Old Soldiers

CP_8448

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.

Napanee Industries CP Flatcars

Tips for improving the Wheels of Time model

CP 315122

CP 315122 is a Wheels Of Time flatcar model with new decals added to represent an early ’70s CP Rail repaint, identified by the black capacity data lettering. The ACI label and 2-panel COTS stencil also set the era.

Flatcars are probably the most under-appreciated pieces of rolling stock in the world of railway modelling. Due to their being, well, ‘flat’, they appear very simple and lack the visual impact of a boxcar or covered hopper. But they are actually among the most specialized cars around, possibly second only to tank cars. This under-appreciation is likely why we still need more flatcar variety in model production. Fortunately the various manufactures are helping and have released a number of great new models over the past few years; the ExactRail 53ft GSC, Tangent 60ft GSC and Intermountain 70ton AAR cars just to name three.

Now we can add Wheels of Time to this list with their arrival on the HO scene. The company is not new; they’ve been producing fine quality N-gauge products for a number of years now. However they recently branched into HO scale with a 70ton Gunderson flatcar in both standard and bulkhead versions.

These Wheel of Time flatcars are excellent models. They come with metal grab irons, coupler lift bars, air hoses and #58 Kadee couplers housed in scale draft gear (nice touch). Additionally they come with ASF ride-control trucks equipped with free-rolling metal wheel sets.

This model is a boon for modern modellers (‘70s to present) in general, and a pretty big deal for us on the CP Rail Sudbury Division. Though it is a US prototype car and CP never purchased any Gunderson flats, the model does bear a very strong resemblance to the Napanee Industries 61ft flatcar.

CP 315097

CP 315097 – a Napanee car still wearing its as-delivered basic black scheme at Campbellville, ON on 28 March 2008. Photo by Chris vanderHeide – courtesy canadianfreightcargallery.ca

CP purchased 135 of these cars from Napanee Industries in 1967, numbered CP 315000-315134. All were delivered in the then current black scheme utilizing a larger font for the reporting marks and road name.  However, somewhat surprisingly, close to half the fleet was repainted into CP Rail Action Red by the mid ‘80s, allowing modellers more paint variety. The fleet is still in service today with only a few cars retired, though delivery-black cars are few and far between.

cp 315025

CP 315025 – Though missing an ACI label and sporting a more modern tri-panel COTS stencil, this is an example of an early 1970s repaint as identified by its black (barely legible) capacity data. Photo taken in Woodstock ON by David Graham on 25 March 2007 – courtesy canadianfreightcargallery.ca

The dimensions and details of the WOT model are very close to the Napanee car. The overall length of the model measures one (1) scale foot longer than the prototype, which comes to a little over 3 real millimeters. This a minor discrepancy; for more importantly the deck style, fishbelly profile and the flange running along the bottom of the car all match up well against the prototype. For the rivet-counters among us, the more serious inaccuracies between the two are in the stake pockets.

To begin, there are 18 side pockets on the Napanee car versus 19 on the Gunderson / WOT model. I personally consider this a minor issue, because with that many of them who really has the time to stop and count during an operating session?

The more significant difference is the Napanee car has 8 end-pockets (4 per end) where as the Gunderson / WOT model has none. This is not easy to spot as most photographers shoot these cars trackside, but from any elevated photo you can see these end-pockets. One simple way to simulate these would be to use decals. These pockets appear as little more than small black squares on the deck, and unless you stare down at one on a 90 degree angle, a decal would be a clever way to represent these.

Regardless of the inaccuracies, this is a most welcome car for CP modellers. As new accurate rolling stock models keep being released for Canadian modellers, flatcars were a glaring omission. Hopefully this model is a beginning towards rectifying the situation.

Flat001

This is an unmodified model straight from the box. A few extra decals, weathering, and most especially a repainted deck will make this car really stand out.

Though out of the box these cars look great, with some work you can transform these into stand out models. One can begin by adding additional decals, as I find the models a bit Spartan lettering-wise. That, and our club models the ‘70s decade, so adding ACI labels and appropriate era COTS stencils are musts.

Extra lettering helps, but the biggest improvements comes from re-painting the deck and weathering the car. Wheels of Time painted their decks a greenish brown colour, whereas the lumber weathers to gray on any prototype car I’ve seen. This deck is molded in place, so replacing with laser-cut lumber is not an option.

Flat002

CP 315014 is a factory lettered car with extra decals added. The deck has been hand painted with PollyScale ‘New Gravel Gray’ before weathering is applied.

I begin by hand painting the deck with PollyScale ‘New Gravel Gray’, though any light gray will do. Paint evenly brushing from side-to-side, and continue from one end of the car to the other. If you brush lightly and carefully, you can avoid getting paint on the metal ends of the deck. If you accidentally do, thanks to the deck being raised it’s easy enough to touch these up with Action Red afterwards. Testors has discontinued PollyScale brand paints recently, which is unfortunate as it was almost as wonderful for brush painting as it was for airbrushing. Without thinning and despite taking any extra care, the paint dries flat with no brush strokes. In this case, brush strokes could actually help give the deck a wood grain look. Regardless, with PollyScale’s demise, I recommend any decent acrylic paint for this.

Flat003

Deck weathering on CP 315014 has begun utilizing AIM weathering powders.

After painting, I go over the deck with AIM weathering powders using three colours; grimy black, dark earth, and dark rust. Vary the powders board by board and have fun mixing. You end up with a very convincing deck in no time, and the powders really help the details stand out. The convenience of weathering powders is you can wash them off with water if you don’t like the result, and then try again.

Flat004

Mixing different coloured powders adds realism towards achieving the weathered lumber look.

I finish by weathering the body of the car itself, again mainly with the powders. Here one can use rust colours running down the car to mimic oxidization, and extra dirt where it naturally collects around the trucks. I highly recommend studying real flatcar photos to replicate these patterns.

Next I airbrush some grime on the underbody of the car, and most importantly spray the trucks in order to weather them. The best weathering jobs are thoroughly unconvincing if the trucks are left Delrin-plastic black with shiny metal wheels. Finally I airbrush the entire car with a clear flat coat in order to protect the weathering and extra decals.

Flat005

Weathering the deck really brings out the detail. Click to enlarge.

The first few finished Napanee flatcars have entered revenue service on the WRMRC layout; hauling steel slabs, gas pipelines, farm equipment and numerous other lading across the Sudbury Division. Future additions will see some of these models repainted into the basic black delivery scheme.

We wish Wheels Of Time great success with this car, and we thank them for helping out Canadian modellers.

Got Slag?

An event of some significance for our club layout occurred recently when a trio of Atlas ballast hoppers were grimed-up and weathered over the course of a regular Wednesday work night. While that may not seem particularly significant, after all I paint and weather equipment at the club’s spraybooth all the time, it did signal a big change in the ever-evolving rolling stock fleet of the CP Sudbury Division. These were the final models of a new fleet of slag hoppers to roll out of our shops, and they will replace our old MDC cars that had been in service with the club for over 20 years.

The complete fleet of 16 recently added Atlas ballast hoppers, all weathered and ready to begin hauling slag over the CP Sudbury Division.

Another view of the fleet of new ballast cars entering service on the Sudbury Division.

The MDC-Roundhouse hoppers are crude by today’s standards – the molds were produced in the 1970s and it shows. Not just the thickly molded grab irons and lack of interior details, the worst part of the model was how low the hopper body sat and how shallow that made the unloading bays below. They are almost undetectable. (If someone knows of a prototype car that MDC patterned this after, please post photos/info here in the comments section.) However this was the only longitudinal-bay hopper model available when our club began modelling the CP Sudbury Division, so we assembled a small fleet of MDC models due to lack of alternatives.

Side by side comparison of the Atlas model (left) with the old MDC car (right). Coupled together, it is easy to see why the old Roundhouse models are being retired.

The longitudinal bay ballast hopper is an important car for the ‘70s CP Sudbury Division, all thanks to INCO and the CPR’s maintenance-of-way needs. The byproduct of copper/nickel refining (actually all forms of ore smelting and refining) is called slag; it’s the resulting rock waste you get once all useful minerals have been striped away. INCO has mountains of ugly slag piles growing all around the Sudbury area. And our two big transcon railways, both running through the Sudbury Basin and always on the lookout for cheap solutions to their maintenance needs, began using this crushed slag to ballast their right-of-ways. Take a look at any CP or CN photographs from the ‘60s to the ‘90s. If the tracks are ballasted with a very dark brownish-black rock, that’s Sudbury slag.

