Thursday, 22 February 2018

Throwback Thursday: Via Rail Canada SD40-2 No. 757?

Via 757 and its train are parked at Porteau, BC, on July 05, 1989.
By Peter Mumby

An observer of current Via operations would note that the motive power roster is quite homogeneous.  If you're not looking at a GE P42DC, then it's  a rebuilt GMD F40PH-3.  However, over the course of Via's history, variety has definitely been the order of the day.

Via Rail Canada, Inc, was born on April 01, 1978.  Although combined passenger operations under the Via/CN banner had already been in effect for a short period, it was in 1978 that Via assumed ownership of its first locomotive and equipment fleet (all of the "previously enjoyed" variety.)  Since that day Via's collection of new or used motive power has come from a variety of builders.
- from Budd - various RDC units.
- from the consortium of MLW/United Aircraft of Canada - turbo train power cars.
- from EMD - 2 E8A and 4 SW1000 units.
- from GMD - a group of FP7A/F7B and FP9A/F9B units, along with the previously mentioned F40PH-2/F40PH-3 locomotives.
- from MLW - FPA-2u/FBP-2u and FPA-4/FBP-4 units, along with a single RS-10.
- from Bombardier - LRC-2 and LRC-3 locomotives
- from GE - the current P42DC units.

As far as I know, this listing is quite complete.  So what of the SD-40-2 mentioned in the header for this post?  Was it just some precursor to today's penchant for "fake news"?  There is a story behind the photo, and here follows my version of the tale.

On July 05, 1989 I was driving south along the Pacific coast towards Vancouver.  Rounding a corner at Porteau Cove I spotted this interesting train set parked on BC Rail trackage.  Since my habit is to "shoot first and ask questions later," I was quickly parked and the photo had been exposed.  It became obvious that this was indeed a BC Rail unit in disguise, and that the trailing equipment came from a variety of sources.  I later learned that these were props for a movie production, specifically The Narrow Margin, which featured Gene Hackman.  The trailing power car was formerly a BC Rail radio control unit, and originally a CP FM C-line B unit.  The cars were leased from Roaring Fork in Colorado.  The station marked "Monashee" in the background was one of two such props assembled for the movie.  The exact location of this station was at MP 26 of the Squamish Sub at the location the railway called Porteau.

So, there you have a description of the anomaly that was Via Rail 757.  And, of course, 2018 will mark Via's 40th anniversary, so let's keep an eye out to see if last year's Canada 150 banners are replaced with ones of the Via 40 variety.  Just one more thing - I never did get to see The Narrow Margin.  If you happen to notice it in the TV listings, maybe you could let me know!

Monday, 19 February 2018


Nov. 12, 2013 Braintree, Vermont MP 50. Bill Brigham photo.
This is the Christmas card I got in 2013 from Bill Brigham which I thought had a typical Vermont view featuring the Vermonter...enjoy...George Dutka

Sunday, 18 February 2018

A Structure Maybe Worth Modeling?

An old garage that might make a nice model. Brian Smith photo.
 Brian Smith sent along these photos he took in Colborne, Ontario. This structure sure looks like something one would add to a layout...George Dutka

A brick chimney and an interesting finish to the walls of the main building.

Some ghosting of an old sign is seen out front.

What's in the Box - No. 29

All the material is laid out for inspection. I find the instructions minimal and the printing a bit small for my old eyes.
N Scale Architect Conway roundhouse kit is a structure I am building for my friend Gary Pembleton. This will be my third N Scale Architect kit I have worked on. The last one worked on by Peter and I was very trying as it was very hard to cut through the material and remove from the sheeting. This kit appears to be the same. The other big problem is the walls are warped and needs a lot of bracing. Will see how it goes. I have just finished an O scale gas station and now am working on this N scale kit...thinking I should have done the N scale kit first...George Dutka

Some of the laser cut sheeting is really hard to cut though and I am thinking I will be using a lot of blades. This particular sheet is not bad to cut through. It is all the trim required.

The wall, door and support sheets are the really tough lumber.

The two part base is glued together and will be painted shortly. The end wall needs a lot of bracing to get the warps out as seen in the photo. No bracing is included.
Two views of a completed kit on display this year at Springfield.

Saturday, 17 February 2018

At the Bar Mills Clinic Booth - Springfield 2018

Jack Ellis built this water tank using individual stones he cast and cut to size. I thought this structure looked very realistic.
At Springfield I spent sometime sitting in at the Bar Mills clinic booth resting my feet and listening to what Jack Ellis had to say regarding structure construction. One can learn a lot even when a clinic is not happening. On my second sit down Jack was between clinics and showed us in the front row some of the structures and materials he uses to come up with his fine models. I took a few photos that I thought might be of interest. I kind of wished I took a longer rest break...George Dutka

The Bar Mills clinic table with many of Jack Ellis's projects.

