This last Saturday I “attended” my first Railroad Prototype Modelers meet all from the social isolation of my comfy chair. Organized by Ted Culotta of Speedwitch Media, Ryan Mendell of National Scale Car and Hunter Hughson, modeller of Penn Central’s Niagara Branch, this eight hour virtual meet was attended by roughly 170 modelers from all across North America and probably beyond.
I have not managed to attend an RPM in the past since the local one always seems to be a calendar conflict for me and I prefer to use my rare travelling attendance on meets with a wider scope. I decided to attend this one largely because it required no travel, no cost and Ryan and Hunter are two of the attendees for Train Night in Canada. My attendance was amply rewarded as I did come away with a number of useful ideas and learned some interesting prototype information that might be useful some day.
I listened to a number of excellent presentations on an assortment of specific prototype modeling topics. The speakers were all excellent although there was the odd technical hiccup as we have all come to expect in this era. Glitches were eventually overcome and all the presentations got delivered. For general historical interest, I particularly enjoyed Roger Chrysler’s talk on Lidgerwood and Hart cars. This was a system for bulk unloading of aggregate for ballasting and filling trestles. Picture a winch car at one end of a train pulling a plow the length of the train to push the load out the side doors. I had no idea such a system existed.
For specific usefulness, Jered Slusser’s presentation on USRE 40′ was definitely the winner. Most of my current boxcar fleet are variations on the old Intermountain 1937 AAR 40′ boxcar kit now carried by Atlas as ready-to-run. These would have fit the previous effort, based in the late 1940’s well but would be getting implausibly long in the tooth and rare in the mid 1970’s. Unless they were rebuilt! And now they shall be! Eventually….
The organizers are planning additional instances of their virtual RPM format in the future. If this is something you might be interested in, watching Speedwitch Media’s blog would be the best way to find out in a timely manner.
Whilst we were in Kingston, Ontario on the weekend for a family event, we had occasion to stop at a Tim Horton’s outlet, as one does. Unbeknownst to me, my insufficiently deferential teens observed me standing in the parking lot, taking the subject photo. When the question was raised about what thing Dad might be photographing, the guess quickly came down to “trains or brickwork”. As we set off again, I began to expound about the photographic subject with its at least eight different sections of masonry and heard from the back seat: “Brickwork! Told you!” Hmmph! Clearly I failed as a parent somehow. 🙂
In any case, here is the subject photo. For those of you who, like me, do appreciate such things, you will note the wide variety of brick and stonework that has accumulated over the years. While I doubt that it had any direct railroad connection, the Grand Trunk(CNR) and Kingston & Pembroke Railways did run along the shoreline right past these buildings, all of which almost certainly dates from or before the railroad era. Modelling all this would be an interesting project.
Algoma Central’s reach goes beyond the rails.
Being laid up for the winter, she is as empty as possible which gave me the opportunity for a detail shot you don’t usually get. This one is for the boat nerds.
For the non-nautically inclined set, that is a shot of the Algoma Harvester’s bow thruster from the starboard side. It is usually at least partially under water.
Last weekend I attended the Greater Toronto Train Show. In contrast to most of my show outings, I spent relatively little time looking at modelling and much more time chatting with various modellers and vendors. I also found several things available that I have been intending to purchase and did my bit to support the hobby.
One of the thing I have been meaning to do for several years and not got round to was joining the CNR Historical Association. The CNRHA had a table at the show and was offering a “past, present and future” package that included the past issues and data DVD, the current issue of their CN Lines magazine and a subscription to the next four issues. I made up for my lateness to the party by getting the lot.
I am quite pleased with the current issue, number 70. The photographs are excellent and the topics are varied and interesting. There is an account of a derailment in Saanich BC (Vancouver Island), a place I visited when I was in the Navy. There is an article about a private passenger car built on a 1910 Pullman sleeper that was converter to a troop car in WWII and did rules instruction duty thereafter. And it’s owner who DIY’ed its restoration! There is also an article on some 0-8-0 switchers CN acquired from the Buffalo Creek Railroad to provide a temptation for a would be locomotive scratchbuilder.
