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.
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 🙂
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.
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
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 😉
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 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.
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.
The 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.
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!
So today I decided to visit the local hobby shop and get myself a pair of new 3800cu ft cylindrical hoppers from Rapido Trains Inc. I have to say they did a good job on these models. Finally!! A fully accurate 3800 that isn’t a 4550cu ft grain car prototype with round hatches. (ITS A LONGER CAR!!) These models look great out of the box however there are some minor issues with the roof walks warping but that can be fixed with a little CA. Kind of a downer for the price but something that can be easily fixed in my opinion.. Plus what’s the point of a hobby if you’re just buying RTR stuff without actually doing anything to it. Back to the models. Below are examples of two different styles of cylindrical hoppers that CN had on their roster from the early 70’s to present day. The one on the left was built by NSC and the one on the right was built by Marine Industries both have small variations that set them apart such as air reservoir placement, roof walk support bracket size and weld seem lines.
So as you probably already know if you regularly read this blog. I’m working on a new modular mid 70’s layout project that hosts two small mining operations on it. These operations one being based off of a mine in Uhthoff near Orillia Ontario and the other a generic open-pit aggregate quarry that is loosely modeled after the Lafarge pit in Uxbridge Ontario. Having a bunch of 3800’s was and is a must. These two mines will generate most of the traffic on my layout and that means more 3800’s will be needed but for the time being they will be mixed into my fleet of LONGER Intermountain cars that I am slowly replacing as time goes on.
Back to the models. They run great out of the box with no issues negotiating my network of hand laid track. The only issue I could find in terms of running was that they should be a couple of ounces heavier. Though that’s a personal opinion due to the fact that a large portion of track on my layout is covered with static grass made to represent deferred branch line maintenance. Other than the weight issue and roof walk warping issue I couldn’t really find anything else to complain about. Great job Rapido! Also these cars are hand-built so hats off to the workers at the LRC factory for building these near perfect representations. I’m pretty happy with them. Hope there will be a second run in the near future EH..
Today I decided to visit the CN Macmillan Yard in Vaughan as I do at least once a year. With the apparent increase in traffic and new leased power this year Mac yard was bound to be busy.. (Or so I thought) Now. Before I go into more detail. Let me warn you. Railfanning the CN Macmillan yard is not easy and very annoying at best. My spot (or only legal spot) to railfan from is located on the Southeast corner of the HWY 7 overpass. The spot is off RR property so you won’t get nabbed for trespassing and is also neatly tucked away on a sort of elevated dirt platform right beside the bridge abutments making you somewhat invisible to yard crews. Now I’ve been hearing on online articles and from CN employees that because of the recent surge in traffic most of the major CN rail yards are at capacity. That might not be true. I’ve been to Mac Yard on and off ever since I was a kid and I can tell you that it looks the same in fact the whole left side of the local yard is empty and the tracks on the far right half as shown below are in the process of being torn up. Or maybe I came on a slow day. Who knows..
I usually start my trip with a stop to eat. I grab a burger at A&W and off I go. I usually walk the length of the HWY 7 bridge first to see what’s out there before I head over to my spot. Once at my spot I check my scanner and wait. The first train today was led by a pair RC SD40U’s bracketing a 200 series road slug. Kind of like the one I modelled a couple of years ago. (See my post from Nov 2015) The pair of units where screaming when they passed meaning a heavy train. I think these particular SD40U’s where trimming cars in the receiving yard but I could be wrong. It’s cool to see that CN is holding on to its SD40u’s. They sound and look great not to mention can pull 10x more cars than the regular GP9rm’s without suffering from frame damage.
The second train was quite interesting and sadly didn’t come close enough to get a good photo. The train in question was led by an unknown SW1200rs which is really really rare in to see in 2018. Here is what I got of it switching the trans load facility on the north-west side of HWY 7. I caught this during my initial walk. I know there is another SW1200rs on the property that belongs to a steel dealer on the south side of the bridge but just the fact that there are two SW1200 units in service here is kind of exciting.
