When a Plan Comes Together

It has taken a long time to collect all the information we have about CP operations over the Sudbury Division. Most of it has been acquired through dedicated research, photo studies, and conversations with former employees. Even though the WRMRC has been at this for, literally, decades now. there will always be new things to learn. Research and education are lifelong pursuits after all.

A case in point; within our photo archives we have discovered three separate instances of CB&Q 2-bay Center-Flow hoppers travelling over the Sudbury Division. As the WRMRC’s chief operations guru, I’ve developed some plausible waybill information for mid-western US covered hoppers to run over our layout (note – we will be publishing a series of club operations posts in the future). However, finding out the prototype shipping information for why these specific CB&Q railcars were showing up in Sudbury would be our desired goal.

Despite the hardships one should normally expect with prototype research, sometimes good stuff just falls into your hands when you’re not even looking. Recently, Mike Confalone‎ posted a model photo on his Allagash RR Facebook page of Minnesota Dakota & Western (MD&W) boxcars being loaded on his layout. He had seen these being used in Maine in real-life back in the 1980s, and had always wanted models of them for his own layout. The problem was that despite these FMC-built combo-door boxcars being available in HO-scale for years now, they were never offered in this particular ’80s re-paint scheme. So he painted and decalled his own.

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Mike Confalone’s MD&W boxcars on his Allagash RR layout.

Mr. Confalone is an incredibly skilled modeller, as you can see, so it is no surprise his efforts would be top notch. The surprise for us was; why the heck are Minnesota Dakota and Western boxcars being used to load paper in Maine? The answer is forestry giant Boise Cascade (parent company of the tiny MD&W RR) owned a paper mill in Rumford ME. Apparently some of these boxcars even had “Return to Rumford ME” stencilling applied to them.

This one model photo along with the real-world information about Boise Cascade’s Maine paper production helped to resolve a number of CP Sudbury Division puzzles, ones we didn’t quite remember even existed. This explained occurrences of Boise Cascade MDW boxcars on prototype photos of CP train 911, a manifest freight that had rolled daily through Sudbury ON. This train operated from St Luc Yard in Montreal to Sault Ste Marie ON; then continued via CP’s US-affiliate SOO Line to their Schiller Park IL Yard within the greater Chicagoland area. CP #911 carried a lot of New England paper traffic bound for Chicago during our 1970s modelling era, as many shippers were avoiding the transit-time mess created by the Penn Central merger. Service was so good in fact that CP Rail continued to ship a decent amount of New England rail traffic well into the 1980s.

4232 leads train at Sault Ste Marie 09 05 1981

MLW C-424 #4232 leads train 911 at Sault Ste Marie ON on 05 Sept. 1981. Note the four MD&W boxcars behind the CP steel-coil service gondola trailing 911’s locomotives.

Our original assumption was that these MD&W boxcars were lumber empties being returned to the US mid-west, with no idea of their true origins. The truth was they were hauling newsprint bound for the Chicago area, and for all intents and purposes are as New Englandy as any paper-service boxcars painted for the Maine Central or Bangor & Aroostock.

Topping this off, one of our club members had purchased two recently released Athearn HO-scale models of FMC-built combo-door boxcars painted in the 1970s as-delivered MD&W white scheme to operate on the WRMRC layout. Being uninformed at the time, they were placed within our “Pool 733 – US mid-western misc boxcars” category (more information about our pools when we publish operations articles) and tried to stretch excuses for why some lumber might be rolling through Sudbury from International Falls MN (where the actual MD&W RR is located). Knowing the real story about why these boxcars were rolling though Sudbury, they have since been re-classed into our New England newsprint service boxcar pool. In fact our layout could now use a few more models.

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Produced by Athearn, MD&W 10009 wears the as-delivered 1970s white Boise Cascade corporate scheme. This car is now in New England paper-service on the WRMRC layout.

