From the vault

I found some photos sort of archived in a copy of Adobe here and thought I’d share them. Of the models I’ve worked on over the years I particularly liked this pair.


Back in the late-eighties Wayne Weslowski (boy I’m not feeling confident I spelled his name correctly) published a really neat article in Model Railroader on how to scratchbuild an Apache Railway ore car in 1/2″ scale. I really liked the look of the car he built and needed some more for my N scale layout so I built some (yup, in N scale!) Most of the car’s body is fashioned from 0.005″ thick styrene sheet and some styrene strip. The trucks were Atlas re-wheeled with finer scale wheels from Red Caboose. The couplers are just good old MicroTrains 1015’s I think. The other cars worked out quite nicely but the panels on this car buckled really nicely and I decided it needed to belong more to my maintenance fleet as a ballast car than “in service” on my ore line. I don’t have this car any more but I sure enjoyed building it and having it as a reminder of what I could get done when I settled down at the workbench and concentrated.


After things started to really fall apart for me in Hamilton I found I really savoured the sanctuary that I could find in model-making. I was also fortunate to belong to a really great model club: The Steel City N Scalers. They had a huge N scale layout downtown and I was part of their operating crew. A mainline as large as that really drew on my interest in iron ore carriers and the layout theme the ore car (above) was born into was rekindled. I had been reading about the Quebec ore carriers and how they would rebuild the occasional ore car into what was called an “air repeater car”. Basically the railroads were finding that on a very long train that air pressure would deminish along the train. These air repeaters were inserted midway along the train to amplify the air pressure and make it easier to handle the train. My beloved Cartier Railway used them and I thought the idea was neat. Since most of the prototype lines used automated loading and unloading machines they were dependant on every car in the train being the same length hence the employment of older ore cars. Shop crews painted them in very bright and contrasting colours with the addition of bold markings to help spot them in the train and save accidentally dropping a load of iron ore onto one. Since I was really getting back into the Cartier again and had decided I could subsitute gondolas (which were plentiful and cheap) for the side-dump cars Cartier used (and I had to scratchbuild) I built myself an air repeater car from an old Bachmann gondola. I used up some leftover Miniatures by Eric parts and added trucks from Intermountain with some Microtrains couplers. Inserted into a long string of my stand-in ore cars this little novelty made for some interesting conversations.

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