Bayview Junction, Hamilton, ON Canada 8-16-86 PT 2

Superb video of some of Canada’s finest railroading. Lots of great LRC train footage and one train of Tempo coaches. For the VIAphile there’s lots of blue and yellow and MLW passenger power too. I’ve been lucky enough to do a little railfanning at Bayview but wish I could have at this time.

I see the same YouTube channel features several similar videos all from Hamilton and Toronto and all from the same date. Well worth watching if you havens spare few minutes.


Toronto railroading in the 70’s – now that’s what TV is for

I am slowly getting caught up on emails in my inbox and in that stack was an update from Trevor Marshall’s blog, titled Traintown Toronto. The post title was really catchy but I really couldn’t figure out what he was writing about. Never one to avoid this kind of temptation I took a look at the post and sure am glad I did. Trevor was introducing a video that Green Frog Productions have released featuring railroading around Toronto in the 1970’s. I’m not a huge collector of train movies and really haven’t spent much time researching them but this is one I’ll be adding to my collection for sure.

Here’s the link to the Green Frog website and also a quote from them describing the video:

The two friends came early and stayed late for a day, or maybe a few days, on the sunny side of the tracks of the Toronto Terminals Railway in the early 1970s, recording the passage of a wide spectrum of passenger trains, switching moves, and some freight traffic into and near the vibrant Beaux-Arts Toronto Union Station, opened in 1927.

Green Frog were kind enough to actually post a preview of the video on their website and you can watch it on Youtube:

Okay, so I was barely a minute into the video when a pair of Tempo RS18’s appear in the video and I’d already loaded the DVD into the website’s shopping cart. What else is in the preview?

GO Transit GP40TC shoving a short, three-car train of the single-level cars. The video promises shots of the self-propelled versions of these same cars.

The Empress of Agnicourt (CP’s RSD17) appears on a transfer move. I’ve seen photos of this unit working as far west as my beloved Hamilton and I sure wish this video chased one of these trips.

Of course, there’s also tons of pre-VIA passenger action too.

This evening didn’t start too well and about the time when I managed to drive my saw through it’s own cord I was starting to run out of expletives to aid in my narration of how things were going. Since then I’ve made a nice sandwich with some leftover beef from the weekend’s roast, watched a couple of episodes of Life on Mars and am finishing a lovely glass of port. Having discovered this cool DVD, things are turning around for sure!

Prototype inglenook – CPR Nakusp

Sometimes you stumble across a photo and amaze yourself with how well it fits in with something you were curious about. I was thinking about CP’s car float operations around Rosebery and Nakusp, BC and Mark Dance’s superb N scale layout based on it all. He’s posted a video showing how he’s representing this operation on his layout.

I’ve mentioned it a couple of times here on Prince Street, so not a lot new here. Watching the video again I started to think about how little I really knew about this operation so off to I went in search of a little more knowledge. This time, I started in Google images and I entered CPR Nakusp, clicked Enter and the adventure began.

Most of what I think I know about this unique rail-marine operation is summarized by this terrific photo (since I don’t have permission to post it, I’ll just leave the link and it will open in another window if you click on it):

That photo was recently featured on Trevor Marshall’s Acheivable Layouts blog and shows a CPR H16-44 “H-liner” plus a couple of freight cars and a caboose loaded onto a barge and the tug Iris G. leading the way to the next piece of the journey. This subdivision was home to a number of CP’s H-liners and another is pictured in this close-up showing #8726 actually loading the barge:

David Woodhead included a photo of a loaded barge which compliments the above, from Jim Sand’s blog nicely:

Vintage diesels on rural Canadian branchlines is an easy sell for me. As I wade still deeper into the design of my own layout, I’m always on the lookout for prototype locations that work. I’ve mentioned this particular rail operation before but had based that initial sketch mostly on what I’d observed in the Mark Dance video. Since I’m planning on using something like an ultra-simple Inglenook-based design, it was when I saw this photo I got a little excited:

The above photo is of the Nakusp station and was photographed in 1935. Note that the station is picturesquely placed between a hill and the water’s edge. The photographer is standing in the yard and facing the mainline. The barges are loaded immediately behind the station. What’s so cool about the photo is that it is of a track layout that looks like a terrifically literal interpretation of the basic Inglenook plan. Two turnouts, lots of arrow-straight track and some decent scenery. This is the time when the prototype breaks all the rules and conventions of model railway design. From the same website is this opposing photograph showing the other end of the station, the slip and approach to the car float and the entrance to the yard:

Finally, from elsewhere on the web is this shot of the front of the station:

The Inglenook plan is well known, in case you’re not familiar with it, here’s a link to what must I think is the best website devoted to this plan and the equally popular Timesaver plan:

I’ve built a Timesaver plan before and operated several other’s modellers versions and always felt that, that particular plan was clearly a novelty. It is the type of model train set you’d build to amuse yourself and it does deliver that but it’s more a game than model of a railway. All of those things that I feel are wrong with the Timesaver are right when I consider the Inglenook. If you have the space, the humble Inglenook could really come alive in variations that support more cars in multiples of the original 3-3-5 ratio such as 6-6-10 or even greater still. What I’m always on the lookout for are prototype locations that feature similar operations so you could both build the simple plan yet have something “real” to refer back to; basically so when you’re not operating the layout you still have that: “I’ve modelled something real” feeling. There are so many examples out there and Nakusp isn’t the only one, but is sure is a literal interpretation of the plan and one to keep in mind. Imagine how cool it would look if set in the mid-1930’s time period so the motive power was 4-4-0 steam engines and shorter wooden cars instead of the 50’s era variations that seem so much more common.

I hope you take a minute to click through the photos and I really hope you check out the website.

Another layout sketch and some introspection

Layout 20130925
I’m at a bit of an impass. Before I start to get into that, I’d like to introduce a layout I have been sketching variations of for quite a while now. From the above, I’m convinced that I like the idea of an eliptical or at least, semi-eliptical, shape the the benchwork. Given that the area will the layout would reside, I feel this is a terrific way to inhabit the space while not literally stuffing it full of benchwork.

I visualise the above scene sloping upward toward the back of the scene. I feel that a gentle, vertical element to the layout is critical not only to provide an extra dimension to an otherwise small area but also to play to the layout’s siting in our living room. I want the layout to be a three dimensional picture when viewed from the front. I’m not planning on a back scene and would like this vertical approach to take on some of that role.

I’ve marked out an area for staging trains in and out of the scene. Trains cross the street before entering the staging area and pass between two buildings which I’d place pretty close to the sides of the track. The structure to the front of the staging could be built without a back to allow a sector plate to clear if swung to the front of the layout. The structures on the opposite (back) side of the railway crossing would all be built as a series of building flats. I’d build the first one, closest the railway line in full relief but then make them thinner as they move toward the back of the layout. Again, thinner buildings here will be space re-invested in staging and the sector plate therein.

The station area occupies most of the scene and begins immediately to the right of the crossing. I like the idea of using a turntable as the escape for the run-around loop in the same way that Bembridge on the Isle of Wight used one. This table isn’t for turning engines, simply moving them from one line to the other and is intentionally quite short – about twenty-four feet.

The run-around loop line to the front plays host to a pair of facing wye turnouts, each of which feeds a siding. Immediately in front of the station is a generic public siding where any type of freight car could be spotted. The longer siding, to the left of the scene, should have a proper industry located on it. This industry, ideally, should be tall enough to help obscure the staging area in behind and would also represent the true reason why the railway pushed all the way to terminate at this town.

I’ve drawn the plan to S scale. I’ve been a member of the S Scale Society now for about a month and am really getting immersed into the potential this scale offers. As for gauge, this line could be built as a narrow gauge line and populated with tramway-style rolling stock inspired by Irish three foot gauge prototypes (modelled as Sn3.5) but I had standard gauge, S scale, in mind when drawing this. I’m not sure how many of the notes will appear in the scan but I was trying to work out relative train lengths and some general depths for various layout elements, in S scale, and am worried this scene will get very busy very quickly.

I’m cringing as I type this, but the thought has occured to me that the whole scene might balance much better in 4mm (OO) or 3.5mm (HO) scales or, for that matter, even in N. I really want to try and give S a go. I’m very eager to build some scenery and structures for this layout and am as keen to settle on a scale so work can commence.

I’m also not entirely settled on the plan, though I do feel it is reasonably prototypical in appearance and would offer some pleasant and relaxing shunting opportunities. I really like the concept and am almost certain about the shape of the baseboard. I don’t know how to settle on a scale and wish I could just wake up settled on this point. I find O and larger scales really too large for the style of modelmaking I enjoy. I grew up on N scale and have harboured a very long passion for 3mm (TT) scale modelling too. I have found though that with my limited time to immerse myself in small scale modelbuilding that working in these small scales is more of an excercise in frustration than the relaxation I hope to derive from model railways. It’s not working in such small scales that I dislike, it’s that I find I need to be in the right “headspace” to do such fine work and in the small intervals I have it’s too hard to get “there”. I have tried a few limited models in S and find it really does offer what it’s strongest proponents argue. It’s small enough to make good use of a limited space yet just that much larger than HO or OO to be really enjoyable to work in. Also to S’s credit is the cohort of modellers currently working in the scale. In the short period since I started to get serious about wading into these 1/64 scale waters I’ve found a very welcoming group of modellers keen to share what thrills them about working in this size and the Society really does offer a terrific catalogue of parts to support working in the scale. Re-reading this paragraph I can see that I need to figure out how to cram a scenic layout, in S, in this space. Somehow.

So: Yes to S with some nervousness confessed. Now back to the layout, I’m really fascinated with the idea of trying traction in S. A gentleman named William Flatt, in Ontario, is actually selling some really nice traction parts and even a steeplecab in S and I think this idea has some real potential as an alternative to embrace this new scale and my passion for traction. A layout that I could easily see myself trying to replicate, in concept, would be like Andy Gautrey’s Wiley City layout as featured in this Youtube video:

Given the general arrangement of the above, any ideas?

East Lynn & Nunstanton’, by Trevor Nunn

I’ve heard about this layout before but had only ever seen a photo or two. Then, this week, I found a video of it on the British Railway Modelling Magazine YouTube channel.

The layout is built in S scale (1/64). References to it often remark on the high standard of workmanship and the smooth running of the models. Watching this video both of these are obvious. This must be one of the smoothest running layouts I’ve ever seen.

Here’s the video:

The prototype for Victoria Park

The model Victoria Park layout that Ian Futers built was based on the actual Helensburgh Central station near Glasgow, Scotland. There’s some great video and photographs out there and I wanted to share some here.

First of all, here’s a Googlemap of the real location:

And here’s a lovely photo of the station taken recently and from Wikipedia:

Finally, some video of trains in and around the station: