Thursday, February 20, 2020

TOFC - Things On Flat Cars in HO Scale

Modellers love flat car loads. Often, the creative process follows a defined, if somewhat illogical, process: 
  • Hey, this looks neat! 
  • Let's plunk it on a flat car! 
  • Let's hook a bunch of loaded flat cars together and run them in a train! 
Well, I'll go along as far as the first step. Especially if the modeller has spent time detailing the load, of course it rates showing off on the layout. Bearing in mind prototypical appearance and correct blocking and strapping. Speaking of prototype, coupling a bunch of disparate loads together is seldom seen. Such loads are usually singles and don't travel in packs!
Some modellers actually attach the load to the flat car. Others model two cars of the same number - one loaded and one empty, then switch a load for an empty at an industry or yard as appropriate. I'm too cheap for that, and would end up with double the number of cars. As a result, my flat car loads are removable. Up-close photos reveal my lack of realistic blocking and strapping. But read on...
The two top photos show flat car loads I recently assembled from bits n' pieces. Two industries on my Hanley Spur layout generate such loads - the Canadian Locomotive Company (CLC) and the Kingston Shipyards, both of which were located on Kingston's waterfront. The loads bear signs regarding humping, who produced the load and ride on my Union Pacific depressed-centre flat car.  I worked a little harder at these two, adding some Testor's black striping tape and non-scale lumber blocking. But the loads are still removable. My CN depressed-centre (above) carries a transformer made from styrene.
Three cardboard rings from a window-shade set were too good to recycle. So I reused them. Painted as rusted steel and glued to a piece of styrene to fit in my Athearn blue box gondola (above). Another gondola load - pieces of a steam locomotive, possibly for export?
A turbine, perhaps, again made from bits n' pieces and blocked for shipment:
CLC produced lots of tank locomotives - this one is just placed on a depressed-centre flat car. These cars have a short move on my layout - to interchange. The locomotive is second-hand and inoperable. The smokebox was partly missing therefore rebuilt with part of a tank car:
Another 'CLC product' actually a Tyco switcher painted grey with signage, blocked and strapped. My CN flat car needs a brake wheel! Oh, the benefits of up-close model photography!
These loads were made years ago to simulate aluminum ingots shipped on DWC/CN bulkhead flat cars. They also fit in some gondola cars if needed:
Another CLC product:
These two will definitely get the most 'reaction'. A CF-101 Voodoo fuselage:
And a NASA rocket!? I haven't actually operated these and I'm posting them just to see if Trackside Treasure readers are awake!
Strips of wood with thread - instant Roundhouse CP bulkhead flat car load:
Pieces of a train-show-bargain-bridge-deck end up in my Algoma Central gondola:
As does the gon's intended lading - pulpwood. Twigs glued to a balsa-wood base. Multiple loaded pulpwood cars and would actually be seen together on the ACR, lifted from load-out sidings.
Cash-register paper spools with test-tube caps added and blocked, riding on this another train show purchase - a nicely-detailed CP Rail flatcar complete with hand grabs:
Another oldie-but-goodie. New Holland balers (made with the flexible part of a flexible drinking straw!) on a styrene base:
As seen on the layout, this flat car crane was made from Majorette loader tracks and crane bits n' pieces:
Underframes from unsuccessful past projects end up in a weathered Athearn blue box UP gondola:
And more computer-label spools, glued together and painted make a final gon load, seen here at Kingston's Presland Iron and Metal which is now gon!

Running extra...

A two-week blockage (not a blockade!) on CN's Kingston Sub, originating 35 miles west of here, has not only stopped CN and VIA Rail traffic, it has started a new round of nonsensical troll comments. We need not brow-beat teenagers about internet-based shaming, bullying and harassing when adults are doing it much more frequently and just as jarringly. Suggestions of violence run counter to contemporary Canadian values shared by indigenous and all others alike. A VIA/Amtrak status map shows the total dearth of VIA trains in this area.

As a rail enthusiast, I've found the blockage other-worldly. Normally, with a few minutes to spare while out and about, there are a number of convenient vantage points to await the next train. What's the point now? Instead, I found myself spending a spare half-hour at a local marketplace. Now that's dangerous, as I might be tempted to pick up a few things I really don't need. But I did make use of my purchases!
The station will be a window-donor. The brewery will be handy for kitbashing. The two kits have already donated parts to my National Grocers building (below) and all the hoppers - except for the Virginian silver one for which I couldn't find a prototype and has been painted-over -  and the vintage Varney gon with sprung trucks have been weathered and are in service. Minimal coupler changeovers! 

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Portage la Prairie, November 1980

Recently, my email inbox was graced by the arrival of a fine series of photos by the late Bill Grandin, kindly shared by James Parker and included in this post with his permission. Bill took these photos on Nov 26, 1980, according to their captions. I believe Bill was a Winnipeg resident, but this was the first time I recall him photographing Portage, roughly 55 miles to the west. I'd been there twice that year - in June  and in October. While I don't often share other photographers' photos on Trackside Treasure these are too good not to post, knowing that there are many others who railfan or model Portage that will enjoy them as much as I did!
One operation that I wish I'd checked out more was McCallister Pea & Seed Cleaners. McCallister was just north of the CP yard but far enough from the mainlines that I never wanted to miss the action there. Not so for Bill. His morning photos from the west (top photo) and east (above) show the various buildings that made up this agribusiness agglomeration. Note that the transport truck on the drive shed ramp, blocks the spur while a CP Rail multimark boxcar (being loaded?) is just past it. So it must have been retractable.