The prototype car, CP 360946 see here within a string of longitudinal-bay ballast hoppers in Calgary AB on 21 Oct 1977 – Andy J. Broscoe photo from canadianfreightcargallery.ca

Slag ballast is the reason why these longitudinal-bay hoppers are so important to our layout operations. Strings of these cars were everywhere in the Sudbury area, all to supply ballast system-wide for CP Rail.

So what happened to slag ballast? Well there were two problems with using slag; one that was immediately known, and the other that the Ministry of Environment figured out decades later.

Slag being refined rock was very brittle, and breaks apart relatively easily. This meant CP and CN had to continually re-ballast as the slag was pulverized into mud over time under the weight of heavy freight trains. That was not a big deal as slag, being a waste product, was pretty inexpensive.

CP 360548 was lettered with a combination of C-D-S dry transfers along with Microscale and Highball decals from various sets I had lying around. Outside weathering is a combination of oil paints, weathering powders and some airbrushing – mainly just a quick coat of “grunge” to dirty up the bottom of the car.

The other problem is much more serious. It seems the bedrock of the Sudbury basin contains a trace of naturally occurring mercury. That is not a big deal, provided the rock is undisturbed. Slag, however, is rock that has been disturbed quite a lot. Testing showed mercury was leaching into local water tables from the slag ballast, and so it began to be phased out over time. The situation was worst in the Prairies, where slag ballast was first banned back in the ‘80s. Southern Ontario, with its deeper water tables and lots of limestone, was a safer environment and continued to see slag used until the mid ‘90s.

Our new slag hopper fleet is made up of Atlas’ wonderful model of the ACF-built Hart Ballast Car. These were released about 10 years ago, but our delay in making the switch was due to the Atlas model not being a prefect match for the prototype CP slag hoppers. The actual hoppers, numbered within the CP 360000 to 361277 series, were all built between 1949-53. Though three different manufacturers built them (Eastern Car mostly for the CPR, though Canadian Car & Foundry and NSC produced them too) the visual differences between them are slight.

Weathering the inside of a ballast car is a very different process than for coal hoppers. Coal is acidic, and the hoppers that carry it become a rusty mess inside. Ballast does not corrode the interior, rather it bangs and scrapes the hopper bottoms to polished metal. To capture the look I first airbrushed the interiors with Model Master flat aluminum, then oversprayed the top with grunge (a combination of black, browns and greens to simulate dirt). I finish with Pan Pastels to simulate the rust and dirt that does take hold, and seal all the weathering work with Tamiya flat coat.

There are two visual differences between the real thing and the Atlas model, the first being the top end panels of the hoppers having a notch in them (where the end ladders meet up). The prototype cars feature straight beveled end panels. The other difference is seen in the hopper bays, which are longer and of a different design than the actual CP hoppers.

CP 360413 is lightly weathered, as the CP Rail paint scheme was only a few years old in our club’s modelling era, so it would be a recently repainted car. Weathering was done with Pan Pastels and some airbrushed “grunge” along the bottom of the car.

Despite our hope that maybe, one day, a perfect Canadian ballast car might appear on the market, we decided that the old MDC-Roundhouse cars really needed an upgrade. The influx of amazing new, super-detailed models that have been populating the Sudbury Division layout were really making the old ballast cars look out of place. And the Atlas model is well done, not only from its crisply detailed molding, wire grabirons, nice brake and end details; but this model also featured a fully-detailed interior complete with L-brackets and rivet-detail. The hopper bay doors actually open too, though since we operate these models with live loads we highly recommend our operators DO NOT open them when transporting slag.

Though not 100% perfect, these Atlas models are a very good stand in and they will begin hauling slag on the Sudbury Division starting with our first operating session of the 2016-17 season this September 10th.

2016-2017 Operating Session Times and Dates

After some discussion at the June Annual General Meeting of the club, the operating schedule for the 2016-2017 season has been set. Please note there have been some important changes from previous years.

Firstly, the times of the sessions have been changed, and beginning this fall the sessions will begin at noon instead of 4pm and should run until about 6 without a mid-session supper break. (Anyone that wishes may go out for an informal social dinner following the session.) There was a general consensus leading into the meeting that the time change will much better accommodate several of our out-of-town members and guest operators that travel a longer distance to attend as well as generally not have the sessions end late in the evening and encourage participation in the sessions which require a minimum number of people to fill all the positions.

