2021 Virtual Tour Video

We are pleased to present another new video for your enjoyment, this time featuring a tour over the current operating portions of the CP Sudbury Division layout.

This video was originally created as our club’s submission for the 2021 Doubleheaders Virtual Layout Tour. Though the event was a great success, the nature of Zoom Meetings prevented the greater masses from being able to view our presentation. There was also the inconvenience of it only running once, and at a fixed time slot.

So we’ve decided to add our video presentation to the club’s YouTube channel for everyone’s entertainment, for anyone to view, pause and repeat at will.

All of us at the WRMRC are looking forward to the near future, where we can meet together again at real club open houses. We’re keeping our fingers crossed for October 16th. In the meantime, we hope this video will suffice.

 

Virtual Doubleheaders Tour 2021

COVID-19 scuttled the 2020 Doubleheaders Layout Tour, but not this year!

This Saturday March 27, 2021, the Doubleheaders will be hosting a free, online Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge-Guelph model railway tour, featuring a number of great home and club layouts from the area.

The WRMRC CP Sudbury Division Modellers will be participating, with a 25 minute presentation touring the operating portions of our layout, and a live question-and-answer session afterwards.

The virtual tour is being held over the Zoom platform, and interested parties must register in advance for information, schedules and Zoom meeting links.

To register, please contact the Doubleheaders via their website.

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Switching ‘The Canadian’ Video Posted

Our club has been rather neglectful in video creation lately, due in no small part to COVID restrictions keeping us from hosting operating sessions and filming the events. However we’ve cleaned the cobwebs and dusted out our YouTube channel, and are pleased to announce a new video.

This explains how a typical 12-car consist of CP train #2 ‘The Canadian’ was switched out at Sudbury into Toronto (CP train #12) and Montreal (continuing as CP #2) sections, and goes through the shunting step-by-step.

Our club goes through this process each operating session, and the reverse process as well (combining Montreal and Toronto sections into one) at the close of the session. It takes up one scale hour (15 minutes real time) to complete, requires four operators to perform all the moves, and completely shuts down the yard while in progress. Needless to say, it’s a pain in the backside for whoever is performing the Sudbury Yardmaster’s roll that op session, but it’s also an operational highlight of the layout.

As the vaccine roll-out continues, we are hopeful that full club operating sessions can be held again later this year, and you may be able to witness switching ‘The Canadian’ in person again.

 

How Do We Do It? Volume.

There is a current trend among prototype railway modellers to build smaller more sustainable layouts. It was once an ideal to construct very large pikes geared towards operations, where you and a good number of fellow hobbyists would operate together. The problem was that layouts of such size rarely ever are completed within one’s lifetime. So modellers have been pursuing smaller layouts designed to be more faithful to the prototype, operated by a small number of friends, and which can be ‘finished’ within a realistic time-frame. This is a positive movement in the hobby, and a roll-call of some of the layouts featured within the Prototype Modelling Layout Links and Blogs section in the ‘Links’ page of this website shows this to be true.

But on the other end of the sustainable layout spectrum, you’ll find the WRMRC CP Sudbury Division layout. After over 20 years of our membership constructing an entire division of the Canadian Pacific Railway, we can report that this is not something any individual modeller should attempt. There is a lot of time, effort, research, and of course money, that is required to build a layout of this scope.

Volume 5 Rapido FAs

Fresh from some basic decoder programming, a bulk purchase of Rapido CP FA-2, FPA-2 and FB-2 locomotives are gathered together for their official company photographs on the WRMRC layout.

This topic came up at a recent Wednesday work night, when a bit of a WRMRC tradition was being observed. Our latest locomotives from a bulk purchase were belatedly gathered together for their group ‘official company photographs’. In this case it was a dozen Rapido MLW FA-2, FPA-2 and FB-2 locomotives, some of which had to be searched for as they were already in service. With the anticipation of club operating sessions being held again in the future, it was best to gather them all together for their official portraits now before the CP Motive Power Bureau scatters them to the four corners of the layout.

Volume 1 Hoppers

Three dozen 4550 CuFt Hawker-Siddeley cylindrical hoppers decorated for Canada Wheat Board (CPWX) and Saskatchewan Potash received from the  North American Car Corporation.