This information comes at a great time, as the Coronavirus break from operating sessions has given our club a chance to update and fix a number of older waybill shipping inaccuracies. But this MD&W boxcar mystery has to be one of the easiest puzzles we’ve had solved. When something just falls together like this, one is reminded of that old catch-phrase that Lt Col Hannibal Smith used to say on the old ’80s television series ‘The A-Team’ – “I love it when a plan comes together.”

WRMRC Op-Session and Activity Update

Due to Ontario’s extension of emergency orders regarding COVID-19, the WRMRC has cancelled the annual Junk Night operating session which was scheduled for Saturday May 9th; 2020.

At this point the club is planning to start the 2020-21 operating season again in the fall, with the next scheduled op-session planned for Saturday 12 September, 2020. Please continue to monitor this blog along with the WRMRC’s Facebook page for future updates.

While layout progress may have been hampered by the public health crisis, our members have been busy working on many projects from home, or coordinating amongst themselves to limit numbers when visits to the club are required. Here are just a few club ventures while under quarantine.

Romford/Coniston signal project

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Romford Operator Panel

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Reverse side of the Romford Panel – for those who love wiring

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Searchlight signals for Romford and Coniston

Wanapitei River Bridge

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Wanapitei River bridge (in development)

Nelson Street Bridge

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Bridge abutments and scenery repairs (in progress)

Sudbury Ice House

Ice House

Ice House (in development)

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Ice House

The club is also preparing to work on scenery in a number of areas which will require trees. Many, many trees.

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One silver lining to the cancellation of operating sessions is that preparations have begun to build the permanent trackage into Espanola, home of the large E. B. Eddy paper mill. Thanks to Fast Tracks, a number of code-70 turnouts have already been built towards this goal.

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Code-70 right-hand turnout built with Fast Tracks jig.

While we certainly miss the comradery that comes with our group work sessions, we are fortunate to live in a time where we can connect digitally. All of us at the WRMRC wish you good health, and to keep up your spirits with good model railway projects.

 

WRMRC March Public Activities Cancelled

On the advice of medical officials, is with reluctance that the WRMRC executive has decided to cancel all club public activities over the month of March in order to help contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus. This includes the operating session scheduled for tomorrow, and our participation in the 2020 Doubleheaders Tour. The following is a letter from our president.


Dear WRMRC Membership,

As you know developments in the COVID 19 corona virus situation have been coming fast and furious. Since my email to the group earlier today changes in advice from public health professionals have led the officers of the club to take a hard look at our plans. I have also been receiving emails from members indicating that they will be restricting their activities in coming days. As a result the officers have decided by unanimous consent to cancel the March operating session which was scheduled for this Saturday and to cancel our participation in the DoubleHeaders Tour scheduled for Saturday, March 28. We will decide on the May operating session as we get closer to the date and see how the situation develops.

We have taken this action reluctantly. We all do love to “play with trains” and were looking forward to the session. We also enjoy sharing our hobby with others and regret missing the tour. Given the advice from public officials and concerns of our own membership, we believe that this is the more responsible option. Since the Wednesday work sessions involve smaller groups we have not cancelled those at the moment, but individual members should feel free to take a break from Wednesdays as they feel necessary. Continue to monitor this group (our groups.io page) for further news.

Everyone stay safe and, as best you are able, healthy.

Bob Kelly

WRMRC President

 

WRMRC at the Kitchener Train Show – Sunday 08 March 2020

The Waterloo Region Model Railway Club will have a display at the Kitchener Model Train Show being held Sunday, March 8th, 2020.

The show will be at the Bingemans Conference Centre (Marshall Hall) located at 425 Bingemans Centre Drive, Kitchener ON from 10am to 3pm. More information can be found on the collectorshows.ca website, and on their Facebook page. The show features many vendors, displays, several operating layouts, and railway memorabilia.

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Our display features club photos, an electronic slide show, and hands-on demonstrations with members working on various modelling projects. There is also a side table with second-hand or surplus models and equipment for sale. If you are attending the show please stop by and pay us a visit.

