Saturday, 22 December 2012

Toronto in the Morning

Looks like I'm leaving for Toronto in the morning.  Most of my family lives in southern Ontario, so it will be nice to see some GO, VIA, CN and maybe some CP trains again.  I'm looking foreward to seeing the Roundhouse Museum right beside the Skydome again, as last time they were just getting started.  I'm sure some visits to some fishing outfitters as well as the Credit Valley Railway store will be made as well.

I've got some interesting posts on CN MLW power that I've been working on which I'll have up as soon as I can.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Irving Oil Tank Cars

Recently, a man from Charlottetown contacted me to see if I would do some custom painting for him.  It turns out he had been following my youtube channel for a while and ran into my mother as a salesman at local furniture store.  She gave him my email and he messages me that night.  It turns out that he is sort of a "one day I'll have a layout" kind of guy and keeps buying things online to add to his collection.

Currently, he would like to model CN's last train to leave PEI, (as would I) aboard the John Hamilton Gray on December 28, 1989.  Allan Graham's A Photo History of the Prince Edward Island Railway documents the event well, "The time is 11:30 p.m. December 27, 1989 as I drive up to the Borden yard office.  This would be the last trip; it would amount to a few switching moves in the yard before two engines would take two flat cars loaded with maintenance-of-way structures, two tank cars, four flat cars used as ferry spacers, two loads of scrap metal in gondolas, two plows and two vans along the 1/3 mile or so of track to the ferry dock."

It turns out the four spacer flat cars as well as the two cabooses were loaded onto the Abegweit and the rest of the train had to wait for the John Hamilton Gray several hours later.  As far as I can make out the consist was as follows:
RSC-14 1786 (Stripes) [long hood foreward]
RSC-14 1750 (Stripes) [short hood foreward]
Plow 55242 (C.N.)
Plow 55264 (Noodle)
Flat 663636 (C.N.) [loaded with bunkhouse]
Flat 663443 (Canadian National) [loaded with bunkhouse]
Gondola 147409 (Noodle) [loaded with scrap metal]
Gondola 149581 (Noodle) [loaded with scrap metal
GATX 84077 (GATX logo) [propane tank car]
CGTX ????? (Irving Logo) [propane tank car]

I cannot make out the number of the Irving car when looking at the photos of the last train, however, with a little help from Steve several months back, the following photos were discovered:
The first, depicts "new Irving oil cars in July 1966, St John, New Brunswick
Looks like the latter photo is a prefect match to the cars I am hoping to model, so I can get approximate numbers, capacities, etc from these.   The Irving car in question appears to be the same as this car, which also contains the correct CGTX logo.  The only thing missing is the Irving logo, assuming the 20XXX number series car is correct.

Here is the logo on the GATX car:

Here are his posts on the topic: Irving Oil Tank Cars and More on Irving Oil Tank Cars.  I am currently tasked with helping the man model this train.  Currently, he managed to find an Overland Brass model of CN 1750, with near perfect detail I might add, and 1786, a kitbashed Kato/ Atlas RS-11 model from another internet friend of mine is on its way.  He next wants to model the two tank cars and we are currently looking into decals for the Irving cars.  I would certainly like a few sets myself as they really are neat cars to model.  Maybe I'll pick up a few tank cars in Toronto next week.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Lest We Forget

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them

The above verse from Laurence Binyon's "For the Fallen" was once again read just prior to the March of the Veterans in Charlottetown earlier today.  Take time to remember both the fallen and the living.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Save the Northern New Brunswick Trains

I stumbled across a fantastic group on Facebook the other night, entitled Save our Trains in Northern New Brunswick.  Less than a month ago, the Ocean was reduced to three days a week from six.  With the state of Acadian Lines and the lack of regional airports it would become difficult for those residents to travel should they lose the train as well.  I know Charlo, Bathurst and Mirimichi all offered regional flights but Charlo's flights have since been moved to Bathurst.  All of this has several of my undergraduate friends studying in Charlottetown but spending the rest of the year living at home in Northern New Brunswick and on the Gaspe worried.