With the sw1200 teasing me in the back I didn’t really notice how close the east yard job was to the bridge so I scrambled to take a picture as it came close. Sadly I missed the opportunity. The locomotive was already under the overpass. The east yard job had a GP9rm and a hump booster unit with it. This is the first time I ever caught a GP9rm with a HBU on the south end. The HBU’s are usually on the north end mu-d to pair of GP38-2m’s and are strictly assigned to the dual hump. I guess maybe they where short on GP9 slugs so they used a HBU. It’s anyone’s guess. After 7253 passed I caught an eastbound departure with a pretty crazy lashup consisting of a new tier 4 Gevo, SD70ace, GP9rm and slug. Yet again I was too far to snap a pic of the power. I’m guessing the GP9 and slug where dead in tow probably in transit to another yard or facility. After that the SD40u’s came back and blocked my view. This time with a crew of three. Fearing that they would raid me in to security. I grabbed a quick farewell shot and decided it was time to go. I spent a good 2hrs at Mac Yard today and really didn’t see much in terms of leased power nor did I see the GEXR freight from Stratford that usually runs on Wednesdays.. Oh well. I hope to go back this summer and catch some more action. I think the cold limited my time there today. Hats off to the CN employees that have to work out there everyday it’s not easy. Cheer’s!
Yes oh yes its that time of year. Motive Power Inspections! Once a year usually around March I take all my power off the layout and inspect every locomotive on the roster for damage. I currently roster a whopping 12 CN locomotives 😉 lol and another 10 on the CPR. Not much in terms of motive power compared to other layouts but good enough for my needs. Anyway the process in question is quite simple..
Each locomotive shell is removed and the motor and gears checked for wear. Parts are oiled if needed and the shell goes back on. Next is the shell. The shell is inspected for damage and if the damage is found it is corrected. For example my Athearn Genesis locos have a tendency to loose paint on the railings. A quick touch up and the locomotive is cleared to proceed to the wheel cleaner. Once the locomotive passes its yearly inspection it is tested on the layout and either kept out or boxed.
This year I’m currently in the process of replacing all the couplers with Kadee #158’s. So far all my rolling stock has them installed. I bought two bulk packs to make sure my fleet has the same couplers. One thing to add to that. I usually cut the trip pins off to avoid them getting caught on crossings and speeder platforms. I don’t use magnetic uncoupling blocks so they’re useless to me..
Ugh.. Waiter? I asked for medium well:
Lessons in the model RR world come in all shapes and sizes or depths of dirt for that matter. I was recently looking at some photos of CP 4507 on Flickr the other day when I decided to try my hand at weathering my bowser MLW c630M. I copied a picture of 4507 that was taken in the summer of 1990 somewhere between Sudbury and Levack Ontario. At that time 4507 was demoted to trailing unit status and had a pretty hefty collection of grime on it. As a modeller I said PERFECT! But as I soon learned that its easy to over do it when it comes to weathering. “Weathering is like cooking. If you leave it in for too long. You’ll burn it!” Like I did with 4507. My initial coat of grime was too dark. The whole side of 4507 was wayyyy too dirty compared to the pics on flickr. luckily I didn’t seal anything with dull coat yet and slowly rubbed off the black soot (acrylic paint and powder) with a Q-tip till I was happy with the end result. 4507 had the wintery grime look to it where the rain washed off certain spots and the salt built up on others.
After my issue with the grime was corrected I proceeded with airbrushing the kick up spray on the trucks. I painted the bearing covers light blue and added fuel spill on both sides of the fuel tank. I also added some oil spill on the walkways and re-decaled all the safety labels fire extinguisher, first aid and finished it off with a torn ACI car trak. As of now I would call this unit about 70% complete. I still have to add the MU stands and wheel slip detector’s on the engineers side. For now she goes back into service on the layout. All in all a fun one night project..
