Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Locomotive CNR #2500

This project was first supposed to be an easy and straightforward renumbering operation with no modification to the shell. I bought the model - a Bachmann Spectrum Rock Island #2119 - for a few bucks on Ebay from a chinese seller based in Hong Kong. I would have prefered an undecorated version, but this one was dirt cheap and was worth the investment.

Rock Island locomotive #2119 prior to its conversion.

I first thought about converting it into CNR #2191 since the model shared many similarities with CNR M-5-c locomotive class. I stripped the Rock Island numbers and heralds with a screwdriver and started to apply new CNR decals by Microscale.

At some point, I needed more data to complete the tender (which was slightly altered to reflect the prototype). On Model Railroader forum, I asked about tender capacity (water and coal). At this point, Doctorwayne, a gentleman from Ontario, pointed me out that locomotives from N-2-b class were much more closer to the model. Our dicussion can be followed here.
Tender as modified and repainted to match CNR locomotive #2191.

After a few thoughts, I finally decided to kitbash the model into locomotive #2500, a N-2-b class engine. This implied major modifications to the tender, redoing almost all the piping on the boiler and scratchbuilding an Elesco feedwater with its water pump.

Locomotive #2500 as seen in 1959, cnrphotos.com, (2010).
On the positive side, this allowed me to get iconic CNR features such the Elesco feedwater, the cab and front handrails and a notched tender, all from my favorite favorite locomotive builder: Montreal Locomotive Works. What a feast!

Filling holes left by stripped details.
Most new details were done with styrene sheet, ball point pen parts, paintbrush handle, sprues, electric wire, brass wire, basswood and things I dug out from my junk box. Valves from the original model were also heavily altered to fit other needs.

Elesco feedwater and handrails added according to CNR practices.
I first started by building a new Elesco feedwater from scratch, using a Papermate ballpoint pen tube and a paintbrush handle. Rivets were scribbed into a .5mm styrene sheet. Insulated electric wire of different gauges was used for the new pipes. New handrails formed with soldered brass wire were installed according to the prototype. I really love the look of the front handrails, they really give the CNR look!

Steam locomotive #2500 is ready to compete with my repainted C424.
Tender modified according to the prototype.
All the modifications previously done to the tender to match locomotive #2191 were stripped! Doctorwayne is a exigent fellow! I took about half a day to makes to the change. The coal bunker and handrails were redone. Old steps were cut and replaced by new ones made out of styrene. Square notches were also made to the upper front of the tender to match my prototype.

The new water pump made from scratches.
Here's an exemple of parts I had to scratchbuild from parts and bits found in the junk box. Even infamous Accurail truck pins and Athearn diesel engine brakes were converted into pistons and pumps.

Locomotive #2500 photographed with the staff for Christmas Eve.
Completed locomotive seen from the engineer side.
Completed locomotive seen from the fireman side.
On the firemen side pictures, you can see fuzzy spots on the tender. When I painted it with a Krylon spray can, the paint started to crack and peel!!!! Horror! I've just messed up all my work. It was the secnd time I encountered this issue. Firsttime, on my 250-ton crae, I thought is was a reaction with an other brand of paint. It turns out this paint must cure throughly before recoating. I'm a little bit skeptical because I did this may times, waiting about 12 minutes before recoating and never had troube. Instead of stripping all the paint, I decided to be patient and pragmatic.

Using Q-tips and 95% rubbing alcohol, I gently smeared the cracked areas until the paint thinned and flattened. The tender top was a real mess and nothing could be done... paint was stripped.

Final paint and varnish applied.
Locomotive and tender were airbrushed with Polly Scale Steam Power Black. Firebox, smokebox, drivers, rods and trucks were given a mist of Steam Power Black variously altered with Citadel Skull White and Blood Red. A coat of Model Master Gloss Clear Acryl heavily thinned with 70% isopropyl alcohol to tone done the gloss was applied to the boiler, cab and tender sides to get a well-maintained look.

