Tuesday, January 12, 2016

New Year Annual Open House Meeting and M420

Last Saturday was our delayed New Year open house. It wasn’t an operation-oriented meeting since there was too much guests to stage a normal train, but there was some action for those interested. One of them was kind enough to bring some special locomotives with him that you'll see later in this post.

It was interesting to get some feedback from people who didn’t saw the layout since a year. Most people commented about the drastic track density decrease over the last twelve months. It was generally viewed in a positive light. One of our guest who visit several layouts on a regular basis said he had grew tired of layouts with too much tracks for their own good. He recently visited a new club layout under construction and was quite shocked to see the ludicrous amount of tracks, so much he was still wondering if they would ever see any significant action.

To railfans in Quebec, the CN Murray Bay Subdivision has a special place in the heart of many and at least, they enjoyed seeing the line modelled in HO without too much compromise. The younger ones were quite surprised to discover the substantial traffic that moved over these rails not so long ago.

Just before the diner started, Jérôme managed to run a train from Limoilou to Donohue. Since Donohue was overflowing with excess cars, the #522 was shorter than usual but had 3 cars to be delivered at Montmorency Falls including a rare visitor: a CP Rail boxcar.

As usual, the train departed D’Estimauville and was pulled by a single GMD1. The train was short and management saw no need to assign a pair of RS18.

At Villeneuve, the train passed by a pair of tired GP9 delivering a coal train and few empty insulated boxcars to the cement plant.

It wasn’t long before the GMD1 emerged from behind Dominion Textile. The crew made a quick stop at the abandoned station to meet with a mill employee about the switching instructions at the plant.

It was only a matter of a few minutes to pull the empty Rock Island hi-cube boxcar and replace it with 2 loaded boxcars of cotton originating from Memphis, TN. I heard the CP Rail boxcar was loaded with supplies ordered from Ontario. They are probably some special parts for the plant equipment.

After a while, #522 was ready to continue its route toward Clermont.


The crew left the inbound cars in Clermont siding and after a few moves, proceeded to cross the bridge to switch the plant.

Donohue hasn’t yet received its new switcher from Merrilees. The small ALCO locomotive is undergoing cab modifications, paint and repairs. Meanwhile, CN perform the switching which is a treat to any railfan.

The first set of moves was to switching pull the empty car from the unloading areas, including roofless boxcars and a few tank cars.

A temporary mockup marks the tank car unloading area

When done, the outbound cars were left on the runaround track while the locomotive started to switch the loaded newsprint boxcars at the warehouse.

Lots of excess cars were still waiting on the plant property and they were dutifully spotted in the warehouse.

It was a matter of time before the crew started to push the outbound cars over the bridge down to Clermont.

A few minutes later, the inbound cars were pulled over the bridge to be spotted.

At this point, the diner was ready and Jérôme only had enough time to spot the empty newsprint boxcars in the warehouse.

The crew left the train on Donohue’s property. Operation will resume where it was left next week.



  1. Love the open house pics Matt!

    1. I have much more from the open house that I will post later. The return trip was quite particular!

  2. Fantastic photos! I really like the photo of the GMD1 from below with the rip-rap in the foreground.

    1. Thank you! GMD1 didn't last long on Murray Bay but I definitely love that picture too even if not truly prototypical.