CN GMD GP40 #9316:
CN 9316 has been in the shops for almost a year its the first of 3 CN 9300 series GP40’s that I’m currently working on. CN 9316 started out life as a undecorated Atlas gold line model with DCC and sound. I custom painted and detailed it according to prototype photos. 9316 represents the prototype in its 1990’s form with the exception of the early high mounted ditch lights and the striped rock plow. The plow and ditch lights where in that configuration on the prototype unit pre-1990’s however I decided to make an exception with this model. It just looked too good to change.
With 9316 finished I’m turning all my attention to my current Kaslo shops GP9RM project that has been in the works for a little over a month now. Both will be at the Toronto RPM meet at Humber College on March 17th. So come on by!
Toronto RPM Meet:
The fact that its march doesn’t only mean spring is around the corner or that its time for my yearly locomotive inspections or…my birthday etc etc. It also means the Toronto RPM meet is just around the corner.
I really enjoy this event. I’ve been going for a couple years now and I’m always impressed with the level of modelling on display. From boats, stations, live steam and brass the RPM is must if you model any kind of prototype anything not to mention a way to learn new modeling techniques from the two clinics they put on.
With that said this year I will be bringing the following items to present:
CN GP40 #9316
CN GP9RM #7278
CN/CP Fairmont speeders
CN Fairmont tie crane
CP US&S co. relay mounted intermediate signals
I also want to note that CN slug #223 will not be at the show due to a repaint. I will cover this in the next update. All in all I’m pretty excited to put #9316 on display. She’s not perfect but still one of the best locomotives I’ve built so far. Anyway. Hope to see you all there. That’s it for this update happy modelling! 🙂
My Cn 7278 project has progressing quite nicely so far. I’ve been trying to squeeze in as many hours into it as possible. It has been a very time-consuming project that I initially wanted to get done in time for the 2018 Toronto RPM Meet which is in a couple of weeks. I soon realized that it wouldn’t be even close to being finished in time and didn’t want to rush it. It’s better to do things slowly the right way rather than rush it and just get-r dun. Something I’ve learned the hard way in the past. With that said I recently finished the “cab face” and interior. The locomotive cab interior is not included in the Kaslo kit so I bought one made by Miniatures By Eric. It consists of 4 brass parts. 2 seats, control stand and radio. I went ahead and painted the cab interior a shade of tan even though the real #7278 had a black and white interior. I found painting the cab interior a tan colour makes it more visible through the glass. After mounting the assembly on a styrene insert. I installed the interior into the shell after the glass inserts where permanently glued in. I realized while writing this article that taking a picture would’ve been a good idea before permanently installing. Oh well. Live and learn I guess…
After the cab interior was finished I turned my attention to the cab face. The cab face was a bit of a challenge. Call it a face lift.. Literally. 😉 My model of CN #7278 initially had a 3 class light configuration and low number boards making the cab look a bit off in appearance compared to the prototype. The real CN 7278 had a dual class light arrangement meaning I had to take all the etched parts off. (Something I realized after painting. D’oh!) I quickly modified them and “re-re-re-painted” the front of the cab. 3rd times the charm I guess. You can see the new arrangement in the pic above. Once I was happy with the cab I proceeded with the installation of the glass. Installing the glass was pretty straightforward however VERY time-consuming. All windows with exception of the all weather windows (not done yet) took me a good 2hrs to install. Each individual glass insert is mounted internally with canopy glue to keep them clear followed by the windshield wipers on the outside. With the cab glass assembled and cab interior installed work continues on the long list of things that need to get #7278 closer to being complete. I plan on bringing CN #7278 (in whatever phase its in) along with GP40 #9316 (article coming soon) to the Toronto RPM meet in a couple weeks. If you’re attending stop by and take look. Anyway.. That’s it for this update. Happy modelling! 🙂
My GP9rm belt pack unit #7278 has been sitting on my work bench since 2014 and was desperately in needed some tlc. So with that in mind and some free time on my hands. I decided to start working on painting and detailing this old girl. Let me say one thing before I go any further. THIS PROJECT WAS NOT EASY!! This unit is and was definitely a challenge to get together so far. I will explain why below..
