Great day to be a railfan…

A weekend offline would seem eventually punctuated by a return to where the cord leads. We’re home in Halifax now from our cocoon in Cape Breton and already convinced that’s something we need to be doing more of, more often, because it just feels so good to be together, going nowhere, chasing rainbows, on our way…

As railfans it’s our privilege to pick only the components of reality that suit our narrative. We can chase after locomotives that would be absolutely lousy environments if they were our places and tools of our work and we can pick the nice days to go out and retreat back indoors when it’s not. Sunday was a lousy day to be outside. The glow of that light on the Truro yard office must be like a lighthouse if you’re working 515 today. 9454 was assigned to 515 on Friday when we were here but down at the CBNS end of the yard and we’re back in town, on our way home, stopping for tea.

That mountain of ties and ballast CN has been storing here for track rehab. projects is almost gone but there is still maintenance equipment stored in the yard. These classic CN ballast hoppers are a wonderful sight–first time I’ve seen them with tarp’s installed though and that’s interesting. To my right but out of this frame is a Brandt truck hooked onto a set of gondolas that are likely being used to move ties around as part of this rehab. work.

I can’t help but think a day like today is one that begs to be modelled. All wet and cold yet contained in our warm cozy basement would seem like the kind of paradox we could explore by the medium of model railroading. Railfanning happens by choice but railroading happens every day of the year. We are drawn to stories of railroading like challenging a gradient through a mountain pass or the precise timing of streamlined railroading and yet there is also a story here, set against a backdrop of everyday railroading, that is a kind of profoundly personal because no matter how close we are to the railroad we all know what it’s like to be cold, wet, and unfinished.

Categories: Truro railfan

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3 replies

  1. Don’t tempt me, that last photo has a peculiar attraction, the quality of light is strangely enticing, I think it could work really well as a layout. You’d need to subdue the colours with a more muted palette, but otherwise there isn’t anything particularly challenging…

  2. I try to model those cold and dreary days. I have a long way to go before I get it right, but I see how the ambience of that scene attracts.

  3. We love this sense of detailing a scene with the right tie plates, oil drums, and “correct” rolling stock but this sense of environmental detailing seems like one heck of an exciting new opportunity in the hobby. No doubt that moment when I was walking around in the Truro yard it was impossible to avoid that sense of how great it was going to be to retreat back into the warmth and dryness of the car. We like the sense of conflict in the hobby and typically explore this in how the trains operate–maybe battling a long gradient or working through nuanced switching moves but this feels like a new conflict. One of immense human relatability (you don’t have to work for the railroad to know how miserable it is to work outside in weather like this) and that is something that is the story of working 515 on a day like today. Imagine how cool it would be to model a scene like this within the frame of our model railway? We need not make it rain or be cold in our train room but within the frame of that fascia and on the scene of the model railway detailing it to represent the evidence of this is one more bit of mood we’d have in mind when working our HO scale 515 this day. Efficiency from switching moves not just for the satisfaction of game play but because it’s lousy out there.


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