Secondly, for the 2016-2017 we have decided to try scheduling the sessions every other month throughout the year (beginning with the September 2016 session) instead of every month. Historically certain sessions (particularly December due to work and family parties leading into the Christmas holiday season) have ended up regularly cancelled anyway, and trying to work in both an October session and Open House around the Thanksgiving holiday puts a serious crimp in construction activities in the fall.

Thirdly, with the change in schedule we are adding a summer session in July 2017 which has historically never happened as May-August was typically the major construction period. However the additional spacing between sessions should allow for better progress throughout the year and the added session makes up for any losses with the schedule change.

Accordingly, the formal operating sessions for 2016-2017 will be held on the following dates and times:

September 10, 2016 12pm-6pm

November 12, 2016 12pm-6pm

January 14, 2017 12pm-6pm

March 11, 2017 12pm-6pm

May 13, 2017 12pm-6pm (“Junk Night” session)

July 8, 2017 12pm-6pm

Additionally our fall open house will be held on October 15, 2016 from 10am-5pm – as always the Saturday following the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, also known locally as the end of Oktoberfest.

See also the Calendar page for updated information on club events and activities.

That ’70s Rent-A-Wreck Fleet

Leased B&O F7A #4487 shares company with a CP RS-18 by the roundhouse at Quebec St Yard in London ON on an April morning in 1972 – John Brown Photo

Since our club’s layout models the CP Rail Sudbury Division in the 1970s, you might come to the conclusion that all the WRMRC’s trains would be powered by CP locomotives. Well, with the exception of the CN and INCO lines that we tie into, of course. So if you visit us for an operating session or an open house and spot a foreign road diesel (i.e. not owned by the railroad on which it is running) you may wonder, “What’s up with that? Are they goofing around? Are they pooling with other railways?”

Well, our gang does its share of goofing around; model railroading is supposed to be fun after all. But we try to minimize silliness on public tours.

Locomotive pooling, defined as competing railroads sharing their diesels for seamless operation between properties, had been going on in the US since the 1960s. The pioneers of power pooling were the NYC + CB&Q, and the Pennsy + UP who started the practice to get their hot freight though Chicago without taking days to interchange. But power pooling was not common in Canada until more recent times, mainly due to the fact that our nation’s two major railways were already transcons who didn’t need to share power, and free trade with the US was many years in the future yet.

However, in the years since the CPR retired their last steam engines in the late ’50s, they have experienced traffic peaks that outstripped their motive power capacity. Sometimes these peaks lasted for many years. That’s when Canadian Pacific needed to beg, borrow, and – in some cases – steal.

Welcome to the world of motive power shortages and locomotive leasing.

The CPR was leasing for most of the ’70s, but the height of it occurred in the first half of the decade. This was due to a motive power shortage stemming from the late 1960s when the Canadian government inked large contracts to export grain to the USSR and China. Additionally, Canadian Pacific began operating long unit coal trains to the newly opened Roberts Bank Superport in BC. Finally, the first generation of diesels (those that directly replaced steam) were getting tired and in need of rebuild, or outright retirement and replacement. This combination of events created a chronic locomotive shortage for CP Rail that lasted well into the mid ’70s. At its peak between 1972-73, the CPR had over 100 locomotives on lease.

CP4047_BO4517_BLE725A_London_27Mar73

A great example of the CPR rainbow lease fleet of the early ’70s, CP FA-2 #4047 leads B&O F7A #4517 and B&LE F7A #725A on a westbound freight through Quebec St Yard in London ON on 27 April 1973 – photographer unknown

As one could imagine, leasing over a hundred locomotives from multiple sources created a serious rainbow fleet. All those colours were mixing with the CPR’s own diesels which, by the way, was going through a corporate image change itself. If anyone wonders why the WRMRC chose such a seemingly unusual modelling era like the ’70s, this was an attractive reason for choosing it.

This rainbow leasing fleet offers a bumper crop of ‘Rent-A-Wrecks’ for us to model. And yes, many of them really were wrecks. The fleet of B&O F-units leased from parent Chessie System between 1972-73 provides a good example. Chessie had these classic cab units in storage prior to leasing. A number of them never made it past Windsor because the CPR judged them to be unroadworthy and sent them back to Detroit. Of the 20 or so that were leased, many were promptly scrapped by Chessie after being returned. They were literally running their last miles on the CPR.

