Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Moving Vancouver to Vermont - in HO Scale!

In 2009, as my HO scale Winnipeg Terminals layout was appearing as the cover story of Canadian Railway Modeller magazine, I was already planning to move my modelled prototype locale west to Vancouver, which I did in 2010. Infamously, I used the same benchwork but rebuilt the trackage without a trackplan, resulting in my Vancouver Wharves layout. The photographic inspiration for that layout focused on CP's waterfront 'N' yard, their Pier B-C facilities, nearby marine traffic as shown in the Phil Mason 1982 photo (below). I moved my modelled era from 1976-86 Winnipeg to 1970-76 Vancouver.
Now my modelled prototype locale is about to move again. To New England! Prince Street blogger Chris Mears* has actually been there! His photo of the (over-used terminology warning) iconic ET & HK Ide feed mill in St Johnsbury, VT is one of the signature scenes I want to include:
The other is the Rutland Railroad interchange in Rutland, VT, including the Howe Scale building disappearing seemingly into the distance with its nearby trackage and foliage-covered grade at left, shown in this Trains magazine photograph:
Some of the factors that are contributing to this change taking place this week, in no particular order:
  • purchasing a large Heljan brewery built-up kit at the Picton train show. Where was I going to fit that thing in my Vancouver modelled prototype? Carling O'Keefe brewery?
  • coming across a complimentary copy of the Canadian Railway Modeller article on my Winnipeg Terminals layout
  • adding some St Johnsbury photos to my Pinterest page (sign in to view)
  • this post on my brother Dave's Rolly Martin Country blog - B&M in 1954 - classic New England railway photography by our Dad
  • it seems unlikely I'll ever capitalize on a long-waning whim to build a layout of CN's Kingston Sub with limestone and lichen. Besides, some other modeller is building one!
  • a long-standing interest in New England railroading, perhaps going back to 1954!
From the above-mentioned Rolly Martin Country post...the Boston & Maine switcher in Greenfield, Massachusetts. Perhaps the image rivals a Jim Shaughnessy photo in tone, and the subjects - switcher, Swift and signage - are visually compelling and highly modellable:
Also from that post - my brother's scan of the 1954 B&M timetable shows two communities of interest circled. As the crow flies, they were not far apart. Perhaps convincingly linked in HO scale:
There remains much to be decided:
  • Era - I would like to have a sliding scale of era for at least vehicles and rolling stock, perhaps 1960's to 1980's. 
  • I need to do more research. Railfan magazine other soft-cover books from my library will help.
  • Motive power - I'm good for CP and there's even a Maine Central RR 44-tonner in my stable (*also thanks to Chris!)
  • Rolling stock - I likely have enough CN, CP, MEC and northeast US roads to pull it off. Cylindrical covered hoppers for grain service, prepare to fade farther into the background.
  • Structures - ET & HK IDE, Howe Scale for sure. Also, a lumber dealer at which to spot the Thrall All-Coor cars, farm supply and some other New England staples. There will be no fishing wharf, lighthouse or other kitschy, stereotypic seaboard structuring. Although there may be some shades of Earl Smallshaw**.
  • Train length - not an issue, since one locomotive and several cars seems to be standard for many New England locals
  • Trackplan - no laps to run! Perhaps just transiting from one signature scene to another. Perhaps even one of those pointless overpasses so common on today's layouts!
  • Recycling the same trackplan I have, with some modifications. I'll likely remove my raised trackage to make way for Rutland. Since the trackplan is STaying CONSTANT, I'm considering the new layout's name as the St Constant, St Johnsbury & Rutland RR!
The exact equipment mix is still forthcoming, though I've already corralled several pieces of regional rolling stock:


**While researching Earl Smallshaw's structures and layout-building, I was chillingly surprised to find out he died the same day as my Dad.

So, stay tuned in case anything actually happens and progress is made, even if ponderously slowly. After all, it's New England and not much changes they-ah. Prahgress happens wicked slow, leaf peepers, in the Green Mountain state!

Running extra...

Thanks to those loyal Trackside Treasures, and others, who participated in my September Sale. Remaining lots (those not garishly marked ****SOLD****) in the previous post are now available at a 20% discount. Just mention the promo code 'Johnny Cash' in your email expressing interest in a remaining lot.

I need to profile some of my recent reading in this space - it's impossible to avoid. Suffice it to say it was inescapably weird to read to books in a row (Dunkirk and Younger Next Year) that each included a word I'd never seen or spoken: ineluctable.
Fun Five-digit Fact - It seems that during the 1980's, Vermont licence plates finally progressed from five numeric digits to six digit alphanumeric combinations. Waving a fond farewell to summer and to VIA No 67:

Friday, September 22, 2017

September Sale!

Check out these unique items! A useful and diverse group of timetables and other railway documents, employee magazines, photos, collectibles and HO scale rolling stock that are surplus to my collection. The items in in each photo are being sold as a lot. I can't break up lots - these items have to go! Shipping will be actual Canada Post postage. The first email indicating interest  in each lot to mile179kingstonATyahooDOTca makes the item yours! I can now accept Interac e-transfer as well as cheque or money order! Please refer to each lot by the LOT# in your email. Happy shopping! Click each photo for a better view. Items already sold are marked |****SOLD****
LOT 1 ****SOLD****(Top photo) $20 Original LRC press release photos with caption information.
LOT 2 ****SOLD****(above) $20 CN Keeping Track employee magazines-10 issues from 1957-62.
LOT 3 ****SOLD****(below) $15 CN Hamilton yard operations 1990 and CN train orders from Hamilton and Stoney Creek, 1966-88.
****SOLD**** LOT 4: $20 CP Spanner employee magazines - 10 issues from 1961-1967:
LOT 5: ****SOLD****$18 Collectible VIA/CN buffeteria menu and 5 CP public timetables 1970-1976:
****SOLD****LOT 6: $15 CP 1963 and 1965 annual reports plus CP Spanner employee magazines - 3 issues 1955-1962:
LOT 7: $15 CN Locofolio with 22 locomotive photos, data and specifications by Railfare:
 LOT 8: ****SOLD****$10 CN Heirs to a Dream and Grand Trunk Western train orders 1964-1978:
LOT 9: $25 CP Bygones Collectors Items with 27 locomotive photos, data and specifications. Canada 1967 Tattoo cardboard sign and Canadian Locomotive Co. CPA-16a and CPB-1b Operator's Manual:
****SOLD**** LOT 10: $30 TH&B lot of 8 employees' timetables 1972-1980:
 LOT 11: ****SOLD****$4 CN Great Lakes Region employees timetable, 1987:
Photo prints ideal for prototype fans, modellers and collectors alike. Size is 4x6 inches except as noted. Quantity in each lot is a minimum. Many lots have more photos than indicated. Occasional duplication not counted in quantity. Shine on photos is from room lighting only. Variety of eras represented. 
LOT 12 (above) 40 assorted 5x7 photos $12.
LOT 13 ****SOLD****(below) 20+ CP rolling stock $7.
****SOLD**** LOT 14: 20+ CP locomotives $7:
 LOT 15:  ****SOLD****40 Various Rolling Stock $12:
 ****SOLD****LOT 16: 50 CN locomotives $15:
 ****SOLD****LOT 17: 30 Goderich & Exeter locomotives $10:
****SOLD****LOT 18: 45+ Canadian shortline locomotives $15:
****SOLD****LOT 19: 15+ VIA locomotives $5:
 LOT 20: 25+ US locomotives $7:
****SOLD****LOT 21: 50+ Ontario Southland locomotives $15:
 LOT 22: 18 Norfolk Southern and TH&B, mostly locomotives $6:
HO scale layout rolling stock fleet ready to roll! All cars are as is, non-metal wheels and X2F-coupler equipped. Rolling stock in each photo is sold as a lot. An economical way to start a fleet or use for kitbashing purposes - all at about $2 per car!

****SOLD****LOT 23: $45 Boxcars (above)
****SOLD****LOT 24: $50 Tank cars, hoppers and flats, oh my! (below):
 ****SOLD****LOT 25: $35 Cabooses
****SOLD**** LOT 26: $40 Boxcars and more:
 ****SOLD****LOT 27: $60 Passenger fleet:
 ****SOLD****LOT 28: $22 Locomotives and hi-cubes:

Thursday, September 14, 2017

McDonald's Restaurant Rolling Stock

One of North America's most diverse and most widely-dispersed rolling stock fleets did not turn a wheel. It was not interchanged. It was never inspected by a carman or even put in a consist. But it took on thousands of passengers. For an hour or two at a time. They ate hamburgers, blew out candles, and ate cake. They were at McDonald's restaurants in Nanaimo BC, Charlottetown, Winnipeg, Bay Roberts NL, Lasalle QC (ex-CP), Malton, Orangeville, Orillia, Windsor and Stratford ON, Spokane, Tulsa, Waterford NY, Swanton OH, Stillwater OK, Elkton VA, Thayer MO, New Bedford MA, Crystal Lake IL, and Santa Monica, CA (the latter still with ACI tag!) and countless other untallied locations. Welland, ON hosted RMCX 001 - an ex-CN caboose with appropriate reporting marks. I posed witih our two kids on a trip to Niagara Falls and the Welland Canal in June, 1995 during a breakfast stop (top photo). This fleet began to form around 1978. Just in time for the bowl-cut generation, as this 1979 TV commercial shows.
Ottawa's St Laurent Boulevard location hosted one (above) as did McDonald's Bells Corners location. An ex-CN caboose in Cowansville, QC (below). Only the top and bottom photos are mine - the others are from online photo sites like Flickr. Actually the top photo was taken by my wife, with me and the two kids on the rear platform! Interestingly, while the ex-CN Welland caboose is shown in the 1995 Canadian Trackside Guide, it was not included in the 1989 version. A casual search of Ontario locations in that year's CTSG yielded ex-CN cabooses in Chatham, Collingwood, Georgetown, Kitchener, Leamington, Mississauga (2), Nepean, Orangeville and Owen Sound, with an ex-CP caboose in Hamilton. In the 2008 CTSG, none of those sites still had cabooses. Collingwood's and Owen Sound's were moved to nearby stations/museums.
Though McDonald's corporate department seems to have had a policy on placing these cars, there was no mandated paint scheme. Cars were taken from local railways, so car types also varied. Some had cupolas, while some did not, such as this Mount Holly, NJ ex-Conrail bay window:
With 37,000 locations worldwide, there is considerable variation in McDonald's restaurant design. For some time, McDonald's has been ditching the formica tables and cheap wood panelling, red-and-yellow 'cafeteria' look of its restaurants to make them appear more cafe-like, i.e. without those pivoting chairs on posts with hard backs! Ouch. The same is true for the cabooses! Composite construction in Boulder, CO:
Barstow Station in Barstow, CA actually gets reviewed on Tripadvisor and Yelp. It's one of the remaining railroady facilities with three (!) passenger cars and a red-and-yellow caboose plus blue Santa Fe boxcar:
 A stainless steel passenger car at Fall River, MA:
Interestingly, the Fall River installation is closing as the restaurant is remodelled in 2018. It's heading back to 'revenue' ice cream train service on the nearby Newport & Narragansett Bay tourist railway. The car moved to the site in 1982, with a couple of photos (showing the ex-Amtrak car move and the interior - remember newspaper clippings?) included with the 2018 news story:
Birthday kids in foreground with French fry fangs, wearing Amtrak hats. Likely the party hostess in the aisle:
The current i'm lovin' it campaign began in 2003, and was one of 23 slogans that McDonald's has trumpeted in its advertising over the years.
 Bayland TX (above) El Paso TX (below)
This brightly-painted ex-CN caboose is no longer at the McDonald's restaurant on Lougheed in Vancouver (below). Party hats, the 'municipal' presence of Mayor McCheese and the delight of opening cheeseburger happy meals within the confines of a caboose would be memories in the making.
In 1999, Pierre Fournier photographed an ex-Grand Trunk caboose at Anciene Lorette, QC!
With the steady demise of party cars, many have found new homes in museums or with private owners. Some franchisees have taken the cars with them or moved them to friends' properties. Locally, the Thurlow Golf Centre, just north of Belleville on Towncentre Drive, just off North Front Street/Highway 62 still hosted a off-rails caboose in this June, 2015 Googlemaps street view: 
Interestingly, I wondered why this former DT&I 153/Grand Trunk Western caboose had arrived in Belleville yard back in September, 1997, in the company of CN ingot cars and ballast cars. The caboose may no longer be at the golf centre, which is now out of business.
After this post was published, Jeremy MacPherson kindly sent in this online auction site photo of an ex-CN caboose in Saint John NB that later served as a take-out in Quispamsis. Equipped with gingerbread and air-conditioning!

Link: Some more Canadian McCabooses here

Running extra...

If you've seen Trackside Treasure's sidebar, you'll see my second of five blogs - it's Fast Food and Trains (FFAT for short). As we all know, if you're trainwatching, you're eating fast food (sorry, granola types if I'm superimposing my values on yours - chew on). This post would be equally at home on that blog.

The current McDonald's order-taking process has also seen a sea-change since the seventies. No more rows of queued customers standing before pimply-faced paper-hatted peons. Instead, it's one order taker (don't use the electronic kiosks - they're job-killers for a corporation that prides itself on promoting productive teen labour) and a pod of prospective partakers, standing around like penguins waiting for fish to be flung, as in the film Happy Feet.

Speaking of flightless birds, the Snowbirds definitely do not qualify. Note the arrowed Battery Park location )formerly Canadian Locomotive Co.) that was our ground-bound perch to see the peak of professionalism put forth by these error-free air demonstration aeronauts over Kingston last weekend:
CANADA 150 nose logo! Here over Kingston airport, with two spares on the apron: