Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The loop

I did some work on the other end of the layout and drew out the turning loop. It's based on the TTC's Neville Park loop on the eastern end of Queen St. E. 
[I shot that photo of the Neville Park loop in Nov' 2011 - Yikes, time flies]

I think my loop has a larger turning radius, so its dimensions are proportionally larger than the real thing.
I shot that photo on the same day. You can see the entry and exit tracks as well as a long view looking west down Queen St E.
I was going to put the turning loop on the left end of the layout, but I decided to flip it and try it out on the right. I liked it better. I think my first thought was biased because of the way I'd always approached the loop from the street.
[This picture was sourced from the Toronto Public Archive and the caption says: "Queen Street East, looking east from Neville Park Boulevard to Nursewood Road, showing Neville Loop, Toronto Transit Commission, Toronto, Ont." The photo was shot in 1972.]

Love those PCCs from '72. And speaking of great oldies,

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Was E. L. Moore's Enskale & Hoentee RR inspired by the Gleish Valley RR?

[Track plan of E. L. Moore's Enskale & Hoentee RR from the Oct. '68 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman.]

For years I'd been clinging to a little clipped out photograph showing an HO pike on a card table; just a loop the loop affair with scenery but no switches. I dug this out and did a little doodling and came up with what we have here.
E. L. Moore explains the origins of his Enskale & Hoentee layout in the Oct. '68 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman.

... I read back to those formerly ignored articles and Trade Topics, sent off for about every catalog in the country (one box filled with N scale catalogs now) worked up a track plan that had lain dormant for years with only now and then passing thought...
E. L. Moore explains in a letter to Bill Rau the inspiration for his Enskale & Hoentee.

I warn you now before we go any further, there's wild speculation ahead. You can turn back and I won't hold it against you :-)
[Track plan for P. D. Hancock's Gleish Valley Railroad that appeared in his article Cubbyhole Railroading in the Mar. '53 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman.]

Look carefully at that track plan for The Gleish Valley Railroad. It looks the same as the one used by E. L. Moore for his Enskale & Hoentee RR

Now, the Gleish is a layout in 2 mm scale, measuring 24" x 36", isn't HO, and does make use of switches. So, on the face of it, its specs contradict E. L. Moore's stated inspiration for his layout. And Mr. Moore would have had to adjust the plan a bit to get it to fit on his 30" x 30" base. Although he did use N-scale, which is pretty close to 2 mm. And both layouts are set in mountainous terrain and both feature a lake in the centre. All are curious similarities.

Even given E. L. Moore's statement on inspiration, cast your thoughts back to The Great Dilly Manufacturing Controversy. E. L. Moore claimed in print that plans for Dilly Manufacturing / 8-Ball Loco Works were owned and developed by a certain person, but it turned out to be otherwise. He could get attributions wrong now-and-then because he used clippings from reference materials and not the full sources. So, there might have been a similar attribution problem over the 15 year gap between the two layouts. 

Would E. L. Moore even have read Mr. Hancock's article? We'll never know for sure, but in the introductory paragraphs to the Enskale & Hoentee story, Mr. Moore states he got started in HO scale railroading 15 years earlier, which would be 1953, the same year the Gleish plan was published. When model railroaders get started, they often read everything they can get their hands on, which in those days would be the magazines, so it's a possibility that E. L. Moore at least had a glance at the Gleish Valley.

Or, maybe both are based on that mysterious HO scale card table layout E. L. Moore mentioned? Maybe there is an ur-progenitor layout waiting to be discovered.

Or, maybe it's all just coincidence because a lot of 1950's and 1960's vintage model railroads did share a lot attributes - loop-the-loop, short tunnels through mountains, central lakes, etc.  Given the laws of chance, there was bound to be the appearance of unrelated duplicate layouts. 

All that aside, The Gleish Valley Railroad is a gem in its own right. It follows British railway practice and uses English style buildings and rolling stock even though the scenery is very reminiscent of the Rocky Mountains. Everything is scratch built including all track work and the loco. Its modelling and construction standards are very high, and it wouldn't look out-of-place in today's world.

