Saturday, 23 October 2021

A little more progress

 A little more progress on scenery on the layout to show this week.  The photo below shows the roadway guardrail is installed at the curve outside of the rail-to-road transload site.

And on the far side of the gravelly driveway into the transload, is a length of chain link fence that I've made.  I could use a bit more, but this piece used up all of the steel wire that I have at the moment.  The closer section of chain link is from a Plastruct kit, but looks quite out of scale when compared to the stuff that is scratch-made with the steel wire and tulle.

And this railing at the end of the street was made by the railroad.

I think this rail should probably have a little rust on it. And probably some of those yellow reflector stripes too.

And another couple of looks at look at Jamie Barron's weathered GTW coil car.

I've also been working on this Union Pacific coil car for Jamie. The original grey paint - sorry, no photo of that - is faded using concrete gray, followed by some light rusting.

Those triangular shapes on the hoods are shadows from the lighting .

Saturday, 16 October 2021

This and That This Week

 I've assembled these 3 items, although they're not placed out on the railroad yet.

Top is a guardrail made from a short piece of rail by the railway shops, although it still need some yellow paint. In the middle is a roadway guardrail (Rix kit) with reflective stripes as it's to be placed at a curve, and at the bottom is a length of old chain link fence that will separate JSSX tracks from the transload property.

Also still on the workbench is this GTW coil steel car I've been working away at for Jamie Barron.

Not quite done yet, I still have to paint the wheels and add the hand rails to the sides of the hoods.

And one more this very cool night time photo taken by my former neighbor and friend Ian Cryer. This is the lake freighter Algoma Sault (that's pronounced Soo) entering the harbor at Goderich, Ontario.
Ian points out that in his photo, both of the navigation lights are lit, which is a challenge as they are each lit for differing lengths of time and for different intervals.

Saturday, 9 October 2021

Railbox Train

Not a whole lot going on with the layout this past week.  However, I couldn't help but notice this string of Railbox cars moving along the GTW.  I actually thought this photo would turn out a bit bigger than this, and give a better view of the train. Using Paintshop, I have cropped out everything below the layout, so that's the reason it's turned out this way.

A short JSSX train made up of two tank cars and an empty gondola is also visible switching in the foreground.

The first boxcar in the GTW train is RBOX 1505.

I have recently sort of begun a program of adding the FRA reflective stripes to many of my freight cars.  The ones I've put on this RBOX are the peel and stick type produced by Smokebox Graphics.
I don't know how many individual strips there are on a sheet, but it's certainly quite a few, and the package only costs about 5 bucks!  The label says there are enough to do 40 cars.

And one more thing...

CSL Thunder Bay taking on a load of grain at the Sarnia elevator dock last week. The freighter is in Quebec City unloading as I write this.  I think it sure would be fun to build a model of something like this, but even if I had one, where would I put it?

Saturday, 2 October 2021

A Little Work On The Layout

Last week I wrote here about starting to work on an area of layout as a break from doing more freight car weathering, so here's just a little bit of progress on that front...

I had never done any work at all on the crossing that I intended for this location. The road just sort of ended at the edge of the track. The black part of the road is 1/8" foam from Michaels, and the white portions are .020 styrene.

I painted that white styrene with "weathered black". I'll also spray that on the black foam as well to fade that down a bit.  I think I might have just barely enough ballast on hand here to fill in that track switch at the left.  I don't have any crossing gates or warning lights to put here.  Hopefully sometime.

I submitted this photo (below) from the layout to Model Railroader magazine recently, to see if maybe they would use it in the Trackside Photos section of the magazine.  I very quickly received a nice reply back from the editor explaining that although they would like to use the photo, they are unable to do so because of the short depth of field of focus.

And you know what? He's right.

The engine is in focus, which it should be of course. But the industrial building goes out of focus, and the foreground including the overpass is way too blurry also. My little camera doesn't allow me to change the aperture setting, so controlling depth of field is a problem.

So, I sent in a couple of other pictures to MR that have better focus, and quickly received a note back telling me that they should be able to use one of them. My fingers are crossed that sometime in the future one of the two will appear in the magazine.

Saturday, 25 September 2021

This and That this Week

Decided to finally take a bit of a break for a while from doing so much weathering of freight cars, and get started on some long-delayed work on the layout.  I'm going to try to do some scenic type stuff on this area first.

The GTW line is on the right, and the JSSX on the left.  Both need ballasting, and I'll put gravel and some weeds in the sort of triangular area between them.  And a level crossing over the GTW track too where the SD38 is visible.  Plus whatever else I happen to think of as I go along.

Scenery is not my favourite thing to do, and this is as far as I've gotten so far.  Well, at least it's a start anyway.  More to come on this.

Following the big wind and rain storm Wednesday, we had lots of yard clean up to do. The city contractor wouldn't pick up the several bags full of sticks and twigs we had, so I took them down to the local composting site myself on this gloomy and rainy Saturday morning.  On the way back home, I swung by the station, where I took this photo of ICRX covered hopper #123839.

See, I told you it's rainy. I quite like this picture.

Then, for just a little more clarity, I took this next photo too...

Two different coloured patches, a little graffiti, some very subtle rust streaking, and those reflective stripes, shouldn't be too difficult to model.

And one more thing...I took this nifty photo last week of the freighter Cuyahoga as it sailed northbound into Lake Huron, on it's up way to Thessalon, Ontario to pick up a load of stone.

Saturday, 18 September 2021

Soo Line Locomotive

Hey, the blog is four years old this week...I just realized.

I have a few looks at a Soo Line, formerly Milwaukee Road GP38-2 locomotive. The model belongs to Brian Smith, but I've had it here for weathering for some time. It's actually the 2nd time I've weathered this Athearn Genesis model for Brian.  He told me he wanted it to be dirty, as in really dirty.  I wasn't happy with the way it turned out the first time so I asked him to let me have a 2nd crack at it.

I really like the look of this patched-out engine, and think one like it would be well-suited for the JSSX.  I've searched online a few times for one recently, but haven't been able to come up with one so far.

Soo Line simply painted out the Milwaukee Road logo in the orange portion of the long hood with black paint, which Athearn did. They also put the SOO reporting mark on the side of the cab of course.

No pictures of the previous weathering, but the problem was trouble with my old airbrush caused the spray to not be "fine" enough.  The spray from the airbrush was too coarse, leaving small specks on the model, rather than the fine mist that it should have been. I carefully removed all of that, and sprayed it again with much better results this time.

There's also some rust that has developed on the cab roof and at a couple of spots at the top of the long hood as well. Oh, and I don't have that troublesome old airbrush any more.

Headlights are on as the locomotive begins to leave the JSSX maintenance track

Okay, so I cheated a bit and used the 5-finger turntable to show the Engineer's side as the locomotive left the JSSX yard with 2 boxcars in tow.

And one more thing...This link below is to a photo on page 64/65 in the September issue of Model Railroader, showing an extremely well done maintenance shop.  The building, the locomotive, and just look at the asphalt ! The layout belongs to Rick Sutton, who also took the photo.  I hope we'll get to see more of Rick's layout.

Saturday, 11 September 2021

Maintenance Department Vehicles

 Luc recently gifted me with this really nice customized heavy duty hi-rail truck, doubling the JSSX's fleet of maintenance vehicles. I thought that we'd have a look at them this week.

Parked outside of the maintenance building in this photo, the truck is equipped with a crane, welder, hose or cable reel, tool box, and traffic cones.

The new maintenance truck, rumbling along Hardscrabble Road

A look at the various items aboard the truck

And, Brian Smith gave me this smaller, modified pickup truck quite some time ago. The truck comes equipped with an extendable bucket, and as can be seen in this view, was originally lettered for CP.

I removed that lettering quite easily this week with a Q-Tip that I had dampened with isopropyl alcohol. Doing so took about 10 seconds on each side.
The work truck pulling into the maintenance yard.  I wonder if the DOT would be upset that there is no DOT number on the doors of the trucks.

The two maintenance trucks at the switch to the metal recycler.  Seems kind of funny that there's no workers in sight though...

Saturday, 4 September 2021

RBOX 31856 Re-Decaled and Weathered

 Seems like I've had a bit of a run of Intermoutain model RBOX cars on the workbench over the past couple of weeks, so I thought we'd have a look at one them.  In reality I've only really worked on two of those cars, but I actually weathered the first one twice.  I didn't like the way it looked when I finished the first time, as I had gone too heavy with brown and the boxcar turned out way darker than I intended.  You'll have to take my word for it, as I'm not making any pictures available from that particular effort.

This is the 2nd boxcar, in it's original condition.

I remove the Intermountain factory lettering with Solvaset and a wet Q-tip or two.  That normally seems to take about 20 minutes or so, at least on Intermountain or Athearn models.  

Fading of the paint colour would be next, but the yellow of the actual RBOX cars often seems to darken as it picks up dust and dirt, so I spray them with multiple layers of thinned brown acrylic craft paint.

Decals from PDC's RBOX ghost decal set replace the original graphics.  They are very nicely printed on very thin decal paper.  Lots of cutting/trimming involved, but the work is well worth it as they do fit perfectly among the ribs on the sides of the boxcar.
The patch at the reporting marks is my own creation, as I sprayed a mix of yellow and flesh coloured craft paint onto plain trim film.  The reporting mark and numbers are from a MicroScale RBOX sheet.

For this side, I free-handed some graffiti.  The few black patches are flat black trim film, and the old loaders' stickers at the door are trim film that I had sprayed off-white as well.  The roof is Rust Texture from Vallejo, which I've then painted with grey craft paint to simulate added waterproofing.

After all that is done, I spray again with more of the light brown craft paint, just to flatten everything down and bring it all together.

I've had the PDC decals that I used ion this boxcar for some time, but a week ago I ordered another complete set of six from them.  Bill at PDC is really nice, and had them shipped this past Monday.  I received them yesterday (Friday).  Here's a shot of all 6 sets...
These decals are made for use on the Intermountain boxcars, but with a bit of care, they can be used on those from other manufacturers as well.  I figure that doing that sort of thing is what makes us modelers.

Saturday, 28 August 2021

Evans Boxcars from ExactRail

 The good folks at ExactRail send me an email at the beginning of each month, highlighting their monthly specials.  I've been trying not to  buy very many freight cars, as I think that I've actually got plenty, but this month featured a sale price ($29.99 USD) on their 50 foot Evans boxcars. These particular at this price apparently struck a nerve though, because I went ahead and ordered 3 of them for myself.

Here's a quick look at the three that I ordered, as new and fresh out of the box...

Telling myself that it would make sense for another CN car to appear on the GTW, I included this one in my order.  The boxcar red or brown or whatever it is appears brighter in person than in the photo.

I'm not really sure if they were the exact same type of car or not, but my friend Luc had cars with the large GATX lettering. I thought they really looked sharp, so with that in mind, I ordered this one for myself.

And this next one is my favourite of the three...
Mississipian Railway apparently move a lot of lumber and bentonite clay. I'm hoping this nice blue will fade down well (whenever I get to it).  The crank wheel for the doors is a neat detail.  Hopefully I don't break it off. Too bad that it doesn't actually operate.

One more's a link to a 3 minute YouTube video I found of a cab ride in a Mississipian Railway GP9.  It's a pretty bouncy ride.

Saturday, 21 August 2021

Prime Movers

 A pretty interesting load being moved, outside of the Lambton Diesel Services shop in Sarnia back in mid-July.  Not one, not two, but three diesel prime movers on a single flatcar. The eight-cylinder engine at the right-hand end looks like it is opened right up.  The other two look to be 12 cylinder versions.

I can't see a reporting mark or number on the flatcar.

I guess one of them must be from this switcher...
Essex Terminal switcher 105 is, was, or will be, an SW1200.  Originally built in March 1956 according to  Wouldn't something like that make for an interesting model on a layout?   

Walthers makes a model kit called the EMD Prime Mover, which represents a 16 diesel cylinder engine. Here's a link to that kit on that on the Walthers website.  The kit doesn't take long to put together, as it's quite straightforward to assemble and only costs about $10.

Here's a look at the one that's been sitting around the JSSX maintenance shop...
Leaser locomotive GMTX 2001 shoving the loaded maintenance flatcar toward the shop.

A little bit of a closer look

I made the frame for the engine to rest on from balsa scraps, but looking at the prototype picture above, they all seem to be sitting on smaller wooden blocks.

A close up look at the Walthers prime mover.

Saturday, 14 August 2021

Elevated Sanding Hopper at the JSSX

I post occasionally at, and a few weeks ago someone commented about the elevated sanding hopper on the JSSX that was in the background of one of my photos. I thought that this time we'd have a look at that feature, which towers above the shop track. This interesting structure was given to me several years ago by my friend Luc Sabourin.

At some point the yellow safety railings around the top had broken off, so I've just recently rebuilt and replaced them.  Gotta maintain the safety of the worksite!

I don't remember who assembled the sanding hopper model for Luc, but it sure is a nice feature for me to have on the JSSX.

A neat feature included are the "ropes" that hold the two sand hoses out of the way as locomotives pass under the sand hopper.

An end view of the hopper with a leaser engine edging up to the structure

And a look from the opposite side.

And one more thing...

It's always a bit surprising to me when I'm searching online for something that has to do with model railroads, and one of the responses that Google comes back with is an image of one of my own models.  That's just what happened a couple of weeks ago, after emailing back and forth with the George Dutka about an Evans boxcar.

The car below isn't the specific one that George and I were emailing about, but later on when I searched "Evans boxcar photos" on Google, this old photo of one my own freight cars popped up...

Pretty sure I've told this story before, but I was never actually all that happy with the way this car looked after I'd patched and weathered it.  In fact, I took it to a train show to sell, but apparently no one else at that show liked it all that much either.  It came back home with me and sat in the cupboard for some time, until I eventually got ambitious and completely re-did the work I'd put into it.

The number is different after the second time around, but this is the exact same car as in the photo above.  I really like this revised version much better, and now it's out on the layout pretty consistently.
The same Evans boxcar in the same location on the layout yesterday afternoon, with a new reporting mark number and paint that has been faded as well. Instead of the somewhat stark white patches that I had painted the first time, the car now has more muted grey patches that have been faded as well.