Tuesday Train #134

img_6777Used Geep Lot in Cambridge. We’ve been here before… but this time a pair of GATX Locomotive Leasing GP38-2’s were parked up on the weekend in Cambridge. Since the previous visit, the service is no longer provided by the Goderich & Exeter Railway, but by Canadian National which has taken the line back over. Clearly they don’t have a lot of small units on the roster anymore as they’ve leased these units to provide switching services.img_6779


Filling in the Last Gap around the wall

When I originally designed the layout, I didn’t plan to use all the space in the closet for extra tracks in staging, I didn’t think I needed to, and didn’t want to have to mess around fitting pieces around the shelf brackets. Then I discovered even in the areas I thought the brackets would clear, they didn’t (See here and the fix here). Today I finally had a chance to swing by somewhere with a table saw, and cut a little bit of plywood to fill the last gap we left in construction back in August.

img_7168A hole in the layout, left because the old shelf supports blocked the area, now gaining some extra layout real estate.

Once I test fit the little bit of plywood into the opening, I took it back out and pre-drilled and countersunk where the screws would go, I got it back in, and because of the low overhead height, I hand drilled pilot holes into the cross frames. Once one hole was drilled and a screw put in, the other three were easy.

Hand piloting the holes because of restricted space, and the filler piece installed.

With the plywood in, it was easy work to cut down another bit of the pink foam, and tack it in place with No More Nails cauk. All told, probably took me an hour including cleanup to finally have the around the wall portion of the benchwork all done. Nice way to do the first layout work for 2019!

img_7172Ready for roadbed and track. No more room for a train to fall down behind the layout anymore!

Tuesday Train #133


The view at the Canadian Pacific Railway yard in Smiths Falls Ontario from VIA Train 53 en route to Toronto on Christmas Eve 2018. A leased CEFX General Electric AC4400CW No.1059 leads a Norfolk Southern AC44C6M No. 4111, which is a recently completed (October 2018) rebuild of a GE Dash-9 Number 8861 to convert it from DC current motors to AC current motors and completely modernize and extend the life of the locomotive instead of buying a new locomotive.


And, to top that off, as interesting as the pair of locomotives up front were, the entire train they were hauling was oversized loads. Sections of Wind Turbine tower manufactured by Vestas being shipped somewhere that a wind turbine farm is being built. Some days it really pays to be attentive to whats outside the window while you’re dozing on the train.


My 2018 Model Railroad Year in Review

Whew, what a year it has been in 2018 for my hobby. I have a layout under construction!! Since I last wrote a year in review post at the end of 2017, it’s been a whirlwind. We bought our first house, moved, I finalized the layout plan for The Liberty Village Line, and about 85% of the benchwork is in place (only the peninsula to go once track is up on the wrap around the walls). 2019 promises a lot of excitement as track starts to get laid, and trains hopefully run, but in what has been an amazing year in the hobby, I’ve done a lot, and made a lot of progress, but haven’t finished many models compared to past years, but that’s OK all things considered. Did I mention I started construction on a layout?? A summary of my year is below, followed by some brief thoughts on things:

Projects Completed in 2018

Projects In Progress


  • Weathering – Did some, got a bit better, still a long way to go
  • Soldering – Did some, got a bit better, still a long way to go
  • Track Building – Didn’t do any.  Will need to in 2019

Thing’s I’m expecting to arrive in Stores

  • Rapido Trains Royal Hudson – They are in production, and should arrive in 2019, I look forward to receiving mine and writing about it when I do.

So, with that high level summary of the “plan” (insofar as one can plan a hobby), a bit of a chat on what I did is below:

Completed Projects

Didn’t finish a lot, but damn proud of the ones I did finish. A personal interest model of a place I loved to go before it was demolished (Bar Volo), a new workbench in our first home, and a freight load for the layout just because.

Finished Projects! Always a good feeling!

Projects in Progress

As many things as are listed up there, there is really only one that matters, everything else really flows from that. The construction of my layout in our new home. I still don’t have as huge a pile of unbuilt freight car kits as some people do, but I’m up to 6 or 7 now. I’ll need to get organized and start building them once some track is laid on the layout as the rails will look empty with the limited amount of freight cars I have for the layout at the moment.

Layout in many steps, lumber, to building with friends, to backdrop to checking templates to having a train run on it on temporarily set out flex track!

The other projects, finishing the BR Coach, working on the 3D print/design for the GO Coach, and the narrow gauge shelf were only peripherally worked on. The BR Coach will be done in January, I’m on the penultimate task now of installing window curtains before I apply the final decals for the first class and no smoking warnings to the windows, then it will be done.

