Royal Hudson Glamour Shots

IMGP3393RawConvA view of CPR 2850 inside my John Street Roundhouse diorama.

I promised this when I posted about my Rapido Trains Royal Hudson. This is a photo heavy post of images of the model. Not much to say about it, just sharing images of a gorgeous model!

Pictures of the Rapido Royal Hudson inside my diorama of Stall 15 at the Canadian Pacific John Street Roundhouse.
A couple of camera phone closeups. I don’t have a macro lens, and gettting in tight with the big camera is hard as it’s too close for it to focus!
Advertisements

Today Was a Good Day to Lay Track

Just under a year ago, there was no layout in my house. Then, with a lot of help from my friends Ryan, Doug and Trevor, we built benchwork in a day last August. Today, I had a work session booked with friends to work on tricky bits of the layout with many hands and for me to learn things from people with more experience than I have in layout construction, so that I get myself set up to be able to make more progress myself when time permits.

The first task of my day was a quick run to Home Depot to pick up a few pieces of trim lumber. I finally figured out how to get some decent lighting into the closet and the CPR Parkdale Yard staging yard. I made a valance board that is installed onto the shelf using baseboard lattice trim, and glued around the metal shelf frame using No-More Nails caulk adhesive. Then, using a supply of self adhesive LED Strip lights leftover from the set we bought for our kitchen cabinets, I installed a strip of the lights behind the valance. Now, there is ample light for working in staging, and for anyone operating there to see what they are doing. An easy couple of hours of solo work which made wiring in the closet so much easier (didn’t make the space any bigger, but made it brighter at least!).

 

 

 

 

The two pictures show the new valance board clipped onto the shelf railing while the glue cures, and the second shows the lights on and working and brightening up the staging yard.

Today, I had two friends, Dan and Trevor coming over to help. Both are experienced modellers, and Dan built all the switches for the layout, including the monstrous Bat’leth of track that fills one whole corner of the benchwork that Dan built. It needed some final adjustments before laying, and then filling in the pieces to connect the switches up Mowat Avenue from the staging yard to the first corner of the layout. It took time, but Dan’s meticulous and super skilled, and he was able to make minuscule adjustments to track and locomotives/freight cars that had them running far better than I have managed.

When Trevor arrived, we set to work on installing the layout power bus, the main wire that gets connected to the DCC control station and then to all the individual pieces of track. For the bus, we used 14 gauge speaker wire, its big enough to carry a lot of power and info, but easy to work with, and already paired. Using plastic mounting bases, that you connect zip ties into, the wire is loosely held for now beneath the benchwork but the zip ties can be pulled tight once the work is done to keep the wiring from moving once all the slack is taken out as I move along the layout and connect wiring from each of the pieces of track.

Once the bus wire was run around the room, we (and by we mostly Trevor if I’m being honest!) started to connect the track at the west staging, and figure out how we would wire the sliding traverser shelves so there was enough slack for the shelves to move, but not so much that it would hang or not work.

 

 

 

 

Trevor working on the less sexy part of layout building, the wiring, but its super important to make a layout run.

Dan built all the individual switches using Fast Tracks jigs and supplies, but before we could install them, one in particular, a large combination piece with five switches and two crossovers we called the Bat’leth because of its resemblance to the Klingon weapon on Star Trek needed some little cleanups and testing with my rolling stock before it could be glued down. Between some fine filing on the points, replacing and adjusting wheels on locomotives and freight cars, equipment now seems to run flawlessly through the switches. With that, we could move on drilling holes for the switch throw bars and the frog wires to drop through the benchwork. After sorting out all the bits of track that go between the Bat’leth and the walls, we were in a position to apply a layer of DAP Alex Clear caulk and get the track glued down into position.

 

 

 

 

Trevor works on wiring the west staging traverser, while Dan works on adjustments to the switches he built for the layout. On the right, the Bat’leth is now adjusted and glued down in its corner of the layout curing.
Proof I did some work thanks to Trevor. A picture of me working on my soldering skills, and on getting the track glued down and aligned with Dan.

With the day’s work winding down, we had some fun testing that the wiring actually worked, and that I could control a locomotive on both ends where the track is connected, and not short out or blow anything up. After today’s work, about 1/3 of the “visible” track that will have scenery is installed is glued down, and when timer permits, I can move on with installing wiring drops and laying more bits of track. As usual at the end of a good work session, we were stopped by both the time of day, and the running out of supplies!!

 

 

 

The First powered test on the CPR Staging, running over the layout bus (main wiring line) from my ESU Lokprogramer at the other end of the room. Means everything we wired (mostly by Trevor) was done right!

 

Trevor brought his O-18a, a locomotive which would have been very at home in Liberty Village. The video is a short test on the CNR Staging at the end of the day.

Two Working Staging Yards

As Count von Count would say, I now have two working staging yards ah ah ah…

Image result for count von count 2 hahaha

Too much? Maybe, but its a little bit of an accomplishment that I now have two fully functioning staging traversers, one in the main layout room for the west end of the layout, and one in the closet for the east!

Doing the one in the main room first was definitely easier. Working in the confined space beneath the closet shelf wasn’t fun, and won’t be again when it comes time to drill holes for wiring, but it’ll get it done and be on our way to actually being able to test and see if trains can get on and off the staging under their own power, not just being pushed by hand.

This week after a couple of really long days at work dealing with deadlines and some role transitioning, I came home and the solitude of soldering rails to the brass screws to hold them aligned and in place, and then cutting the rails so the traverser would move was a couple of hours of peaceful time with my mind to escape some work stress and just enjoy the rewards of why I work hard, being able to come home and build a layout and have the luxury to be able to play with trains at night!

CPR “Parkdale Yard” staging for the east end of my layout, in the open and closed positions. There is still enough room for me to comfortably stand between the staging and the closet wall behind me, so it will be possible to operate here.

Now the next task is to start wiring up the staging yards, and laying track to connect them. I have some friends coming over in a bit over a week for a sunday afternoon wiring and trackwork party, which should be a good opportunity to make some progress and learn some new stills. I can’t wait for the next step forward!!

Rapido Trains Dealer Event

As many who know me know, I am an active volunteer with the Toronto Railway Historical Association, the volunteer organization that has built and operates the Toronto Railway Museum in the former Canadian Pacific Railway John Street Roundhouse in Toronto. The museum is a dealer for Rapido Trains, the Canadian manufacturer of model trains. Shameless plug, if you want to support the museum and buy model trains, get in touch with the museum through the website and order your Rapido models from them!

6992789588_3d849b2d93_oThe Toronto Railway Museum store is inside the passenger waiting room of Don Station, if you’re downtown Toronto visiting the museum, it’s got all kinds of train themed gifts including a limited selection of Rapido products, but we can order anything they’ve announced for you!

Last week Rapido hosted their annual dealer event at their world headquarters in Markham. This is the third time I’ve attended on behalf of the museum. Its an interesting event for me as I am friends with some of the Rapido staff, and have gotten to know most of the employees at least a little bit over the years by virtue of that. As I don’t work at the museum store full time, I only help out with looking at models to sell, I don’t have as much invested as most of the other attendees at the event whose business is running model railroad stores. Retailers from stores across Canada were in attendance, along with suppliers like ESU who provides the DCC boards and sounds for Rapido. Its a chance to network, and catch up.

Jason Shron, President of Rapido Trains addressing the assembled dealers, and showing off this years Thomas Birthday Cake

Jason Shron, the founder and president of Rapido also had the company bus out for rides. Its always fun to be out in the Rapido bus, as you get strange looks from people at bus stops and inevitably someone who wonders why you aren’t opening the doors to pick them up as you go by!!

Rapido Bus ride with Jason Shron at the wheel.

Fortunately for me, this years announcements weren’t anything I need or want, but the core of what was announced will be awesome for N-scale modellers. Canadian FP9’s, VIA Rail F40’s & rebuilt F40’s, LRC Coaches, and The Canadian stainless steel cars in N-Scale. For anyone who has never seen Rapido’s products, these will be some of the best models out there when they arrive. Their only HO Scale announcement was more Canadian RDC models.

Rapido Engineering Samples from partially completed molds. VIA Rail Rebuilt F40, LRC Coaches and Park Cars in N-Scale.

As a disclaimer, Rapido’s offices aren’t a store, they aren’t open to the public in the sense that you can’t just show up and wander into the offices where future products are being designed, or the warehouse. If you show up unannounced, you’ll be able to sit in some comfy Ex-VIA Rail coach seats in their lobby, and talk with their wonderful receptionist, but you won’t be able to buy anything or see anything secret!

IMG_8835
Who keeps a Tardis in their warehouse??? I mean really!!

Canadian Pacific Staging – Saturday Work Session

IMG_8918.jpgLaying the first track for my second staging yard, the “East” or Canadian Pacific Railway Staging.

The first year of building a layout has been a funny experience. A year ago today I didn’t even have benchwork, today, I laid the four tracks for my second staging yard/traverser, the east or CPR Parkdale Yard. With that, I’ve now laid approximately 37 linear feet of track, though it exists in a 61″ and a 56″ space on either end of the layout, there is no middle between the yards!! There is approximately 30 linear feet of “mainline” and sidings along Liberty Street and Mowat Avenue to lay, which means over half the track on my layout is now in place!! Despite that, I can’t run a train anywhere, nevermind from one end to the other!

Tracklaying in process. Applying lessons from the easier to access west staging construction to make laying track in a tight space less frustrating!

