About this blog…


This is my corner of the internet were I write, learn, and share my experience of building model trains.

I started writing this blog in August of 2012.  The vast majority of material I wrote from that time until about the end of 2013 was informed by my involvement with the  Waterloo Region Model Railroad Club, where I’m currently on the executive. We’re building a massive HO scale layout depicting CP Rail’s operations in and around Sudbury Ontario (Canada) in the 1970s.  I created this blog’s name to express the focus of my modelling at the time.

“Ontario? I see a lot of non-Ontario modelling here.”

My modelling changed in September of 2013, when I bought a new house with space for a layout. During the autumn of 2013, I researched and brainstormed ideas with friends (thanks especially to Trevor Marshall and Lance Brown). Early on, I chose the 1970s as a general era for the layout, and soon after, I affirmed that that Canada Southern (CASO) and TH&B railways were at the top of my list of favourites. Close behind those were the array of fallen flags that ran into or through Buffalo NY. That was still a very large field of interest, but it was an anchor for my planning daydreams and doodles.

I eventually distilled the theme of my home layout by paying attention to the kinds of railroad images that sparked the enthusiasm. It turned out that my nostalgia for the early 1970s, when my father took me trackside within an hour or so from home, would hold the answer to my layout plan.

By February of 2014, I’d established the setting and era of my new home layout, and by March of that year, I had a conceptual plan for the layout. North Tonawanda NY, proved to be the best location to accommodate my nostalgia. By the 1970s, the former NYC Niagara Branch served as the eastern-most extension of the CASO. Penn Central was using it as a bridge between Buffalo’s Frontier Yard and the border crossing into Canada at Niagara Falls.

The era that I chose to model was based entirely on a desire to run pre-Conrail locomotives and rolling stock. Patched-out schemes wasn’t good enough for my interests, so the era of my layout is defined by the years that Penn Central was operating: February 1, 1968 through March 31, 1976, the day before “Conrail Day.”

The complexion of this blog has changed now that I’m building a home layout that depicts the Penn Central.  I considered starting a new blog with a title that would reflect the theme of my home layout, but in the end I decided to keep things as they are. The title is still appropriate because I remain an active member of the WRMRC, and my layout captures the operations of the easternmost end of the Canada Southern.

“Are you a custom builder or painter?”

In a word: no. In three words: yes and no.

The best professional builders are endowed with the experience of having built hundreds or even thousands of models for customers. They’ll do the work efficiently, handle with ease the payment transaction and shipping of the model, and provide you with a gallery of models they’ve built for other people. These are typically people who have no other vocation aside from building or painting models. I can personally refer you to the best of them, which is where you should probably start your search anyway.

Having said that, I have done a limited amount of custom work for people, and I will take on individual projects from time to time. This is not a commercial site, so I have no way to invoice you, aside from using cash or Paypal. Feel free to contact me if you see something on my blog that you would like me to recreate for you. We’ll go from there.

The Rules of this Blog

I am only an expert on my own accomplishments and failures. I hope that this blog facilitates a dialogue. Your advice, corrections, opinions (including dissenting opinions), and even tangential topics are welcome contributions to any dialogue that takes place here. I’ve seen online discussions degenerate into personal insults and pointless rants. Knowledge and information are only of use when they are shared, but remember that this is my personal blog. Please read it and leave comments.  My only stipulation is that you practice civility.





6 thoughts on “About this blog…

  1. I have enjoyed reading how you aged the C.P.R. gondola car. That being said, I would appreciate if you could tell me how far away from the plastic, you held the soldering iron.
    I have tried a few things (glue, flame and touching the iron to the plastic), all of which failed. I’m running out of practice pieces also. Thanx for your time. Steve

    • Welcome Steve. I hope you find the blog interesting.

      To deflect the sides of the gondolas with heat, I used a 22 watt soldering iron held about ½ inch to 1 inch below the piece of plastic I wanted to deflect. I alternated applying heat to both sides. Once the plastic was beginning to show signs of being pliable, I used a dental tool with a spoon shape to push the panel outwards from the inside.

      It took about an hour to do one car because I worked pretty slowly, making sure that the model didn’t get too hot.

  2. Thank You Thank You!!! I will give that a try and let you know about the final results. just 1 final question, about how long before the plastic deformed? Keep up the good work. Thanx again Steve.

  3. Hello Hunter…
    I just read your “Perspective” article in the January 2016 issue of RMC.
    My name is Eric Roth, and I model the CASO in 1953, St. Thomas yard, as well as the St. Clair, {Courtright} branch.
    I was raised as a small boy in Woodstock, Ontario, and would love to contact Bob Fallowfield, as I worked for the CPR in Windsor, from 1970 until 1986.
    Woodstock has always been “Railroad Alma Mater”, as that is where I first became interested in trains. My dad and I would hang around down at the depot in 1954/5/6/&7 and watch the trains, as well as the old D 10s that worked the Ingersoll, Port Burwell, and St. Thomas branch…
    Could you contact Bob for me and forward my email address to him, please?
    I have some anecdotes he might be interested in hearing.

    Email address is: raeroth@bell.net

    Thank you.
    Eric Roth
    Algonquin Highlands, Ontario.

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