Skill Building

This is a tough one, as every time you do something, you build the skills, but there are things I want to work and continue to get better at, like weathering freight cars so my models on the layout look better and more realistic. Same for track building and soldering. While a friend has generously offered to and is building my switches for the layout, I really do want to learn how, and will need to get so much better at soldering than I am to do the wiring on the layout.

Weathering and Wiring in action, two things I’ll get to do a lot more of in 2019!

So, that’s about it. I’ve tried to keep this years year in review short and sweet, not because it hasn’t been a good year, but because it’s just easier to be short and sweet to collect things and link back to stuff I’ve already written. All the best to you and yours, have a wonderful New Years Eve, and happy modelling in 2019!!


Lynton & Barnstaple Railway “Taw”

I love it when a new purchase arrives, in this case, its a new purchase that I’ve been waiting on for almost two years. Such is the way of things with the Model Railroad Industry and Pre-orders nowadays, you order then wait what feels like forever to actually pay and receive it. Though this model was in some ways, extra cursed. I placed my order January 20, 2017, so almost two years ago, and after an initial delivery from the factory in China to Denmark where Heljan is based, some making it to market in the UK where the prototype is, and being panned with failing motion and a variety of problems, they were sent back and heavily modified at the factory and re-shipped. Fortunately for me, my order didn’t ship the first time they were delivered, by the time the version I’d ordered was arriving, it was abundantly clear that the whole batch needed to be recalled and reworked.

The locomotive I am talking about, is Heljan’s “Lynton & Barnstaple Railway” Manning Wardell 2-6-2T in OO9 (British Narrow Gauge). I don’t model the L&B, but at some point I was exposed to it (and the efforts to re-open the line and rebuild the locomotives which were all scrapped), and thought its a cool prototype. In later years, it had become part of the Southern Railway, and there was a cross platform connection at Barnstaple Town between the narrow gauge and standard gauge. I have thought for a long time this would make a cool diorama/cameo layout, and had bought some apropriate Southern Railway OO Gauge models, but never had access to any Narrow Gauge, and kits were out of my budget/skillset. When Heljan announced they were doing it as ready to run, it was around the same time Bachmann was releasing Skarloey in their Thomas line, which I bought and re-detailed back into the locomotive Skarloey is based on and which Bachmann 3D scanned, Talyllyn.

So, after all the missteps and waiting, my model of Taw, one of the three original locomotives finally arrived on December 23rd, and through being out of town, Christmas and work, I finally picked it up this weekend. My afternoon today was spent unboxing, checking it out, looking to see if it looked ok, and then running it for about half an hour forwards and backwards and with/without coaches to see if any problems exposed themselves.

IMGP0945RawConvNothing like a present to yourself at Christmas Time, then again, It has been on order so long it’s already missed being a Christmas Present once before and two birthdays!

As it is, even the new version has apparently had some of the same issues based on the comments on RMWeb, a major UK model forum (worth checking out even if you aren’t into british trains and models, lots of discussions on technique, and an active North American section). So I’ve been awaiting the opening and running in with some trepidation, knowing this time it had been shipped to me, and getting dinged for $36 in tax and service charges by CBSA, means if it doesn’t work, it becomes a hassle in sending it back for warranty repairs or replacement.

So, in narrow gauge, the couple of models I have are effectively display pieces. I am allegedly building a mini layout/shelf display for them (I say allegedly as I haven’t touched it in months).

My L&B “Taw”, in its later Southern Railway Paint as No.761. Looks gorgeous out of the box, but how will it run?

Turns out, as far as I’m concerned, it ran perfectly. I have a loop of 12.25″ radius Bachmann EZ Track in N-Scale specifically for narrow gauge british (N Scale Track is the same width as OO9, very handy!) I put the loop of track out on the hardwood floor, and spent an enjoyable hour with the locomotive running around the circle both ways, pulling coaches and on its own to look and listen for problems. It ran smoothly, stayed on the rails, and no bits fell off. Given that most of this locomotives life will be spent in the display case, having nothing explode in an hour of test running, probably means I’m safe for the future on the rare occasions it gets an outing, it should be ok. If a manufacturing defect was to appear, based on what I’ve seen from others on the forum, it seems it would have done so in this early running in period.

Videos of the running in:

Yes, it was just like being a kid, the only place available to me to set up my loop of N-Scale/OO9 track was on the floor of the office/layout room. There is something to be said for sitting on the floor watching a model run around in circles somtimes!!

IMGP0964RawConvNothing says having fun with trains like a loop of track on your floor!!
OO9Display.pngTaw and Talyllyn in my display case. A pretty solid if small collection of Narrow Gauge Locomotives!