My long term goal is to have space to build a layout, specifically, modelling a Canadian National Railways secondary line between Georgetown and Allandale (now part of Barrie) Ontario. In the future, I’ll have plenty to say about the history of this line, the places and structures along it as I research, as I’m many years, probably at least a smaller layout or two, and a house away from actually designing and building this “dream” layout. That said, one can never be faulted for working on things that will someday hopefully populate this dream layout! One of the more unique features of the line, was an early experiment in streamlined diesel railcars that CN carried out in the early 1950’s. Self propelled motor car D-1, and coaches C-1 and C-2 were one of CN’s early efforts to reduce costs and maintain rural services.
CNR D-1 on a test run in Montreal in 1951. From the CN Images of Canada Collection of the Canadian Science & Technology Museum (Image CN009297)
On the Milton Subdivision, as the line from Burlington to Allandale was called by Canadian National, there was a pair of daily local passenger trains, one southbound and one northbound. In an effort to save costs, CN took a gas-electric car that was nearly life expired, and rebuilt it in their Montreal shops, along with two 50′ coaches, one of which was converted into a combintion mail/coach. The gas-electric car was re-powered, given a new streamlined body, and converted to be all-baggage/less than carload freight for the lightly used route. Their daily routine consisted of a round trip from Burlington to Allandale (Barrie now) as train 661, turning into Train 61 from Allandale to Meaford, then returning back as trains 62 and 662. According to reports of those around in the 1952-1958 era where D-1 was running this service, it wasn’t always reliable and was often dragged by a steam locomotive, or outright replaced by one. To learn more about CN’s operations in this era, I can’t recommend Ian Wilson’s books enough. The two which cover the line I want to model, Steam at Allandale and Steam Scenes at Allandale are invaluable resources to me. CN’s efforts at providing a cost effective railcar service was saved by the development of the Rail Disel Car (RDC) by Budd, which CN bought many of, rather than converting older gas-electrics.
A one-off, oddball, Canadian locomotive is not the sweet spot for any manufacturer to produce commercially, at least not if they like staying in business long term!! As such, I have had to think outside the box to make this a reality. With the growth of the 3D printing industry, and my abilities to design in 3D, I have been able to work from the limited available drawings and produce a 3D model of D-1 and its coaches. In HO Scale, finding a power train was actually reasonably easy. Bachmann produce a “Doodlebug” gas electric car, that is very similar to the car D-1 was constructed out of. It’s not quite 100% accurate, but applying one of my favourite rules, the “3′ Rule” of where it looks right from a normal viewing distance, then I’ve been successful, so it works.
Bachmann Doodlebug, image from Bachmanntrains.com
I have been working on a model of D-1 and its pair of coaches C-1 and C-2 for some time, and my HO Scale version is nearing completion. But simultaneous to me working on the HO Scale version, my friend Trevor Marshall has pestered me (which was really tough, he asked once and i said yes!) into submission into re-scaling the HO Scale 3D printed bodyshells into S Scale so that he can also model the train for use on the S Scale Workshop modular layout. He is aiming to have the model running at a show at Exporail outside Montreal later this summer, which will keep me motivated to have the HO Scale version fully done as well. My task list is down to a manageable roar (correct the under-body details on locomotive; and, complete interiors on coaches).
HO Scale model of D-1, C-1 & C-2. Picture taken by Trevor Marshall at the 2016 Toronto RPM Meet.
I had set both this post and the model aside for some time, as I just had too many other things on the go, but I’ve worked myself into a “lets finish some projects” mood rather than putting along with current and starting more new projects, so hopefully that will bring a completed model post soon! As well, once Trevor and I are done our respective models, we’ll have to have a get together to pose the big and small D-1’s beside each other for photos!