The last of the TH&B rolling stock.

A conversation precipitated out of the topic of distressing and weathering the Canadian 70 ton gondolas I built from P2K kits in my previous post.  That conversation gave me cause to look back at some of the photos I used for reference in this project.  It struck me that, for anyone who is into Canadian railroading, this is a neat photo.  I decided to post the photo, even though it’s not directly related to building models.

The photo was taken in 1989, about three years after CP had taken 100% ownership of the TH&B.  The entire railway, its real estate holdings, rolling stock, motive power, rights of way, was being rationalized by the new owners and its operations folded into theirs.  Much of the TH&B rolling stock was in need of repair by the early 80s, but they deferred maintenance because there was ample supply of CP equipment available to provide to customers.  By the time of this photo, the CP management decided to gather all of the TH&B rolling stock together and have it systematically disposed of, and at the same time demolish any structures that were superfluous to their operations, which meant that nearly every structure was razed.

At the time of this photo, Kinnear Old South yard was filled with rolling stock ready for disposal.  The same grim portrait could be taken at Welland Yard around the same time.  On the right, a line of general service 40 foot boxcars are stuffed into track 4 and have nearly become part of the forest.  Tracks 2 and 3 are also filled to their capacities with gondolas and a couple of flat cars.  A string of slab-side covered hoppers fills Track 1.  The rolling stock roundup was a grim time for fans of the TH&B.

TH&B 70 ton riveted gondolas, bad ordered account rotten floors, stored at Kinnear Old South yard 1989.  Photo by Gerry Schaefer.

TH&B 70 ton riveted gondolas, bad ordered account rotten floors, stored at Kinnear Old South yard 1989. Photo by Gerry Schaefer.

Canadian Mill Gondolas – Part 3 TH&B 2358

TH&B 2519 at Kinnear Yard, October 9, 1988. 2519 was scrapped at Intermetco in Welland, ON on May 24, 1989. Lance Brown photo.

TH&B 2519 at Kinnear Yard, October 9, 1988. 2519 was scrapped at Intermetco in Welland, ON on May 24, 1989. Lance Brown photo.

This is a continuation of a series about modelling Canadian mill gondolas.  In the previous post I outlined the process for modifying at P2K to more accurately represent a Canadian gondola.  In this post, I’ll discuss the TH&B repainting practices, and then show you how my factory painted model turned out.

Lance Brown provided some photos and history on some of the TH&B gondolas.  Here, two examples from the 2500 series are shown, above and below.   Primary documents for 2519 are curious.  Car Shops documents indicate that this car was repaired in February 1980, during which time it received new floors and paint.  Mechanical Dept. records (up to the end of the TH&B in December of 1986) make no further mention of this car.  Car Control indicates this car was held for heavy repairs as of November 10 1981. Notice the simplified logo showing a white outline and white letters. TH&B 2512 (below) was also repainted since delivery from National Steel Car, but had the original style logo applied at the time of the repaint.

TH&B 2512

TH&B 2512 at Aberdeen Yard, June 1986.  Lance Brown photo.

The above two photos prove the mixing of heralds when cars were repainted.  I chose to keep my model in it’s factory applied repaint scheme, though I have yet to seek out information on whether this car had the simplified herald applied at the time of the repaint.

Here are some shots of my model of TH&B 52’6″ mill gondola 2358 made from a P2K’s model of a Greenville car.  Obviously, this model is the least accurate of the three that I built because of the major discrepancy with the configuration of the ends.

Aging of this car was done using heat to deform the sides and ends, and then chalks and an airbrush to apply weathering.  A pastel dust of a variety of colours and some random trash was glued down to the floor because I’ve rarely seen a completely empty gondola.  Finally, I brushed on small spots of Microsol Gloss to represent oil or water puddles/stains on the floor.

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Canadian Mill Gondolas – Part 2

In this post, I’ll continue from the previous post in this series where I described the history of the CP and TH&B mill gondolas I’m building in HO scale.

TH&B 70 ton mill gondola 2495 in Aberdeen Yard on October 15th 1988. his car was servicable at the time of scrapping which occurred at United Steel Metals in Hamilton, ON on April 6, 1989. Lance Brown photo.

TH&B 70 ton mill gondola 2495 in Aberdeen Yard on October 15th 1988. This car was serviceable at the time of its scrapping, which occurred at United Steel Metals in Hamilton, ON on April 6, 1989. Lance Brown photo.