Here is a great idea for a seaside building. When getting down to the lower rows Jack just glued on individual shingles in place giving the wall a really weather worn look.

This is aluminum duck tape that was applied to some roofing. A really neat can find this at the dollar store.
Here we see the aluminum duck tape on a finished structure.

Friday, 16 February 2018

February Update

ONR 1951...supper tonight?
It is mid winter and most of my time, when home is spent downstairs working on projects I have wanted to do for sometime now. I have an O scale service station that has been awaiting my attention for a few years now...actually purchased it at Springfield 4 years ago. I also came across some photo of the CNR school car that I posted about this past summer. They are from a tiny siding up north during the winter months. I also have some ONR photos to share.

Although I have been busy I have not done much to the layout other than clean track from time to time and run the occasional train or consist. If you are an N scale modeler check out the March RMC issue. I am just beginning a N scale kit for my friend Gary, the Conway roundhouse. Watch for a What's in the box shortly.

Peter Mumby and I loaded up enough photos into the computer for a couple months worth of Throwback Thursdays. As Peter has time he will be filling in Thursday posts till possibly the Spring.

On another note I became the modeling editor for the CVRHS Ambassador at the end of 2017, so I have been working on some CV modeling topics.

A time crunch is beginning while I work on getting my WRD scene-swapping clinic together for the upcoming Copetown RPM (early March)...George Dutka

FOS scale O scale kit nearing completion.
CNR school on wheels, 1954.

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.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Sidebar Blog Addition's - Conrail's Onondaga Cutoff

I spent today cleaning up the sidebar a bit. Peter Mumby mentioned there are a few blogs that have not posted in a I took some off leaving room for a few that I find interesting. First off I have added Dave Abeles blog to my list. If the name seems familiar it might be because he had a nice article published in the current Model Railroad Planning. I was impressed with his sidebar feature "Remote Dispatching", you might want to read up on this aspect of Dave's layout.

I have added two Canadian blogs to my lists. Confessions of a Train Geek which views many great photos posted by Steve Boyko and Rymal Station in HO Scale with more Canadian railroading postings by Peter MacCauley...George Dutka

Conrail's Onondaga Cutoff

Confessions of a Train Geek

Rymal Station in HO Scale

Wordless Wednesday No. 271

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

CN Athearn Geep

Two old Athearn Geep's cross the White River. They look like they are moving along tell you the truth they are not doing all that well as they are both dummy units.
This CN model was in Peter Mumby's collection for a number of years (or decades) before he decided to thin his engine stock down a bit. Although I don't collect Athearn engines these days this engines detailing was nice and assembled well. I thought I could use this unit for experimenting with my haze paint and other acrylic weathering techniques since the price was below affordable...don't want to practice on my new Rapido engines. So what do you think?   George Dutka

What I used to weather this engine. The haze has been already applied.
The only detail I added was the step lights. Some gloss coat is applied to the fuel tank, and running boards were oil would have leaked from. The exhaust stacks got some oily soot down the sides.

Most of the details that originally was added are from Juneco.

Monday, 12 February 2018

ITLA - Structure Completed

Peter changed the name of his building using some decals he had in storage.
Peter finished his ITLA structure from November's WOD Make and Take clinic. He brought it over last week for a group photo. I really like how Peter added a bit of detailing that make's the scene come alive...George Dutka

Outdoor plumbing is added to reach the second storey. One window is also boarded up. I hope the young lady has the key to the security doorway.

Here we see the two structures side by side.

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Enfield, Ct.

I am standing on the Enfield, Ct. station platform looking north. An interesting structure that could make a good modeling candidate is seen on the west side of the tracks.
 On my way back to the hotel from the Springfield show I made a quick stop at Donut Dip for one of their great donuts and a coffee. I took the freeway from there passing the Vermonter just leaving the Springfield station. I thought I might be able to outrun it to Enfield, turnoff and only a short distance off the freeway to the old station site. Well I guess I did not do so well as I got out of my car I could hear the Vermonter blowing for a crossing a short distance past my location. Just not quick enough. While there I thought I would take a few photos of the interesting brick building across from were the station once sat. Enfield has some really nice photo locations as there are many open areas right next to the track in an area that is rather quite with ample parking.

A bit more about the Enfield station site. It is proposed that a new platform and shelter will be built in a few years. The site was once called Thompsonville till about early 1981 when it was renamed Enfield. The station in bad shape by then was taken down in early 1983 with passenger service ending in Oct.  1986 ...George Dutka

A web site view of  the station looking north during January 1980.

A street-side view looking north.

A look south...note the boarded up windows which would be great if modeled.
My first stop after leaving the train show was for one of their great donuts. Their apple fritters are a good choice as recommended by my friend Andy. A retro looking  donut joint in West Springfield.

