Friday, July 14, 2017

Summertime at the Station, July 2017

Still basking in the afterglow of CANADA 150 that was July 1 - the lineups and rain on Parliament Hill, the following festive fireworks, the patient protests, the patriotic pride, the ribald revelry - it was time to head to Kingston station on July 3, 2017. VIA No 50/60 was in the station, with CANADA 150 wrapped 6436 leading. The eight-car J-train consist comprised eight cars and three wrapped locomotives: 6436-3463-3316C-913-3458-3329C-3335-3303R-3305R-912. (C = CANADA 150; R=Renaissance scheme). Watch the video here! 
As it departed eastbound at 0915, past that most unsightly arrowed sign (above), it met westbound VIA No 43: 6449-3470-3363-3304R at the John Counter Blvd crossing (video capture below):
A few minutes later, Belleville-Kingston turn CN No 518 approached, heading for the south service track at Queens and some switching. At a veritable crawl, engines 4785-4713 led twelve cars into town, meeting wrapped VIA 905-3471-3334-3309R-3362R as No 61.
Moving east of the station to Queens...entering the Queens south service track, the two locomotives uncoupled five TrailerTrain flatcars with steel I-beams for KIMCO (Kingston Iron and Metal Co.) which is located between Counter Street and Lappan's Lane. This was formerly CN's Aluminum Spur, serving the large Alcan works and Kingston's team track. The road sign says it all:
Tiptoeing around the wye, the units paused near some coincidentally celebratory Canada Day non-coniferous maple tree coverage:
The empty CSXT bulkhead flat car in track KL05, surrounded by previous inanimate I-beam arrivals, awaited its extraction:
The two 89-foot PTTX bulkhead flat cars were bracketed by three shorter OTTX TrailerTrain idler flat cars, and due to tank car loads for Invista on the Cataraqui Spur on the train, two loaded covered hoppers on either end in case of possible longitudinal load shifting:
The last buffer car and empty bulkhead flat are pushed into the former lead to Alcan, track KL02. The friendly conductor kept a close eye on the train and passing vehicular traffic to the Kingston Area Recycling Centre. I did my best to remain vigilant and out of the way. Then the loads were spotted; photo (below) taken from the road crossing. Flange squeal caused at least one passing motorist to wonder aloud if that noise was essentially healthy. I replied as long as it stayed on the tracks...
Leader CN 4785 sits just over the crossing as the cars are coupled and air cut in for the move back to the train. The next switching would take place on the Cataraqui Spur.
Moving west three days later at Milltown, about 40 miles to the west near Shannonville, CN No 149 crossed the Salmon River bridge behind CN 5432-2573-2630 (video captures):
 Feeling reflective:
 Feeling olde Grand Trunkish:
Moving east then south to the Cataraqui Spur...Logan Cadue caught CN No 518 with the same power as above in two photos (below). One major difference! On the way to Kingston this July 12, they slipped in to the Millhaven Spur and lifted OBRY 1000. This Geep has languished at Millhaven for some years, and I last photographed it there in May, 2015, prior to that in action in spring, 2012. The train is nearing the Sir John A MacDonald Boulevard overpass with train in tow:
Switching the Front Road Invista plant, later heading to Belleville:

 Running extra...

It's always great to be a part of Edd Fuller's The Trackside Photographer. And to relive the late glory days of Manitoba grain elevators. Only one train - a VIA Rail one (actually Number 1) in this July 13 post.

My latest book Trackside with VIA - Research and Recollections (116 copies sold and counting!) is featured among Charles Cooper's Railway Pages What's New in Publications. Charles' site is a wealth of really useful information! Thanks, Charles!
Graphics guru and loyal Trackside Treasure reader Randy O'Brien kindly shared his rendition of the Paradiso, Pepperoni & Pacific's 44-tonner paint scheme. Check out the pizza wheels, and hey, the number 11 is actually made from...
Thanks, Randy!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Canada's First Song about Model Railroading

Trackside two years ago during a 43-train weekend, while waiting for approaching trains, the song Life is a Highway kept going through my head. (A hit for Tom Cochrane, it was later covered by Rascal Flatts for the Cars movie.) So what did I do? Wrote some alternate lyrics while waiting for the next train, of course! How could I bend the lyrics to a train theme without breaking them? I related them to a model railway theme.

