Thursday, November 27, 2014

Touching up the Grizzly Flats depot

I did some touch-up painting on the walls before proceeding with building the bay window and installing the windows. The inside is painted a medium grey. I also installed an interior wall cut from 0.040 inch styrene to separate the waiting area from the office.
This will likely be the last post of 2014. Thanks to all who have dropped by, and I wish you all Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Moore, Beebe and the Tuscaloosa Depot

This little post is about a little good luck. A couple of weeks ago I was browsing through a local used bookstore and came across a copy of When Beauty Rode the Rails by Lucius Beebe and Charles Clegg. Although they were the most well known railroad documentarians of the mid 20th century I had only just heard about them via Carl Fallberg's Fiddletown and Copperopolis - Beebe wrote the introduction, and he and Clegg appear in a cartoon. The book was in fine condition so I bought it. Turns out E. L. Moore mentions in the opening to his Tuscaloosa depot article that appeared in the March 1969 issue of Model Railroader that he used the photo on page 64 of Beebe and Clegg's book as his reference for the project. That's Mr. Moore's lead photo from his article on the left, and photo from page 64 of Beebe and Clegg, attributed to the Owen Davis Collection, on the right. You can see that Mr. Moore staged the shot to be very similar to the reference photo.

26 November update: With a little internet searching I found out that a railroad station still exists at the site in Tuscaloosa. It turns out that the depot featured in Beebe and Clegg's book, and modelled by E. L. Moore, was demolished and replaced by a new brick structure in 1911. The original wooden depot was built in 1873, so it had a good long life. Beebe and Clegg note that the photo they featured was taken in 1910, so it wasn't long after that it was demolished. According to Google Street Views, the 'new' brick station was still there and in operation as of December 2013:

Monday, November 24, 2014

Memories amid chaos

As I place the lights and drill the holes in the train board, the layout is starting to look chaotic. While I was taking a breather from the mess and pulling together some old photos for the Kim Adams post, I stumbled across a few layout pictures I’d taken earlier in the year – well before I started pulling things apart - but hadn’t posted. I thought I’d post them now as sort of a ‘before’ snapshot. The ‘after’ shots will no doubt be much, much after :-)
Before the chaos began
Grabbing power from thin air
A passion for books
Night time book shopping
Books from the beach
They're in there somewhere
Bad deal
Security camera
Couch testing
Discussing bestsellers
A refreshing pop break
Yes, it's the car of the future

Sunday, November 23, 2014

After hours at Caleb's Cabbage Company

As part of the effort to add more lights to the layout, Caleb's Cabbage Company is now on the grid. This is what's got this pig's interest.

Kim Adams' "Travels Through the Belly of the Whale"

That conversation John and I had on the HO nickel gauge was a detour. He was telling me about the exhibit of Michelangelo drawings at the Art Gallery of Ontario, and being a discussion with me, the conversation detoured again to how the Dundas streetcar runs by the gallery :-) making the AGO very easy to get to. And I even had a picture conveniently posted at my blog from my visit last year to see the Kim Adams exhibit. This stroll down memory lane reminded me, among other things, that I didn't do justice to Kim Adams' piece Travels Through the Belly of the Whale - shown in the lead photo. I still had several photos that didn't get included in the post that helped to better show what was going on with this thing.

Here's how the AGO describes the work,

Measuring 16 feet by 13 feet, Travels through the Belly of the Whale, installed in the Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Sculpture Atrium, is a repurposed silver grain silo that contains a secret. Through various windows and funnels in the silo, visitors can catch a glimpse of a meticulously constructed farming community inside, featuring miniature boxcars, tiny figures and model parts. The presence of this fictional world is given away only by the moving electric train that continuously circles around and through it.

I've never been much for official interpretations. If I find something visually interesting I'd rather just spend sometime looking at it and not bother with what the gallery, critics or even the artist thinks it is. 
The more I look at it, the more it reminds me of the Apollo command and service module shown above.
It's got a large window where, if it actually were the Apollo command module, the lunar module would be docked as the ship travelled to the Moon. 
This is what you see when you look in that window. There's a flat model train board spanning the sides with, as the AGO description notes, a farm. The track is a rectangular loop where the curved arcs leave the module and circle back via track in the 'wings'.
There's also a smaller window in the end where the Apollo service module's rocket engines would be.
That window offers a closer view of the internal train board.
There's the train zooming thorough the countryside. I thought that the module housing - the Apollo command and service module part - was interesting and intriguing, but what the viewer is invited to see is not quite up to the promise (Mr. Adams other HO-based work at this show, Artist's Colony (Gardens), and his dioramas at the Diaz gallery in the summer of 2013, were more up his high standards). But, maybe that's the message: the prosaic everyday world wrapped in an enticing technological wrapper; pragmatic agricultural concerns at the centre of technological flash; simplicity at the core of the complex; excursions into the unknown always returning to roots. I don't know. Whatever the message was it was still worth seeing.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

HO nickel gauge

John and I were chatting about phone apps for determining if an object in a store – like a Hot Wheels car or some other small toy – might have the right size and proportions for use on an HO-scale layout. He pointed out a great low-tech solution: the diameter of a nickel is the same as the ‘average’ height of a typical HO-scale figure. And it only costs a nickel !
[Both photos and idea by John Steele; and some inspired channeling of Leonardo da Vinci :-) ]

Friday, November 21, 2014

Switches for EVRR arrive

The switches I ordered for the EVRR arrived in the mail this week. It looks like they are more or less the correct size. Next I need to buy some wiring supplies and cork. I plan to panel the surface of the board in cork to help deaden the sound of the train.
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