Springfield Station

Springfield union station entrance January 26, 2018.
The day before I attended the trains show in West Springfield I stopped in at the station to see what might be around. A NECR engine was shoving it's train across the Connecticut River clearing the signals at the station platform. Once clear it headed south, I am assuming to Hartford. There was two Amtrak trains laying over with no crew on board.

A $94 million renovation project restored the former Springfield Union Station which was reopened in late June 2017 as a regional transit hub not only featuring Amtrak service, but serving as the new hub for the bus system in the area. There even is a Dunkin's inside. There is a mention of a commuter rail system that maybe coming in the future. On my visit the station looked in great shape and I wished I had gone inside...George Dutka

An overall view of Union Station in Springfield, Ma.
A NECR engine finished shoving a short train clear of the signals before departing south. The Amtrak train is laying over.

A look towards track 1 and 2. I think the NECR engine is on a track beyond the end platform track.
Another short train stored on the stub end track at the east end of the station.

Saturday, 10 February 2018

CNR Shell - Proto Paint Haze

An engine I tested Rapido's Proto-Paint haze on. This engine got two coats and will get some additional powders and acrylics shortly.
I thought I would take a few photos of this Athearn CN geep shell that got two coats of haze, showing you how it looks at each stage. I have just finished my jar of haze and I got 14 coats out of it. I may have been heavy with the first few coat...suggestion get a second jar....George

About a minute after coating one can see it has a really milky appearance.

The milky appearance is beginning to disappear about 5 minutes after application.

The shell about 15 minutes after application. One can see most of the milky look has cleared. Best to leave it for 24 hours before handling and masking.

Friday, 9 February 2018

Fading Rolling Stock - Proto-Paint

Two identical cars seen with Haze and one out of the box.
Flat Haze (330006) Proto-Paint offered by Rapido is an acrylic paint that tones and flattens the look of new models. I first learned about this paint from friend Roger Chrysler who works a couple of days a week at Credit Valley Railroad Co. (hobby shop). Roger does some of their custom work and pointed out this paint as a weathering option. On a visit to Credit Valley he showed me an engine he just completed for a customer that had maybe three coats of haze applied. I was really impressed and purchased a bottle. It has taken me six months though to get around to trying it out as I do less and less air brush work every year.

I had no problems applying the paint. I used 30psi of air and no thinning. It sprayed on well and dried in about 10-15 minutes. They suggest 24 hours before masking. To get a good faded look one needs at least two coats. Each coat takes away from the crisp look of the details something to think about while coating. So far I have only used two coats but will try more coats on a practice shell. A jar of paint should be good to do maybe 6-8 cars. It really depending on the number of coats...George Dutka

The roofs on these cars was given a coat of flat finish fallowed by a coat of India ink-alcohol mix. Two coats of haze is sued to weather the car. Below are a sampling of other Proto-Paint colour offered by Rapido.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Carrying Automobiles in Boxcars

Peter Mumby passed along this link to a blog featuring "carrying automobiles in boxcars" check it out...George Dutka

Throwback Thursday - The Station at Gander, Newfoundland.

By Peter Mumby

Post 9/11, Gander has become world famous for its airport and the incredible spirit and generosity of its citizens.  The hospitality extended to the hundreds of stranded visitors following the closure of US airspace, of course, led to the creation of the award-winning musical "Come From Away," which is described as being " the remarkable true story of the small town that welcomed the world."  However, this was all far in the future when I landed in Gander on August 12, 1988 to begin a short railfanning visit to CN's 42" gauge descendent of the Newfoundland Railway.  This was the closest airport to Bishops Falls, the site of a division point yard and the terminal point for the last remaining mixed train operation on the island.

A close inspection of this photo will reveal a line of company service equipment on the far side of the structure.  My railfan photography commenced with a few of these rail cars.  When I heard the approaching aircraft, I decided to back away and include this other symbol of Gander in my image of the station.  Zoom in on the plane itself, and the use of the Cyrillic alphabet on the fuselage indicates that this aircraft was probably using Gander as a refuelling point on a flight between Russia and Cuba.

My actual trip on westbound train 203 between Bishops Falls and Cornerbrook began on August 14, 1988.  By this time the local station was basically being used as a bus depot.  Indeed, the ticket I purchased was labelled "Roadcruiser Ticket," with special instructions "train use only."  The return train from Cornerbrook was scheduled to get back to Bishops Falls in the wee hours of August 15.  The cost was $19.00 each way.

Hauled by NF-210 number 937, train 203 left the yard with only the passenger equipment and van in tow.  At the Windsor/Grand Falls stop a couple of container flats were lifted to complete the consist.  Return train 204 was a heavier affair, and rated two units, namely 944 and 936.  All three of these diesels were decorated in the then-current TerraTransport livery.

My August 1988 visit was relatively short, but left a lasting impression.  The last train ran about a month and a half later, and rail lifting began in October.  By November, 1990, the entire railway had been dismantled.