Monday, January 6, 2020

2019 Post Mortem

I'll remember 2019 as a generally nasty and depressing year. On the other hand, model railroading played its intended role for me and provided a a significant escape to do positive things. Hobbies are often described as fun endeavours but they indeed play a much more complex role in our lives, bringing balance as required.

As I stated earlier last year, I didn't have clear goals in mind, but it was to be known Clermont and Wieland would take a huge part of our efforts and it certainly did. Progress were made at a decent pace, reaching a satisfying level by Christmas. Most basic ground cover is in place, most structures too and several roads. It will probably take several month to reach completion, but were have definitely reached a point of no return. Interestingly, this first layer of scenery, while bringing life to the layout, only underline how nature is complex and can't replicated by applying a single-pass formula.

In terms of motive power, we started with big hopes and achieved very little. Full of guilt, we installed lenses and LED to our pair of LLPX GP15-1s on December 30th to salvage our pride! The units are now fully functional but will require quite a bit of tweaking and programming to work flawlessly. Anyway, this is a big step forward. The NBEC ex-CP Rail RS18 is almost done too. Installing LEDs proved to be extremely frustrating and thus, the locomotive isn't yet fully functional. It should be done in a matter of a few days.

This year motive power big project should be to assemble and paint three Rapido SW1200RS switchers in CFC colors. As most readers know, I had problem sourcing all the missing parts and at some point, I didn't get replies from Rapido. With the big issues plaguing their RS18, I can understand my case wouldn't be prioritized. On the positive side, I found out several GMD1 spare parts can be used on the SW1200RS and I'll try my luck.

In terms of rolling stock, I continued to build up a "prototypical" fleet for the layout. Several old Athearn Blue Box era kits were improved with better details and weathering. Also, I experimented with infamous LBF Hi-Cube boxcars so they could be made more prototypical and better detailed. All in all, the fleet is almost complete, except for gondolas which are still missing.

In that regard, I worked again on my woodchip gondola project. Unfortunately, a busy work schedule and other commitment made it hard to meet my Christmas deadline. The revised prototypes were printed but not yet assembled. I wish to do so as soon as possible. I hope this project will finally come to life in 2020.

As for my personal projects at home, they stalled at various stage due to various circumstances. I'm still working on my hobby room, which is taking far more time than anticipated. Fortunately, it didn't stop me from experimenting with small modules and I have a better vision of what I'm trying to do. I would be glad if I could put Harlem Station back in service once again! As for Temiscouata, it's only a matter of time. The vision is now clear in my mind, but until then, Hedley Junction will have my full attention.

Happy new year!

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