Friday, July 20, 2018

The Front Patio & Scrap Box Structure Co. (Est'd 2018)

What's new on the front patio? Well, not a new layout this year. Something different, though. I decided that instead of trying to brainstorm a new micro-layout as in past summers, most of which seemed themed to food and drink and two of which still exist if I feel the need to operate, I would take my modelling outdoors, instead. This year's modelling efforts would rest on our patio's new fire-table. Not too close! We're selling the sizzle, not structures at stake (top photo).
The fires of enthusiasm burned just as bright. Introducing the FP&SBSCo. - the Front Porch & Scrap Box Stucture Company. With feedstock structures, tools and scrap box at the ready, the company's first structure project was a train-show dollar-find power house which I have recycled from a previous location in a previous (Vancouver) layout iteration. Painting (before window treatments - above) with lettering, mortar/weathering and signage (below) form the finished product with added Heljan enginehouse side room and:
The power house was destined to be part of my Moose River Paper Co. mill. Relaxing on the patio and flipping through a book on Roadside America, this diminutive fillin' station caught m'eye:
Richard Longstreth's book Road Trip is what really fuelled my interest in this build. Another train-show dollar-find, it had functioned as a flour mill side building in a previous life. Before - I posed it on the covered fire-table with a gondola-load pipe project. More about that later....
This was a POLA kit. Judging by prototype photos, an awning was needed. So I set about building one with styrene (above) but my supplanted supports seemed suboptimal. So, I found a U-shaped girder piece in the scrap box and added some nicely-bent sprues to connect the uprights and provide a signpost then painted. Those side-doors actually slide:
Pre-weathering (above). I like those sliding doors and will keep them open sometimes on the layout, perhaps bracketing a car with propped-open hood inside for servicing. Added weathering and details (below). I was not tired of the project and it seemed like a good year so far:
Signs available online - printed off and pasted with more details on the other side:
Only after the project was complete did I realize that the original Pola kit also came with an awning, just like the one I'd added! Online auction site photo:
Though I hadn't found a place to put this decades-old POLA freight station on my Green Mountain Lines layout, I'd assembled it as a Co-op feed mill years ago. First step was to paint the brick grey, accompanied by some lemonade in a Railway City glass:
Finished product with signage, again from online sources. I've been mindful of Lance Mindheim's advice to employ a minimal colour palette. This greyish shade matches well with many other buildings on the layout - no one building catches the eye to distract! Doors were weathered darker, and platform supports painted:
Rear views. Before...rear view with previous feed mill Harvestore and other signs which I removed before painting:
After...I dulled down the foundation stones, weathered roof, walls and doors, and added signage:
Signs were a combination of online logos, a feed mill signage page from a June 1972 Model Railroader  and Microsoft Word fonts. To somewhat personalize this structure, I am honouring New Hampshire-born Rene Gagnon, one of the United States Marine Corps flag-raisers from Mount Suribachi in Iwo Jima. One of the more famous sharers of our surname:
Oh, and the occasional rolling-stock project gets done outside, too. In this case, it's a Bangor & Aroostook swap-meet-special ex-troop sleeper caboose. I plated some windows, cut in vestibules, added the bay windows and a few details, here seen painted but awaiting crests and lettering:
Watch for an upcoming post which will show the completed projects in their assumed natural subterranean environment!

Running extra...

With Trackside Treasure's annual outdoor modelling published, it's time to look forward to another Trackside Treasure summertime tradition - the anniversary post. Perhaps there will be tributes and contests as in other years, and the theme will be...connections... of which is my connection with graphics guru Randy O'Brien, fellow HO modeller and Portage la Prairie enthusiast. Whether building a layout or working on modelling projects, Randy's graphic definitely applies (above). We'll keep the home fires and the mosquito repellents burning!