This brought up a discussion later among the membership present about layout size, sustainability and how fortunate we are in the WRMRC where we all get along so well. The obvious advantage of any train club is to be able to finance and construct a layout larger than any individual could. Unless you are independently wealthy, who can afford to buy 10 DCC sound-equipped locomotives in one shot? But there is much more than pooling our time and resources. From its founding the WRMRC set clear goals for modelling the CP Sudbury Division, and from this came not just a combination of talent and resources, but also friendships and an overall camaraderie have developed.

CP vans on WRMRC

After a delivery of 12 Rapido CP Angus wide-vision vans was received, a group photo of our entire cabooses fleet was taken. These include CP wood-sheathed vans from True Line Trains, some Overland brass cabooses, and a few craftsman resin models built from Sylvan kits.

Volume 2 Canadian

Two full sets of ‘The Canadian’ trainsets from Rapido Trains. This delivery made the longstanding WRMRC dream of operating the CPR’s transcontinental passenger flagships come true.

That said, when we do pool our resources together it really is something. One of our members suggested we show some of these bulk equipment pictures. This makes for a bit of a ‘shock and awe’ photo collection, but these are some of the pics taken over the years.

Volume 3 Paper Cars

Two Ontario Northland cars are dwarfed by 15 CP Rail models in a bulk purchase of NSC PD Boxcars from the Atlas Model Railroad Company.

Volume 4 Big Alcos

A delivery of ten MLW model M-636 locomotives from Bowser Trains.

That old advertising line ‘How Do We Do It?’ may be passé, but in regards to large club layouts, it is true.

Sudbury Icehouse

Another WRMRC landmark structure has been completed recently, this time it’s the large icehouse that once stood along the backtracks of the east-end in Sudbury Yard.

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The newly completed Sudbury icehouse, being set into position on the WRMRC layout.

We have not been able to pinpoint when the icehouse was first erected, but photos show it already standing by the 1920s. It was decommissioned sometime in the mid-1960s after the CPR discontinued “The Dominion”, and the need to ice any heavyweight coaches had ended. However the structure managed to survive until late October of 1974 when it was unceremoniously razed by CPR bulldozers.

Sudbury Icehouse

The Sudbury icehouse, as it appeared in the early 1970s.

This project was seven years in the making, and the first structure (kitbash or scratch-built) ever attempted by our club’s treasurer, Phil. He agreed to tackle the icehouse under the tutelage of our late president (and experienced model builder) Chris Bennett. Armed with official drawings of the CPR standard icehouse provided by the Canadian Pacific Historical Association, Phil and Chris began working out the basic structure out of sheet polystyrene. Chris’ untimely passing resulted in this project being mothballed for years. But Phil began to work on it again recently with fellow member Julius (who constructed the Car Shops building and Doran’s Brewery).

CP_7090_8799_Sudbury_07_08_70

CP RS-18 #8799 and assigned S-2 switcher #7090 share time alongside the icehouse on the morning of 08 July 1970. We can now recreate this scene on the WRMRC Sudbury Division layout.

We believe that this should be classed as an excellent job by a veteran structure builder, let alone someone’s first attempt at scratchbuilding.

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The icehouse, looking towards the southeast.

Due to the building only surviving the first half of the 1970s, the plan is to make this a removable structure. When operating sessions set in the later ’70s are held, just a foundation will be visible here.

Icehouse_2

Sudbury icehouse, looking west towards the Elm St crossing and CP Express sheds.

As per Phil’s suggestion, our Sudbury Icehouse will be dedicated in fond memory of Chris Bennett. The WRMRC hopes this story inspires some armchair modellers out there to move over to a workbench and start working on an outstanding project.

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.

mdwboxes

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.

MDW_10009

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

RomfordPanel01

Romford Operator Panel

RomfordPanel02

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

RomfordSignals

Searchlight signals for Romford and Coniston

Wanapitei River Bridge

WanapiteiBridge

Wanapitei River bridge (in development)

Nelson Street Bridge

NelsonStBridge

Bridge abutments and scenery repairs (in progress)

Sudbury Ice House

Ice House

Ice House (in development)

Ice House

Ice House

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

Conifer 01

Conifer 02

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.

EspanolaTurnout

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

 

March Operating Session: March 14, 2020

A reminder that the next regularly scheduled WRMRC operating session will be held on Saturday 14 March 2020, from 12:00 to 6:00PM.

5559_Sprecher

If you are interested in attending the operating session as a guest, please contact us via our Facebook page so we know how many people to expect.

For a full list of club events in 2020, please see our calendar page.

 

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.

TrainShow2016

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.