CN Lines is available in some hobby shops, at least in Toronto but if you are a CN fan you probably already know how to get it. My major recommendation is for everybody to join up for the equivalent organization for their favourite railroad(s). I will admit that I took too long to get to it despite the recurring recommendations in the hobby press but I am glad I finally did it.
I have previously mention my plans to detail my Atlas SW-8 as a Canadian National unit for Comstock Road’s primary Motive Power. I am lucky in that there are many photographs of these units to be had. The issue is that railfans have different photographic goals than model makers. They never include one of those dimensioned sticks for instance. They also are less concerned with underbody, pilot or roof detail although bridge shots do tend to cover the latter.
Thanks to a Tuesday Train post by Stephen Gardiner, I knew there was a plinthed CNR SW-8 in Memorial Park in Lindsay, Ontario. Which is conveniently on the way to this years canoe trip. I managed the time to stop by the park with notebook, tape measure and phone/camera in hand to gather some information. I am especially interested in the shop-built handrails that replaced the factory hood mounted ones.
I had a warm but enjoyable time climbing up and down over the loco accompanied by half a dozen railfans in the 5-8 year old age bracket. I was the only one taking notes and measurements and allowed to climb about unsupervised so nyeah! 🙂
I took many badly composed but useful detail shots and learned a few things you can’t tell from photos. For example, the handrail stanchion bases look solid from any normal angle but are actually formed from 1/4″ steel plate just like the stanchions themselves. I foresee a use for my Micromark photo etch kit in the not-to-distant future!
I also took shots of the brake gear, the pilots, the headlights, etc. Here is another shot railfans would see no reason for.
All these shots are of a restored locomotive so there may be some deviations from the original (other than the missing spark arrestor and blocked off windows) so I will check for other sources where I can but this is way better than just working off shadows in photographs.
Here is an overall shot of the long hood end just to round things off.
FYI, the side handrails are centered 3 feet about the walkway. Somebody liked round numbers. 🙂
Track by Jim Pike is one of the book deals I got at the Great British Train Show 2018. It is also the unread book I chose to take on this year’s canoe trip with my teenagers. The apple not falling far from this particular tree, I had to set a limit of one book each since it all has to get carried over portages. The Ziploc freezer bag is inner line of defense. The outer line being the barrel pack it rode in.
This an interesting book for those curious about the history of railway track construction. Written from a UK perspective, it covers the evolution of guided ground transport starting from medieval mine carts. Jim Pike, the author freely admits that this is an arbitrary choice. He also wisely brushes off that whole how did 4’8.5″ become standard gauge. Signaling is also not covered since it is well covered elsewhere.
Track focuses on the construction details of the track systems themselves: rails, sleepers(ties), wheels and fasteners. Methods of handling diverging routes and crossings are covered as well as some lineside features such as mile markers. I use the vague term “diverging routes” because the breadth of track systems covered includes those where turnouts and the like are not used. All sorts of interesting oddities get a mention including a steam powered Irish monorail that made it up into the 1920’s and an inclined line of variable gauge! that survived long enough that the owning entity that closed it was British Rail.
I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone interested in the history of track construction. You, too, can find out interesting things like why UK track workers are called platelayers. (And wonder why they are still called that.) Published in 2010, Track by Jim Pike is available through various online retailers in both physical and e-book form.
Using a camera phone in bright sunlight can be a challenge when you can’t even see the screen to aim. I attempted to compensate by taking a bunch of shots and managed one acceptable result.
Here is CN Dash 8-40CW 2400 leading an eastbound past George’s Trains in Markham on a brisk Sunday afternoon.
The Nor’easter in Halifax has subsided enough for the casual railfan to venture out. Primed with excellent advice from Chris at Prince Street, I visited CN’s Rockingham Yard to see if anything was stirring on a blustery afternoon. Nothing happening at the north end visible from the public viewing platform.
But in the distance, headlights! For the first time in my life, I relocated in an attempt to spot some trains.
After a bit of a wait, CN 9576, a GP40-2L came out of the trackage leading to the container port. I presume that it had just spotted a cut of cars. Camera phone at the ready, I managed to take a lot of closeup shots of chainlink fence and one halfways decent one. Op success!
Perhaps I will manage to get out there in the early morning when more things are happening. Now off to a hobby shop!