Hope to see you there.

Signalling the Sudbury Division

Since our club’s initial decision to model the CP Sudbury Division in the 1970s era, it was understood by the membership that at some point railway signals would need to be installed on the layout. Not only did we want our layout scenes to look close to their real place counterparts despite having to selectively compress them, or operate equipment that appeared just like what really ran through northern Ontario in the ’70s, but we also wished to operate the layout in a realistic manner too.

The CP Cartier Subdivision between North Bay and Cartier was all CTC (Centralized Traffic Control) territory during the 1970s, with the exception of the six mile double-track section between Romford and Sudbury yard which was ABS (Automatic Block Signal System) signalled in one direction for current of traffic. Regardless of the two signalling methods it meant the club’s entire east-west mainline was protected by signals, and therefore we would need to duplicate this if we wished to achieve our goals of both looking right, and running right.

That said, we can report that signalling a model railway is very much more easier said than done. However after 20 years of planning, and of delaying a lot of scenery work from being started due to the wiring and complexity of the project, the 1/87 scale Sudbury Division is seeing its first signals begin to sprout around the layout.

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Temporary dual-head and permanent dwarf signals installed at Romford. Once fully programmed they will protect this busy junction just like their real-life counterparts.

Though much of the hobby has progressed quite dramatically over the past 40 years, sadly the process of signalling a layout has lagged behind despite the pioneering efforts of Allen MccLelland’s V&O, or Bruce Chubb’s Sunset Valley back in the 1970s. Yes, there are multiple sources of hardware available, and JMRI (Java Model Railroad Interface) software is free, however none of this is really plug and play. You need to program signal scripts and modify JMRI for any of this to work. Between knowing where the signals need to be installed, planning and wiring the signal blocks accordingly, selecting the detectors, switch and signal controllers and then programming it all to work, there is one other big problem for us. No one out there offers ready-to-run Canadian-style searchlight signals.

Romford, ON in October 6, 1971

From the cab of ‘The Canadian’ at Romford, ON – 06 October 1971. Photo by Roger Puta, from Marty Bernard’s Flickr album.

Though searchlight signal kits do exist in HO scale, they are US-based and need to be disassembled and pretty much scratch-build to have them appear like the real deal did. This and both CP and CN did have some differences in their ladder assemblies. For this reason, the WRMRC has decided to build their own, and to use temporary signals in the meantime. But it sure would be nice if a Canadian model manufacturer considered reproducing them for HO modellers at some point. Hello Rapido; wink, wink, nudge, nudge!

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Westbound signals guarding Romford. The mainline is on the right. The wye tracks to the left connect with the Parry Sound Sub to Toronto. The track in the middle is a set-off siding.

There is also the little wrinkle of the dispatcher needing a CTC panel for this all to work. However the good news for the WRMRC is the CP Cartier Sub was signalled in the 1960s, and thus never used one of the ‘classic’ CTC panels that railfans usually imagine. CP had their own hybrid system housed on the second floor of the Sudbury Division HQ building, featuring a large white wall panel with a black trackage schematic, and yellow lights displaying track occupancy. The dispatcher set switches and direction of traffic with a keypad assembly. Frankly, this sounds a lot like something you can duplicate on a computer screen and controlled with a keyboard, and so that’s exactly what we will be doing.

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Temporary dual-head signals protect the CP Cartier Sub diamond crossing with the CN Bala Sub at Coniston, Ontario. The diamond, much like our signals, is a work in progress.

Regardless of all these difficulties, the WRMRC has a small team working on the project and they’ve been making great strides recently. As you can tell from the photographs, the layout is already looking dramatically different. We look forward to the day we can ‘un-bag’ these signals for a future operating session, and have our engineers operate their trains as per signal indication. This also means scenery can progress in these areas too. The WRMRC’s goals of ‘looking right’ and ‘running right’ are slowly being achieved.