Painted locomotive seen from the engineer side.
Painted locomotive seen from the fireman side.
Weathering was done using grinded pastel chalks and applied to specific locations seen on the prototype. I didn't want a dusty or oily engine since locomotive #2500 was a well-maintained engine that kept its shiny boiler and tender. Modification took exactly 10 days with a break of 2 days to visit some family in Ottawa.

Engine #2500 exiting MLW shops and ready to work on the layout.
Locomotive #2500 seen from the tender.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Layout Walk-Through

Here’s a general walk-through across the layout as it could be seen in late November 2010. Most tracks are Atlas N/S code 100 on mainline and passing tracks and Atlas N/S code 83 on industrial sidings.  Yard is made out of 9” sectional brass tracks from various manufacturers. In fact, we were short on flex-track at the time and weren’t sure of our design so we used them to mock up the yard quickly. We encountered no operational issues with them so they should stay in place for a while. Bridges are 72’ plate girder units from Central Valley. Mainline will be raised on N-scale cork roadbed.

The visit will start from the south to west (left from right).

Hedley-Junction: Dufferin-Montmorency Elevated Highway.
Dufferin-Montmorency Elevated Highway hides Hedley-Junction, located virtually behind the wall (and the staging area). The CNR mainline runs in the background, the second track with turnouts leads to the passing track, the yard and the caboose track. The two sidings in the foreground belong to Champlain Oil Co., our local petroleum products dealer. It was first designed as a diesel engine facility and is electrically insulated. It is often used to store a switcher or a road engine. The mainline is colloquially called “Grand Nord”, the French translation for Great Northern Railway of Canada, the company which planned and started to build this track in early 20th century.

Back to the future: Engine 2514 exits Hedley-Junction.

Limoilou yard as seen from the north.  From the background to the foreground are: an industrial siding, the mainline, the four-track yard and the yard passing track. Bachmann Clybourn station is a stand-in for Fournier & Papillon Ltée., a builder’s supplies warehouse.

Limoilou yard as seen from the south.  From the background to the foreground are: Canadian Glassine Ltd. siding, the mainline, the four-track yard, the caboose track, the passing track and Champlain Oil Co. sidings. In the far end of the yard, you can see the tracks curve over Canardière Road Subway.

Canardière Road Subway.

North end of Limoilou yard. The grey building stand-in for Canadian Breweries Ltd. and Christie Brown Co. warehouses. At right are Canardiere Road Subway and Transport Couture Ltée. parking lot. A short lived MOW / Switcher track existed in place of the shanties. Issues with a bad curved turnout and space considerations made it quickly disappear.

Canardière Road Subway.

Between Canardière Road and 18th Street (in the far background) are Transport Couture Ltée. (nn invisible building left to the brick factory), Canada Wood Flush Door Mfg. Ltd. (brick factory) and Citadel Salvage Corp. (Life-Like overhead crane). From the background to the foreground are: the industrial siding, the mainline, the yard lead and the team-track. Team track was initially designed as a stub-ended track, rebuilt as a passing siding for engine and reverted recently to its prior nature.

The rebuilt team track. Transport Couture's buildings are in the background.

18th Street Subway is the gate to the western-most part of the layout called Lairet. The DPM brick structure is Chanteclerc Ltée, a sodium hypochlorite plant. The enclosed water tank is part of Lairet Station. From the background to the foreground are: Chanteclerc siding, the mainline and the yard lead connecting with Lairet Station passing track at right.

Lairet Station as seen from the west. The interlocking tower and grain elevator aren’t part of the layout. In the background, you can recognize Citadel Salvage Corp., the 18th Street Underpass and Chanteclerc Ltée. From right to left are: Lairet Station (infamous Atlas kit), the mainline (Grand Nord), the passing track and Drouin & Drouin Ltée. siding (a lumber yard). The plate girder bridges are 1st Avenue Subway. On the prototype, Lairet Station should be located right to Canardière Road (in the place of the team track), however, for space constraints and to make it more visually interesting, we moved it to 1st Ave.

A close shot of Lairet Station and Drouin & Drouin lumber yard.

