Tuesday Train #106


VIA Rail Train No.1, “The Canadian” passes through the Junction Triangle in Toronto, en route to Vancouver on May 11th, 2018.  23 Cars of Stainless steel luxury including 4 domes.


Liberty Village Line Plan 2.0 Details and Thoughts

Back in April I posted about our impending move, and the moving on to a new iteration of the track plan for Liberty Village, by virtue of having a whole bedroom to work with, the same industrial neighbourhood can be modeled more faithfully and without some of the compromises that Version 1 which was designed to fit into our apartment had.  I semi-presented the new trackplan in April, but now I’m ready to give some details.

So, without further ado, the new trackplan for my layout:

Apr 10 18 - Liberty Layout - West.anyLiberty Village Version 2.0 as of May 21, 2018, larger PDF Here

So big changes!! The massive compromise of flipping the industries that are now on the peninsula on Version 1 so they were north of the tracks is gone, I have the room for a more or less U-shaped layout on two walls of the room and into the full width walk in closet, with a peninsula.  In the bottom left of the room you can see the future home of my new workbench.  I apologize for my drawings being all crazy colours, It’s how I draw things so I can tell things apart. The important ones are grey benchwork and light gray track.  Hopefully it makes some sense regardless of the colours.

Oct 31 17 - Liberty Layout Concept 1-FastTracks 3.anyLiberty Village V1.5 as of November 2017, lots of compromise and forcing things into the space.

One of the biggest changes have a dedicated room, is the staging.  Instead of two removable staging cassettes, I now have two fixed transfer table/sector plates with four tracks on each. They will also provide some extra tracks for storing infrequently used rolling stock, and escape tracks to allow for running around trains, or re-positioning a locomotive from a pull of cars to a push of cars.  The drawings attached to this post still need to be updated to show the benchwork and all these tail tracks, but they will be there!

I’ve been discussing construction techniques with a friend, and am very much leaning towards the KISS model, “Keep it Simple Stupid”.  Fortunately, the townhouse we have bought was built with wood framing, this means it will be easy to mount supports for the benchwork to the walls.  At present, as there is no topography on the layout, the plan is to use shelf brackets (the parts along the walls range between 12″ and 14″) to support a plywood surface (leaning to 5/8″).  A 3-4″ fascia panel will be screwed onto the front edge to provide screening for wiring and undermount switch machines (still don’t know what type I’m going to use).  On top of the plywood, will be a layer of foam sheet.  As there isn’t much topography, this layer is to help with making it easier to plant trees/structures to than straight plywood.  The entire surface area and bases for the traversers can be cut out of two 4’x8′ sheets of plywood by being smart and economical with the materials.  Given I am relying on the kindness of others for access to table saws and the like for this, anything that can be done to simplify and reduce the amount of time I have to take at someone elses before bringing the benchwork home and installing it in the layout room.

May21_18-LayoutConstructionScematicSchematic Drawing of planned construction. Hope it makes sense, I’m not a graphic artist, so it’s the best I could muddle up. Clearly not to scale!

No, it’s not “traditional” L-girder, or box-girder benchwork, but it’s simple to construct, simple to install, and will meet my needs.  There isn’t structure being built for the sake of having it with this technique, and it provides open access beneath for installing switch machines, wiring for track power, wiring for building lighting, etc.  I expect some to question this decision, but after a lengthy chat with a friend whose current layout has been in place for 8 years with effectively this design, I think it will work for me.  It also has the advantage of being quick to build and get in place.  The most complicated construction will be the two traversers, and making sure that they to be mounted to the walls with the top surface properly height adjusted to the rest of the layout.

The peninsula will be designed to mount into the shelf fascia using dowels, and have legs for support at the end at least. I need to discuss whether it needs 4 legs, or if it will have enough support from the shelf to just have two at the end of the peninsula.

One thing that people may think I’m crazy for, is my intended layout height.  The surface of the foam will be between 60″-62″ above the floor.  The reason for this is the need to clear several bookcases that will be in the room that are 55″ to the top.  Based on this, the layout will be set so it is above them.  I actually like bringing the trains and buildings closer to eye level.  It means that the buildings (something I really enjoy constructing) are more visible.  I know it means for some it will be potentially too high to reach in for uncoupling depending on where buildings are located.  It just means I will have to think through the building locations/heights/operating positions as i go.  the height does however, in my mind at least, minimize to an extent the importance of the backdrop, as you aren’t looking from an angle where the horizon is as dominant, the background is just going to be there between buildings, hopefully with a neutral colour and a bit of trickery it will look like the buildings/streets extend.  The one spot the backdrop will have some work to do is the Mercer Reformatory (the Toronto Women’s prison) where the building is set back from the street, so the backdrop will be an outline or image of the building in the distance, as the area closest to Liberty Street was the exercise yards and gardens for growing food based on the images I have of the prison. It’s a building that as it’s long gone, is on my list of “need to research more” buildings.

tspa_0113814f.jpgRear of the Mercer Reformatory (looking north from Liberty Street), 1948 – Toronto Star via Toronto Public Library

So, with that, back to the packing in preparation for our move in June and the designing and preparing for layout building come the summer.  After the move, the next steps are to do a detailed measurement of the room, and locate the studs in the wall so I can cross reference the track plan and make sure no switches are located where the benchwork will need to be supported from. Then, once any design adjustments are made, onwards to construction!!

