Monday, 29 December 2014

These are the yard limits man. Anything goes behind that line.

Here are some shots of some locomotives I have completed in the past year or so.  Most of these are client jobs, however, there are a few for myself in here.  In looking back at 2014, I was amazed at how many locomotives along I put out, most of which from August on wards.

There are likely a few more that I don't have photos of, or at least can't find any.

Side note:
Today marks the 25th anniversary of the departure of the last train from PEI.

The consist was as follows:
CN plow(s) 55242 & 55264, CN flat cars 663636 & 663443 (both loaded with section shacks), CN gondolas 147409 & 149581 (both loaded with scrap metal) and two empty propane cars, GATX 149581 and a CGTX car donning an Irving Oil logo (I am unsure on the number of this car).  The power was RSC-14's 1786 and 1750.

MV John Hamilton Gray was loaded at 2:45AM and left at 3:30.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Wonderin' where the "Alco's" are

I've been talking about doing this for a while and now that I've amassed all of the necessary locomotive starting points, its time.  I will be placing various orders in the coming days to several ebay detail parts/Atlas shell dealers, as well as a certain Shapeways merchant to fill in any gaps in detail part inventory I may have.  After these arrive it will be straight to eight.

These project locomotives will become the following in the coming months:
RS-18's    3624s, 3663n, 3669n, 3852s, 3859n, 3865s
RSC-14's  1757s, 1769n, 1777s
RSC-13's  1709s, 1724n
C424's      3205s, 3208s, 3219n, 3223s, 3232n

Note: an "s" indicates an engine painted in stripes whereas an "n" indicates an engine in the 1961 Noodle scheme.

My Gaspe diesel fleet will consist of a mix of GMDD and MLW products, with the latter being the mainstay of the fleet.  For the better part of 30 years between the late 1950's and the early 1980's, the venerable MLW RS-18 was the mainstay of the Campbellton Division's fleet.  All of the mainline freights had one if not several RS-18's leading and the yard power in Gaspe and New Carlisle was, you guessed it, RS-18's.  Even the passenger trains (CN, later VIA, 118/119) were hauled by 1, sometimes 2, RS-18's up until the winter of 1987 when the FPA4s came online.  I remember that the 3600s and 3700s were my grandfather's favorite locomotives to operate.  He used to talk about leaving Gaspe or Campbellton with five or six RS-18s on the head end.  In the early days, they were lucky if they would arrive in New Carlisle with two still online, however, they would just keep pulling he would say, you  just couldn't stop them.  

Throughout this time, H16-44's and H12-64's were also used frequently, as well as a mix of C424s, C630Ms, M636's, M420s, SD40s and GP40s.  In the later years (1980+) the RS-18s began to operate less frequently and engines like HR616s and HR412s started to appear.  

The copper ore train was an interesting situation.  According to my sources it was always hauled by two 2500s (later 3500s) or two to three 1700s.  I found it interesting to note that they used 1700's due to the weight of that train.  It would make sense that these would appear though as there were three 1700s assigned to the St Quinten Sub out of Campbellton that would have been "spare power" when not in use on that line.

I already have a couple of locomotives out of this batch completed, but the majority are barely started yet.

It took me three tries to get an RS-18 right (I rebuilt the two I did into 3624 and 3663 after two attempts I was unhappy with) but now I've got it down to a science.  This engine was completed in the fall of 2013.

3624 leads VIA 118 (otherwise known as The Chaleur)

3663 and 1724 were completed this October, just in time for Truro.

Monday, 22 December 2014

Ops from Big Pink

Last night spelled the end of an era on Derwin's layout.  With the new addition scheduled to open in the new year, Sunday night's session marked the end of the Ashtown and Shellville trains, both of which arrive and depart from the main yard.  In the future, these trains will be replaced by an "East 1" and "West 1", which then return as "West 2" and "East 2", respectfully.  I am not sure I fully understand how the new layout will work off of the old layout yet, but time will tell.

Last night's operating session went quite smoothly, which was aided by the fact that we had an unusually small crew, meaning that everyone operated for both sessions - something we hadn't had to do in quite some time.  Now seems like a fitting time to take a look back at the operating sessions we have all grown accustomed to, and all the fun we've had through them.

These first couple of shots show why we needed the extension.  Since I joined the group three winters ago, we have nearly doubled in size.  In fact, there was talk of an extension even before I joined the just took that long for it to happen unfortunately.  In looking at this photo, we are still missing half a dozen of our current members.

The layout owner is pictured in front of part of his rather large diesel collection.

A look from the yard up towards Shellville.

Something the matter?

Chris's domain aka the yard.  Pretty empty at this point but I have no doubt it would have filled up in no time - it always does.

Chris begins to assemble the Ashtown Job.

All smiles in the yard.  Things must have ran smoothly on this occasion.

Somebody's scheming something up

"I didn't do it, I swear"

This two shots gives a good look at the size of the room.

The extension itself sits in a pretty sizeable chunk of real estate itself.  The lead to the new section ties in right where Scott (maroon shirt, back left of room) in the above photo is standing.  It runs under the display case along the back wall (no, we couldn't convince him to move the case) and through the doorway to the right.  I don't have any real recent shots of the whole room with all of the track in place, but these should suffice.

Most of the track is connected here and hasn't changed much.  As of last night, there were temporary stand in buildings complete with named sidings as well as a bunch of new cars

Lots of potatoes on the move during this preliminary run on the new section.

Last but not least, here are some photos from throughout the last while, which I took doing what I do best, railfanning while operating a moving consist.

Unfortunately, I don't have a photo of this car on the layout, but this was built by yours truly for Derwin as a joke earlier this year.  Turns out he absolutely can't stand the song "Up on Cripple Creek" from The Band's "Music from Big Pink" album and several of us like to give him a hard time for it.  He wasn't going to run it but now that he has all this extra track he doesn't have a choice.