The drums, guitar, keyboards and catchy chorus conspired to produce some lyrics I would do something with someday - for now securely stashed in my scribbler. Would new lyrics help make this song more palatable to my wife, who had heard it 46 times during a school trip and therefore wanted to never hear it again? [Her recent response: "nope"] While driving, I usually like to...crank it.

Finally, a rainy day recording session revealed itself. Coupling the horn-hooks together, I assembled a consist that I would run in in front of my camera, while simultaneously singing (and I use the term loosely - perhaps voluntarily vocalizing would be a better term) the lyrics to a backup track playing from my nearby laptop. You'll notice the consist is not quite long enough to appear to be a cat chasing its tail, but neither did it stringline during the recording!
Without further adieu, I give you the listen-if-you-dare YouTube link to....



In case you can't hear the lyrics, drowned out by the clickety-clack of non-metal wheelsets, slack action in the horn-hooks or the whine of DC power, here they are:

IT RUNS THROUGH CITIES/IT RUNS THROUGH TOWNS/
SOMETIMES I WATCH IT GO ROUND AND ROUND/
I RUN IT NOW LIKE I RAN IT THEN/
I'LL GET IT FINISHED BUT DON'T KNOW WHEN/
FROM STAGING YARD OUT TO THE MAIN/
FREIGHT, PASSENGER AND UNIT TRAIN/
IT'S COOL DOWN HERE OUT OF THE HEAT/
I  GO UPSTAIRS WHEN IT'S TIME TO EAT/

I JUST CAN'T LET IT GO/
WAITING FOR THE NEXT TRAIN SHOW/
I'LL BE THERE WHEN THEY LET US IN/
TELL THEM I'M A BUYER!

CHORUS:
MY MODEL RAILWAY/
I'M GOING TO RUN IT ALL NIGHT LONG/
MY [INSERT SCALE HERE] -SCALE RAILWAY/
I'M GOING TO RUN IT ALL NIGHT LONG/

I RUN IT WHEN IT SNOWS AND RAINS/
I BOUGHT SOME STUFF FROM RAPIDO TRAINS/
MY WIFE CAN HAVE IT WHEN I'M GONE/
A QUICK YARD SALE IT'LL ALL BE GONE/
I WORK ON SCENERY, I WORK ON TRACK/
ONE TIME I EVEN PUT OUT MY BACK/
SOMETIMES WE ARGUE AND WE FIGHT/
ABOUT THE IDEAL LAYOUT HEIGHT/

THERE WAS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN YOU AND ME/
I'M USING HORN-HOOKS STILL/
BUT YOU MOVED ON KADEE!