If direct leasing wasn’t enough, the CPR was also known to… umm… “borrow” power. CP Rail did operate a pair of pooled freight trains between Toronto, ON and Buffalo, NY in partnership with the TH&B and Penn Central known as ‘The Kinnear’. During the dark days of the Penn Central era, the TH&B and PC power that lingered around Agincourt Yard over the weekends could end up on any turn jobs out of Toronto, so long as the units were returned by Sunday night. Borrowing TH&B power like this was OK, given the fact that TH&B was partially owned by the CPR. But Penn Central diesels? The bankrupt PC was in such disarray they never checked the odometers of their units to notice the added mileage. It was not until Conrail took over that anyone looked and began billing the CPR for the added mileage. The practice stopped soon after.

The upshot for us is that a Saturday #955 could show up in Sudbury with pooled PC and TH&B locomotives during those times. Train 955 “the MacTier Bullet” (employee sarcasm) was a turn job running from Toronto to Sudbury, returning back Sunday morning as a 50-series 4th class all-stops local. For that matter GO Transit locomotives (properly leased) could also show up on weekends in the later half of the decade.

Without getting into specific road numbers, the following is a list of known leased or pooled locomotives that could be spotted on CP Rail trains in Ontario during the 1970s:

  • 1970-71 – Chicago Great Western F7A & F7B units (owned by CNW but still in CGW colours),
  • 1970-75 – Bessemer & Lake Erie F7A & F7B units,
  • 1970-75 – Precision National ALCO RS-27 units (#901 and 902),
  • 1970-74 – Boston & Maine F7A & F7B, GP9 and RS-3 units,
  • 1970-71 – Illinois Central ALCO C-636 units,
  • 1970-71 – Bessemer & Lake Erie ALCO RSD-15 units,
  • 1970-73 – Lake Superior & Ispeming GE U23C units (winter only),
  • 1970 & 1973 – Duluth, Missabi & Iron Range SD9 units,
  • 1971-75 – Precision National / Bellequip GP7 & GP9 units (ex Quebec North Shore & Labrador),
  • 1971-75 – Bangor & Aroostock GP7, GP9 & GP38 units,
  • 1972-73 – Precision National GP7 units (ex-FEC),
  • 1972-75 – Precision National GP10 units (rebuilt ‘Paducah Geeps’),
  • 1972-73 – Baltimore & Ohio F7A & F7B units,
  • 1973-75 – Pittsburg & Lake Erie GE U28B units,
  • 1973-75 – United Railway Supply ALCO RS-3 units (#101-103 – former Reading),
  • 1976-77 – Chessie System (C&O) GP30 & GP35 units (pooled power),
  • 1978-80 – GO Transit GP40TC, GP40-2(W) & F40PH units (leased on weekends only),
  • 1978-80 – Algoma Central GP7 units,
  • 1979-80 – Chessie System (B&O/C&O) GP30 & GP35 units (leased),
  • 1979-80 – Norfolk & Western SD40 units,
  • 1970-77 – Pooled ‘Kinnear’ power (TH&B or Penn Central/Conrail units, misc. models)
PNC3419_SmithsFalls_04Mar72

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

Many of these individual leaser fleets have interesting stories themselves, and will be the subject of future blog posts. Stay tuned for more episodes of “That ’70s Rent-a-Wreck Fleet”.

CSI (Canadian Switcher Investigation): Sudbury – Episode 7091

In the railfan photographic archeology and forensics field, there is a dedicated group of crazies attempting to uncover the repaint dates of CP Rail diesels that operated in the Sudbury ON area during the 1970’s. These are their stories…

S-2 #7091 rests by the Sudbury roundhouse on 15 Aug 1986, only days away from official retirement and eventual sale to INCO as their #204. D. W. Hately photo from www.mountainrailway.com

Aside from our gang at the WRMRC, and the remaining local railfans who lived in the Sudbury area back in the 1970’s, few people know of the legend of CP #7091. This was one of four MLW-built S-2 switchers the CPR assigned to Sudbury yard from dieselization until the early 1980’s, all grouped in the early-7090 number series. They were all specially equipped with passenger buffers for passenger car switching (necessary for shunting cars off ‘The Dominion’ and later ‘The Canadian’ within the Sudbury terminal) so the group never strayed far from home over those decades.