One can see a newspaper article pasted on the wall about Mayor Régis Labeaume's new tramway project for Quebec City. Purely there to poke fun at him because he was a strong opponent to rail transportation when elected and now changed his mind as he often do! (Just to make it a short picture, the man is nicknamed "Napoléon Bonaparte" for his furious style of management. A real tramway served Quebec City from 1863 to 1948... But maybe we will fudge things a little bit and make them run until 1957 on Canardière Street (double track) and 1st Avenue (single track). We already have in hand a set of Bachmman Brill Trolley painted in the prototypical Quebec City color scheme.

Lairet Station as seen from the passing track.
1st Avenue Subway.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

CNR #429's First Day of Operation

September 16th, 1957, CNR #429 (ex-QRL&P #22) was put in revenue service after a major overhaul at Pointe St. Charles shops in Montreal. Here's a photo report of her first day of duty pulling westbound CNR freight train #525 from Beaupré to Quebec City on Murray Bay Subdivision.

CNR train #525 exits Hedley Junction as it passes the interlocking tower.
Passing by Limoilou yard and Canadian Glassine Co.
Engine #429 runs over Canardiere Road Overpass at full trottle.
Engine #429 crosses 18th Street Overpass nearby Citadel Salvage Corp.
Train #525 passing an east bound freight train from Montreal at Lairet.
Train #525 passing an east bound freight train from Montreal at Lairet.

Train #525 passing an east bound freight train from Montreal at Lairet.
Train #525 passing an east bound freight train from Montreal at Lairet.

Engine #429 at 1st Avenue Overpass near Lairet Station.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Locomotive CNR #429

CNR #429 running in Allenby after beeing renumbered at Pte St. Charles (1957)

I finally completed this project started two years ago and planned since 1997... The model is an IHC 2-6-0 with oil tender and lettered for Southern Pacific Lines. The prototype is MLW-built ex-QRL&P #22 which sould have been renumbered as CNR #429 in 1951 but was scrapped in 1953. I had to drastically shorten the tender and redo the coal bunker to fit the prototype. Cab details including windows were reworked and a few brass details were added. Railing were redone according to prototype and MLW practices. Paint is an odd mix of Krylon spray can, Polyscale engine black, several shades of Citadel paint (Warhammer!) and Gloss/Dullcoat.

CNR #429 proudly stands on "Grand Nord" mainline in Limoilou Yard (1957)

Wires between tender and engine will need to be redone with connectors. I'll also shorten the draw bar a little bit... This locomotive will now pull trains #524 and #525 on Murray Bay Subdivision. A set of express reefer, combine and coaches in CNR colors will complete the set one day.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Prototype History

