CP Executive train in Albany

CP Executive train in Albany

Sunday, July 31, 2022

Refinements to "Big Red Barn" and "Sinclair Gas Station" structures

Last summer I submitted my twelve scratchbuilt structures for judging. Three earned enough points (87.5) to receive a merit award, and I was told that another two were "very close". I took this news a bit poor, which wasn't the correct response in the situation. However, at the time I was pretty frustrated so I set the models aside and worked on other things. Recently, though, I decided to see if I could upgrade two of the models to help push them over 87.5 point threshold.

Sinclair Gas Station

The only issue with my Sinclair Gas Station model was the over-size pumps. I had scratchbuilt them for fun and when I did it I used tubing sizes I had on hand during the pandemic without much thought as to whether they were 1:87 scale or not. The result was pumps that were closer to S scale (1:64). And, it turns out one of my judges had a father who previously owned a Sinclair gas station, so he was very familiar with the prototypes! 

I was told the pumps weren't required to be part of my model because they were separate exterior details, so at the time of judging I asked if I could just rip them off the base and then have it pass. Instead, it was suggested that I replace them. There are several HO scale commercial castings for Sinclair gas pumps that would be suitable, but I wanted to build them myself. 

So, after scaling some online pictures I purchased the correct sized styrene shapes and built them again. I also selected a slightly different style of pump. As you can see, the difference in size between the old and new pumps is striking. And the judges were correct... the smaller pumps look much better now. 

Big Red Barn

My Big Red Barn project was a bit more challenging. One judge in particular took specific offense to my oversize white trim on the doors and front. I had based my model on a commercial HO scale kit of a barn and never considered that the kit manufacturer didn't properly scale the white trim. And since I thought it looked good so I built it like that. The judges suggested I remove the white trim and rebuild the front wall and doors using thinner scale lumber but my method of construction wouldn't have made that feasible. So, instead I searched the internet for examples of red barns with oversize white trim. And I found some.

The next issue was the fence. Like the gas pumps, it wasn't needed for my model and its original three-board height was so tall that the HO scale horses couldn't stick their heads over it. I had built it without plans and it looked nice, but they were right. Thankfully, it was easy to remove the top horizontal board with a pair of flush cutting pliers. Surprisingly, the rest of the fence stayed intact without breaking. I then touched up the bare wood with some white paint and weathering.

I had also mounted some of the lower windows onto my barn upside down. I never noticed that the castings had a tiny window ledges molded in, so I wasn't careful when I glued them in to make sure the ledge was at the bottom. So, I carefully took a chisel blade and removed the ledges on all of the windows so that they were consistent in style and orientation.

Finally, to earn extra points I added some new scratchbuilt details. I built a hayloft winch with pulley assembly above the hayloft door under the roof eaves; I added a cow water trough and outside plumbing spigots complete with hose; and I fabricated a hay wagon. Everything came out of my scrapbox.

They are just small minor details, but they did add up.

Thankfully, these two models now had enough points to earn merit awards and now I only have one more structure to build. And I plan to add plenty of details to make sure it passes on the first try!

I was also told that it is very difficult to judge structures based on contemporary prototype buildings, because they just don't have enough details. What I really think is that judges like to see peeling paint, worn shingles, loose boards, lots of cans and barrels, and other such things that are found on depression-era layouts. Think George Sellios and Fine Scale Miniature kits. Fair enough. But for those of us modeling more modern times, it is an uphill battle. 

Thursday, July 28, 2022

CP train crossing Mohawk River in Glenville (1991)

Here is a shot of a D&H train led by #7312 with six other engines in various paint schemes crossing the bridge in Glenville, NY on July 28, 1991. Mohawk Yard is just to the right of the train, and Schenectady and the old Alco plant is just on the left.

Compare this shot with the one I posted here. Same bridge... same perspective... same excessive numbers and paint schemes on the locomotives. The only thing that changed was the owner / operator of the line.