Worst yet, CN has begun the process of abandoning the INR line between Moncton and Campbellton due to increasing maintance costs and decreasing customers.  They would like to up and leave by 2014.  Rail service in Eastern Canada is certainly a shadow of its former self, with CP selling off its lines east of Megantic, QC in the early 1990's and CN abandoning or selling everything east of Montreal but the ICR and   NTR in NB, and the Amherst-Halifax line in NS.

This was the state of passenger service in 1989.  At this time, CN had just abandoned the NFLD railway and Charlottetown and Fredricton were connected with a bus service.  The entire system of PEI would be abandoned by the end of the year.

The site also has some fantastic historical photos, many of which I have never seen before.  Most focus of the northern part of the province, particularly Campbellton, but there are a few Gaspe and even some Tide Head shots as well.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Train Schedule on the Gaspe

I've been doing my research to determine how many trains once traversed the Chandler and Cascapedia Subdivisions as well as when and how often.  I had it narrowed down, mostly from captions on photos, or talking to Dominique the Stationmaster, Peter the Engineer and Boyd the Conductor in New Carlisle over the years.  When I received my 2012 Trains en Gaspesie calender, there was a booklet in the envelope, which outlined the history of the line, bilingual I might add.  To my surprise, there was a paragraph on train numbers inside!  This, for the most part, finalized what I knew about movements on the line, which I summarized in the table below.

Matepedia -Gaspe           (daily)
Matapedia-New Carlisle

New Carlisle-Gaspe 

No records
Matapedia-Gaspe   (Monday-Saturday)

Matapedia-Gaspe (Sundays)
same as above
118/119 (daily) between Matapedia-Gaspe

621/622 (daily) between Montreal-Gaspe

630/631 (daily) between Matapedia-Gaspe
-used railliners 
Matapedia-New Carlisle

New Carlisle-Gaspe

-same as above
-sometime in this period 630/631 was dropped 
-same as above 
-sometime in this period 747-748 was dropped
-towards 1980, all freights renumbered to 594/595
621/622 became 16/17  (Montreal-Gaspe)
“The Chaleur”
-originally ran daily, but was cut to six days by 1998, later to the current three
594/595 (daily) ran from Campbellton, NB-Gaspe           

This information is accurate to the best of my knowledge.  It's simply amazing for a line of 202.4 miles to have five separate freights daily.  They really were busy up until the late 1970's it seems.  It should be noted that the Cascapedia Subdivision is 98 miles long, running between Matapedia and New Carlisle and the Chandler Subdivision is 102.4 miles long, stretching from New Carlisle to Gaspe.  During the 1980's until 1998, it was rare for a freight to travel past Chandler more than once a month or so.  At that time copper ore from Murdochville was loaded into 40' boxcars at Sandy Beach (Gaspe) and the main shippers were by far Gaspesia Paper in Chandler and Smurfit Stone in New Richmond.

Now all I have to do is determine things like times, common consists, commodities hauled and so fourth between 1970 and 1980, which is the specific period I would like to model.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Gaspesie - First Diesels and the Railliner

Most are unaware that the Gaspe was used by CN for the better part of the twentieth century as a testing ground for new equipment.  Although PEI was the first province to fully dieselize, the first diesels were tested on the Gaspe in the fall of 1951.  A year prior, CN ordered fifteen H10-64 locomotives from the Canadian Locomotive Company, a subsidary of Fairbanks-Morse.  7600 through 7614 were delivered the next fall and exclusively assigned to the Gaspe.  I don't think I have to comment on the result of the testing..