 

WRMRC Fall Open House – Saturday 19 October 2019

On Saturday, 19 October 2019, the Waterloo Region Model Railway Club cordially invites you to visit our CP Sudbury Division layout for the club’s Annual Fall Open House.

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The layout be open from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Feel free to invite any friends or family members interested in model railways, and plan on staying a while to see what’s new.

For maps and more information visit our WRMRC website, or our Facebook page.

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Admission:

  • Adults: $5.00
  • Seniors and Students: $3.00
  • Children (12 and under) are FREE, but must be supervised by an adult

 

Rescuing Old Kits

A while back I wrote a blog post on the Model Railroad Hobbyist forum about resurrecting old rolling stock kits developed in the ‘80s, back when the hobby finally began to move past the ‘blue-box’ era. Over the course of that decade, companies like Robin’s Rails, McKean, C&BT, Front Range and Innovative Model Works had sprung up to challenge Athearn and MDC. This was a big leap forward for HO modellers; as these kits were based on specific prototypes, were well researched, and offered a core model with all details applied separately.

Since those times we’ve moved into a model railway world of ready-to-run (RTR) pre-assembled models of exquisite quality. New manufacturers like Tangent, ExactRail, Scale Trains and Moloco (just to name a few) now offer 1:87 rolling stock replicas that truly are museum-quality models. However for those who crave the days when we used to build our models, and paid less than $10 for a freight car in the process, there is something to be said for resurrecting these old kits.

My latest example is this old McKean 40ft PS-1 boxcar painted for the Louisville & Nashville RR.

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A good friend and fellow WRMC member had this kit for sale amongst a pile of surplus model train stuff at a previous Kitchener Train Show. It went through two shows without anyone showing interest. What struck me was its 1960s paint scheme, a relative minority in a model railroad world where the popularity of the ‘40s-‘50s transition era dominates how manufacturers paint their products. However it was dismissed at the time due to it being a southeastern US boxcar, which I assumed would be a rare traffic event over the CP Sudbury Division in the 1970s.

My thoughts changed recently in my continuing efforts to update the club’s traffic/waybill system. It turns out the southeast US offers northern Ontario a lot more than just orange juice and kaolin. Using the OPSIG Industry Database I’ve found a long list of products that one could see routed through the Sudbury Division which are mainly supplied by the southern states. Cotton, rice, peanuts, casting sand and even mining equipment are just a few of the commodities that were uncovered over a couple of hours of research and coffee consumption. So it turns out the WRMRC had been neglecting a traffic source, and  this L&N boxcar was resurrected from the flea market table.

This photo shows it fresh from the ‘grunge factory’ (a.k.a. – the spray booth) after all paint, extra decals and final weathering had been applied; along with one of the prototype photos used to aid in its kitbashing.

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As described in the MRH blog, you pretty much have to throw away all the kit-supplied detail parts. I used better ones which are stuffed away in my surplus parts boxes. The underbody was completely gutted, and replaced with Intermountain underbody details – yes, they sell their detail parts separately. The brake detail on the ‘B’ end was fabricated from brass wire, a brake wheel and housing I had lying around, a bit of photo-etched roofwalk material, and a couple of staples I re-bent to hold the brake platform. Likewise I used staples as stirrups to replace the crude ones supplied by McKean.

It should also be noted I used the internet to research these cars, in order to find as many prototype photos as possible. Turns out the L&N 11xxx-12xxx series cars were 1960s rebuilds, with DF loaders, moveable bulkheads and other features added for specified commodities. However with more modern 50-foot cars being purchased, I’m certain that by the 1970s these cars were already relegated back to general service by the L&N.

Though it took a few evenings worth of kit-bashing and research, these efforts are what make the hobby rewarding for me. As the price of RTR models continue to climb, I hope more modellers come to discover these old kits from the ‘80s. There is real value to be found here, and you don’t need to dig too deep to uncover them at any train show.

 

The Saga of the Bellequip Geeps

Part 2 of That ’70s Rent-a-Wreck Fleet

The story begins in the early 1950s, as Iron Ore of Canada was nearing completion of their Quebec North Shore & Labrador Railway between Sept-Iles and Schefferville QC. This was a massive project, with a mainline consisting of two full operating subdivisions running a total length of 357 miles (over 200 of which were inside Labrador), and all of it located in the harsh and desolate landscape of Labrador and the Quebec north shore. The railway was completely isolated from the North American rail network, requiring all their locomotives and rolling stock to be shipped by lake freighters down the St. Lawrence River to Sept-Iles QC. The QNS&L locomotive roster began with a fleet of GMD-London built ‘Geeps’, specifically 24 model GP7 units (road numbers 100 to 123), and 54 model GP9 locos (road numbers 124 to 177), all delivered between 1953 and 1960.

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Bellequip #118 (ex-QNSL GMD GP7 – blt 1953) sporting neatly patched CP Rail-style Helvetica bold/italic font at Smiths Fall ON on 20 Oct 1971. Bruce Chapman photo.

On an interesting side-note, the paint scheme the QNS&L selected their new diesels to wear came straight from the EMD styling design scrapbook. While that in itself is not unusual (several railroads chose GM designed schemes) they selected the same one chosen by the New York, Ontario & Western RR over a decade earlier. For anyone unfamiliar with the NYO&W, they operated through the Catskill mountains of New York state while avoiding any sizable towns along the way; and thus unsurprisingly became bankrupt during the 1930s, and fully liquidated by 1957. The ‘O&W’ dieselized early hoping the cost savings could help their railroad, and as a result they never rostered anything newer than their final 1948 purchase of a couple of F3A/B sets. So for any NYO&W fans who might be reading this, if you ever wondered what an ‘O&W’ Geep would look like, you should check out old photos of QNS&L GP7/9s.

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PNC 177 (ex-Bellequip, nee-QNSL 177) was the last GP9 received by the Quebec North Shore & Labrador Rly in May 1960. It is seen here by the Medicine Hat AB roundhouse along with CP GP7 8421 on 18 May 1974. Bruce Chapman photo.

Actually the QNS&L was not the only Canadian railway to select a GM pre-designed diesel scheme worn by a US railroad. The Algoma Central selected the Delaware Lackawanna & Western (Lackawanna Road) passenger scheme for their locomotive fleet. But unlike the ACR who kept their Lackawanna colours until the end, the QNS&L dropped their attractive NYO&W colours for a bland dip gray with yellow end-stripes scheme in the mid ‘60s.

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PNC GP7 #108 (ex-Bellequip, nee-QNSL 108) is an example of the QNS&L’s 1960s repaint dip-gray scheme. CP Rail’s patching efforts on these was never pretty. Unit is seen at Alyth yard (Calgary AB) on 12 May 1973. Bruce Chapman photo

The Quebec, North Shore & Labrador is hard on its locomotives. After all they are an isolated railway that operates heavy ore trains over rugged terrain through extreme weather conditions. So the QNSL Geep-fleet started to be retired early, once the company began purchasing large numbers of SD40/SD40-2 locomotives to replace them.

Initially the QNS&L sold 17 GP7 units and 14 GP9 units to Canadian Bellequip Ltd of Montreal in September 1971. If you had never heard of Bellequip, you are not alone. They were a short-lived Canadian locomotive leasing company who only lasted between 1971-72. The rumour back then among CP employees was that Bellequip was started by some CP directors to see if leasing locomotives made money, but this was never confirmed.

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PNC 118 with more hastily patched lettering (see photo of Belllequip 118 above) is seen here stored at Alyth yard (Calgary AB) on 09 Sept 1975. Photographer unknown

All ex-QNSL Geeps were loaded onto lake freighters for their one-way trip to Montreal, and of these most were immediately leased to the perennially powershort CPR. Once they arrived on CP property they were all cycled through St Luc shops, where their QNS&L markings were removed and replaced with ‘Bellequip’ lettering and road numbers in a black Helvetica bold/italic lettering font, the same used by then new CP Rail. While the dip gray ‘60s repaints did not look so great with the patched Bellequip lettering, the units still wearing the original NYO&W-inspired scheme seemed to be treated better, as most were carefully patched to mesh with their original paint jobs.