CHORUS AND FADE UNTIL THE VAN APPEARS

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

2017 Front Patio Layout: The Paradiso, Pepperoni & Pacific Railway

This is the fifth year I've done outdoor model railroading. Each year starts the same way - take a very vaguely sketchy idea, add a piece of wood, some track, some Robertson screws, some wires and before you know it you've got a front porch layout. A couple of differences for the fifth annual: a new patio and a pizza box. Let me explain. One type of micro-layout is a pizza box layout, so called because it fits in a pizza box, almost always just a loop of track. It is really tricky to fit a circle of HO scale track in anything but the most humongous pizza box. A couple of inspirational examples:
I had saved two Paradiso Pizza boxes, but they were not humongous. It was at that point I started to think outside the box! Instead of using just one side of the box, why not open it up to give myself twice as much room? I had a good-sized piece of plywood that would just fit. But would it work? I tried my annual mix of switchbacks, diamond crossings and shoehorning:
And ended up with a concept - a materiel yard that would have a central through track and a couple of parallel tracks from which On Company Service cars could be loaded and unloaded:
I applied some liquid inspiration, some ale for my ailing imagination, some homebrew for my home layout, some quality quaffing. But I had to stay focussed. Some loyal Trackside Treasure readers have told me that their summer doesn't begin until they see the front porch layout. Back to work!
I should describe the space I'm working in. After years of discussion, we decided we would rather improve the front of our house than the back. The front is where we spent our time, enjoying nature and spying on our neighbours, formulating imaginative stories to go along with any observed coming-and-going activities! We found Valeira Construction and Taxis Contracting at a nearby home show, and before the summer truly began, we had a nice front patio to replace a former shrubbery-filled garden and we'd added some nice outdoor living space:
Coffee in the morning, cool beverages in the afternoon. You get the idea!
And that patio set from Wal-Mart has a table just big enough for an opened pizza box! There's a plug-in in the corner, so the stage was set. After some paint was applied to the plywood, I continued with the track plan:
Sun's out...Robertsons out.
And the die was cast! Er, the layout was taking shape. 
The opened pizza box, the plywood...and the attaching black brackets, all firmly affixed with Robertson screws:
Pizza box side:
Layout side, with inside of the pizza box also spray-painted.
There's room for the transformer in the corner of the box. Out came the diminutive 44-tonner that gifted porch layout-enabler Chris Mears had gifted, plus a new toy, a Walthers American crane in CP Rail paint, purchased from Roy Whitman. This latter piece of equipment gave me the idea for the materiel yard, as it can cover the tiny trackage quite methodically.
I had some scenic material that was as bright as it was historic. Still bearing a long-out-of-business Leisure World price sticker; I finally got it used. The black paved areas are adhesive foam from Michaels:
I threw in a few train-show-purchased buildings, and I was starting to operate.
Didn't look too bad! I had yet to convert that American crane from nasty Kadee couplers to the more familiar and aesthetically-pleasing X2F's:
The working name for this layout is the Paradiso, Pepperoni & Pacific Railway. Watch for an upcoming post as the layout progresses while the chipmunks chatter, the cardinals call, the squirrels scatter, the clouds scud and the neighbours...hey, what are the neighbours doing? Are they getting take-out again tonight? Hey, is that a pizza?

Running extra...

CANADA 150 continues though Canada Day has come and gone. Some Canada Day +2 trainwatching netted a somewhat patriotic framing of CN 4713 switching here in Kingston:
Hope your Canada Day (and Independence Day for those living 'downstairs') was festive, patriotic and got you thinking about the virtues of a country that encourages people to get outside in the great outdoors and build a layout. Surprisingly, early indications of this year's front patio layout netted responses from modellers preferring a cool basement. Now there's Two Solitudes, though not a cardinal sin:

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Canada Day 2017: CANADA 150 Great Things about Canadian Railways

How to celebrate this most auspicious anniversary, this most Canadian commemmoration, this century-and-a-half sesquicentennial? Easy! Canada. Railways. Why so great? What makes them great? What one word or phrase, muttered to rail enthusiasts anywhere in the world would elicit a one-word response: CANADA!! Thank goodness VIA Rail Canada marked the year, adorning their equipment with colourful, celebratory logos:
Meanwhile, CN and CP are busy being so corporately pan-North American that they can't even slap a wrap on a locomotive, freight car or container. Each year I've celebrated Canada Day here on Trackside Treasure, and this 2017 would be no different! Onwards!
Notebook in hand, sitting on a bench merely a shell casing's throw from the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery memorial in Kingston's City Park, a mere airhorn bleat away from Canadian National's double-track Kingston Sub, originally completed by the Grand Trunk Railway in the 1850's, it struck me that both institutions were hirsutely historic, like Confederation itself! History! Geography! If geography is transportation, history and geography are Canadian railroading. It took me one in-park hour to list my 150 Great Things about Canadian Railways. (They were only Googled to spell-check and fact-check.) OTOH, Off Top Of Head, or Ottawa Tip Of Hat, here we go!

All eras. All parts of Canada. General headings are: places, people, nicknames, books and authors, logos and developments, locomotives and freight cars, passenger cars and named trains, railway names, preservation and model railways. Maybe you know them OTOH. If not, perhaps they'll get them scurrying to your favourite mode of research to brush up.
  • Lethbridge Viaduct
  • Sir William Cornelius Van Horne
  • Province's Greatest Expense (PGE)
  • Van Horne's Road
  • the CNR Maple Leaf
  • White Pass & Yukon Railroad
  • the Draper Taper
  • 'Canada' grain cars
  • The Scotian
  • Greater Winnipeg Water District
  • Exporail
  • Rapido Trains Inc.
  • Cisco, BC bridges
  • Donald Gordon
  • Bennett's Crazy Railway (BCR)
  • Canadian Steam!
  • Beaver shields
  • rail ferries to PEI and Newfoundland
  • comfort cabs
  • Manitoba Buffalo boxcars
  • The Canadian
  • Prairie Dog Central
  • Bytown Railway Society
  • Stafford Swain
  • Chateau sleepers
  • Spiral Tunnels
  • N.R. 'Buck' Crump
  • To Hell & Back (TH&B)
  • The People's Railway
  • World's Greatest Travel System
  • GMD-1's
  • Supertherm
  • The Rapido
  • Essex Terminal Railway
  • Canadian Railroad Historical Association
  • Canadian Railway Modeller magazine
  • Sceneramics
  • Kicking Horse Pass
  • Sir Sandford Fleming
  • The Kick & Push (Kingston & Pembroke)
  • Dean & Hanna
  • The Wet Noodle
  • CPR D-10's
  • Mandarin Orange Express
  • The Super Continental
  • Temiscouata Railway
  • Upper Canada Railway Society
  • Aberfoyle Junction O-scale layout
  • E-series sleepers
  • Tete Jaune Cutoff
  • Sir John A Macdonald
  • The Lazy Three Route (CN)
  • Greg McDonnell
  • BCR's Dogwood 
  • Royal Hudsons
  • Pointe St Charles cabooses
  • The Atlantic Limited
  • Steamexpo '86
  • Northern Alberta Railway
  • Trevor Marshall
  • Tempo!Turbo!
  • Transcona Shops
  • Charles Melville Hays
  • Route of the Black Bear (ACR)
  • Pierre Berton
  • ONR's chevron scheme
  • CPR Selkirks
  • Angus Shops vans
  • The Ocean Limited
  • CPR 1201
  • George's Trains
  • British Columbia Railway
  • Alyth Yard
  • Andrew Onderdonk
  • Prince George Eventually (PGE)
  • Anthony Clegg
  • The Land of Evangeline Route
  • CP M-640 4744
  • CPR's snow melter
  • The Panorama
  • CNR 6060
  • Sydney & Lousiburg Railway
  • Angus Shops
  • the Pacific Scandal
  • The Leaky Roof Railway
  • Ian Wilson
  • CP Rail's multimark
  • Gordon Lightfoot's Canadian Railway Trilogy
  • Buster Keaton in The Railrodder
  • The Last Spike
  • SW1200RS's
  • SCLAIR orange covered hoppers
  • The Skeena
  • Countess of Dufferin
  • Newfoundland narrow gauge
  • Don McQueen
  • the Mississauga derailment
  • Quebec Railway Bridge
  • Silver Streak
  • Charles Bohi
  • the Hinton crash
  • Light Rapid Comfortable
  • Dofasco cylindrical ore cars
  • The Muskeg Mixed
  • CPR 374
  • Cartier Railway
  • Manor sleepers
  • Spadina Shops
  • Bayview Junction
  • Signatures in Steel
  • icicle breakers
  • CPR miniboxes
  • Mount Macdonald Tunnel
  • Lines of Country
  • the Canoe River crash
  • Gare Centrale
  • Lepkey & West
  • CN Tempo RS18m's
  • The Rocky Mountaineer
  • The Spirit of Sir John A.
  • Quebec, North Shore & Labrador
  • Craigellachie, BC
  • Connaught Tunnel
  • Duncan DuFresne
  • ditchlights
  • Dayliners and Railiners
  • Windsor Station
  • 1958 firemens' strike
  • Omer Lavallee
  • Spans the World
  • CPR 4-4-4 Jubilees
  • The Northlander
  • Fred Angus
  • Champlain & St Lawrence Railroad
  • GO Transit bilevels
  • Trackside with VIA - the series!
  • A-1-A RSC-24's
  • The Dominion
  • CPR oval switch targets
  • Symington Yard
  • The Polar Bear Express
  • octagonal water towers
  • The Trans-Canada Limited
  • CP Bygones
  • (Nicholas) Morant's Curve
  • Governor-General's cars
  • Canadian Trackside Guides
  • Great Slave Lake Railway
  • Kettle Valley Railway
  • The Confederation Train
Previous years' Canada Day posts - our Canada Day Top Nine List:
  • 2016 Canada Day Montreal to Vancouver
  • 2015 simply Canada Day again
  • 2014 Canada Day and RCMP
  • 2013 simply Canada Day
  • 2012 Canada Day by Train IV
  • 2011 Canada Day by Train III
  • 2010 Canada Day by Train II
  • 2009 Canada Day by Train - the original!