There is actually a photo of my grandfather which I must make a copy of, where he is peeking out of the cab of 7600 in the siding at Point a la Croix.  He always spoke very negatively of the early diesels however, as did most people.
"The Fairbanks-Morse engines were junk," he would say, "they were always breaking down from electrical problems that we [the head end crew] didn't know how to fix like we did with the steam engines. The 1800 HP MLW's [RS-18] were a much better engine, they were real workhorses, if you started with four on the head end of a freight in Matapedia you were lucky to have two still running past New Carlisle, but yet the two worked on.   The 3000 and 3600 HP [C630M and M636] to follow were great pullers and the 5300's [SD40-2W] were a great, heavy engine." - L.K. Main
To him, the later MLW's and first/second generation GMDD's were great engines, but nothing compared to the steam engines for him.

The first "railliners" or Budd Rail Diesel Cars were tested on the coast as well.  These self propelled passenger cars would run in consists usually ranging from one to three cars.  A good example is shown here, in a post by Steve Boyko.  My grandfather actually drove these for the better part of two years.
"Those railliners were a scary thing, you would ride with one hand on the throttle and the other on the door handle.  There was no crew protection." - L.K. Main
I have yet to see a photo of a frontal collision, but I would imagine that it would not end well for the crew as track speed for the railliners varied between 10 and 45 miles per hours.  After VIA Rail was created in the late 1970's, they were passed on to VIA who continued to run them daily as train 621/622 up until the VIA cuts of 1983.  Gramps never worked for VIA so he was taken off the passenger trains presumably in 1979.

Trains en Gaspesie

T rains en Gaspesie is a web site maintained by Andre Berthelot and Bernard Babin.  Although I have never met either man personally, I have exchanged many emails with Bernard.  It turns out he grew up in New Carlisle West, several houses down from the site of my grandmother's family homestead, long gone.  The tracks ran right behind his house and there was a level crossing, now an overpass, to the west of the house he grew up in.  Below is the crossing in question, a steel overpass built in 1986 at the town's western limit.

Unfortunatly, there used to be another Trains en Gaspesie, hosted by a different website.  Last year however, that company went under as did their site.  Recently, they were able to reconstruct the site using a different host.  There still isn't the volume of content that there once was, but more photos are constantly being added.

Bernard also works to produce a calender each year with historic or more recent photos of operations on the line.  I believe last year was the first one and one other calender similar calender was released years ago by the Rotary Club of New Richmond, but it lacked the historical content of Babin's work.  I encourage anyone who has the chance to purchase a copy. This year, the calender came with a separate booklet to go with the theme of "100 years of passenger service on the Gaspe" highlighting the achievements of the line.

Bernard and Andre also have their own Youtube sites:

Friday, 2 November 2012

So it's been a while.

Well I guess its been a good while since I've posted here and I would like to change that.  Since we are getting into late fall here and fly fishing wrapped up on Wednesday, that shouldn't be an issue.

I'm starting to get the feeling that I'm taking on a few too many projects, however I'm ok with that.  Currently I still have those locomotives for a man in England to finish.  After waiting all summer, I finally got the steps that were backordered and both the SD40-2W and the SD40U are nearing completion.  As for myself, I still have a small fleet of RS-18's that I would like to build and currently have two on the go as well as an SD40 and a SD40-2W for myself.  I also have three Kaslo kits, an M420W, an HR-412 and a GP9RM.  The GP9 might be a little out of my era but they look so cool.  Also recently acquired was a Kato F40PH, earmarked to become a VIA unit prior to the rebuilds. I'm thinking 6424, as I've seen that one so much.  I always wanted to do one, and now Kaslo has come out with a metal etch kit with all the fine details.  The Kaslo kits and F40 however will have to wait for a while, the price was right at the time sort of thing.