Having established that there are no suitable models for these Canadian built cars In HO scale, the old Proto 2000 52’6″ drop end mill gondola will serve as a stand-in because it matches the overall dimensions of the Canadian cars, despite the fact that it falls short of representing the Canadian built cars.  The P2K kit was purportedly based on a car built by the Greenville Car Company for the Erie Railroad in the 40s  [if anyone has a prototype photo they’d be willing to share, send it to me and I’ll insert it into this post].  I’ll use this model as a stand-in until something accurate comes along.

P2K gondola box

I considered bashing this model into an accurate representation of the TH&B and CP cars.  In my estimation, the process of removing and then replacing details worked out to be nearly as much work as scratch building.  All of the ribs would have to be removed and replaced in different locations with ribs of a different cross section, the entirety of both ends of the TH&B cars would need to come off and reconstructed, and all of the tie downs would also need to be reconfigured.  I still have plenty of other projects on the go that require a great deal of my time (cough, ore cars, cough), so in the interest of getting a few cars up and running quickly, I decided to follow the lead of my colleagues at the WRMRC. They’ve been doing one simple modification to the P2K kit to bring it a step closer to representing a Canadian prototype, and perhaps more importantly, to set it apart from the gondolas in our fleet that are from American roads.

Notice that the P2K kit has sloped side sills, just like the Canadian cars.  The slope on the P2K car spans the distance between the 2nd and 4th rib from each end.  The slope on the Canadian cars only spans the distance between the 2nd and 3rd ribs from each end. The modification that was shown to me by the WRMRC guys involves slicing the bottom of the sill between the second rib from each end.  The sill now looks more like the Canadian cars.

There are still major discrepancies between the model and the prototype, not the least of which include the incorrect number of ribs and their spacing, and the shape of each rib.  I agree with my friends who’ve already done this modification; this work represents the threshold beyond which it becomes a major reworking of the model.  In the photo below, taken after the slicing of the sill, you can see that the slope spans only one panel between two ribs.

Sliced Sill

I had three of these P2K cars cars on hand.  I had already assembled one of them years ago.  This one was factory painted TH&B.  Two others were still unassembled and factory painted in Canadian Pacific with script lettering.  One additional car that was an abandoned work-in-progress was given to me when I was almost finished the first three.  I decided to keep the factory paint on the TH&B car.  The TH&B scheme on the car is an accurate representation of a car that was repainted since delivery from National Steel Car.

The two CP cars needed to have their factory paint stripped.  The CP script lettering that the model came with was applied to new cars for a relatively short period of time by the original builders long after these cars gondolas were built.  The script scheme was never applied by in-house car shops crews at CP.  Therefore, these gondolas painted in script lettering were either non-existent, or extremely rare.  I wanted mine to be in block lettering because the vast majority of the prototype cars, if not all, were painted this way.

Once I had stripped the two CP cars, I used a low powered soldering iron to heat the plastic.  I used a variety of small metal tools with rounded surfaces and edges to push the soft plastic outward from the inside in order to create dents in the sides of all three cars.  With the soldering iron clamped in place, I heated the plastic on each individual panel by placing the model close to the soldering iron, being careful to never let it touch the plastic.  Alternating between the inside and the outside of the car helped to soften the plastic enough that I was able to push the metal tool onto the plastic panel from inside.  Once I was satisfied with the damage, I painted both of the newly stripped cars with black and shot them with gloss coat to prep the surface for decals.

CP gondolas ready for decals (2)CP gondolas ready for decals

I used Black Cat Publishing’s HO decal set BC129 for the CP cars.  These are excellent decals to work with, and the artwork is superb.  Unfortunately, I didn’t take any shots of the cars with fresh decals on them.  Once the lettering was applied on the CP cars, I proceeded to assemble them.  Before I got too far into the assembly, I painted and weathered the floors with a variety of commercial weathering powders, and some that I made from artist pastels by sanding them and collecting the dust.  I had to work with the TH&B car in its assembled state, which required some masking of the insides in order to weather the wooden floors differently from the metal sides, but the process and techniques were otherwise the same.  Here are the two floors just prior to being glued into the CP cars.

IMG_1628 IMG_1627

Once the cars were assembled, I experimented with a variety of techniques for weathering.  The TH&B car was done only with weathering chalks and very subtle airbrushing.  The CP cars were done with a combination of artist oils, weathering chalks, and airbrushing.   In the next post in this series, I’ll show you how the TH&B car turned out.

Canadian Mill Gondolas – Part 1

I find Gondolas to be the most interesting piece of railroad equipment.  Perhaps this is because I grew up in a steel town where battered and beaten gondolas full of scrap and finished steel abound.  In order to realistically reproduce the rag-tag effect of a long string of gondolas, there needs to be variety in their shape and size.  Unfortunately, there are not enough different models available to choose from, and my challenge is made more difficult by the fact that commercially available models of Canadian prototypes are even less abundant.  Narrow things down to prototype cars that were in use during the 70s and my challenge is compounded.  Every model is a compromise, but my enjoyment of the hobby seems to increase in an inverse proportion to those compromises.  In this post, and a few that will follow, I’ll outline how I came up with reasonable stand-in models of some Canadian gondolas using a very common model of an American prototype.