Friday, June 23, 2017

CN Wheel Flatcars

CN uses former revenue cars in shop service, delivering new and used wheelsets to its system shops on regular freight trains. These eye-catching open loads are often-photographed and easily-modelled. CN's wheel flatcar fleet initially comprised 1960's era shorter flat cars, now with 89-foot flats and even some former ingot cars thrown in! CN 49473 heading for Taschereau Yard on CN No 318 May 28, 2000 (top photo). CN 49435 has wheels for the shop forces at Garneau, QC on CN No 364 March 4, 2001:
CN 49258 in April, 2010 (below):

CN 49250 on CN No 317 on July 18, 1999:

CN 48991 on CN No 321 on March 18, 2000:
CN 48983 on CN No 321 on March 9, 2001:
 CN 49323 carries locomotive traction motors at Belleville yard on May 1, 1999.

CN 618069 and 618032 retain their revenue service numbers with  'Maximum 2 rows high when loading wheels' lettering on CN No 305, May 23, 2015 at Bayridge Drive overpass (above and below): 
These were formerly in aluminum ingot service. Comparing them with a photo of freshly-repainted CN 618149, still hauling ingots in April 2015, it appears lengthwise racks were added to the deck to accommodate the new cargo.
CN 48960 at Belleville, Oct 14 2016, also a former ingot car. Notice the smaller diameter auto rack wheels in the middle of the load:
In HO scale, here's CN 49389 on my Vancouver Wharves layout:
My CN wheel flatcar observations: date, car number, CN train on, remarks:
Feb 17/92 CN 49259, CN 49494
Jun 23/92 CN 49290 WB
May 10/95 CN 49278 T.E. on WB
Mar 2/96 CN 49278 at Belle
Jun 25/96 boxed traction motor transport FL on T.E. of WB
Mar 27/97 CN 49394
Apr 5/97 CN 49326
May 24/97 CN 49516
Jun 7/97 CN 49470
Jul 5/97 CN 49423 on No 367
Aug 27/97 CN 49493, 49420, 49511 on No 367
Sep 21/97 CN 49278 on T.E. No 307
Feb 21/98 CN 49515 H.E. No 302
Mar 22/98 CN 49275, 49249 H.E. No 204
Apr 10/98 CN 48997 black 89' FL plus two other wheel FL No 302
May 29/98 CN 49311 'diesel wheel FL' on No 307
Aug 5/98 CN 49321 ety on No 367
Sep 6/98 CN 48987 89' black wheel FL on No 318
Sep 18/98 CN 49318 traction motor FL on No 306
Oct 15/98 CN 49479 ety No 310
Dec 13/98 CN 48975 black 89' wheel FL No 318 

Using CN's public tracing page, I was able to continue tracking CN 48975 from that day in 1998 to January, 2001. On each trip, CN 48975 left track W067 at Transcona Shops in Winnipeg:
-to Montreal Taschereau Yard Loaded, returned Empty
-to Montreal Intermodal Terminal L, returned L
-to Toronto MacMillan Yard L, returned L
-to Prince George BC L, returned L
-to Montreal Taschereau Yard E, returned L
-to Edmonton, AB L, returned E
-to TORMACYAR L, returned L
-to TORMACYAR L, returned L
-to TORMACYAR track W109, returned L
-to TORMACYAR L, returned L
-to Vancouver Thornton Yard L, returned L
-to TORMACYAR L, returned L
-to Pointe Ste Charles L, returned E
-to TORMACYAR L, returned L
-to VANTHOYAR L, returned L