Tapin' it to the street

[Beginnings of the residential area. Building placement is temporary and just to get the feel of the spaces that are developing. Interestingly, I had to try several different building types and positions until the whole thing 'popped' and the feel of the place came over me. I also realized I need some strategically placed tall buildings.]

I've started to draw the major ground features and track lines full-size on sheets of paper. I have this reticence to start with a big, blank sheet and often begin with smaller, just big enough pieces to get started and then tape more pieces on to build out a big sheet. Weird I know, but it helps me get over mental blocks about getting started.
I don't enjoy operation. I like to see trains or streetcars run, but running to mimic real business activities isn't my thing. I'm more interested in the buildings and street and all the stuff I've encountered in my travels. In Toronto I rode the buses, streetcars and subway to get where I was going - I used my feet too ! - but didn't travel to car barns or maintenance facilities or the other places commonly featured in a 'traction' layout. The streetcars were part of the street scene and that's what they'll be here. They'll run just enough so I can capture the feeling I'm after.
I did a little selective compression on the roads because I found with my first layout that if they're drawn completely to scale they take up lots of space. Too much actually. So, I spent some time fiddling to get what seems like some streets and avenues of the 'right' size: enough to get the feel of busy-ness and activity, but not too cramped and toy-like. 

Oh, and as hinted at, I leave you with Michael McDonald and the guys.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

He Builds Railroads - Then Scraps Them

He Builds Railroads - Then Scraps Them is an interview with E. L. Moore that appeared in the Sunday, January 19, 1958 edition of the The Charlotte Observer. The story was written by David Hayhow. The article was found and generously sent to me by Maria David, Newsroom Researcher and Photo Archivist at The Charlotte Observer. She's also the writer behind The Charlotte Observer's Retro Charlotte blog. I'd like to thank her for taking the time to answer my inquiry and providing the link to this most interesting article.

I've no wife, automobile or television so I can live as I please in complete peace. 

This love of leisure leads Moore to write for magazines, illustrate his articles with photos, collect and catalog some 1,000 books, and dabble in guns and art.

Some 1,000 books. Wow! There's a lot in that article, especially non-model railroad stuff that helps me get a little better understanding of E. L. Moore. But, I must admit, he seems a little ill-at-ease. He also seems to have a diabolical look about him in the photo. Maybe he hadn't dealt with the media much at that point in his career. He was barely 3 years into his 24 year long publishing career, so he might have been still learning the ropes.

The photos at the top of the article are of his Water Wheel Mill model, so they help to put a date on that project. The paper even created a side-by-side photo with the prototype as I did when I came across the surviving photos. The photo at the bottom of the article looks like another one of his tunnel shots along Goat Pass, but with a flat car I haven't seen before.

Like I've said many times before, there's lots of material still out there waiting to be found.

[20 April Update: At first I had a link to the article so you could read it; however, it turns out to be a password protected link to a private db which I can't post - I respect that. I may take another crack at writing a post about the article to summarize a few key points.]

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Inside E. L. Moore's Branch Line Station

E. L. Moore's Branch Line Station project appeared in the April '64 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman. The interior photo that accompanied the article looks a little empty, but this one shows the station full of activity. It's a simple project, but there's lots of room for detail, expression and photo opportunities.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Setting the pace

Nothing rail related, just an interesting video I stumbled across last week about the history of AMC's Pacer. 

Green coaches

I took apart the EVRR coaches and gave them a shot of light green paint. Disassembly was a mixed bag. The chassis and trucks popped off with some careful prying, but it turned out there was an inner floor that was glued to the side walls and held a clear plastic window box in place. That took a great deal of careful sawing and slicing and filing to get out. After removal, the coaches were then washed with warm water and dish soap. Tamiya white fine surface primer was used as a base coat, and then a few light coats of Tamiya AS-23 Light Green (Luftwaffe) was sprayed on. I don't know what colours E. L. Moore used on his coaches, but since green was his favourite, that seemed like a good choice.