On February 29, 1972, established US locomotive dealer Precision National Corp purchased the entire fledgling Bellequip locomotive fleet, and these Geeps changed hands yet again. As before they were cycled through the CPR’s shops, but this time more brutally patched with new PNC lettering. In June 1972 a further 3 GP7’s and 17 GP9’s were sold to PNC with some leased to CP and 15 to CN. Eventually the 15 units leased to CN also wound up on CP Rail by November of 1972.

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PNC 122 at Squamish BC on 26 April 1975. The 122 was one of a few ex-QNSLs be leased short-term by the British Columbia Rly in 1975. Photographer unknown

For the record, the 24 original Bellequip units on CP Rail (as of 01Nov71) were ex-QNSL – BQ (Bellequip) #’s:- 100 104 108 110 111 112 113 114 118 121 122 123 124 126 127 130 135 142 148 150 152 158 162 166.

By January 1973, when the CN leased units were added to the now PNC (ex-BQ) fleet, the 36 ex-QNSL units on CP Rail were #’s:- 100 104 108 110 111 112 113 114 116 118 120 121 122 123 124 126 127 130 132 135 137 138 142 143 144 145 148 150 152 158 162 164 166 170 171 177.

There is some discrepancy to whether QNSL GP7 #117 was ever within the PNC fleet. Bruce Chapman records it was leased in June 1974 (from his personal records when working for CP’s power bureau at the time) but this was never listed in a published all-time list in Extra2200South. This also would incorrectly put 46 PNC geeps on lease to CP Rail between 1973-74 when records only show 45. It is possible that the 117 was planned to be part of the fleet, but ended up becoming a parts source instead.

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PNC GP10 #3419, a full Paducah Geep rebuild by Illinois Central Gulf for Precision National, rests in the back tracks at Smiths Falls ON on 04 March 1972 – Bruce Chapman photo

PNC’s other non-QNSL leased units on the property were GP7s 969, 970 and 971 (ex-Detroit, Toledo & Ironton), GP7s 1505, 1506 & 1507 (ex-Florida East Coast) along with GP10s 3419, 3445 and 3634. These final three were ICG Paducah-shops rebuild units that were refurbished specifically for Precision National, and they wore the full PNC green/yellow paint scheme.

Following the QNS&L’s lead, by 1975 the CPR had purchased over 200 new SD40-2 locomotives from GMD of London. With all these new units, an economical slowdown, and decreased grain shipments to the USSR and China; they began to return all their leased units. CP Rail also retired a large number of older units over 1975, including the entire fleet of CLC and Baldwin built units, in addition to storing all MLW FA- and FB- locos, and a good number of RS-3 and -10 diesels.

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Chicago & North Western #4352 at Oelwein IA in 1976. Unit was ex-PNC, exx-BQ, nee-QNSL 145 (GMD GP9 blt 1955). Jim Sands photo

By April 1975 all the PNC units went off-lease and were either stored at St Luc or Alyth yards, or returned to Precision National. Several of the tied-up ex-QNSL units went on a short-term lease on the British Columbia Railway for a few months in 1975. After they all returned from lease, PNC sold most of these units to the C&NW and ICG. Many of these units went on to various regional and shortline railroads in the US through the 1990s and 2000s. In fact there are still a handful of ICG-rebuilt GP10s of QNS&L heritage still active as industrial switchers. So the saga of the Bellequip Geeps has yet to finish completely.

Junk Night – Nuit de Junque

This past Saturday, the WRMRC marked an annual tradition that dates back to times before the formal creation of the club. Our infamous ‘Junk Night’ operating session.