I haven't put much time into the layout lately as I've been scratchbuilding and fishing lately, so hopefully that will change.  One thing I have been doing is researching the Gaspe line, as I want to model it at some point.  Currently, the future of the line is, in my opinion, still very much up in the air.  The Chaleur is running as far as New Carlisle and I believe it will be a year this November since it has traveled to Gaspe.  In my research I have found some neat things I never knew existed, such as a feed mill in Caplan and both a Fina (later Petro Canada) and a Texco oil storage facilities right in New Carlisle.  One major help was the New Carlisle stationmaster, who allowed me to look through a dozen or so photoalbums of hers dating back to 1986.  She even agreed to scan and email me copies of any photo that interested me.  Below is one of them...
...the derailed cars block the view of the tanks, but notice the Texaco sign on the long since demolished building.  Today, all that remains is the chain link fence that once surrounded the tanks.  I found out a lot more about the track layouts at both Gaspesia Paper in Chandler and Smurfit Stone in New Richmond.  Both buildings are now gone but there were some great photos online showing what they once looked like.  Other stops along the line include a fertilizer depot, several other oil storage facilities, lumber mills and a few other feed mills, even a small grain elevator.  These will someday make for great switching points.

New Carlisle still a busy place in 1988.  This is much as I remember it until the late 1990's when CN finally up and left.

I actually made three trips up this summer, with my grandfather's fall being the reason.  The only good thing to come out of this was that I had the chance to travel right around the coast for the first time, from New Carlisle to Gaspe, from there right around the tip through Forillon National Park to Ste Anne des Monts, down the Cascapedia River Valley and back to New Carlisle, all in all a 14 hour trip.  Since the rail line runs parallel to most of the road, I was also able to photograph most of the bridges along the way.

Three M420W's and two plows weight in the siding at Gaspe for the Chaleur in 1995.  

The only down side of it all was that my grandfather, the main source of my knowledge of the line, passed away this summer, following complications from a bad fall at the age of 90.  Here he is departing Campbellton, NB, abord RS-18 3624 which would lead train 594, his last.

He never liked to talk about his work very much, he was a funny guy that way.  He never liked his job from what I could tell.  He blamed the dynamic brake handle for causing a bad cord in his hand and his bad hearing on the whistles, even though I'm told his mother was also deaf.  The only thing he did like were the steam engines, he said missed working on those.  I guess its like dad always said, "The Merchant Navy was a service and the railroad was just a job."  He never spoke much of the Merchant Navy much either, other than the ship he was assigned to, the SS Ganondoc.  This clip, which my cousin discovered this past spring, is the most I have ever heard him speak of the war.  

It looks like we will be travelling to the big city of Toronto for Christmas this year so I hope to have a chance to do some railfanning, as well as visit the train store once again, as three years is a long time.  

Friday, 20 July 2012

Turning a Passenger Train

On May 13, 2012 the first passenger train in over a year reached New Carlisle.  I was there on the following Saturday.  Hard to believe. but in all my trips to the Gaspe I had never seen a train turn on the wye before so I was happy to finally do so.  I didn't realize it at the time, but this meant seeing a lone F40PH running without any coaches.

The work on the double bridge in Cascapedia-St Jules is complete, although honestly nothing visibly has changed.  The Pabos bridge is still under repair but work on the pillars is not yet complete.  I wonder if the slow order on this bridge be lifted now?

The process for turning the train is actually quite simple.  The train must be turned in two sections however, as the wye will only hold three coaches and the locomotive.  First the passengers hop onto a motorcoach for the second leg of the trip.

The entire train is first pulled east to clear the passing siding.  

The two sleepers are dropped on the passing siding while the two coaches and the baggage car are left on the mainline.

The locomotive then couples onto the sleeper cars and pushes them backwards onto the wye.

Once clear both the east and west legs, the train heads out in the opposite direction and sets the two coaches onto the mainline.

The neatest part, in my opinion, is when the locomotive runs back over the wye to pick up the remaining three cars.  The rear riding platform would really come in handy here...
The whole operation takes a little over an hour, provided everything goes to plan.  The train actually derailed on the wye however during the first week of June, just days before my second trip up this year.  It happened when the locomotive was running back alone to pick up the remaining coaches.  As is the case with much of the line to Gaspe, there is a permanent five mile per hour slow order on the wye.  The locomotive made it about halfway up the west leg when both rails spread apart and the rear wheels went on the ground.  It took a 100 ton jack and one of the SFG's cranes, but several hours and some new ties later the train was back on the rails.

In any aerial photos, a large pond is visible between the yard and the bay.  Years ago, CN dug shale and sand from the area to build up an embankment.  Brackish water from the bay eventually seeped into the hole.        The area around the wye itself was soft to begin with and the tracks sink as the train travels over it.  The last solid ground towards the bay is the the site of the former car shop on the west side of the yard and the site of the old Texaco oil tanks to the east.  Today a single stall engine house rests on the northeast corner of the old shop floor and all that marks the old oil tanks is a rusty fence.

Thursday, 19 July 2012


I apologize to my few readers about the lack of posts lately, but from here on out I am going to try and stick to an at least once a week schedule.

I have been pretty busy with work and June saw some great fishing so I had little time for the model railroad.  After that I made several runs up to the Gaspe but those are over for now.  I saw some great VIA action beginning with the second run of the train from Matapedia to New Carlisle in over a year.  I was also very fortunate to see some classic CN power shunting cars, or "friggin' around" as my dad would say, in Campbellton, NB.

In the past week however, I've been bit by the model railroading bug again and I've begun to work on some projects again.  It might be the month long drought that has caused the fishing to literally "dry up" or even all the travelling. In three consecutive evenings, I've partially painted and decalled an RS-18 for myself, as well as an SD40-2W for a client.  I also managed to find a few more projects I've been considering for a while on ebay, so in short lots of work.

All in all, the summer's over half gone and then the real model railroad season can begin!


For some reason I didn't take a photo of the best engine of all on that yard train, a narrow cab 4700 series GP38-2. Here's a video of the same train, minus the GP9, taken by a Youtube friend.  Also if you look close at the GP40-2W you can see the green paint, showing through from its GO Transit days...who knows, with any luck, my uncle drove it at one point.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

CP Rail on Strike?

Turns that CP Rail has in fact gone on strike.  Most, if not all trains are suspended if I recall correctly.  Here's a CBC article and a more recent one from the Globe and Mail indicating that Ottawa may have something to say about this.

2000 workers were also laid off as they would have nothing to do if the trains aren't running.  Hopefully this can all soon be resolved.

Monday, 21 May 2012

New Carlisle Station in 1913.

This old dusty photo has hung in our basement for as long as I can remember.  I often asked about the history of it, but I never really got a straight answer.  That all changed with our latest trip to the Gaspe.

After hearing that the train was running again I went down to the station on Saturday and as I often do, I ran into Dominique the Stationmaster and I was finally able to drop off my photo for the 2013 Trains en Gaspesie calender. This is the photo, taken at New Carlisle, depicts the first train to reach the town in 1913.

I finally found out this photo's history from a family friend.  She had been talking to Bernard Babin, the man who puts together the calender and he kept mentioning a "young man from PEI" who had a copy and she put the rest together when she saw me at my grandfather's 90th birthday celebrations at the Town Hall later that day.  It turns out that it was after my great uncle was killed in the 1969 wreck at Point a la Garde that the photo was discovered.

The lady in question is my great uncle's sister and law and she was helping clean out the old family house in New Carlisle West shortly after.  This was the house that my grandmother's family grew up in.  She discovered the original copy in the attic in an old trunk, along with her mother, who was a next door neighbor of my grandparents.  (is it just me who enjoys how small towns work?)

Four copies of the original were made: She kept one, my grandfather got another and I can't recall what happened to the other two copies or the original.  I have several relatives in this photo including my great great grandfather.  My grandfather gave this photo to my father and it has hung in our house in PEI ever since.

A few later copies can be found in a quick Google search and a few copies circulating around various families who have ancestors in the photo.  There is even a large display at the town's museum, The Kempher House.  Normally I wouldn't take photos, but since this is a copy of my grandfather's print and he identified ever person in the photo, and donated the section of rail in the lower left hand corner, I snapped a quick shot several years ago.

It's hard to believe one photo can have such a history!