Today was a chance to see if I’ve learned anything from my experiences doing the CNR or West staging, which is out in the open and imminently more accessible for working on than in the closet. I can’t believe when I started revising the Liberty Village Line design to fit our house that I ever thought I could start construction in the closet. I’d have quit the hobby if I’d been working in there first instead of learning out in the open part of the room, even if that means some of my mistakes may be more visible when the layout is done. I can’t thank my friends Trevor, Ryan and Doug enough for our benchwork buildathon day last summer. When I had them out my goal was to get out of the closet, that day everything but the peninsula was built, and my progress working on the layout has been so much better for it.

What half-witted moron thought building a layout with under 6″ of clearance to an existing closet shelf was a good idea…

It’s a long weekend for Canada Day, so I had a whole Saturday with nothing on and no commitments. It meant I could take the day and hole up in my office/layout room and take my time laying the track in the closet. this worked out well, as I could work for 15-20 minutes on laying a track, let it bond for an hour or so, work on other things, then lay the next track without being rushed.

I installed the acrylic fall shields on the CPR staging.Being in the closet, its just easier and safer to have them up.

The next steps are to solder the rails to the brass screws I installed on either side of the location for the rail cut to let the traverser slide. Once the rails are soldered down so they don’t move, It will be Dremel time to cut the gaps again. This was fiddly out in the open, it will probably really suck in the closet, but having done it once, much like the rest of today’s tasks, I am much more confident that I will be able to do it and not mess up today’s hard work.

IMG_8932State of play at the end of a give or take 7 hour session (with breaks for laundry, lunch, a nap, glue setting, etc). the S-2 Switcher is sitting at the limit of glued down track, the track to the left is work in progress for alignment.

I’m looking to have some friends over in July for a work session to help with laying turnouts and wiring, both as many hands make light work, and as these are things I am less experienced with and I continue to lean on the generosity of friends in the hobby to help me learn, and I look for ways to help them in return with things I know. I’m still a long way from running a train, but this was a productive use of a long weekend Saturday to get many steps closer to the end goal!

Rapido Royal Hudson – Initial Review

 

In October 2015, Canadian Model Railroad manufacturer Rapido Trains chartered coaches (including a Dome) with VIA Rail for a trip from Toronto to Montreal and Exporail, the Canadian Railway Museum for a product launch. The launch was an announcement of a new line of steam locomotives, potentially ten in total over a multi-year span if the products were successful.

22144508038_1f696a19e7_o.jpgJason Shron, president and founder of Rapido Trains announcing the “Icons of Canadian Steam” line at Exporail in 2015.

The first entry in the product line was the Canadian Pacific Railway “Royal Hudson” 4-6-4 locomotives. These locomotives are amongst the most famous in Canadian Railway history, coming to notoriaty in the 1939 Royal Tour, when the reigning monarch King George VI became the first King or Queen to visit Canada. The tour was a PR event to build support on the eve of World War 2 that would start that fall, but a single CPR Hudson, Number 2850 hauled the entire trip westward for the Royal Family without fault or deputation. Upon request of the CPR, the Royal Family allowed the locomotives to be called Royal and to maintain the cast crowns on their running boards which had been installed for the royal tour.

The outer slip case packaging for the Royal Hudson

A semi-streamlined passenger express locomotive clearly has no place on a switching layout like Liberty Village, but a model Royal Hudson was something I’d wanted since I was a kid, same as with a model of the Canadian. Now I have both. And because this is a display case special, I went for the 1939 Royal Train version, which was prepared in a special scheme of stainless steel cladding with deep two tone royal blue and the royal crests on the smokebox door and tender. If its going to be a display piece, might as well really be a display piece!!

More art on the main box inside the slip case, then the instruction manual and exploded diagram, and finally, beneath the foam, a steam locomotive!

This is the second accurate plastic Canadian steam locomotive in my collection, the first, the much maligned True Line Trains Canadian National Railways 4-8-4 Northern. I won’t go into its many woes real or imagined, but the Rapido Hudson blows it away in terms of detail, running qualities, everything. The Hudson is heavy, one of the key differencees to other plastic locomotives I own (mostly british) is that large parts of it are diecast, so it has weight and heft to pull. It features the expected crazy level of details, and sounds recorded from a real CPR Hudson, Number 2816 which is still owned by Canadian Pacific, and was used until the past few years for employee and charity specials.

First photos of the Royal Hudson, with the working front coupler switched out for the much better looking fake one, and the etched stainless steel “Canadian Pacific” name board added to the runnig board. I haven’t added the raised brass numbers to the walkway yet, I may not as it looks fine without them.

Video of my test of the Hudson on my test track via my ESU LokProgrammer is below:

I need to do a proper photo shoot with the Hudson. I think I’ve figured out where and how as well, just need to get sorted out to do it and I’ll post another more photo heavy page on it. All in all, my first impressions are excellent, and It will look great in my display cabinet, and who knows, maybe someday down the road I’ll have a layout to run it on. I’ll probably at some point take it to others HO Scale layouts just to let it stretch its legs and work in the motor and gears.