Great British Train Show 2018 – Belated Show Report

Even numbered years are big years for those of us interested in British Model Trains in Ontario.  Even numbered years brings the return of the Great British Train Show at the end of April.  I blogged about the 2016 Edition of the show here, and despite some delay in getting this post written, I did attend and enjoy the show again in 2018.

As it’s been 3 weeks since the show, this is going to be a photo heavy rather than a text heavy post, largely as I want a reference/reminder to it for myself.  As with 2016, I brought a newbie to the British Scene along with me, this time, my friend Doug.  We want off and visited Credit Valley Model Railroad after the show, and then had a pub lunch. I need to research pubs in Mississauga, our choice was passable, but only just.

You’d grin like an idiot too if you’d just bought an unopened London RT Bus for $5!!
My friend Trevor Marshall bought a new locomotive, a Lee Marsh GWR 517 Class to operate on his friend Brian Dickey’s Roweham layout, a gorgeous loco on a gorgeous layout – Read More Here about Trevor’s thoughts on investing in others layouts as well as your own in relation to Roweham.
Rapido Trains was the title sponsor of the show.  Along with their Tardis, they had samples of the Sterling Single, J70 Tram Locomotive, and GPV Gunpowder Van.
Phil Parker from BRM Magazine along with the project/raffle prize layout “Didbury Green” that be brought from the UK with him. Sadly, I didn’t win it, but inspiration for small space modelling!!
A sampling of the variety on offer, clockwise from top left: Vintage Tri-Ang; Platelayers Society OO Guage show layout; Montreal British Modellers portable layout; working Meccano locomotive; Live Steam; P4 Gauge Upper Leaside; and, OO Gauge Ottawa British Club layout.  Something for everyone and every era of British Railways.

With me moving in June, I wasn’t in the market for much, turns out, buying a house and moving in Toronto is expensive (who knew?).  That said, I got my discount bus and a discounted passenger car for a project, so I managed to spend slightly more at the vendors than I did on admission and raffle tickets, but not by nearly as much as past shows.

With that, onwards to 2020, I know I’ve already got a note on the long-range calendar to be free the last weekend of April for the show when it rolls around again!

RIP To the Hand me Down Desk!!

Ding Dong the desk is dead, the bad old desk, the broken desk, ding dong the junky old desk is dead!!!

Further proof as to why I’m not allowed to sing by SWMBO above.

Part way through dissassembling the desk, the hutch wasn’t so much connected so much as it was staying in place on faith.

Today in the slow build up to our moving day in late June, I took a step that had been on my to-do list for years .  My now former work bench was a hand-me down computer desk that I acquired in 2005 when I first moved into Toronto from one of my roommates.  He’d already had it for years, so being kind it was at least 15, and more likely pushing 20 years old.  One of the wheeled feet was broken off, and I’d kinda wedged it into the former hole, so when the desk was moved, it would sag over when the wheel fell out until I got it balanced just right again. It wasn’t a stable work surface for years, but I made do as it was a place to work.

As I’ve made the decision to basically take a break from modelling in the build up to the move, both so I can safely pack models and projects away, but to let me focus on dealing with being a soon to be first time home owner and all that goes with that, taking down the desk on a lazy Sunday afternoon on the long weekend seemed like a good idea.

The old desk (beige in centre). Functional, but more than a bit tired!!

With the move, the computer corner desk (an Ikea Micke) is also going to go (it’s for sale, feel free to comment if you’re interested). Because of how i use my computer, the desk eats a lot of space that I’m not getting any benefit out of it.  So I’m desinging the new workbench/desk to allow the monitor and keyboard to be there when needed, but not dominate and just take up space for the sake of taking up space.

My inspiration for my new workbench is my friend Ryan’s new workbench.  He found a 72″x25.5″x1.5″ Bamboo Kitchen Countertop at Lowes, that works perfectly as a model railroad workbench.  Because of the door location and a bulkhead in the corner of the layout room, I’ll have to shorten it by 3-4″ and make a 9″ square notch, but at the end of the day, I’ll have a main workbench/desk area that is 60″ x 25.5″ give or take, with a little extension on one site.  I’m going to use an ikea cabinet as the leg under one side for some drawer space, and regular legs on the other.  This will put it at the same 29.5″ work surface height I have today, which is the height I’m comfortable working at. Finding your workbench height preference is important, some people like higher, I like lower.

IMG_5344.JPGThere’s a hole in my office…not for long, soon to be filled up with boxes and tubs of stuff packed for moving!!

One more step on the road to a layout made with ditching the old desk and getting most of the tools and supplies packed and ready to move.

Tuesday Train #105

IMG_5272Thanks to VIA Rail’s woes with keeping The Canadian, Trains 1 and 2 across Canada running on time, I was able to catch the Tuesday May 8th 10pm departure of Train 1 west to Vancouver at 1:30pm on Wednesday May 9th as it threads its way toward Bathurst Street and the turn north from Union Station.

The image below shows the end of the train and the Park Car as it makes its way northwest initially before heading east to get to the line north toward Sudbury and eventually western Canada.


Tuesday Train #104

4503717388_731af05e5a_o.jpgCanDo Contracting 4009 rests with the stock for the Credit Valley Explorer at Orangeville Ontario in 2010.  The last Credit Valley Explorer train was run in February 2018, and CanDo will cease operating the Orangeville-Brampton Railway at the end of June 2018.  I understand the Town of Orangeville that owns the line is looking for a new operator, but I haven’t seen anything announced.  I’ve never gone out and photographed either the freight or tourist trains over the Credit River Trestle, I really should try If I can get the chance in case the line does go dark and the Town doesn’t find a new operator.