Tuesday Train #310

Through the Hunter Street Tunnel in downtown Hamilton. Canadian Pacific Railway Train 236 (formerly 246) from Toronto to Buffalo is seen above approaching the tunnel, and below mid-tunnel and bursting back into to the light. These tracks were originally the Toronto, Hamilton & Buffalo Railway, and their impressive station still used by GO Transit is just behind where I am shooting from.

Wrapping up a Repaint Project

I do like to finish projects. This was a relatively simple one, strip and repaint a locomotive. The only significant change I made was to add a set of Nathan K5LA horns as the cluster of horns is very prominent on the roof of the cab on GO MP-40’s. This project was a repaint for a display of GO Transit models for the Toronto Railway Museum, as we have not been able to source a modern GO loco for it. I understand our post may have brought someone forward to donate one, so now we will have a couple, which is always a good thing.

When I previously wrote about this project, it was my struggles to strip the shell, a commenter suggested another product, Super Clean, a degreaser that also will apparently strip paint. I decided for $10 it was worth a roll, my experience was that it was not effective, but that certainly doesn’t seem to align with the experiences of others online when I searched. I obviously saved the product to try again down the road the next time I need to strip something. My sense is this paint from whatever factory was doing Trueline Trains manufacturing was about the most baked on ever.

This is more of a photo gallery series post, so with that, walking through the process of prepping and painting the locomotive:

Trying a new stripping approach with a product suggested by a commentor. It did not seem to have any impact on the Trueline Trains paint that wouldn’t come off with my usual approaches. But, as you can see from the primer, eventually it was clean enough to spray.
Masking after painting the white base. Using an Athearn Bi-Level to help set the stripe location.
Masking and painting the green, then the black roof areas. Similarly masking and painting the plow.
Applying Decals and finishing touches to the GO MP40.

With that, this project is done. Its a holiday Monday here, so I delivered it to our staff at the museum. It should be installed in the display case in time for Doors Open Toronto next weekend, and the summer season. For Doors Open, while I won’t be on site, I dropped off several of my models for the Train Show the museum will be hosing. If you are in the Toronto area, check it out.

Gallery of the Finished MP40 and with my previous GO Project, the Hawker-Siddley Single Level Cab Ar. I really need to finish that sometime!

I ran a train and I liked it…

So one of my friends asked lately if I had run any trains on the layout, and I realized, much to my dismay, that I had not, I hadn’t so much as fired up the DCC in several months other than one of the rare visitors we have had come into the house during the pandemic who had never seen it, so I briefly fired it up just so they could see a train move.

I was having a stressy Friday at work yesterday, and decided mid afternoon that I needed to take my break and run a train to clear my mind, and it was great. Didn’t prep and paperwork or plan anything, just ran a train from CN staging across the layout, then one from CP staging. it didn’t run perfectly, not at all. I didn’t clean or vacuum the track before trying to run the trains, and I’ve been doing scenery, which means potentially dirty sports on the rails, but whatever, I needed to bang some cars about!

Quick video of a CPR Job heading back to Parkdale Yard

Just the simple act of running some trains, even with hiccups (which, yesterday at least didn’t phase me as i knew that would happen) with no prep before running lifted my spirits and made me feel better to get through the last couple of hours of my work day. I even managed to use the ops session as a chance to check a clearance and start thinking about the next phase of scenery and a future project. All in all, a good half hour that sprung out of being frustrated at work, which is a lot easier to escape from to your hobbies on the days I’m still working from home!

Scenes from a quick test run OPS session, and checking clearance for a fence and gates at a recently built structure.

Tuesday Train #308

CN Train 434 is seen here on May 2, 2022 approaching the Brantford Station platform. It is slowing to a stop. While Tuesday Train Pictures are often just the train, this afternoon, I got a treat. When 434 pulled up, they came to a stop right in front of me, and I got to watch the conductor climb down, and do the work of railroading. Setting brakes, uncoupling a cut of cars, picking up a new cut prepared by the local crew, and rebuilding their train. Railroading, is of course, an activity undertaken by people, and it is not easy work, it remains hard, physical work, and watching a railroader at work reminded me of that, and the care they took with every action and step while working shows they also remember that its dangerous work. All my shots and videos were taken from the safety of the platform, behind the yellow line, where railfans belong, on the safe side of the tracks.

The Work of Railroading. Climbing down, counting cars, setting hand brakes, closing air valves, riding (safely to set switches, and couple cars), and calling the distance on the reversing move, then reconnecting the air to the whole train.

I am, unapologetically a nerd. I was so excited when I realized that not only was the train stopping in front of me, I was going to get to watch them work. This was at the end of a 4.5 day long weekend from after work on Thursday to Monday where I went out and chased trains across the province. What was already a great mental break ended with a real high getting to see this in action. The last shot below is 434 at Bayview Junction approaching Aldershot yard and more work in the dark, it looked hard in the fading daylight in Brantford, doing this in the dark, that much harder. Much respect to the workers who keep the railways going.

Constant Steady Progress on Buildings

Slow and steady wins the race as they say. I haven’t done anything crazy or particularly revolutionary, just slowly making progress when time permits on scenery and buildings. It is however, immensely satisfying to see things come together, every bit of scenery or layer of paint or pan pastel moves the layout forward, and brings it ever closer to a state where it looks decent in photographs.

Slowly but surely a building emerges. From no paint and no paving, to paint, windows and then the windows fogged from behind. Now to blend the scenery and build a fence and gate!

My latest progress has been on a curved portion of a building on the west end near Mowat. I used this building as my test mule for the Cricut in cutting wall cores and making vinyl window transfers, so I was motivated to actually get it along to the point of being ready to assemble and start to see how it looks as the different parts come together. It is now together and on the layout. I think it will need some more work with pan pastels to build layers of grime and colour on the bricks, but over the course of the weekend its gone from primer to a nearly complete building. I need to spend some time blending scenery around the edges of the styrene pavement, but once that is done, this end of the layout will really start to come alive. I have also decided that the spur where the tank car is parked should be fenced off and have a gate, so I’ll need to break out my fence making jigs again and make some more home brewed chain link.

What a difference some paint makes. Threw a mix of a bunch of brown-ish paints together and threw some paint at the parts of Hinde & Dauch that were ready for it. Let that cure for a while, the mask and paint the window frames.

On the other end of the layout, I am slowly making progress on Hinde & Dauch. I haven’t cut out any more windows in the largest part of the building lately, but I did throw some paint at the other two portions, just for the motivation of seeing the building start to come alive, instead of being grey primer. It is a hugely satisfying and motivating result of half an hours work mixing up a brown paint from 3 or 4 shades and spraying, to then see it look like a building. I will need to let this cure for a bit, then mask and paint the windows and doors, but it is a relatively low effort high reward task to have gotten some paint on it.