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Kingston-Toronto Return Trip, July 2018

The consist of VIA No 651 that took me to Toronto on July 6: 905F-3325-3369-3318-3352F-3460-911F (F=Future scheme, R = Renaissance scheme). Arriving from Queens south service track at 0510 (top photo), this view shows the consist waiting to board passengers at Kingston station, from the tail-end. Now that this consist, which stays in Kingston, is double-ended there is no need to use the wye at Queens and the entire consist spends the night in track KL29.
With no more than 10 passengers in Business Class, there was lots of elbow room. And knee room. And badminton room if you'd wanted. Breakfast was substantial Business Class coffee in a decent-sized cup, croissant, orange juice, kiwi/pineapple/grapefruit/grape/orange fruit tray and omelette main dish with cheese, baby tomatoes, onion, green pepper, mushrooms and sausage:
A few brave souls at Napanee station:
There were a couple of cars on the Parrish & Heimbecker elevator spur at Trenton Jct:
Another view of an ex-Grand Trunk station - this one at Port Hope. (Eleven commuter vehicles had rolled into parking lot at Cobourg in the 7 minutes between early arrival and on-time departure. Cutting it close and they know how to do it!)
Pacing a GO consist to the north of us which came down the Don Valley, approaching Union Station:
Now that the Amtrak Maple Leaf to New York departs later, at 0855, I don't have to hoof it quite as hard to reach the Skywalk to capture its departure. In fact, with a five-minute tardy toodle-oo, getting this video capture made it a quick dash to my meeting! It was worth it: Amtrak 100-and Amfleet cars 82534-xxxxx-43374-82762-82635 comprised this colonial consist.
There are quite a few GO Transit 2xxx-series bilevel cars in the Metrolinx scheme, but here are two newer 4xxx-series cars' broadside views:
4518 (above) and 4076 (below):
Second time seeing warhorse GO 563, which had powered the six-car paced consist from the Don Valley shown above. Here it heads west from Union, meeting inbound Lakeshore West GO 620:
The celebratory banners get bigger as the network shrinks. Vancouver Island, Gaspe and Churchill down, banners up. When the placename chisellers were working at ceiling-height, could they ever had imagined how their network would shrink and how many of those cities would no longer be served someday?
Returning home on VIA No 54: 914-3475-3336-3360F-3363-3348R. I've rarely seen GOraffiti but here is some on a consist in the GO Don storage yard (former CN Don yard) coincidentally the six-car consist shown twice above with GO 563 (now from the north side!):
GO 2xx-series cab cars have largely been relegated to coach status, but two functioning in their intended role were 255 and 256. Here we pace GO 255 on a Lakeshore East train near Guildwood. Appurtenances!
For dinner, I eschewed the usual fish dish for the pot roast. Beefy! And a Rickard's Red. More festive fortieth festoonery at the Dirty Shwa:
Faithful Trackside Treasure reader Malcolm Peakman and Mary were at Napanee station at dusk. As was a plethora of pickup trucks belonging to the CN workers from in a 41-machine tie/surfacing gang working west of Napanee.

Running extra...

Speaking of that big tie/surfacing gang, here is one of four ballast regulators, this one working at Collins Bay, Mi 180 Kingston Sub this week. This is one dusty job!
An army travels on its stomach, and a track gang travels with its support truck. And SUV's containing supervisors. Lots and lots of supervisors, in air-conditioned SUV cabs (not pictured). It appears this gang stays on their track all day, with perhaps two crews operating 'round the clock. 
Trackside Treasure's tenth is just around the corner. Traditional gift for the tenth is tin or aluminum. Due to recent tariffs, aluminum gifts are not cost-effective. I'll see what I can do. In the meantime, here is a glimmery view of VIA 905 at Kingston this past Friday:

