Friday, 29 September 2023

Following 813 along the Front on the JSSX

So I mentioned last week that the 813 job had to get back to the yard before the 5068 could get going to do it's work.  So, here's a few looks including the 813 going about it's business.  

I call this area of the JSSX the Front simply because it runs along the front edge of the layout.  There's only two industries along here, but one is a transfer/loading industry, so almost any type of freight car can show up in there.

I should add that I completely forgot to include any of my new sets of people figures to any of these photos.

That's the Mississippian (MISS) boxcar that has to be picked up from the warehouse.  The track on the right serves as a temporary spot as well as pull-back for switching and run-around moves.  The track looks just a little rough, at least partly intentionally done that way.

A bit more of a perspective view of the boxcar and warehouse

And there's 813 as it's about to pull the boxcar from it's spot location.  I had to adjust the brightness of this photo on the computer, as I think the headlights threw off the camera's sensor and the picture was originally way too dark.

And again a bit more of a perspective.  Sorry for the slight blurriness at the front of the loco.  I think a bit of camera shake must have happened here

Two boxcars are dropped off now, and the one has been moved to the temporary spot, to actually be picked up a bit later.  Now 813 will be off to the other end of the spur to lift a couple of other freight cars.

At the other end now, 813 is about to enter into the trans-loading property where there's a pellet hopper and a boxcar to be lifted

Here they come out through the gate.  813 will drop these two cars just after they clear the track switch, and then pick up that Mississippian boxcar. Then there will have to be a run-around move done in order to get the engine on the proper end of what will be a 3 car train

So 813 had left that pellet hopper and the RBOX car behind for a few minutes, and then ran back to hook onto the Mississippian boxcar. Then 813 was run around with the single boxcar and backed on to the two cars.  All that's left to do now is to head on back to the yard.

Lance Mindheim posted a video this week on his website of an operating session on his Downtown Spur, and if you're anyting like me, you really enjoy Lance's modeling ability.  The model railroad portion of the video starts at about the 1 minute mark.

Here's the link to the video:

Other than that, have a great week...

Friday, 22 September 2023

Around the JSSX

Last week I showed the packages of work figures that I had received.  I've put just a couple of those guys to use so far. 

The train crew is just getting aboard the engine at the start of their work day.  They can head on down to the yard to assemble their short train.

That's about as far as they'll be able to get though, as they'll have to wait for the crew of 813 to get back to the yard from their switching assignment
813 shouldn't take too long though, since they've only got two boxcars to drop off, and then a single covered hopper of plastic pellets to pick up.

One car that the 813 has in tow is this MCSA fifty foot box

Looks like the covered hopper they have to pick up is a SCLAIR carload of plastic pellets that's spotted to be emptied inside the compound of the trans-load.
I've never liked this section of chain link fencing at the trans-load facility since the day I installed it.  It all looks too thick and oversized for HO scale.

And out in the 1:1 world, this grey painted ammonia tank car sits at Sarnia's "C-Yard", just across from the station.  I find this spiral design interesting.  The weld seams have accumulated enough grime to make them stand out against the faded grey paint. The ladder and walkway being offset toward one end also adds a little bit of interest to the car as well.

Far as I know, no model manufacturer has come out with a car of this type.

Friday, 15 September 2023

This and That in September

I think had better start off this week trying to explain that I cannot sign in to blogger to reply to comments.  I don't know why this is, but believe me, I've been trying.  It's been this way for a while, and it's ridiculous.  And I'm sorry.

D&HColonieMain asked a question in the comments last week, about the rusty patches on the PHD boxcar, and how did I create them, so I'll try to answer that here and hope that he reads it.  I got the inspiration for those type of rust patches from a photo I had seen somewhere on the interwebs, of a very similar boxcar that had been weathered by Preston Stinger.  I don't know how he did the work on his model, but I thought I'd give something a try.  What I came up with worked for me - eventually - but I'd certainly say it was "not easy".

I had trouble getting those rust patches the way I liked them, and two or three times I actually removed what I had done, and started them over again.  The first step was to fade the blue colour of the blue boxcar with a spray of concrete gray through the airbrush, and then I sealed that in with a clear flat.

For the rusty patches I put tiny dabs of (Winsor & Newton) water mixable oils on a small piece of makeup sponge and dabbed it on the panels of the car.  There's 3 colours that I used, one at a time, and in the following sequence:  Sienna, Burnt Sienna, and finally Burnt Umber.  So the colours go from lightest to darkest.  Lightest colour also makes up the largest part of the rust patch, with the darkest toward the centre. I let each colour dry for a day or so before adding the next layer. I really should have taken pictures as I went along, but I didn't unfortunately.
Here's the PHD boxcar again.  I've added the reflective FRA stripes this week.

I put FRA stripes on the LLSR boxcar as well

I've never had any people/figures for the layout before, but I ordered these 2 sets of railroad worker figures this week, and received them Friday morning.
The upper set are train crew workers and the bottom set are railroad construction workers

I ran across this on a facebook post and it made me smile
I like how all the guys are standing around as though they're waiting to see what's going to happen next.

Friday, 8 September 2023

A Couple of Boxcars

 A couple of boxcars to feature this week, both with ties originally to Detroit, as they're on their way into the Tri-State Paper recycler on the GTW.

First up, I thought we'd have a look at a former Detroit & Mackinac boxcar, that's been re-lettered for the fictional LLSR.

This one is a pretty dusty looking boxcar

Below the reporting marks, the CAPY number data has been blanked out.  I don't really know why railroads do that now, but they do. I keep a small piece of white decal film that I had lightly oversprayed with a beige colour I trim it into the tiny pieces to use for the old notices by the door.

Next up is this FMC boxcar, in the nifty looking Port Huron and Detroit paint scheme.  Unusual to see a boxcar with the logo/herald on the left end, and the reporting marks on the right.

This boxcar had languished as brand new in my storage cupboard for years, until I recently saw inspiration on another modeler's version, and I just finally brought it out for weathering a couple of weeks ago.  A pretty weather-beaten looking boxcar now, the CAPY number has been blanked out with decal film on this one too.

A view through the pillars of the Gratiot Avenue overpass.  I intend to patch and re-letter this one from PH&D, but haven't gotten to that just yet.

A view from the Gratiot overpass of the two boxcars together at the Tri-State Paper site.

The Woodstock Train Show is this Sunday, so I guess "modelling season" must be here. I'm going to be there for an hour or maybe a little more, hoping to find a bargain or two.

Friday, 1 September 2023


For September, the picture at the top of the blog shows a former Port Huron & Detroit boxcar spotted at the unnamed warehouse on the JSSX.  I got that boxcar from Luc years ago, but I really don't remember who did the patching and weathering on it.

That low grey warehouse in the foreground was scratch-built by me years ago, and then I actually shortened it by maybe about 8 inches or so in order to fit the outdoor loading dock onto the left-hand end.  The red brick building was 1or 2 dollar find at a train show and was only 3 walls and a broken roof with a hole in it when I got it. The warehouse does see a lot of rail service, and typically involves a short train making a runaround move to spot the boxcar(s) there.

A look at the details found on the loading dock.  I made the pallets from Evergreen styrene strips, and the steel ramp was scratched out of styrene as well.

In 1:1 scale locally, there's a BNSF GP39V here in Sarnia. Not sure when it arrived here, but I happened to catch it switching the IOX (Imperial Oil loading rack) on Saturday.

Crossing Devine Street

I tried to take a photo of that CN GP9 that the BN engine is coupled with too, but this is what happened.
And the guy looked right at me as I held my camera as he drove past me.  At that point I just gave up.

Below, we have the Lee A. Tregurtha southbound, coming in off Lake Huron on Tuesday, August 29th, 2023 likely loaded with taconite pellets for Detroit

The water tower from the now closed Dunn Paper plant in Port Huron, Michigan as well as the Port Huron Lighthouse are in the background
Kind of a long and sleek looking lake boat, Lee A. Tregurtha is 826 feet long.

Friday, 25 August 2023

JSSX Maintenance Shop

I thought we'd have a look at a few views around the maintenance shop.  Some of these may have been posted before...

JSSX 5068 in the shop to have some work done on it

And there's Brian's motorcycle, parked right smack dab in front of the No Parking sign.  Again.

A pair of leasers from Helm Leasing.  That's a GP40X in the foreground, plus a former CP SD40

Storage trailers out in the "back 40" of the shop's lot.

A view including some of the materials scattered about the area.  Looks like the GP40X is about to head out on an assignment.

Switching tracks now, Brian Smith sent along these two photos of a pair of very weather-worn cylindrical hoppers.  I think that the pictures were taken in the St.Thomas or Ingersol area here in Ontario.  The car numbers are pretty hard to read, but they're both NMIX (NSC Minerals Inc.), which is located in Saskatoon, Sk., and seems to be centered around salt and ice melter products.
I don't know for sure, but I think both of these cylindrical hoppers would have belonged to CN originally, and judging by what we can see as the ends of the cars would have been grey.

Brian asked (jokingly, I think) if I would be able to weather a couple of models like this for him.  I'm not confident enough to tackle a project like these.

Thanks for sending the pictures to me, Brian.  Happy Model Railroading everybody.

Friday, 18 August 2023

Hocking River and Northern Boxcar

A couple of months ago, I saw on a facebook group that another modeler - Tyler - had posted pictures of his freelance railroad, the Hocking River and Northern.  What particularly struck me about it was the project that he was working on was painting and lettering a bunch of 86 foot auto parts boxcars.  And, they were of the 8-door variety, which of course I particularly like.

Taking a bit of a chance, I sent Tyler a message explaining that I too like to run those jumbo sized boxcars, and asked if he would be open to selling me a set of his decals.  I already had an Athearn auto parts boxcar in grey primer in my cupboard, and I could paint and letter it into an HR&N car.  Tyler's paint scheme for the cars is black, silver roof, with white lettering and logo/herald.

The actual Hocking River is in Ohio, and I like to think that my layout is set in the upper midwest region, so it shouldn't really be too much of a stretch to see an HR&N boxcar in a train on my GTW.

Tyler replied to me saying that he would be happy to just send me the decals, and no need to for me to reimburse him.  Sure enough, a week or so later the decal set arrived in the mail.

Here, I've got my primered boxcar masked off, and about to paint the roof.  I used Dull Aluminum for that, as it's the only silver paint that I have.

Once the roof had dried overnight, and not wanting to take any chances with it, I sealed it with flat clear and let that dry for a couple of days.

During that drying time, progress continued on the project as I made a trip to the hardware store, and netted four steel nuts for use as added weight inside the boxcar.
Four steel nuts, epoxied to hold them in place above the wheel sets, add substantial weight to the 86 footer

I replaced the Athearn drawbars with new ones from Details West, part number 1040 which are better looking than the stock Athearn ones
Details West drawbars, Kadee couplers, and Rapido metal wheelsets

With the roof masked off, I began painting the body.  I spray the raised and recessed areas a couple of coats first to ensure they get full coverage.

I tried to get a couple of photos of just the decal set, but they're just too shiny to photograph well, so I'll move on here to show a few pictures of the finished boxcar...
HR&N 860000 out on the rails

And a look from the other end of the boxcar.  A sharp looking diamond shaped herald.

An overhead "drone" type view

Thanks Tyler !  This makes a great looking addition to the freightcar fleet here at JSSX ! 

Friday, 11 August 2023

Some More Gondolas

I'll start off this post with before and after photos of a couple of gondolas (Atlas models) that were brought to me recently to receive some weathering...

The "Before" photo.  Pretty shiny looking to begin with.

Same car spotted at the American Iron facility.  The spray painted graffiti offers a clue as to some of this gondolas travels.

2nd gondola's "before" photo

And the "after" photo.  A hint of the original blue still remains along the bottom sill

I did get going on my Otter Valley scrap metal gondola.  It's not quite finished up yet, but here's a couple of looks at it so far...
This view of the inside of the gondola gives us a pretty good look at the way the Metal Effects Rust treatment turned out.  Keeping my brush strokes vertical helps to somewhat simulate the location of the ribs of this freight car. I'm really pleased with this result.

AIMX 14114 is spotted here just behind the scrap metal yard.  On the outside, my first step was to spray thinned Roof Brown in light layers over the entire car.  I did so in order to take down the original off-white colour. The rust and scrapes were then created with Burnt Sienna and Burnt Umber artist oils.

I got the idea for the white patches on the sides and at the bottom of the ribs from a photo I had seen online.  The spraying of the Roof Brown colour on the sides also helps the fresher white patches to show up.

I first thought of using white decal trim film for those, but decided that might be kind of complicated trying to get decals to settle down properly in those locations. I also thought of masking the areas and spraying them white with my airbrush.  But that might be a pretty complicated masking job.  So, I finally settled on using white paint pens for the patches. 

I still want to put just a bit more rust on this side.  And maybe some small graffiti scribbles on both sides as well.