Monday, 14 May 2012

Some of my Models

Three of my finished models were recently featured in Canadian Railway Observations.  I finished both my C630M's and one C424 and they were featured in "Modler's Corner" in the April issue.

Canadian Railway Observations has been around for less than ten years, but has seen much growth over such a short time.

This really is a great resource for Canadian prototype information.  I've been following them for three years of so, however, as of last month they switched from a free download to a subscription based setup.  I really hope that this doesn't affect their number of monthly readers, which was actually quite high.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

PEI Railway Stations - York

I did a little more reading in Allan Graham's book and found that the former PEIR station in York was a "keeper's" station, much like Fredricton.  The station was expanded in 1902 by M.F. Schurman with an addition to the freight shed. For those interested, Schurman's was an Island owner chain of hardware stores and lumber yards.  Kent (part of the Irving "empire") bought them out in the early 2000's.  They once had businesses along the tracks in many places.  Their former Charlottetown store on Longworth Avenue butted up against the tracks, as did their store in Kensington.  There are probably other's I'm missing by it seems as if this wasn't by coincidence as they probably once shipped or received goods by rail.

I was completely expecting to see a run down building but its in very good shape.  I'm also amazed at how I never noticed the station from the York Road before.  I've driven past it dozens of times before and it's no more than a hundred feet from the road.

Here's a direct quote from Graham's book, as I can't explain it more perfectly than this:
"The station at York is a very plain building with a wide overhand trackside.  It was unique in that it contained living quarters for a caretaker and his family.  Besides the ample freight shed at one end and the waiting room at the other, there were in the middle, two bedrooms and a large living room where the ticket office was located.  A lean-to kitchen was built on the back and the long attic could be used for sleeping quarters.  Supplied to the caretaker were coal, brooms and soap.  The York station was moved back from the tracks in 1964 and used to store hay."

It looks as it is still used for storage.  Something I found neat is the names etched into the wood siding near the baggage door.  Some of the dates were quite old.

Looking towards the York Road from where the station once stood.

Friday, 27 April 2012

PEI Railway Stations - Royalty Junction and Fredricton

After a tip off from Chris at Prince Street, I decided to go see two old pre CN stations along Route 2.  The only stations I had ever seen before were Borden, Kensington and Charlottetown but I can not add Fredricton and Royalty Junction to the list.

The Royalty Junction station was moved to Greenvale, PEI, presumably after CN left in 1989.  Royalty Junction itself is located between Route 2 and the Brackley Point Road, near Winsloe.  When driving through Greenvale on the north side of the highway there is a driveway with many birdhouses at the end of it.  I talked to the old man who lives there and he sells them.  It turns out that he moved the station there but it is no longer on his land and belongs to the neighbors.  It's only 25 feet from the highway but almost impossible to see through the trees.  For its age and lack of maintence it seems to be in good shape.

According to Allan Graham's book "A Photo History of the Prince Edward Island Railway" Royalty Junction station was built as a way or crossing station around 1874.  Unlike the other crossing stations it was built at the end of the wye, which was made up of a line south to Charlottetown, west to Summerside and east to Souris.  This meant trains passed on either side of the building, which resulted in the odd roof.  An additional level was added by the man who moved the station to Greenvale.

The Fredricton station is one of those buildings that looks like it won't survive the coming winter.    It is located in Fredricton, PEI on the Fredricton Station Road which is on the south side of Route 2.  As Chris said before, it really does look like they simply moved it back from the tracks and left it there.  Whoever owns it has been using it as storage, but half the  roof is completely gone.  In the below photo I am standing on the old railroad line.

Again, Allan Graham's book lists it as a keeper's station which had a waiting room and a large freight room, which is clearly the case.

The floor seemed solid in the waiting room but I wouldn't go into the freight room as it seemed to be quite soft so I took a picture from the doorway.  The building looks a lot worse off on the inside than the outside.