Quebec City Railway History Overview

1869-1874: Quebec & Gosford Wooden Railway (Q&G) operates passenger and freight trains from St. Sauveur Station to Gosford County.
1875: Quebec Montreal Ottawa & Occidental Railway (QMO&O) is the first standard railway reaching Quebec City from the North Shore.
1880: Q&G is reorganized as the Quebec & Lake St. John Railway (Q&LSJ) with the goal to reach Chambord near the namesake lake.
1882: QMO&O is sold to Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR). The process will take a few years to complete.
1888: Q&LSJ mainline is completed.
1889: Quebec Montmorency & Charlevoix Railway (QM&C) connects Hedleyville (Limoilou) to Ste. Anne de Beaupré. A station is built at the junction with Q&LSJ in Hedleyville (see header picture). A wye is probably used to turn locomotives north to the right of way, before the bridge to Quebec City is built.
1890: Quebec & Lake St. John Railway (Q&SLJ) extends its mainline from Val-St-Michel to Hedleyville and builds a swing bridge over St. Charles River in a joint venture with QM&C to gain access to Quebec City Downtown.
1891: Talks between QM&C and Q&LSJ about the new union station in Quebec City Downtown fails. Q&LSJ build its own station and shops at Bassin Louise.
1894-1898: QM&C builds a temporary passenger station south to the swing bridge to respect a previous deal with Quebec City Council.
1898: Quebec City pays reluctantly 100 000$ to QM&C for a new station on St. Paul Street.
1899: QM&C changes its name for Quebec Railway Light & Power (QRL&P) after a merger with Quebec District Tramway and Montmorency Falls Electric Power. Ste. Anne de Beaupré line is renamed Montmorency Division.
1900: All QRL&P lines are fully electrified from Quebec City to St. Joachim.
1905: Canadian Northern Railway (CNoR) purchases Q&LSJ and QRL&P builds Mont Mills spur at Morency Junction north to Limoilou.
1908: CNoR builds a new junction between Garneau yard and Limoilou.
1915: Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) builds Palace Station. Access rights are granted to CNoR and Quebec Central Railway (QCR). CNoR Bassin Louise Station and shops are dismantled and a new freight yard and shops are built in Limoilou.
1909-1919: Quebec & Saguenay Railway (Q&S) extends QM&C mainline to Clermont (Charlevoix) from St. Joachim.
1923: CNoR and Q&S are fully absorbed into Canadian National Railway (CNR). CNoR track from Limoilou to Allenby is renamed Lairet Subdivision and ex-Q&LSJ line is renamed St. Raymond Subdivision.
1951: CNR purchases QRL&P Montmorency Division and renames it Murray Bay Subdivision.
1954: St. Paul Street Station is demolished to make room for the new post office.
1959: Commuter service between Quebec City and St. Joachim is abandoned. Remaining tracks at St. Paul Street Station are dismantled.
1960’s-1970’s: Most rail-served industries around Limoilou yard and Lairet Subdivision close their doors.
1964-1974: CNR roundhouse and shops at Limoilou are dismantled.
1976: Dufferin-Montmorency Highway is built. Palace Station closes and tracks are removed to make room for the new highway. In the process, original Hedley-Junction is removed and Limoilou yard modified accordingly. Murray Bay Subdivision now connects to Limoilou through a wye. The turntable is dismantled
1985: Via Rail Canada reopens Palace Station and passenger trains run on CNR mainline over St. Charles River’s bridge.
1990-1997: St. Raymond subdivision is abandoned and converted into a biking trail.
1994: Murray Bay Subdivision is sold to Chemin de fer du Québec (CFQ) and renamed Chemin de fer de Charlevoix (CFC).
1986-2010: Most rail-served industries on Murray Bay Subdivision close.
2010: CFC is sold to Daniel Gauthier (Groupe Le Massif) for tourist trains. CNR obtains rights to operate future freight trains.

Hedley-Junction and Limoilou yard history

Railway service in Quebec City traces its origin back in 1869 when Quebec & Gosford Railway (Q&G) was founded to connect the capital to the northern township of Gosford with a wooden railway. It operated from 1870 until the track went into disrepair in 1874. Followed the Quebec Montreal Ottawa & Occidental (QMO&O) in 1875 which built its terminal were the actual Palace Station stands. In 1882, the long process to sell QMO&O to Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) started. In 1880, Q&G was reorganized as a standard iron-rail line and renamed Quebec & Lake St. John Railway (Q&LSJ). From 1880 to 1888, the new line reached Chambord on Lake St. John from Quebec City through St. Raymond and Rivière-à-Pierre. It shared Canadian Pacific Station in Quebec City (actual Palace Station site) but would soon be a key player in Hedley-Junction birth.

Credits: Q&LSJ brochure (1898), collectionscanada.gc.ca, 2010

A few years erlier, Mr. Hedley, a rich businessman in the lumber trade, founded a village called Hedleyville for his employees. A small yard and station were built there waiting for the day a swing bridge would be built on the river to get direct access to Quebec City business district.

Credits: QM&C brochure (circa 1890), banq.qc.ca, 2007

In 1889, Horace Jansen Beemer, a well-known railway contractor in the area who had undertaken the city aqueduct yearss before, decided to build a new railway line to haul pilgrims to St. Anne de Beaupré Shrine, which was recently granted the prestigious title of Basilica by Pope Leo XIII in 1887. This new company was known as Quebec Montmorency & Charlevoix Railway (QM&C) and had a chart granting permission to extend the line to Tadoussac River (a feat it never did).