Sunday, July 24, 2022

D&H special passenger train in Cohoes (1991)

The caption on the slide reads: "Albany County Democratic Party Executives". It was taken in Cohoes (the church in the background is an obvious giveaway) on July 06, 1991. I know nothing else about it, though the GP38-2 #7307 sure looks nice and clean. I can't tell where the coaches came from, but their blue window stripes are unusual. They aren't leased Amtrak Phase IV coaches because that paint scheme was introduced in 1993. Whose executive train is that?

For some similar pictures taken about 30 years later, see this previous post.

Thursday, July 21, 2022

D&H #451 in Mechanicville (1985)

This shot of Alco C424 #451 sitting in Mechanicville yard was taken in July 1985. There are several interesting things about it. First, it looks like the engine is sitting on a track radiating from an old turntable, which would be just off to the right. If so, I am surprised that the D&H still had a working turntable in 1985. 

Second, note the ties buried in the ground at the end of the track to presumably hold the engines on. I have seen that done before, but never painted orange. Maybe it is so that they can be seen after a snowfall, or by vehicles driving on what looks like a service road at the edge of the tracks. And some ties are broken (or rotted) off.

Third, on the left is a yellow-painted MOW snow melting machine. The funnel pointing down would direct super-hot air onto switch points and other areas that were jammed up with ice. If this is one of the machines that had a jet engine providing the heat source, it would also be extremely loud.

Fourth, in the back right is a solid blue boxcar. At first I thought it was one of the uncommon all-blue D&H MOW boxcars, but now I think it is probably just a faded B&M boxcar. 

Sunday, July 17, 2022

#5015 at Cooperstown Junction (1984)

Occasionally I find myself driving through Cooperstown Junction, NY, where the D&H"s Cooperstown branch split off and headed north. The D&H sold the line in 1970 to the Delaware Otsego Corporation, and they operated it until 1996 when it was then sold to the current owner- the Leatherstocking Chapter of the NRHS (Cooperstown & Charlotte Valley Railroad). I last rode the line in 2014. 

The photograph above was taken July 17, 1984 and shows a D&H local on the mainline heading railroad north towards Albany from Binghamton. The branch joined along the right in a wye formation. The picture looks like it was taken from the cab of whatever engine the C&CV was using, probably RS2 #100 (formerly D&H #100) which is shown below on September 03, 1979.

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

D&H #5015 crew performing roll-by inspection (1983)

The crew of engine #5015 are performing a roll-by inspection for the D&H freight train led by #7616 about to pass them on this July 12, 1983 day in Nescopeck, PA. 

Note that the #5015 appears to be leading a M.O.W. train, and I believe that is a ballast cleaning car behind it. I have other images of this train somewhere in my collection but can't locate them.

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Alco dead line at Binghamton (1987)

Here is a sad shot. The "deadline" at Binghamton Yard taken exactly thirty-five years ago today on July 07, 1987. 

From front to back, it shows engines #5018, #5017, #5023, #506, #5005, #5016, #5004, #5003, #5002, #5001. Alcos from the RS11, RS36, and RS3m locomotive classes are represented. By this time, Guilford was running almost entirely EMD and GE engines and these were surplus (and likely worn out anyway). 

Thankfully, not all of them were scrapped. 

Monday, July 4, 2022

Happy Fourth of July!

Happy Fourth of July!

In the sprit of the holiday, here are some pictures of Adirondack Scenic Railroad #105, a G.E. 44-tonner. I took them in Utica on March 26, 2005. 

I love 44-tonners in general, and this paint scheme is pretty cool. The engine came to the A.S.R. painted in red, white, and blue and they only patch-applied their emblems on the cab sides. My research didn't reveal who owned the engine when it was painted R/W/B.

Per this website, the engine was later acquired by the Southern Railroad of New Jersey in the spring of 2005 and subsequently repainted into its original NYO&W gray and yellow scheme. I was very lucky to get these pictures. Pictures of the NYO&W repainting process can be seen here.