Rewind back to 2014:
I bought this unit off eBay 4 years ago before Kaslo Shops really had anything directly available online. Assembling it was easy.. I literally put the unit together a day after it came in the mail. Quickly finding out the seller didn’t include or lost some parts some parts half way through my build was a bit of a downer. With all the major parts missing I decided to give it a break till I could source out the right parts. Luckily I found some replacement parts and continued the build till I got bored and left it on the shelf for a couple of years.
So here we are now. A couple of years later..
With the all the major details applied back in 2014. I started by airbrushing the shell with a blend of acrylics mixed to match the prototype #7278. This particular unit was my first attempt at the CN North America livery and was a massive learning experience to say the least! It took half a roll of Tamiya masking tape to mask off all the areas that needed red and white. A lot of trial and error went into painting this unit I got everything right. Another new practise I decided to undertake on this project was deciding to spray the yellow safety stripe on the side sill. Something I’ve never done before. The results where rather satisfying. No more messing around with spaghetti like decals that break before applying.. Also saves me from the constant cursing that goes with it! Win!! 🙂 Anyway. Now that the unit is fully painted. I’m currently working on adding a plethora of detail parts from various aftermarket suppliers before installing the railings.
A brief history:
CN 7278 was one of the last GP9s rebuilt by CN in 1992 at Pointe Ste. Charles Shops in Montreal. Part of a rebuild program for old GP9 units that stretched from the mid 80s to the early 90s. It was originally built by GMD Canada in 1959 as a light weight GP9 #4289. #7278 was cosmetically and mechanically rebuilt equipped with belt pack (remote control). #7278 was part of a group of GP9 mother daughter units that where semi permanently Mu-d to a 200 series GP9 slug and assigned to yard service. This particular unit was assigned to Symington yard in Winnipeg however moved throughout system from time to time. It was retired a couple of years ago and its status is unknown. Possibly sold or scrapped.
Here’s where I’m at with the unit so far. Work continues. I’ll be back soon with another update in a couple of weeks or so..
Here is 7278 ready to get its waste retention tank. The waste retention tank (foreground) was made using a hollow styrene beam with capped ends. It matches the prototype tank quite well and will be airbrushed separately. Should’ve added the run off valves and piping before taking this pic.. D’oh!
Hope everyone is enjoying their thanksgiving weekend!!. .. This weekend I decided to start weathering my fleet of NSC, FMC and PS boxcars. I started with the first of 3 GTW NSC boxcars for paper service. After doing a bit of research I noticed that most of the NSC boxcars that the GTW owned faded from the factory paint to a faded light blue. I achieved this by mixing light blue acrylic paint with water applying it to the model in coats. Then drying it in layers with a hair dryer on a low heat setting to prevent the plastic from melting. After the paint dried I used a toothpick with the tip soaked in 99% isopropyl alcohol to scratch out all the reporting marks.. It honestly felt like a scratch card from hell because this model had a lot of small details in peculiar spots. Here is what the car looks like after the fade.
In the prototype photo this particular car had a couple rust spots on side and rear. Instead of using oil paint to simulate the rust I decided to use acrylic mixed with flour. I mix red, yellow, brown to simulate the rust then add a bit of flour so it flakes like real rust. After the rust spots are done I go over them with with just strait acrylic paint mixed with a bit of water so it runs down the side of the car. Once that was done I gave the car a wash of flat black and then sealed it with dull coat to keep the rust paint mix from flaking any further.
Here’s another look at the car. I added a filter so you can see where I added the rust spots and black grime wash. On the prototype the ACI label (red white blue label on the side of the car) was torn in some corners so I represented that by scraping it with a toothpick till the corners of the decal came off.
Finally. To finish the car off I went over the underbody of the car with weathering chalks. The wheel faces are painted with acrylic then dusted with weathering chalks. I’d like to note that its easy to make mistakes with the acrylic wash but I found that you can literally erase your mistakes with a Q-tip and some isopropyl alcohol.
I’d also like to stress that I’m still learning this process and that I only intend to go through how I weathered these cars. I see a lot of people online preaching about different methods that don’t usually work. I don’t intend anyone to try this.. I am not an expert. Remember, Its your railway.