Next week on my way home from work I'm going to try and find the York station, which was owned by the Schurman Building Supplies family before the Irving's bought them out.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Fishing Season is Here

I know...this isn't about trains..again.  I've been busy with final exams (two down three to go) so I haven't even looked my layout for over three weeks.  As soon as I'm done my second year of my undergrad though, it'll be full steam ahead on the trains (no pun intended).

April 15th is better known on Prince Edward Island however, as opening day of the trout season.  I went out with my trout gear hoping to track down some spring brook trout. I had come and gone in four hours and this was the result:

A 13-14 pound spring salmon (kelt)  on a 9ft 5wgt rod from the Morell River.   [for those of you who don't fish, try towing a car with a motorcycle].  Usually one would use at least am 8wgt when catching these.

After two jumps and 200 feet up the river later, a few other boys helped me land it.   After a few kicks, the fish was ready to go, a quick and clean revival.

I promise to get back on track (again, no pun intended) next week with some railroading posts.

Blogs I Follow: Part 1

I stumbled across this gem the month Chris started it and I've been following it ever since.  "Prince Street Terminal" is a blog ran by a fellow Islander.  Chris is an N scaler.  Topics on his blog range from commuter railroads like GO Transit to railroading on PEI.

Although I've never met Chris in person, his work speaks for itself.  Whereas I scratchbuild diesels, his forte is buildings, just check out some of his Prince Edward Island Railway stations he's done in N scale.  He'll even drive across the island, taking measurements of these unique stations.  Many are in a dilapidated state and won't be around much longer.  Take a minute and check out his blog:

Friday, 6 April 2012

SFG - Gaspe Railway Society Videos

Living on PEI, I don't get a chance to see trains very often.  On my Youtube channel, tjmfishing, I have quite a few VIA videos and even some freight action I took this summer past before they closed the line.

The line is closed due to safety issues with several bridges, but they hope to reopen it as soon as possible.  I won't go into detail because Steve has a several great posts about it:

Here's a video from better times.  It's the first, and hopefully not the last time that I've filmed a freight train in action on the Gaspe.

After meeting the crew at the former Nouvelle West station, we followed them to the log mill in Nouvelle, a short hop away.  We watched them switch cars for over an hour, and after they had lunch they left for Matapedia. Here they are still on the sawmill's property:

I suggest skipping to 1:30 for this one.  They are crossing a sidestreet near Escuminac which was once a section of the highway:

Just an aside, SFG rosters three ex NBEC, nee CP, RS-18u's, 1819, 1849 and 1856.  They were built in 1958 as RS-18's and rebuilt by CP at the Angus Shops in Monreal in the late 80's.  This involved chopping the high hood, rebuilding the prime mover and some other minor changes.  When CN sold its lines between Moncton and Campbellton, and Matapedia and Gaspe in 1998, the New Brunswick East Coast Railway bought these engines from CP.  CN bought back everything they sold but the Gaspe lines and reabsorbed the NBEC, retiring most of their ex CP RS-18u's, C424's and ex CN SD40's.

Not Exactly about Railroading...but I needed Something to Post

Besides my interest in railroading, I am an avid fly fisherman and fly tyer.  I spend most of the summer (5+ days a week) on the river and work on my scale models after the season closed in October, until mid March fairly religiously.  After Reading Week or "spring break" in March, the "bug" usually gets me.  The "bug" is what a friend of mine calls that time of year where the weather starts to warm up and we like to start tying flies and going out and walking along the river looking for fish again.

For those interested, the wild trout and salmon stock on PEI have been in decline for the last while and it's been a few years now since I've seen salmon sitting in the pools in any numbers.  Today however, I was driving over an old wood bridge that happens to be a favorite fishing location for many.  I got out and to see what the water was doing and to my surprise there were at least 15 black salmon (the ones that I could count) sitting under the road bridge waiting to go out to sea.  I couldn't believe it, and when I walked upstream and downstream from the bridge, I found 5 more!