The “legend” so-to-speak, was that the Sudbury shops personnel (who not only performed car repairs, rebuilding and repainting, but also local diesel running repairs and repaints) continued to repaint the 7091 in maroon and gray script well into the 1970’s, and they avoided sending the unit to Angus for any heavy repairs, knowing the unit would probably return wearing Action Red.

Over the years of collecting photos for our club archives, we quickly concluded this local legend of the 7091 was no legend. This was fact. Any 1970-75 era photos we found of the 7091 revealed a unit in relatively good looking maroon and gray script paint. For those unaware, the old scheme tended to weather poorly. So the pics were showing the Sudbury shops were indeed pampering the venerable old gal.

The plan worked for many years, but inevitably all good things must come to an end. One day a CPR big-wig from Montreal showed up at the division headquarters and, as the legend goes, saw a freshly painted maroon and gray 7091 working the west yard lead. And that was the end of that.

The investigation (and frustration) began after I first studied this photo of CP 7092 in Sudbury dated 09 August 1975.

 photo CP7092_Sudbury_09Aug77_zpsa3ekkyce.jpg

Photographer unknown – Sudbury ON – 09 Aug 1975

Notice at the very right edge of the photo, coupled in front of the 7092, is a maroon & gray script painted MLW switcher which we can safely conclude is the 7091. All the other Sudbury MLW switchers were Action Red by this time, and had been for many years by then. Nothing unusual about it, or so I thought, until I reviewed some other photos in the hopes of nailing down exactly when the 7091 was repainted.

Here is a Jim Parker photo of 7091 dated October 1974.

http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/cp/cp7091jpb.jpg

Jim Parker photo – Fallen Flags website

OK it’s unquestionably Sudbury because that old white icehouse was a definitive landmark. The icehouse was razed sometime by the end of 1974, so it’s feasible this photo was taken while the structure was possibly days away from demolition. Also we have a photo labeled from 1975, so it obviously would have been in this scheme the year prior.

Now here is another photo by the Sudbury shops building with the date identified by the photographer as 05 November 1975.

 photo cp7091_05Nov75_zpscij5buti.jpg

William Slim photo – from OK the PK

This is pretty late into the Action Red era. Back then, railway image was still a big deal and the CPR was aggressive in repainting things into the current image. Also, notice the scheme is getting a little worn here unlike the fresher look in that 1974 photo. So all is still well, and we can assume the 7091 lasted like this into 1976 possibly.

Now here is where the mystery begins, this shot of 7091 was posted in rrpicturearchives.net and the author wrote it was taken on Canada Day in 1977.

CP 7091 in old CP colors

Jack Smith photo – rrpicturearchives.net

Holy cow! 1977 and (never mind the colour shift in this reproduction) the paint is really fresh! Boy those guys in the Sudbury shops had guts keeping 7091 looking like this.

Problem is I eventually found that this date has to be bogus. The author probably took it on the 1st of July, but it can’t be 1977. That’s because here is a photo of the 7091 in action red candy stripes in a shot dated July 1978.

 photo CP7091_Sudbury_July1978_zpsiohktrjf.jpg

Photographer unknown – Sudbury ON – July 1978

So what’s the big deal? That was 1977 and this is 1978. So it must have been painted sometime in between right?

Well no. The 5″ ‘Candy Stripe’ scheme lasted until the fall of 1976, and was then replaced by the 8″ wide-stripe scheme. So that shot of 7091 could not have been taken in 1977, since this unit wore narrow stripe paint. It had to have been repainted sometime before 1976.

The ongoing mystery here is we still do not have a definite date as to when 7091 was finally repainted into action red. However, we have found enough photographs of her online listed as 1975 to conclude it probably lasted that long.

But at least we have learned at few things:

· We are reasonably certain the repaint happened some time between late autumn 1975 and June 1976 (when CP adopted the 8” wide stripe scheme).
· The Sudbury shops did indeed keep 7091 in good shape, as the legend went.
· You can’t totally trust the internet. That should seem obvious. But even in railway modeling, try to find as many sources of information as possible.

So in conclusion our club needs two models of the 7091, one each wearing different schemes. The script unit operates in sessions representing 1970-75, and the candy stripe unit for 1976-79. No wonder prototype modeling wasn’t very common prior to the internet age. How could anyone figure this stuff out before?

And so ends another file from the WRMRC’s Sudbury:CSI team…Canadian Switcher Investigation