Tuesday Train #107

IMGP7408RawConv.jpgA tired looking Canadian Pacific GE AC4400CW Number 8564 leads the eastbound “Expressway” Trailer on Flatcar service from Toronto (Milton) to Montreal on May 1, 2018.  This Friday (June 1, 2018), assuming the impending strike by CPR workers doesn’t change things, the final 6:30pm eastbound departure of this service will run as the CPR is cancelling it.  The service, originally billed as the “Iron Highway” ran between Montreal, Toronto and Detroit starting in 1996, and was rebranded as the Expressway in 2000.  The service was eventually reduced to just the Toronto-Montreal leg.  This is the last trailer on flatcar service running in Canada, a type of service that has existed in some form since the 1950’s.

Trailers of all types on the Expressway crossing the Humber River Bridge in Toronto on May 1, 2018.
IMGP7425RawConv.jpgThe End? Will we see a return of this kind of service to try and reduce the number of trucks on the highway, or has rail truly become un-competitive with roads for this kind of traffic?

Another 100 – 100 Years of the Memorial Cup

If the title didn’t tell you, this is another not about trains post. You’ve been warned! Here are some train posts about 100’s that you can read instead if you really don’t want to read about not trains:

Now, back to this 100…

100TimesYoungThe Memorial Cup Trophy, 100 Years Young!

Tonight, the Memorial Cup will be awarded for the 100th time.  First Presented in 1919 following the end of the First World War, it was donated by the Ontario Hockey Association to honour those killed in the war.  From 1919 to 1972, it was presented to the Champion of Junior Hockey in Canada, after 1972, when Junior Hockey was re-organized, the Memorial Cup became the championship for the Major Junior tier.  This level is now the Canadian Hockey League (CHL), composed of the Western Hockey League (WHL), Ontario Hockey League (OHL), and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) with teams in nine Canadian Provinces and four US States.  In 2010 the CHL Re-Dedicated the Memorial Cup to Canadians killed in any conflict the country has been a part of.

I’ve had the pleasure of attending 5 Memorial Cups, my first, in 2003 saw the team I support, the Kitchener Rangers claim the cup, followed by the London Knights in 2005 in London; the Spokane Chiefs defeating Kitchener in Kitchener in 2008; the Windsor Spitfires winning in Brandon in 2010, and the St John Sea Dogs winning in 2011 in Mississauga.

Junior Hockey is something I love, I’ve attended games since I moved to Waterloo in 1994 and was introduced to it by the friends I made in high school.  Going to Rangers games on Friday nights with friends, followed by cheap appetizers at East Side Mario’s (one of the few places in Waterloo that let minors in on Fridays with all the university students around) were something that I was allowed to do by my parents knowing that I wouldn’t be getting into trouble.  Eventually, going to road games, and traveling across Ontario followed, and then, 2003, my first trip to the Memorial Cup, along with hundreds from Kitchener who made the trek to Quebec City to see the team win their 2nd Memorial Cup.

Since then, I’ve been fortunate to have the time and funds to attend four more Memorial Cups, including a trip to the prairies in 2010 to get the experience of the tournament in Western Canada.  I’ve made scores of friends from the fans of all teams, and I can honestly say there are great people who are fans of Junior Hockey across Canada and the USA.  I wouldn’t miss those trips and times for anything, and I honestly miss it when I don’t go, but unlike many who make the Memorial Cup their every year vacation no matter what, I just can’t justify that.  It will be a special occasion/occasional vacation/event for me forever though, whenever the chance to go comes, I won’t pass it up.

If you are a hockey fan, and have never really been exposed, Hopefully you’ll tune in at 7pm Eastern tonight to see the final between the Acadie-Bathurst Titan and the Regina Pats from Regina Saskatchewan, I assure you it should be a great game, all five Memorial Cup finals I have been to are amongst the best hockey games I have ever seen in person, and it normally turns out an exciting final game of the season even watching at home on TV.

P1050965.JPGMy moment in the sun with the team I cheer for in 2003. Hoisting the Memorial Cup at the Kitchener Rangers after-party at the Colisee in Quebec City, literally hours after the team had won the title on the ice.  Over my shoulder on the left of the photo is the Rangers (now San Jose Sharks) head coach Peter DeBoer, and half blocked to the right is David Clarkson who went on to a lengthy NHL Career.  I look happy, but I’m actually in terror, as I hoisted it up, the different wood levels swung in different directions and I was literally praying that the trophy wouldn’t fall apart in my hands in the centre of the party as fans passed it around!!

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.