling is not as centralized as it once was, so this aspect of the business has been in decline.  However, there still is a significant rail component to the Zubick's operation, and this is what we'll be considering through a perusal of the accompanying photos.

There are three weigh scales on the premises.  This tower contains the equipment which records the weight of rail cars.

This Procor tank is one of two that were ready to be cut up at the time of my visit.

An interesting detail showing up throughout the yard were a variety of storage bins made from cut-up tank cars.  Now you know what to do with all those Tyco and Model Power tank cars you acquired when you first got in to the hobby!

 This mobile shear is designed to cut up rail cars at locations remote from the yard.  It is sub-lettered for subsidiary "London Rail Services."
Tank cars must have couplers incorporating both an upper and a lower shelf.  Perhaps this detail could be overlooked on a string of tank cars operating on the layout, but a stand-alone model in your scrap yard wouldn't be complete without the proper couplers!

These wheel sets will be re-sold.  There is a good market for wheel sets and side frames for 100-ton trucks.

 Not every railcar that appears in the yard will be cut up.  This reinforced box car has started a second life as a storage facility.
Here we see an ASF Ride Control truck stacked above a Barber S-2 truck; the lower truck is stamped "Dofasco."  This detail might be difficult to duplicate in 1:87!

One of the first things you notice as your approach the front gate is a collection of large sculptures made from scrap metal.  Zubick's has developed a relationship with Fanshawe College whereby certain students head off campus to create these pieces of art at the yard.
Here a group of the sculptures soars high over parked off-duty vehicles.