Moving farther west, Bill photographed the northeast (above) and southeast (below) sides of the United Grain Growers elevator, as it overshadows the off-hand Sherritt Fertilizers elevator. In the second photo, a CP grain train is passing by and CN in foreground.
Moving east along Fisher Avenue, Bill photographed the Elephant Fertilizers and Portage Pool A elevators:
Portage Pool A and its annex, served by CP, with CN mainlines in the foreground:
Approaching the Skyline bridge, we see the Portage Pool B and UGG (formerly Victoria) elevators and CN (VIA) station at right:
Portage Pool B was served by CP on the north side and CN spur on the south side. Wooden grain doors can be seen stacked at the east end of the drive shed.Nice leafless view of the Pool B annexes:
What was likely VIA No 90 arrives behind VIA 6502, wearing its 60-degree slanted yellow nose paint scheme applied in April, 1978, pulls in to Portage at Eighth Street:
Apparently this is a last run for one of the head-end crew, based on the banner tied to 6502's nose:
Stopped at the CN station, with CP station at right:
A westbound CN freight is switching and/or departing the yard westbound. Note the CN boxcars on CP rails on the Northan American Can of Canada Ltd. spur.

Then, in Winnipeg it's VIA Sceneramic Fraser still in CN paint in CN's East Yard, ignominiously coupled to a CN boxcar:

Running extra...

Fellow ARK member Paul Hunter presented on CN's peripatetic, provincial Turbo at our February club meeting. I tagged on some rare-mileage coverage of that famous 25 mph collision with the meat truck at Kingston. Don't you hate it when you show up somewhere and someone is wearing the same thing as you - an original red-and-white 'Turbo' button. Paul and I experienced that!

Blockades have sprung up like mushrooms in manure and CN has staged freights across the system, many east and west of here on the now-rusty rails of its Kingston Sub. Rail-based commerce has ground to a halt, and VIA passengers are caught up in the logistics logjam.

When trains were running...check out combination-door CN 598140 in a rare, small-CN 'website' scheme - a video capture from the Platforum Episode 5 with the irrascibly inimitable Jason Shron. Watch it here, if you dare!

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

My Railfan Five, Take Two

Five years ago, a thing called My Railfan Five Challenge was briefly A Thing. Illustrating my railfan journey in five photos, it was shared with several other unsuspecting but magnanimous blog partners. The photos did not have to be the best, the most stunning, the most unusual, in fact they could be very mundane and concurrently very meaningful. And they were to me. And, we're baaaaack with Take Two - five more photos showing the railfan journey over the past five years. Posted on Five/Two, no less, just three days after Palindrome Day!

Anticipation! Nearly a year ago, on my first official day of retired life, I headed over to Kingston's VIA station to watch the printing of our tickets to travel to Western Canada, then take them home to put under our pillows and dream of our upcoming VIAyage (top photo).

Additional Anticipation! What could be better than walking one mile west then east on Kingston's Railfan Walking Trail then hearing, approaching in the western distance, an eastbound freight?! Well, park it right here, rest your Timmies on the provided handrail and enjoy the passing show!
Monochromaticity. Nearly the class car of this Parrish & Heimbecker series posed patiently while I made its portrait of its grey sides on an equally greasy, grey morning at the Trenton elevator. As a rolling stock guy, I loved seeing these heraldic hoppers plying the Kingston Sub singly, and the chance to see one at my leisure and up close was a good one!
Not Wanted on the Voyage. What must this lead-sled be thinking as it's barred entry to one of the enclosed auto racks passing it by. Likely getting some TLC at our local Midas brake shop, chain-link chastity keeps it from going very far with its winsome whitewalls and fins that any fish would be proud of!
GOing Somewhere? To see a photographer on the platforms of Toronto Union Station's GO concourse is as rare as seeing some GO single-level cars there. Catching two adjacent GO trains without the harried hordes of huddled commuters - synchronicity in the City.
It's always an engaging exercise to review our retrospective photos to see where we have come from. Check the right sidebar for additional My Railfan Five, Take Two posts by blog partners or click on these five (Three, sir!) er, three links:

Celebrating Railfan Five/Two day with the first train of the next five years! CN No 518 with CNNA map-scheme 9427-9461 backing to Kingston's Invista plant on the Cataraqui Spur at 1100 this morning:

Running extra...

If it was the Railfan Six Challenge, this next photo would have made the cut. Model Railroad Planning 2020 is now out and it should make excellent trackside reading!

Product Review underway - Model Railroad Planning 2020:

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

The Company Photographer visits Toronto

He's been at it again! The Trackside Treasure company photographer, camera in hand. This time, taking his show on the road, with this photo archive of Toronto providing the inspiration. Enjoy these just-captioned photos taken in the Queen City, T Dot, The Big Smoke, the 'T' in the GTA. All aboard!

Need to see more from the Company Photographer? Just type those two words into the search box at top left of this blog. I've not kept track, pun intended, of how many times this talented photo quasi-wizard has displayed his work here, maybe a half-dozen, but each time there are wry smiles and warm grins all around.

Running extra...

Coming soon: My Railfan Five, Take Two. (And don't call me in the morning.)
The televised impeachment proceedings have been engrossing this last little while. Not too many broadcasts can bump The Young and the Restless off the airwaves, but this stuff can. A highlight of the day is the Chaplain's Daily Prayer for the Senate. He's been in the Navy and knows a thing or two about Calming the Storm. And members of both parties are showing us that they're all in the same boat. Will any be brave enough to step out and walk on their own? The Land of the Free, the Home of the Brave, what so Proudly we Hailed, Long may she Wave.