Salmon run in the mid summer or October to spawn.  Most of the salmon run here is in the fall.  The fish that come up then actually hang around for a while, spawn and stay up in the rivers all winter, not eating.  Come the spring they are really thin and have lost several pounds.  They turn a black colour hence the term "black salmon."  Everyone of those fish would have spawned last fall.

Seeing this today was quite a surprise today and hopefully not an isolated incident.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Building Diesels to Sell?

The undec Kato locomotive I bought to model CN 5008 came all the way from England.  I decided to buy some more detail parts from the same guy as he is going back to sea and is selling off some of his stuff.  When it came down to the payment, he made me an offer: I could have them for free (there's over $150 of new parts there) and build him a CN SD40-2W. non dynamic and with a winterization hatch.  He would supply the base model, pay for the needed parts and pay me in detail parts. So that was that, I agreed to it and I'm now building my first diesel for a profit.  Just today, he asked me if I could also build him an SD40U, to which I also agreed.   I never thought I would ever be building locomotives for someone else!

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Some Progress

I've made some progress on my SD40-2(W) and SD40.  I've decided to number them 5254 and 5008, respectively.  I was able to successfully swap the non-dynamic brake hatch from the Athearn with the dynamic brake assembly from the Kato.  Since a dash 2 is several feet longer than the first generation SD40, I had to trim one and add shims to the other for that perfect fit.  I added ditch lights to both engines, however, only 5008 will have lighted ones (that is if I can figure out LED wiring)  The "front porch" pilot on the dash 2 is brass and is going to be way too hard to drill tiny holes in with a pin vise. 

5008 has a fully detailed cab with the doors on both the engineman and fireman's sides open,

If you could only change one feature on a locomotive, the headlight and bell location on most Canadian units is a must

Non dynamic brake hatch from the Athearn cut to size.
Cab's painted and numbered, still need to scratchbuild some snowsheilds.

Ditchlights attached to pilot with solder.  That whole assembly is made from Miniatures by Eric brass castings.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

SD40 and SD40-2W on the Bench

Even though I already have two RS-18's, an FP9 A/B set and an M420(W) in progress, I decided to build a pair of SD40's now.  I guess they came along at the right time with a good price.  

The SD40-2(W) is from an old unpowered Athearn Blue Box kit.  Traditionally, I'm not a big fan of the Blue Box or Athearn Ready to Run lines, which in turn have steered me away from the Genesis line, but as far as kitbashing, these Blue Boxes are great.  The paint is easy to remove, they are mostly a generic design and there are many compatible detail parts available for them.  I picked this one up on ebay for $30, shipping in.  The guy told me he too was originally trying to build a -2(W) but he lost interest as it was one of his first builds.  The cab was a Detail Associates job.  I tried to salvage it but it was too far gone.  Most of the Bondo came off the shell when I stripped the paint.  Here's what it looked like the day I got it.

I plan to model 5245, class GF-30N in the zebra stripes paint.  The cab that I am using is a long out of production Canadian Prototype Replicas GMDD Wide Cab kit from a guy on the Diesel Detailer.  Last week I was also able to track down a powered frame from another member on the DD for next to nothing so this locomotive will be powered after all.

The SD40 on the other hand, is a first run undecorated Kato locomotive.  The reason I was specifically looking for a first run model, is the fact that is has the right trucks for a first generation, CN 5xxx GMDD SD40.  I haven't picked out a particular number yet, but it will be between 5008-5099.  I am leaning on painting it in the 1961 scheme, the one with the orange ends, black long/short hood and cab, and a large CN noodle on the long hood.  This one's all the way from England.  I bought it for $40, shipping in, from yet another member on the DD. He was also going to model a -2(W) (seems pretty popular eh?) but changed his mind as he's more of a Norfolk Southern guy.  I'm gonna stick to the standard cab on this one.

The nice part was that I was able to cut out the dynamic brake assembly from the Kato model and use it on the BB model, then stick the non dynamic hatch from the BB model on the Kato.  I've been fairly busy with my courses lately, so between that and waiting for my Miniatures by Eric / Cannon and Company parts to arrive I haven't made much progress.