Tuesday Train #215

A Canadian National GMD-1 apparently assigned to Guelph for switching the industrial sidings in 2020. Will wonders never cease! This loco was built in 1960 as CN 1075, and rebuilt in 1989 when it became 1408. There were 101 GMD-1’s built, 96 for CNR, and 5 for the Northern Alberta Railway. Many are still out there working for short lines or private operators, some made it Cuba for their second act. CN still has 15 on the roster in 2020 according to the Trackside Guide.

Making a Scene

So I regularly trade text messages with a number of other model railroaders, sometimes about trains, sometimes not. I sent the overview picture below last night after snapping it while ballasting track, and as I looked at it, while I see all kinds of things that need doing, I also see my vision for the layout starting to really emerge, unfinished scenery or not. It was a feel good moment, of “hey, it really is really happening”. It made me smile on a Thursday night, and I felt like sharing that with friends.

Birds eye view looking east on Liberty Street taken while ballasting track behind me. This is not the normal layout view a guest will get.

One of my friends in the text chat, a very astute observer and excellent modeller asked about the white poles, and if they were telephone/power poles. They will be when I get them done. They have a fair bit of work needed still, at this stage, they are cut to height and in place to make sure I didn’t create any pinch points where trains couldn’t actually get past them. I very nearly did, but all appears good.

His question was, were they really that close to the tracks? And my answer, amazingly was yes, they pretty much were. That prompted me to send him a couple of the Toronto Archives pictures from the 1970’s (ish) period, after when I am modelling, but things like the tracks and streetpoles didn’t move much. They are still basically in the same locations today for the street poles at least (the tracks are sadly mostly gone!)

Left, Toronto Archives Picture (series 1465, Folder, 0051, Item 0007), on the right, as close as I could get my hands in to recreate the view looking east on Liberty Street at Jefferson Avenue.
Left, Toronto Archives Picture (series 1465, Folder, 0037, Item 0023), on the right, as close as I could get my hands in to recreate the view looking west on Liberty Street at Hanna Avenue.

I then sent the two layout shots as well.The two comparisons above I think nicely capture what I am looking to achieve on my layout in recreating Liberty Village. Even though I am modelling an earlier era when more of the tracks were still in use, the Toronto Archives Pictures really do help to set the scene. Most of the buildings have been restored or altered now, and the tracks are gone as I said. While some of the details around the edges are wrong, the feel of the area is very much the same in the few pictures I’ve ever found that might be 1950’s vintage.

Its urban, its what I wanted my layout to be. As reasonably accurate and prototypical recreation of a little part of the City I call home, and amazingly to me, it seems to slowly be emerging. Still lots of work to do. Won’t be done by Christmas as one of the other modellers on the group chat teases, but I might just be running solo test operations by then with all the track ballasted and the switch machines in to find all the places the trains don’t want to run right!

Public Safety Announcement – Buy a Fire Extinguisher

So first off, no, we have not had a fire or anything else at our house. But we did have an altogether too close to home adventure this summer, in the courtyard of townhouses we live in. We very nearly had a major fire as one of the houses across the courtyard from us had their barbecue go up in flames. Our BBQ’s are all fed by natural gas lines from inside the building, so no propane tanks to explode, but a steady fuel source feeding it.

I’m saying buy an extinguisher as I was out warming up our BBQ, when I noticed the smokey smell, and turned to see the plumb of thick black smoke wrapping up the walls across from us. At first, I thought it was the building on fire as there was so much smoke. The PSA is that we discovered we were the only people of about a dozen houses that have any kind of home extinguisher, as I quickly grabbed the one inside our front door closet that is positioned to be close to the BBQ, and ran across the courtyard and had the fire out by the time the fire department arrived. I went out and replaced our spent extinguisher with two new ones, and our neighbour bought a replacement for the used one as a thank you.

With that, we now have three, one under the kitchen sink, one in the ground floor front closet near the BBQ on our patio/terrace, and the one below in my layout room/workshop. Will a little extinguisher like this put out a catastrophic fire? No, but it might just save your life and let you get out and will put out a small fire. Discovering how many people don’t have them was to put it mildly, shocking. I think the one I used was one of the first things we bought after taking possession of our house just in case something ever happened with the BBQ or in the kitchen.

Fire Extinguisher. Do you have one? No, then go buy one. No really, that should be your weekend goal.

Tuesday Train #214

Ex-British Railways (London & North Eastern Railway) A4 Pacific 60009 “Union of South Africa” disappears into her own steam at Bewdley on the Severn Valley Railway during the Autumn Steam Gala in 2004.

60009 will be retired for good in 2022 when her current boiler certificate expires, to move to her owner John Cameron’s home in Scotland to be part of a museum has he has decided he has reached an age where restoring and operating his locomotives is no longer a viable proposition.

Tuesday(ish) Train # 213

It’s been a while since I’ve missed making a Tuesday Train railfan post. I thought about it at least 3 times yesterday, and never took the five minutes to make the post. So here is your Tuesday(ish) train on a Wednesday morning!

CPR 7056, one of the “newest” locomotives in the CPR fleet rounds a curve in Caledon Ontario with a Westbound (north at this time) Train 421 from Toronto to Winnipeg in July 2020. 7056 is an SD70ACU, a “new” locomotive, rebuilt from an SD90MAC to extend its life at less cost than a brand new locomotive. CPR had 30 done in 2019, and 30 in 2020. 7056 is almost the last (the last will be 7059).

Sometimes its a simple thing

So last week I wrote about how sick I was of looking at the layout spending all day in my layout room as my home office. I’m not sure what flicked the switch, but last night for the first time in what feels like forever (its really just a few weeks), I stayed in the layout room, and puttered. This is a good thing, and a sign that I’m in a good space when I just happily putter away at a bunch of things and get things done without over thinking things or psyching myself out.

I had a super productive couple of hours. I glued down some building foundations, added trim to the lighting valance in advance of painting it, fixed the valance in the closet, worked on adjusting bullfrogs to install in switches, and did the brake piping and rigging on the first of the six or so box car kits I have started or plan on starting in the near future.

Finally, the underbody plumbing and rigging done on one box car project, and on to ladders and other details. I have many more to do, but this was a mental block of late to do one.

I think, my spurt of motivation is two fold, writing about my feeling meh, and the fact that this weekend is the rescheduled Le Mans 24 Hour race. I am really really looking forward to the race this year. I missed last year mostly as I was away (I was having fun, but couldn’t undertake my traditional planting of myself in front of a monitor for the race), and given all that’s gone on in 2020, the prospect of the race has me excited, and I’m going to be in my office/layout room with many screens going and have decided I want to do as many little projects on the layout as possible. I think this weekend will see me make a bunch of progress on things, and that has me excited to go again!