The gondolas I’m focusing on were built in the 1950s.  Not surprisingly, the technology used to build railcars by the Canadian builders was no different from that being used by builders in the U.S.  I’m not an expert on the matter, but my understanding is that the railcar building situation in Canada during that time was such that there were three major players, and all three were distinctly Canadian companies.  Canadian Car & Foundry in Montreal, National Steel Car in Hamilton Ontario, and Eastern Car Company in Trenton Nova Scotia were the big players in Canada.  There were other smaller and specialized operations, but these were the three companies building large numbers of freight cars from the period after WWII until about the early 60s when Hawker Siddeley came into the picture. [note: Chris Van Der Heide provided a handy overview of the history of railcar builders in Canada after WWII in the comments for this post.]  Canadian railroads tended to buy from Canadian railcar builders, likely because there was a bureaucratic incentive, but possibly because these builders were also customers.  For instance, National Steel Car was a big customer of TH&B, and most of the TH&B rolling stock was built by NSC.

I model the 1970s, but I’m focusing on that post-WWII era for this series because the cars I’m modelling would still be in revenue service during the 70s, but they would already be pretty heavily worn from rough handling. Mill gondolas are very simple pieces of rolling stock, and because of the nature of what they carry and how they carry it, those post-war all-steel gondolas were useable for a very long time.  In the photo below, a TH&B mill gondola was bad-ordered after 30 years of service.

Image

TH&B mill gondola 2491 on track 2 of Kinnear Old South Yard awaiting movement to Intermetco in Welland for scrapping on May 15th 1989. Photo by Gerry Schaefer.

Before I built up my models, I did a bit of research on the prototypes I wanted to depict. The TH&B car in the photo above was built in May of 1957 by National Steel Car.  TH&B bought 100 copies of this car, numbered 2400-2499, and they took delivery of 50 more in the fall of 1957 numbered 2500-2549.  These are 156,000 lb or 70 ton capacity cars that measure 52’6″ in length.  Notice that the car in the photo has no drop ends, and is built with rivet construction during a time when welded construction was becoming more common throughout the rail car industry.   I find it curious that they purchased a riveted car in 1957.  Perhaps they wanted cars that were exactly the same as the same as the 100 car order they placed with National Steel Car in 1953.  Those cars are were numbered 2300-2399, and were identical to the 1957 orders.

THB2319

Taken in 1989, this photo shows an example of a 2300 series car at Aberdeen Yard behind the car shops. This car was out of revenue service and loaded with debris from the process of demolishing various TH&B facilities in Hamilton, undertaken by CP, the new owners. Photo by Gerry Schaefer

TH&B 70 ton mill gondola 2470 in Welland Yard September 18th 1988. This car was bad ordered for deteriorated floor decking on August 26, 1983 and was scrapped at Intermetco in Welland, ON on April 26, 1989. Lance Brown photo.

TH&B 70 ton mill gondola 2470 in Welland Yard September 18th 1988. This car was bad ordered for deteriorated floor decking on August 26, 1983 and was scrapped at Intermetco in Welland, ON on April 26, 1989. Lance Brown photo.

Canadian Pacific gondolas from the same era were very similar, dimensionally at least, and  represent the standard design practices of the late 40s, which carried over into the 50s:  70 ton capacity, riveted steel construction, wooden floors, 52’6″ in length, and drop ends for loads that are longer than the car.  The following photos are from the Canadian Freight Car Gallery, a great source for photos.

Peter J. Vincent took this photo of CP 341810 in Chicago in 1979.  This car was built by Easter Car Works in 1956 and represents the prototype for my two CP models.

Peter J. Vincent took this photo of CP 341810 in Chicago in 1979. This car was built by Easter Car Company in 1956 and represents the prototype for my two CP models.

Jurgen Kleylein took this photo of CP 338714.  This car was built by Easter Car Works in 1951.  It has been repainted from the black block lettering with which it was delivered.

Jurgen Kleylein took this photo of CP 338714. This car was built by Easter Car Company in 1951. It has been repainted from black with block lettering (in which it was delivered) to sport CP’s Multimark logo on Action Red.

Knowing a bit more about the prototype cars, I was able to move forward with some models.  In Part 2, I’ll describe how I built up, and then beat up, one TH&B and two CP  mill gondolas as they might have appeared in the 1970s.