Monday, July 2, 2018

The Thurlow Railway

The Thurlow Railway was about three miles in length, running south off CN's Kingston Subdivision, then crossing CP's Belleville Subdivision, heading south to the Bay of Quinte to reach the Canada Portland Cement Co. cement plant on the shores of the Bay of Quinte - on the north shore of Lake Ontario. After various owners operated the plant in the 19th century, the plant ended up in the fold of the Canada Cement Company, labelled as Plant 5. The company's plant numbering system: Plant 1 Montreal East; Plant 2 Havelock, NB; Plant 3 Hull; Plant 4 Woodstock, ON (1956+); Plant 5 Belleville; Plant 8 Port Colborne; Plant 12 Exshaw, AB; Plant 13 Fort Whyte, MB. Bayside 1910 postcard view of the plant:
Located in Thurlow Township, now part of the amalgamated City of Belleville, bagged cement was shipped by rail, boat and truck. The unused tackboard card (top photo) ended up in my collection. I imagine this would have been stapled to the boxcar tackboard, including car reporting marks, consignee and rail routing. A unique line due to its operation by CN and CP concurrently, this diagram shows the line's location, including its onsite quarry at bayside:
Interestingly, when CN's Belleville city branch trackage was severed, CN accessed downtown Belleville with trackage rights from its connection to the Thurlow Railway, then branching off onto the CP west to Belleville! There is still a mileboard for Thurlow on CP's Belleville Sub. CP's April, 1972 Eastern Region employees' timetable included the following footnotes regarding the joint operation to Point Anne:
CN's 1971 operating diagram for the Belleville South Spur showed the connection to the CN Kingston Sub, interchange with CPR/TRR, three spurs near the CP then the two sidings and three spurs into the plant itself, before the End CNR operation notation.
A worker community of housing, school, stores and churches sprung up on the site. On trips to Belleville along Highway 2, I remember driving over the single track. Of course, as with other abandoned operations, there is no sign of the crossing when driving along Highway 2 today. Though this post languished in draft form for months/years, the acquisition of a bound volume of company newsletters this past Canada Day at the Kingston (behind) City Hall antiques market renewed my interest. (Three bucks, though my wife said I should have bartered for $2! Haggle more!)
These 1952 plant expansion photos, from the company newsletter The Cement Bulletin, show the boom that the post-war era brought to the construction industry. New kilns were added and the plant's future seemed bright. Arrows indicate boxcars stored on the Thurlow Railway trackage. Middle arrow below shows a spur into the plant:

The plant operated into the 1970's, but is now rated as a ghost town of ruins and remains only. Current satellite photos of the connection to CN, just east of Belleville yard along the Airport Parkway, roughly paralleling the road to the former location of the Belleville airport, also shown in a recent video capture from a speeding VIA train:
Then continuing south, remnants of the Thurlow Railway-CPR connecting track (which CN had accessed to reach downtown Belleville at one time) can be seen (below) and the quarrying operation remains...cemented in time.

Lots o' links:
Prolific model railroader Bob Fallowfield kindly shared an under-construction photo of Canada Cement's Plant 4 at Woodstock, ON. Photo from the CCL Archives:
Running extra...

If you woke up this morning and said, "Gee, I haven't seen a top-down view of those ex-B&M covered hoppers in roofing-granule service in a while", then George and Peter are there to make this your lucky day!
Canada Day has come and gone. Our local MP's staff distributed cardboard fans for a civic ceremony at Kingston City Hall. People-watching in the A/C of the Speckled Hen pub, while enjoying a very un-Canadian Budweiser was ecumenically entertaining and quintessentially, comically Canadian. The term [maple] LEAF! was used to describe those celebrants not carrying off the red-and-white clothing theme in a tasteful or appropriate manner. Going all-out with cowboy hats, pinwheels, flag capes or other festoons was well-received, however.
Meanwhile, over at Rapido Trains Inc., the recent cacophonic company cattle call for at least four new products included the Tempo train. As predictable as a CPR D-10 (one of which is also near City Hall, its thirst eternally slaked) anyone with half-a-brakeline knew this would happen eventually. I must admit that the also-announced workaday RS-18 has me model-mulling in a mercurial MLW manner. I don't consider myself a shrill, shilling Shronian but even I think this one just might be worth supporting! CN 3732 was still earning its keep in Kingston in February, 1986: