Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Fiddletown depot

I noted in All Things Weird and Wonderful  that in E. L. Moore’s article, Down by the depot, that appeared in the December 1964 issue of Model Railroader, Mr. Moore stated that the depot’s design was based on one he saw in Carl Fallberg's Fiddletown & Copperopolis cartoons. After a bit of searching, I think I found the ‘prototype’ in Mr. Fallberg’s book, Fiddletown & Copperopolis: The Life and Times of an Uncommon Carrier.
This 1960 book is a collection of Fiddletown & Copperopolis cartoons.The book states that Fiddletown and Copperopolis were actual towns in California. At one time Copperopolis had a 2-foot gauge railroad that serviced a local copper mine, and, apparently, that copper was taken all the way to Wales for smelting. But, the two towns were not directly connected by a railway. The cartoons are fascinating, but the collection is marred by racial stereotyping of native Americans.
It turns out Fiddletown had trolley service. Maybe the reason E. L. Moore wasn’t a trolley fan was that it was mule-propelled :-)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

C.P.R No. 1: Countess of Dufferin

Another unannotated photo from the William Henry Wood collection; however, this one has clues that make it a little easier to place than the rest. The lettering on the loco tells that it's C.P.R No. 1, Countess of Dufferin. Wikipedia has a full account of the loco's history, but this snippet explains how this American 4-4-0 wound up in Canada,

The Countess of Dufferin was the first steam locomotive to operate in the Canadian prairie provinces and is named after Hariot Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood, Countess of Dufferin (later Marchioness of Dufferin and Ava), the wife of the Earl of Dufferin, a Governor General of Canada. The locomotive was built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works (builder's plate No. 2660) and delivered to Northern Pacific Railway as No. 21 in 1872. It was used in Minnesota and the Dakota Territory until 1877 when it was sold for $9,700 to Joseph Whitehead, a contractor for Canadian Pacific Railway. The locomotive, along with six flatcars and a caboose, was loaded onto barges at Fisher's Landing, Minnesota, and propelled by the SS Selkirk, they were shipped down the Red River to St. Boniface, now an electoral district of Winnipeg, Manitoba, arriving October 9, 1877, at a cost of $440.
[Mr. Bill Paterson sits atop the loco. From photos, Mr. Paterson was a tall man - likely well over six feet - so you can get an idea of the scale of the machine. From the Winnipeg Railway Museum notes below, these photos were likely shot in the forecourt between the railway depot and the Royal Alexandra Hotel in Winnipeg. Other indications in the collection suggest that these photos were taken in 1944.]

The Winnipeg Railway Museum explains what happened to the loco when its service years were over,

The reassembled locomotive [JDL: turns out it was "found by accident in 1909 disassembled in the yards of the Columbia River Lumber Company" - follow the museum link for the full story] was placed in Sir William Whyte Park across from the CPR depot on Higgins Ave. in 1910, later to be dressed up with flower planters, etc., until 1944. She was then moved across the street to a small forecourt between the Depot and the Royal Alexandra Hotel.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

On the platform

Another unannotated photo taken by my uncle, William Henry Wood. Those two gentlemen on the car's platform are members of the Purity Flour audit team. The tall gentleman on the right is Mr. Bill Paterson, but I don't know who the other fellow is. This picture was likely taken between September 1943 and September 1944. I don't know where it was shot.

On this second image, I pushed the contrast and brightness to see if the railroad employee on the left, and detail in the shadows, would become clearer. It sort of worked.
I always amazes me that modern tools can help unearth hidden information.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Zurich: Trams, trains, bikes, and pedestrains


I'm definitely going to have to travel more. Zurich needs to be added to my bucket list.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Midnight Special

I’ve been having a pleasant time reading through old issues of Model Trains and came across this interesting passage in Along the Division that appeared in the December 1956 issue,

Dave Strassman of the Model Trains art staff is a trolley fan - full size. He also likes organ music. Some time ago he mentioned that some of his fellow trolley fans were also organ music fans, and got to wondering if this was just a Milwaukee phenomenon, or if it were the same throughout the country. So he wrote to E. J. Quinby, who is president of the Branford Electric Railway Association as well as honorary president (and founder) of the Electric Railroader’s Association, and asked E.J. if he had noticed any national trend toward devotion to organ music among trolley worshippers.

It seems there is a connection between the two. E.J. sent Dave the following list of people in trolley and organ pastimes:

Well, I wasn’t included in the list that appeared at this point in the article since I wasn’t born yet :-) But if ‘organ pastimes’ include being a Hammond B3 and Jimmy Smith fan, count me in that number. Here is the incredible Jimmy Smith’s Midnight Special,

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

San Gabriel Mountains National Monument

Some good news for the preservation of whatever remains of the Mount Lowe Railway. According to this U. S. Forest Service post,

“On Oct. 10, 2014, President Barack Obama designated 346,177 acres of existing federal lands as the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, the eighth national monument under Forest Service management.” And in particular, “The monument holds evidence of more than 8,000 years of human history, including more than 600 archeological sites, three of which are on the National Register of Historic Places, as well as ruins of old cabins and the Mount Lowe Railway.”

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

EVRR: N scale beginnings

I’m going to build a 'sort of' replica of E. L. Moore’s Elizabeth Valley Railroad Road in N scale over the winter. At a leisurely pace of course :-) Hopefully it'll be a winter-long project.
[Some holes were drilled in the centre strut for wiring.]

I've been thinking about how to approach this project for awhile. The EVRR isn’t about simulating railroad business operations. In fact there’s very little about it that deals with any sort of business or industry. It’s leisurely. It’s laid-back. It’s mellow. The trains run just to run; to take passengers here and there; to see the sights; to go fishing. It’s a nostalgic look at a time past in America. It’s set around the turn of the 19th century into the 20th century. Before world wars and the great depression. Even before the automobile took over and airships seemed like the future of flight. But at the same time it’s not historically accurate. It’s not cynical, ironic, steam-punky or arch. There’s good natured ribbing. As a model railroad, it isn’t modular; it’s complete unto itself; it’s loop-based; it doesn’t model a specific prototype; it isn’t finescale, but it’s highly scratchbuilt.
[I had to screw the centre strut into the perimeter frame.]

On the other hand, I’m a hobbyist. A model builder. I’m not an archeologist or historian or archivist or restorer. I don’t even play one on tv :-) I’ll be respecting the original EVRR, but this project won’t be a 100% replication. First of all, I don’t have complete information about it, just bits and pieces I’ve harvested from old magazines. I don’t think a complete published record exists. So, based on that alone, this project can’t claim to be a complete and fully accurate replication. Then there’s constraints I bring to the table. I can’t house or pay for a full-size HO-scale replica: hence going to N-scale. I have an interest in electric trolleys and trams, especially the Lowe Mountain railway that opened in 1893 – right in the EVRR timeframe. By his own admission, E. L. Moore wasn’t a trolley man. I am. So, just as Mr. Moore superimposed the Eagleroost & Koontree on the EVRR, I’m likely to superimpose a small, touristy electric railway in place of the narrow gauge E&K.

Which is all a very longwinded way of saying I drilled some holes for wiring in the centre strut and screwed it into the perimeter frame.

Ok, well, I let the frame sit in the house for a longtime without doing anything to it to see if it would warp as the humidity of the house changed in response to going from summer to winter conditions. It turns out the centre strut separated a little from the perimeter frame, so I added a pair of screws.

The next step will be to add some sort of sound deadening layer - either cork or foam - to the frame and transfer the trackplan to the surface. Once that's done I'll be able to determine what size of switches to buy. I plan to go with Peco switches, but there's various sizes, so some preparation is needed.

Monday, October 13, 2014

A Purity Flour Mill

I have a number of photos taken by my uncle, William Henry Wood, that have no notes indicating when or where they were taken. With these I've had to make some guesses based on where they appear in his collection, and from what little I know of his travels as an auditor with Purity Flour.
My guess about this Purity Flour facility is that it was located somewhere between Winnipeg and Calgary, and these photos were taken sometime between September 1943 and September 1944.
Needless to say, this is a huge operation.

Wheels on

I didn't get as much done over the last two weeks on the Anti Pesto van as I'd hoped to, but now that I'm back maybe this will move along a little faster. At least it's up on its wheels. That's always a milestone with a car model.
I'm not a big fan of chrome, although the quality of chroming on the parts is quite good.
I soaked the two trees of chromed parts in Super Clean. After an overnight dip, they were chrome free. My Super Clean bath is looking pretty dark in this photo since I've been using the same stuff for about a year to do the odd bit of chrome removal.
After stripping the chrome, the trees were washed with warm water and a mild dish soap to prep them for spray painting. One of the bumpers had a little bit of chrome still attached where it wasn't submerged in the bath. No problem, if it survives the spray paint I'll just chalk it up to being the only place where Wallace polished the bumpers :-)
The trees were sprayed with Krylon Nickel-Silver.
The wheels were sprayed with Krylon White, and when dry, the Nickel-Silver hub caps were glued in place.
The chassis was painted with flat black and once the various parts were glued in place, loose washes of muddy and rusty coloured painted were slopped on. It's a very simple build and the steel axles allow the wheels to turn so kids can push it along. It's more of a fancy toy than a 'model', but it's fun to build and I'm impressed with the quality of the parts: they're crisp and well moulded. And no, the wheels aren't on crooked as the photo suggests. I held the camera too close and the perspective is distorted.
And this instalment wouldn't be complete without a gratuitous veg photo. 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Hastings Ontario tool shed, 1975

This tool shed - complete with a stub of track for a speeder - was located somewhere nearby the Hastings station whose photo I posted last week. I likely took these pictures on the same day within minutes of each other even though the less than perfect condition of this photo might not make it seem that way. The image correction software I have on hand couldn't fix the colours in this badly faded photo without distorting it too much, so I left it more-or-less as is so the basic shape and some details can be seen. That black thingie on the left is the camera's strap. There was no image preview on the Instamatic, so it's preserved for posterity :-)
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