Credits: Train wreck at Hedleyville (circa 1890), banq.qc.ca, 2010

Naturally, Hedleyville became the new terminus for this line and soon Q&LSJ dicided to connect its mainline from Val-St-Michel to QM&C. The station was located near St. Charles River between both mainline and the QM&C yard was east of it. At this time, Hedleyville was a busy place and the small industrial village was quickly incorporated. After a few merger, the new town was renamed Limoilou in honor of Jacques Cartier’s birthplace. Over the years, the railways switched the name to Limoilou even if the former name “Hedley” would stay in colloquial speech until now. There's no proof Q&LSJ built the actual yard and it would be unlikely.

Credits: First swing bridge built accross St. Charles River (circa 1905), banq.qc.ca, 2010

By the end of 1889, talks between QM&C and Q&LSJ took place. Both companies wanted to build a swing bridge over St. Charles River and a modern union station in downtown Quebec City. Rivalry and jealousy between both companies prevented this to happen. Nobody wanted to pay and operate the bridge! Finally, in 1890, Quebec City council forced them to work together and Q&LSJ and QM&C finally agreed to build the bridge the same year.

Credits: Q&LSJ Station (circa 1905), F. C. Würtele, banq.qc.ca, 2010

Collaboration between the two railways never went further and no compromise was reached about the union station. In 1891, Q&LSJ decided to move on and quickly built a new and elegant terminal on St. André Street. It included a 3-storey victorian passenger stations, a 3-storey freight warehouse (picture: behind de station), a yard, a shop and a roundhouse (picture: right to the station, not visible).

Credits: Valentines & Sons Publishing Co. (circa 1905), banq.qc.ca, 2010

QM&C was slower to respect its previous agreement with Quebec City, effectively taking it in hostage to get subsidies for the new station. In 1895, the exasperated City council gave in and $100 000 were officially granted to build an already built strectch of track between the Hedleyville and Quebec City Harbour. A scandal burst out when public discovered the cunning strategy in 1898. This time, QM&C finally decided to build what would be known as St. Paul Street Station.

From this point, Hedley Junction focussed on freight interchange, both yard developing large facilities. North to Limoilou yard, on Canardière Road, Lairet Station was built. This wooden structure would be the last remaining passenger station in Quebec City until it was finally razed in summer 2007 (excluding CPR Palace Station and modern VIA Rail Ste-Foy Station formerly know as Bridge Station).

Credits: #405 leaving St. Paul Station (Sept. 1954), petespix75, flickr.com, 2010

In 1900, QM&C became the Quebec Railway Light & Power (QRL&P) and electrified its line. Interurban style service was implemented and the line renamed Montmorency Division. In 1919, extension to Clermont (Charlevoix) was completed but under a different ownership. This new line went under CNR management and was known as Murray Bay Subdivision. Steam power was still used to do interchange with other railways in Quebec City and St. Joachim.

Somewhere around 1905, Q&LSJ was sold to Great Northern Railway of Canada, a short-lived company quickly absorbed into Canadian Northern Railway (CNoR). Despite this fact, many railroaders still refer to the west mainline in Limoilou yard as "Le Grand Nord", the French translation for "Great Northern".

Circa 1908, a new and direct CNoR mainline reached Quebec City from Garneau through a wye junction north to Limoilou yard. National Transcontinental Railway (NTR) joined with CPR at Cadornac Jct and finally connected Quebec City to South Shore and New England railways through the infamous Quebec Bridge in 1919.

Credits: Palace Station (1948), Paul Carpentier, banq.qc.ca, 2010

In 1915, Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) upgraded significantly its infrastructures by building the famous Gare du Palais (Palace Station). It was not an union station, but CPR granted access to CNR and Quebec Central Railway. At this time, former Q&LSJ station on St. André Street was demolished. However, even if Hedley Junction was near CPR and sharing some trackage in Quebec City Harbour, interchange was scarce with CNR/QRL&P at this place. Most CNR passenger trains had to run on CPR track from Cadorna Junction (St. Sauveur ward) to Palace Station until 1976. No direct link existed between CNR track and CPR Palace Station so commuter trains from St. Raymond and Murray Bay Subdivisions had to enter the station backward from an interchange near former St. Paul Street Station.