Ian Campbell kindly shared a photo of wheel cars, rail flatcars, switch panel cars and other CN work flatcars at Transcona shops in summer, 2016. Ian notes that cars often bring in wheelsets from which the wheels are are removed, reprofiled or scrapped, then new wheels are pressed onto the axle (or a new axle) with new bearing caps added. Thanks, Ian! 

Feb 10/99 CN 49269 on No 301
May 1/99 CN 49323 on No 366 (see photo in this post)
Jul 18/99 CN 49250 with 12 wheelsets on No 317 (see photo in this post)
Oct 17/99 CN 49293 LD on H.E. No 318
Oct 30/99 CN 49318 traction motor transporter E on No 306, west on No 321
Feb 25/00 CN 48997 on No 301
Mar 18/00 CN 48991 LD on H.E. No 321 (see photo in this post)
Mar 26/00 CN 49486 on No 366
May 28/00 CN 49473 No 318 dest. MONTASYAR (see photo in this post)
Jun 30/00 CN 49300 on No 321
Jul 19/00 CN 48987 LD on No 365
Aug 24/00 CN 49262 on No 366
Sep 17/00 CN 49287 H.E. No 320
Sep 24/00 CN 49300, 49317, 49455 ety wheel FL on No 365
Mar 4/01 CN 49489 on No 364 then WB Mar 9 on No 369
Mar 9/01 CN 48983 black 89' on No 321 (see photo in this post)
Mar 10/01 CN 49393 on No 377
Oct 20/01 CN 49494
Mar 21/02 CN 49283 on No 307
Apr 26/02 CN 49463 on No 366
Jul 7/02 CN 49468 
Aug 3/02 CN 49480 LD
Apr 17/04 CN 49390 on No 368
Mar 11/06 CN 49260 on No 309
May 8/06 CN 49250 on No 362
Mar 17/07 CN 49495 on No 321
Oct 3/07 CN 4948x loaded on No 376
Jul 19/08 CN 49496 at St Lambert
Jan 8/09 CN 49497
Feb 8/09 CN 49277, 49398, 48970 black 89' on No 363 with dimensional loads 
Feb 22/09 CN 49277 
May 4/09 CN 49456 (photo'd with GTW 57907 FL with covers) and 48972 89' on No 376
May 25/09 CN 49507 on No 376
Aug 18/09 CN 48991, 48995 89' on No 376
Jan 14/10 CN 49480
Apr 24/10 CN 49258 (see photo in this post)
Apr 24/10 CN 48990 (89') on No 369
Feb 25/12 CN 48499, 48989 black 89'
Apr 6/12 CN 49499
Sep 28/13 CN 49395 LD 
Mar 7/15 CN 48944 89' WB
May 23/15 CN 618069, 618032 stencilled 'Max 2 rows high when loading wheels'
Jun 14/15 CN 48956 'short' new paint

Jim Burnside shared this down-on view of a CN wheel car on a CN Sprague Sub train at Winnipeg's Perimeter Highway. Thanks, Jim!

Running extra...

I don't often link to blog partners' posts, but when I do, it's Prairie grain elevators in 1950! Photos taken on a box Brownie by my Dad while travelling aboard CP, recently scanned and posted in my brother Dave's Rolly Martin Country blog post. Almost like being there! Portage la Prairie's Victoria Grain Co. elevator:
We're almost on the eve of CANADA 150 - watch for Trackside Treasure's annual Canada Day post! There will be lots of celebratory EtOH consumption, but this upcoming post will instead comprise OTOH - 150 of 'em! 
Eventually enthralling. Having sold off my bargain-basement Life-Like All-Door boxcars (I'll never need those again; this was before the change of my modelled locale to Vancouver!!)  I'm in the market for some of these Proto1000 bad boys: