Saturday, July 28, 2018

CN Tempos to Moncton

Behold I tell you a mystery...

Norm Shapland posted the above photo of CN 3155 on Facebook. The far-from-home Tempo RS-18m (rebuilt to class MRE-18g from CN MR-18g 3887) is said to be photographed leading the Ocean into Halifax on June 29, 1976. Why? Because the Tempo locomotives were routinely sent to CN's shop in Moncton, NB for heavy maintenance such as rebuilding, major component failure, wreck repair and painting. The units apparently bypassed Toronto's Spadina shops and Montreal's Pointe St Charles shops for this work. After repairs, the Tempo units would be sent on a break-in run to a nearby terminal before heading back to their assigned service out of Toronto.

OK then, I wondered, why had I never seen one passing through Kingston? After all, to get to Montreal, nevermind Moncton, the Tempo units would have to traverse the length of CN's Kingston Sub, where I routinely posted myself trackside, notepad in hand, beginning in February, 1976.

So, off the old dusty archives I flew. Searching my roadswitcher listings (GP-9/RS-18) starting in 1976, I came to September 25, 1976 where I found CN 3155. Now we're talking! And CN 4549. Oh. 

Returning to the original (transcribed from) notepad, I found that at 1431 on September 25, CN 4549 had led 3155 east along with the following Tempo cars: 15300-372-366-364-361-348. And that's not all! I'd noted that CN 3155's own trucks were on a flat car, and that the unit itself was riding on freight car trucks. The Tempo cars were followed by some freight cars and caboose 79241.

Well, that was weird.

Further investigation revealed that 3155 may have even spent some time in Brockville yard on its way east. It was released from Moncton shops on March 2, 1977 after wreck repairs - at least five months after its incident.

Little did I know that former CN Moncton shops employee Wendell Lemon had done what I was unable to - photographed 3155 - just outside Moncton shops on November 28, 1976! It's not a pretty sight...bent frame, equipment missing, long hood telescoped, but at least it's been reunited with its trucks that travelled with it on that flat car! Wendell Lemon photo:
Jeremy MacPherson kindly shared two photos from his collection showing CN 3155 is its diesel-dishevelled state. This one is captured 'Stratford':
No location in caption (below).  Photographer unknown - both.
Perusing patiently, I came upon only one other Tempo temporary toot along the Kingston Sub that I'd witnessed. CN 3155 again - on November 16, 1978. In the company of at least two Centuries, CN 2314-2043, the Tempo unit was eastbound (at an unrecorded time) on a freight train tailed by CN caboose 79707. Since the original notes I'd taken were not in one of my still-existing note pads I no longer have any specifics on the train itself. But I'm guessing it may have been COFC/TOFC.

I'm still searching for more information on the derailment that caused that Tempo consist to be hauled east from Toronto in September, 1976.

Hours after this post was published, Sean Trofin kindly passed along the following update: 

There was a Tempo train derailment outside of Windsor, in Tecumseh on September 6, 1976. The derailment was caused by a tampered switch. The train involved was westbound train No 77 and  the derailment occured at Lesperance Road in Tecumseh. Sean remembers that the Windsor Star newspaper had an article and pictures of the derailment. Sean was a young nine years old at the time, and already a big railfan! 

Thanks, Sean! This will provide a lead to find out more about the Tempo tampering timing!

Most Tempo units arriving in Moncton were dead, only occasionally working. Return west was usually on No 15 or 341. Other reported trips to Moncton by Tempo units after 1976 include:
  • CN 3153 Aug 30, 1976 (having arrived on CN train No 340 - Wendell Lemon photo):
  • CN 3150 Dec. 6, 1978 (very fresh Wendell Lemon photo):
  • CN 3152 Feb. 2, 1980
  • CN 3154 Feb. 29, 1980
  • CN 3153 May 31, 1981
  • CN 3155 Feb. 1982 (at Moncton station for furtherance on VIA No 15 reshopped but definitely not repainted - retirement was months away - Feb. 20 Wendell Lemon photo):
This being the Tempo's fiftieth anniversary (and Trackside Treasure's tenth), it was interesting to find out more about the travels of these unique units. Thanks to Norm Shapland, Chris Mears, Taylor Main, Fred Mills, Jeremy MacPherson and special thanks to Wendell Lemon for assistance with this post.

Lots o' links:
Running extra...

Perhaps you've heard that Rapido Trains Inc. will be producing the...

Coming soon...summertime reading. See what I've been reading. Until I get that written up.....
  • I just finished two books this weekend. Yep, got 'em both coloured in!
  • Can you suggest some other names for 'thesaurus'?
  • I don't read books besides the dictionary. It's got all the other words already in it, anyway.
  • Just plowed through some medical journals. You know, written by Doctor Seuss?
  • Ultimate author putdown, "Oh, once I put your new book down, I couldn't pick it up again."
  • Ultimate reader putdown, "Oh, I'm a fan of your new book." Author: "Oh, you're the one."

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

FP&PS Co. - The Results

While working on a few structure and rolling stock projects outside this summer, it was time to head down to the cool basement and emplace them. The power house is shown here in some earlier views to make sure it would fit the scene. Part of the Moose River Paper Co. complex, the power house sits right up against the fascia, so there's literally no room for error.
Over in St Johnsbury, I placed the Texaco station at the entrance to the town's main street, again at the fascia edge. The details are very visible there!
Same angle, different vehicles. Front end work and a woody (above) and Matchbox dollar-store find with suitcases and canoe (painting/detailing them is a future project - below):
Rene Gagnon farm supplies is repositionable - front or back can parallel track, or freight door end as well! Homemade Bobcat and patient farmer:
Drone view showing proximity to Blue Seal feed mill:
Toward more realistic gon loads. It's not too far gon! This plate steel load is actually the old sides of a plastic reefer:
Also spotted for unloading at Sacco Steel - the pipe load shown in the previous post - now completed. Glued, painted and weathered! Those reused printer-label rolls fit just right inside an Athearn gon. Hey, what's the farmer from the feed mill doing here? He sure gets around!
Gentlemen, start your Dremels! This ex-troop sleeper took a bashing to come out as a Bangor & Aroostook caboose. Just needs lettering! Seen here in the St Johnsbury with some other hacks:

Running extra...

Why don't cows have toenails? Because they lactose. OK, don't have a cow - that was a bad joke. Or, if you're tuning in from the Nile, don't have a dhow. Is an Egyptian harbour called a dhowry? No man is an island. Though some are peninsulas and once in awhile you come across a real isthmus! Or, as Bob Fallowfield would say, "Eric, next time try the decaf." Oh, there we are back to the cow jokes again. De calf? Udderly ridiculous.

Speaking of decals, I need to invest in some New England road decals. Until them, I'm using leftovers and paper logos. Not sure yet how to justify BAR in Vermont. Well, at least it's not Union Pacific or something. Be prepared to see BAR, MEC, CP, B&M, D&H and eventually VTR, Rutland, CN, CV or Green Mountain show up on my HO scale Green Mountain Lines.

Connections - watch for an upcoming post. Imagine finding a fellow musician who not only modelled Toronto and PCC cars in HO, but also worked as a transitman in St Johnsbury, VT early in his career. And it's not Mike from Canmore! Mike said the StJ&LC reminded him of British railways based on their signalling and other idiosyncrasies!
Traffic Jam in Parham, ON as a CP eastbound passes through.

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. A low-cost alternative to pricey new structures when I have existing structures to work on!! 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:
This post shows 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: