Test & Tune!

CN GP9rm 7278 finally stretches her legs after almost 4 years of sitting disassembled on the workbench. The fact that CN 7278 is running under her own power is kind of a big deal for me. It marks a bit of a millstone on my model railroading journey. That milestone being the first time ever rebuilding, milling and re-assembling a working chassis to fit under a resin kit shell. Basically a fully working custom-built locomotive. Just the fact that it works without issue is nothing short of a miracle. Or what some would call a success 😉

Below are two shots of CNR 7278 creeping across Dunn’s Line Road during one of the units initial test runs. The locomotive is currently on the connection track between the CN Midland Subdivision and the CP Mactier Subdivision on the new layout.

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Now that I know that the locomotive runs. I have to break it in. I usually do this by running the locomotive back and forth on the layout a couple of times to get the oil to evenly coat the gears. Once I finish the break in process I MU the locomotive to a pair of other units to see how it fares out. Depending on its response (Ex. coupler tension or slack) I a can determine how to speed match it with the rest of the CN fleet. So far there are no problems with this particular unit and it runs well with the rest of the fleet. A lot of mods were done to the gears, trucks and frame to get it to this point. I will cover how I did all of that in the final CN 7278 article that will be posted once the locomotive is fully completed. With that said this locomotive is nearing the home stretch at this point, a couple of grabs here n there, some LED’s, and of course the installation of the handrails. Slowly the list gets smaller as the project progresses. Anyway that marks the end of this post. Hope you enjoyed this quick update. Happy modelling 🙂

Tank Car Tuesday

  Today me and the girlfriend were both off from work and decided to head over to the Credit Valley Railway.. Ok. Okay… I decided. But as always she was happy to come along and see what’s new at the train store. I didn’t have any projects in mind so we went just for shits n giggles. After inspecting the store from end to end I decided to buy a pair of tank cars. One from Tangent scale models and the other from Atlas that I planned on re-painting. The Tangent Car has always been on my list of things to buy that I never really end up buying. Tangent makes some great models that are 100% prototypical. Take that rivet counters. I know you you’ll say they’re off by a couple of bolts or whatever. Who cares.. Anyway, I grabbed one of those 1949 Re-built General American acid tank car that have been out for a year or so. They’re sold out on the site so a brick and mortar hobby store is the only place to get one if you want one. (I got the one leased to Dupont to be specific.) It’s a nice car. Etched metal walkways, ACI labels, legible data you name it.

The next car I got was an Atlas 20,700 Gal tank car. Now this car was destined for the booze tub. I was going to strip this car down and re-paint it as a CGTX car. Saw them a lot as kid. Didn’t really care if CGTX did or did not own 20,700 Gal tank cars just wanted to do it. With those cars chosen and deal brokered with the girlfriend off we went to the mall. (Yes you can’t go to train store with the lady without looking at clothes after) Back to this particular Atlas tank car. I usually associate with *some exceptions* Atlas for being generally un-prototypical if that’s even a word. The car I bought was CN 80366 a water car. A car type I thought at the time was bogus. At the mall I was kind of curious about this car so I googled the number. BOOM! UP came a single picture or 80366. Upon further research I found more. 5 to be exact. I don’t know the whole nuts n bolts story about them as I’m still researching the subject however I did notice that all of the cars in this series had ACI labels on them and NOoo I’m not obsessed with automatic car identification. I came to the realization that this meant they where in service as water cars since the late 60’s. The other reason the ACI labels made this car significant is that it is not a modern car. Its been around the block so to speak making it a perfect fit for my 1985 junction layout. After all that knowledge was absorbed I then thought to myself why re-paint a perfectly good  prototype car? Other than some small errors in paint this car was bang on! What a score! Two decent tank car finds on just a browse though the local train shop.

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CN Water Car #80366 and GATX #33154 bring up the rear of today’s CN #719 out of Midland bound for Mac yard in Vaughan. After finding out the actual train number. The fictional train “251” is now known as CN #719 on the layout. CN #719 was a wayfreight that ran from the CN Macmillan yard in Vaughan Ont. all the way up to Midland Ont. via the Newmarket Sub. dropping cars off in Barrie then making its way up to Orillia Ont. where the train turned off the Newmarket Sub. and ran northwest to the town of Midland via the (Yes you guessed it.) Midland Sub. Today’s 719 has 6 cars plus a van and is seen here at Dunn’s Line heading south towards Orillia.

So when we got home I ran off to my laptop and did even more research. These cars were used to supply clean drinking water to work gang trains. Unlike the hot water tank cars that have been modelled a million times. (You know the ones with the crazy caboose stack placed on the end and the yellow expandable foam pouring out of the poorly secured insulation.) These cars were kept in good condition compared to others in company service.  In fact they are still in service today that’s almost 52 years of service since they were built in 1966. Now that all the BORING research out-of-the-way. I started to work on the model adding the essentials. Kadee #158’s, ACI labels and some black paint in spots atlas missed like the lower part of the ladder. All in all a good car and a quick project to boot. Took me 30 mins to get the car to look like the prototype seen here: http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/rsPicture.aspx?id=229953

All that’s really left to do is weather this car. Like I said above these cars stayed relatively clean. Some kick up spray here n there. Maybe some rust streaks at most. I’m trying to find a way to add a white rubber hose that ran from end to end to connect to the work train it is supplying water to. However for now I don’t have a work train so the hose will be the last detail to add some time in the near future.

What happened to the CGTX idea? Well that’s still in the works. My layout needs at least two CGTX tank cars so I’m currently looking for a good car to use as a start point or a decent stand in for that matter. Also. Who knows maybe “Tank Car Tuesdays” will become a thing? It flows well off the tongue so I’ll give it a try next week if I’m not busy. Hope you all enjoyed this update. Lots more to come. CheeRs 😉

The Ravine!

Today I put some time in on the layout slowly moving the greenery Eastward towards the Yard. On todays to-do list is a light layer of sifted dirt, static grass and some various trackside details. Some of the details include line side code line poles, snow fighting equipment and speed limit signs. Here is the result of my work so far. (I take some of my pictures in black n white due to the fact that I don’t have any lighting installed yet) :

The mile board indicates “Octopus 85.96” as the junction point (fictional name) between Newmarket and Mildland Subdivisions. The Midland splits off to the left and the Newmarket continues North. You can see the CPR Mactier Sub. in the background it parallels the CNR line for bit then disappears into staging. I run everything from sw1200’s to heavy duty SD40-2s on the CPR main line. The sign along the CPR  in the background indicates a whistle for the crossing and the green triangle below indicates junction point ahead.

The speed limit/Flanger signs are made from decals made by rapido and add operational realism to any layout. I usually cut them right off the decal paper, paint the back black and dull coat them so they don’t crumble. They are mounted on brass wire and then the wire painted black or silver depending on the prototype. In terms of operations the signs identify the speed limit in this area. For example. The Midland Branch (Right) is 10MPH and the Newmarket (Left) is 60MPH/80MPH. 80 for the Canadian along with the RDC’s I run on this layout.. The flanger signs warn the plow trains in the winter to lift their blades on crossings and switches. You don’t see very many today but in the mid 70s and 80s they where everywhere along Canada’s rail network. They came in two colours white and black for CPR and black and white for CNR.


A Quick Junction Update

  As you probably know I recently stopped working on the Alderdale Subdivision project for a bit to build another layout based on the Simcoe region of Ontario. I’ve been working on this 3 module project since last summer and I’m happy to say that most of the big projects such as wiring and track laying are now out-of-the-way. Yes! Now I can finally deal with the fun stuff. Speaking of the fun stuff.. The scenery is almost complete on “The Junction” module (Module #1). This module was made to loosely represent Medonte Ontario. Below you can see Dunn’s Line road that passes just east of the CP/CN diamond.  Dunn’s Line is your typical farm road. To make it I used real sifted dirt glued to a cork bed then coloured with weathering powders and chalk pastels.

CN cabooseThe train seen above is known as the Midland Turn and is operated as #251 on my layout. It serves the port of Midland Ontario and it’s grain terminal along with the various aggregate quarries along the Midland branch. Today #251 has paused at the CP/CN just east of the junction to let the train crew line the connecting switch for a gondola set out for the CPR. CN #251 is usually a short train consisting of 4 aggregate cars up front and a couple of odds n ends to set off for the CPR here in Medonte. The train terminates on the last module (Yard module #3) and gets broken up to be added to the main line freights that roll trough on the main. Below is a shot of a Midland bound freight. On the point is GMD1 #1054. Today’s train is fairly light consisting of two hoppers for the quarry and will return from Midland with a couple of 40ft grain boxcars from the ADM mill.

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CN 1054 is my stand-in local switcher. As of right now it takes care of all the local freight jobs in the area and will soon be replaced by a pair of SW1200rs. Once the SW1200’s arrive this GMD1 will be weathered and used in the yard to switch outbound trains.

The next major project to do on this module is to make evergreen trees. Evergreen trees are a must in this area and finding/building the right ones are going to pose a bit of a challenge.  I think a lot of modellers tend to overlook these types of trees due to the sheer challenge and cost of accurately making them. With that said I’m off to make trees. Hope you enjoyed this small post. Happy modelling!