I have a blank canvas…

And a 5 day long weekend to work on it. No, this won’t be a diorama in a weekend project, I’m not that mad and we have other things we want to do over Easter like go for a drive in the country as it appears the announcement of a Lock-Down of some sort is coming in Ontario tomorrow, but off we go, hopefully by Monday evening I’ll feel that I’ve achieved enough to warrant posting a status update.

Tuesday Train #240

Kitchener 2006. The Goderich and Exeter’s mixed bag of power heading eastwards torward Toronto at the Kitchener VIA Station (No Go Trains yet back in 2006!). 3835 is a GP38AC, 4019 is a GP40, 2236 is a GP38-2 2246 is a GP40-2, and 4096 is a GP40.

Two more shots below of the back half of the four units on the train, and the two hiding in behind of the shot above (2210 is a GP38 and 2211 is a GP35).

Most of these are all still out there, though none on the Goderich and Exeter anymore!

Tuesday Train #239

Just a sunny almost spring day with a westbound container train, CN349 cruising downhill on the Halton Subdivision. The detector said it was going 47.1mph, which means the containers were pretty much all empty. This was my first day out railfanning in 2021 after the Stay At Home Order for Toronto was lifted, and it was a lovely sunny end of winter day.

Building Etched Boxcar Ladders

In recent years, as I have become a more prototype focused modeller, I have been collecting kits that are now getting built for my layout. I have also been very lucky to get to know some of the amazing modellers in southern Ontario who are like minded, and who produce kits and parts who I can both buy from, but ask questions for when I run into problems. I currently have a growing collection of Pierre Oliver’s Yarmouth Model Works kits partially built on my workbench, and there are more coming my way in the future! There are currently 4 partly built boxcar kits in varying states of advancement, and one tank car kit I really need to get a start on in the collection. As with all things as you grow and advance in the hobby, you run into new challenges and things to learn. Pierre’s kits are the first ones I have built with etched brass ladders instead of plastic that are just ready to glue on. That means, a whole bunch of new challenges.

Work in progress and tools for making etched brass boxcar ladders in HO Scale.

I had, to be perfectly blunt been dreading building these ladders. I had bought “The Small Shop” photo etch bending tool last year, and its been amazing for a lot of the etched parts on resin freight cars I’d have mangled before. That said, I was dreading building the ladders, as the instructions were to make a styrene spacer with a specific size to hold the folded stiles apart while you put in the rungs. Then, obviously in response to other builders comments, back in December Pierre announced he was now selling a laser cut jig for his ladders. I had a bunch of parts ordered and I was waiting on some back-ordered stuff arriving, and I got a pleasant surprise last week when my order showed up unannounced with a boxcar kit and a bunch of detail parts, and the ladder jig!

I went out now that stores are open again, and got the right sized bolt and wingnut to hold the jig together, and this past weekend, I built my first four etched ladders for a West India Fruit American Car & Foundry (ACF) 40′ Box Car kit. I did still find it fiddly, and I managed a couple of times to CA parts to the jig, but each ladder got a bit better than the one before, and with 3 more cars worth of ladders in hand, and more kits inevitably on the way, I will get plenty of practice. For now, I am using CA as I know (ish) what I am doing. Long term, these will be an improve my soldering skills project to actually solder the rungs in, but to make sure I can keep these cars inching along on the workbench, glue it is.

I won’t win any awards (if such a thing existed) for building scale ladders, but they look good to me and I am proud that I can say I built them! The missing rungs are so I can drill into the carside and install longer legged rungs once the ladders are mounted to make them stronger and less likely to break off.

I’m not quite ready to install the ladders on this kit yet, but having the jig made me switch up my order of building as I wanted to have that feeling of achievement from building the ladders. Now I am motivated to get going with the underbody details and the rest of this car so I can install the ladders, then move onto the other kits so I can build the ladders for them too. Everything adds to everything to make me a better modeller. The same applies to anyone. If you’d told me 5 years ago I’d be starting to feel even remotely comfortable about working with tiny photoetched parts, I’d have laughed at you, yet here we are and I’m looking forward to the next batch of ladders and them being even better looking!

Tuesday Train #238

The more things change, the more they stay the same? Compare this shot taken last weekend with the one in Tuesday Train 226 taken in 2002. No more SD-40’s, but a GP-38 and a GP-20C, CPR locos are still red, there is still a switch broom stuck in the nose grab irons.

This is CPR Train T69, a London based Local, the “Guelph Turn” departing back west after switching the yard at Guelph Junction for cars interchanging to the Southern Ontario Railway that now operates the Guelph Junction Railway for the City of Guelph. Another shot of the whole train past the crossing is below.

Tuesday Train #237

Classic O-Train, one of the original Bombardier Talent Train sets crosses the river at Carleton University in 2007. News came out a week or so ago that the three original 3-car sets are going to be sold for scrap as Ottawa cannot source parts and they are not inter-operable with the newer 2-car trains bought for the Trillium Line and its extensions. The shot below shows one of the sets in the cutting at the other end of the campus in 2010.