Thursday 15 February 2018

Throwback Thursday - Modelling the Mundane

CP 3114 leads 8237, 8234, and 3111 across the North School Road level crossing on the July 23, 2007 version of the Nephton road switcher.  In tow are empty covered hoppers destined for Indusmin plants at Nephton and Blue Mountain.
By Peter Mumby

Railfans are often attracted to equipment that is flashy or unusual.  Prototype modellers, however, prefer to stick with motive power and rolling stock of the day-to-day variety, something which helps establish a place and time.  This photo of the northbound Nephton road switcher was lensed on July 23, 2007, but this same picture could have been taken on any other working day that summer (or in the several years bracketing this date.)  The job of this train is to haul empties north to the Indusmin plants at Nephton and Blue Mountain, and loads south to Havelock for furtherance to Agincourt yard in Toronto.  Typical head end power for this era was a pair of 8200-series GP9s between a pair of 3100-series GP38-2s.  These units would often remain together for weeks or months at a time, so potential modellers wouldn't have to break the bank acquiring a huge variety of locomotives.    Behind the power is a group of National Steel Car-built 4850-5200 cubic foot capacity cars in the Soo 115000-118000 number series.  These covered hoppers had been prominent in this service since the late 1990s, and would be signature models on any representational layout.

Jump back to 1990 and the same train would have featured locomotives from Montreal Locomotive Works, a mix of 1800-series RS-18s and 4200-series C-424s.  There tended to be quite a bit of rotation among the units used, so this era might be a more expensive proposition for the modeller.  Much of the train would have been made up of Canadian-built 3800 cubic foot cylindrical hoppers in the black CP Rail scheme or in a grey colour with a red "Indusmin" logo.  These latter cars wore NCHX, NAHX, or UNPX reporting marks.  The recent release from Rapido Scale Trains is a model of this car type, although the Indusmin scheme is conspicuous in its absence.  Could we hope for its inclusion in a subsequent release?

We might now consider fast forwarding to 2015.  By now the GP9s had joined the RS18s and 424s in retirement.  A typical lash-up would feature a single GP38-2 bracketed by a pair of 2200-series Progress Rail GP20C-ECO units.  By now the trailing covered hoppers were typified by shorter high capacity two-bay cars with reporting marks such as GACX and CEFX.

So, what is "typical" depends very much on the era the modeller chooses to emulate.  This is not to imply that "unusual" equipment never showed up on the Nephton road switcher.  There were times when leased GP40s and even one of CP's short-lived Gensets showed up in this service, but this was definitely exceptional.  So, modellers, choose your era and your equipment, but give serious consideration to sticking with plain vanilla.

No comments:

Post a Comment