Credits: Quebec Tpographic Map (1920), banq.qc.ca, 2010

Circa 1915, after former Q&LSJ terminal at Bassin Louise was dismanteld, CNoR built the actual Limoilou yard and shops incluading a large roundhouse. In 1923, it was fully merged into Canadian National Railway. In 1927, QRL&P built the modern Limoilou shops equipped with a transfer table east to Hedley Junction.

Credits: #4509 at Limoilou (1967), Don Jaworski, cnrphotos.com, 2010 

In 1951, QRL&P was sold to CNR and electric traction was abandoned in 1959 in favour of dieselization. The line became part of Murray Bay Subdivision and by late 1959, all interurban passenger service was abandoned because of automobile concurrence. St. Paul Street Station was demolished the same year and the land cleared to erect a new post office. During the 1960's, CNR also built the new Battures de Beauport yard south-east from QRL&P interchange yard. By 1974, the roundhouse and car shops were long gone; the turntable survived until 1976 when the yard was redesigned to make room for a new highway.

Credits: Train from La Malbaie (Murray Bay), Gerry Burridge, circa 1960-1964.

The last daily commuter trains to travel through Hedley Junction in the early 1970's were deserving St. Raymond and Murray Bay Subdivisions (excluding the former Montmorency Division)

Credits: Last passenger train, Gerry Burridge, 31th August 1976
In 1976, Palace Station closed, all CPR properties were vacated to make room for a new elevated highway. Track was removed as far as Cadorna Junction, near St. Malo ex-NTR facilities. The historic station was scheduled for demolition but barely survived after protests from architects and the local population.

Credits: Transportation Safety Board of Canada (2009), tsb.gc.ca, 2010

Dufferin-Montmorency Highway (440) between St. Roch Ward in Quebec City and Beauport was completed in 1976. This project, planned in the late 1950’s and built from 1962 to 1980 needed to make room for the modernity. Parts of St. Roch and particularly the Chinatown were razed; Hedley Junction, its station and the former QRL&P double mainline were expropriated and replaced by a concrete elevated highway. Marshes east to this yard and parts of St. Lawrence River were filled in the process. Murray Bay Subdivision lost its direct access to Quebec City Harbour and was rerouted through a new wye built south to the former CNR roundhouse.

Credits: Pierre Fourier (1994), banq.qc.ca, 2010

In 1985, Palace Station was fully restored and reopened. However, VIA Rail trains now use CNR track crossing the St. Charles River to access the station. In 1992, Palace Station was recognized Heritage Station by federal government and is now preserved by law.

In the 1990’s Limoilou yard became dependent from Joffre yard located in Charny. Engine houses and car shops were long gone since the 1960’s and most of the small industries located along the yard closed over the 1970’s.

Credits: CFC train exits the wye (2008), Maxime Larouche,  railpictures.net, 2010

From 1990 to 1997, St. Raymond Subdivision is closed slowly closed section by section and finally transformed into a 22 km biking trail known as Corridor des Cheminots. The next year, Murray Bay Subdivision was sold to Quebec Railways (Chemin de fer Charlevoix; CFC) and went back under CNR management in 2010, with Le Massif de Charlevoix as operator. A major track overhaul occurred this same year in prevision of a future tourist train. From a certain point of view, Hedley Junction disappeared quietly in 1976, its right of way converted into a questionable highway which still fuels interrogation about messy urban planning from the 1960’s.

Quebec City Harbour activities grew steadily in the recent years in favour of rail transport. Nowadays, Limoilou yard handle bulk freight such as grain, chemicals, minerals and oil products. CPR no longer access the old city, subcontracting its trains to Quebec-Gatineau Railway.