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Engineer R.Bosma carefully backs a cut of Toronto-bound cars into the interchange track at Romford ON. Locos for this Junk Night edition of the North Bay Turn are a CN GMD-1 / SD40-2W motive power duo.

It is much better described as a non ’70s CP session, where our usual Sudbury Division trains are powered by whatever locomotives our members wish to showcase. Railway, era, prototype or totally fictional; for one day none of that matters.

Many have asked us how we came up with the name. After all, none of the motive power is ‘junk.’ All are high-quality models.

Well, there is a bit of history to it.

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A fictional MR&T widecab GE Dash-8 leads two Conrail GP40s on a Junk Night edition of CP train 921 near Sprecher ON.

Like many model train clubs, the WRMRC was born from a private home layout. That owner (and founding president) had a large pike depicting the CP MacTier Subdivision, forged from his memories of cottage country in the 1960s. As the MacTier Sub motive power fleet was being improved, earlier locomotives purchased to get the layout up-and-running had been retired. These were mostly old ’70s-era models, mainly Athearn ‘blue box’ and Atlas ‘yellow box’ locos painted for various US railroads. So in the middle of a regular CP MacTier Sub operating session, he once quipped that we should hold a session where we break out all this “old junk power.” And from that our junk night sessions were born.

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WRMRC member S. Lyons brought out his lovingly rebuilt brass model of CN J-4-e #5126 (4-6-2 MLW-built ‘Pacific’) to fill the duties of the Sudbury east yard switcher. Models like this are what cause some to question our ‘Junk Night’ moniker. Now you know the full story.

It should also be noted these sessions had been held on Saturday evenings in the past. This explains the ‘night’ part in Junk Night, as we’ve switched to afternoon-held operating sessions for a number of years now. Finally, the traditional day for Junk Night was always the operating session that fell closest to April Fools Day. With the WRMRC eliminating April sessions in recent years, this now applies to our May operating date.

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No, this train did not take a wrong turn at St Thomas. Baltimore & Ohio power finds its way to Sudbury on this Junk Night operating session.

Junk Night has always been a big hit at the WRMRC. It often morphs into a show-and-tell session, with members often displaying their models in various stages of completion, sometimes even in different scales. So if you ever visit the layout for our May operating session, don’t be surprised if you spot an Erie Lackawanna SDP45 leading one of our trains. It’s not leased power, and it’s not a detour; it’s ‘Junk Night.’

Old Soldiers

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CP # 8448 leads the Espanola Turn through Nairn Ont. in the summer of 1973. In reality; this is a Van Hobbies brass model rebuilt with a Kato RS-3 drive. It is equipped with an ESU LokSound decoder with a 12-cylinder 244 diesel sound file.

Years after most other major North American railways purged their rosters of 244-powered ALCO diesels, CP Rail continued to employ a good-sized fleet of them throughout the ‘70s. Mainly due to chronic motive power shortages, and maybe a little by their corporate desire to milk locomotives for every mile they could to ensure their return on investment; the CPR would continue to operate 244-powered units until 1982.

In this light we find a pair of old soldiers in charge of the Espanola Turn on the CP Webbwood Sub, continuing to battle friction and gravity in defiance of the scrapper’s torch.

CP #8448, built by MLW in 1954, is noteworthy for being the second-last RS-3 to wear maroon and gray paint. She would eventually receive a new coat of Action Red in 1975, only to be retired the following year due to a major mechanical failure.

RS-10 #8464 fared a little better. Rolling out of MLW later the same year as sister #8448, she would persevere to the end of the decade. It should be noted that regardless of the differences in exterior appearance, the RS-10 is mechanically the same as an RS-3.

The model 244-diesel prime mover may have been plagued with reliability issues and earned a notorious reputation as a maintenance hog, but they endure at the time-warp known at the WRMRC – CP Sudbury Division layout. Here the 1970s never ended, and the burbling sounds of 244 diesels continue to echo throughout the Sudbury Basin.