For Sale: SW1200RS “custom”

As I accumulate better quality models for my layout, I’ve been going through the very last remnants of the models that I built many years ago. This one was dear to my heart, back in the day. GMD’s SW1200RS are uniquely Canadian, and were ubiquitous in southern Ontario at the time that I built this model. But I’ve since built two of these from Kaslo shells using Proto drives, and this model no longer stands up to the standards that I’ve established for my hobby. I hope I can find a new home for CP 8109. For anyone interested in adopting, here’s what you get.

I built this model some time back in the early-mid 80s. It’s built from an Athearn Blue Box “SW-1500” which, at the time, was a mis-labeled SW-1200(ish) model. Additional parts came from a Juneco conversion kit comprised mostly of white metal parts. I can identify other parts that were not in the Juneco kit. Best to refer to the photos below.

I probably painted the model with Floquil that I mixed by eye to approximate faded CP Action Red. It looks like I used decals for the cab numbers and perhaps CDS dry transfers for “CP Rail” lettering. The multi-mark was done with either a dry transfer or masked/airbrushed. It’s been a while since the mid 80s and I’ve lived some since then, so the details of how I built this thing elude me.

The photos are VERY tightly cropped and taken in hi-res, so you get to see the model “warts and all.” This is a DC engine with Athearn’s old open frame motor and cast metal flywheels. It has Kadee #5 couplers. I know it runs, but I haven’t run it very far. Its new owner would be well advised to disassemble the drive, clean off all the lubricants, and give it a thorough inspection before reassembling it.

I see that there are some people out there who still enjoy Blue Box models and ‘vintage’ Juneco kits, so I decided to post this as ‘for sale’ to see if anyone is interested. Asking $70 (Canadian). Surprisingly, this model sold within an hour of writing this post.

Woodchips in, Writing Paper out

An ancient Ford pick-up in the employee parking lot at International Paper is having a reunion of sorts with some steam-era boxcars. They’re running out their last revenue miles performing the inglorious task of hauling woodchips from central and northern Ontario to North Tonawanda.


The employees apparently have great faith in the track work within the plant. That shiny new Gremlin could easily be taken out if the spindly rail and rotten roadbed gives way. Or maybe the regretful owner is counting a calamity so he can replace his lemon on the company dime.

At the other end of the property, and the other end of the spectrum, a pair of Precision Design boxcars will be spotted at the warehouse for loading with fine writing paper.


More elements of my paper plant are coming together. My small fleet of ramshackle steam-era boxcars in woodchip service is just about finished. I’ve collected a few modern boxcars for moving the finished product off of the property (including a small fleet of the ubiquitous X-58). The first vehicles have shown up on my layout: a pair of fresh cherries, a mystery brand Ford pickup, and a Reimer tractor-trailer.

More NSC 10’0″ height 40′ Boxcars


I recently started working on two Ontario Northland 40′ boxcars to get them ready to put onto the layout. After I started those, I realized it would make sense to work on a pair of similar cars in a 1950s CN paint scheme. Well, yesterday I found a third CN car that I forgot about. This one is in an older (as delivered?) CN scheme.

The models are by True Line Trains and all require similar modifications. It makes sense to work on all five at the same time. In the photo above, you can see that I’ve bee applying ACI labels and lube plates to the CN cars. I’ve also applied a variety of patching to all of the cars to represent changes to data and instructions painted on the side of the cars. This is still a work in progress, but I thought an update would be of interest to some readers.

These will be part of a fleet of cars that will serve the paper plant on my home layout, and could also be blocked onto Lehigh Valley and Penn Central trains headed for the Niagara Falls interchange with CN, when I eventually get around to expanding the layout.

A visit to Kingsville Ontario

Friends and long-time readers of this blog know that I like combining my interests of cycling and railroad history. In a quest to ride more of southern Ontario’s rail trail miles, I spent the weekend camped in Wheatley and managed to squeeze in some layout visits while I was there.

After setting up camp on Friday afternoon, I visited Tim at Action Hobbies Kingsville to spend some money and meet up with some local modellers. The local club meets there and is working on a massive layout at the store. After took me on a tour of the layout and then over to Bob Sanford’s house. Bob is modelling the C&O Canadian District and part of the CASO on his layout. He has depicted a number of the important landmarks from the ex Pere Marquette operations in southern Ontario. Bob’s layout room was impeccably tidy, and very comfortably appointed with lots of space for operators, and he gets extra points having a built-in bar fridge to top off the hospitality.


Bob’s model of a Canadian-built GMD GP7 in the photo above contributes to the strong sense of locale on his layout. Bob builds some very nice structures using any combination of scratch building, kits, and kitbashing to accomplish his goals. The photos below testify to is skill.




The visit to Bob’s layout was followed by dinner on the patio at Mettawa’s Station Restaurant in the restored C&O Kingsville station. Their fine local food and drink helped us to get better acquainted and establish some new friendships.


The last stop of the night was a visit to Mark Roach’s Delaware & Hudson layout. Mark is a bit of mad scientist in that he has equipped his layout with an abundance of electronic gadgetry, like operating signals and illumination inside of countless buildings (including some that are in the backdrop). Mark has created a backdrop of Binghamton NY by layering photos of actual buildings. This, combined with the built-in illumination create an effect of depth that belies the layout’s actual size.


Mark is an inventive problem solver and an exquisite modeller, as can be seen in the photo below showing an abandoned coaling tower that he scratch-built from styrene and plaster.


Below, an empty auto rack train crosses Mark’s stunning model of the Tunkhannock Viaduct.


Below, we re-created a classic shot from Sturrucca viaduct on Mark’s layout.


I enjoyed meeting these very talented and hospitable modellers. I was inspired to get home and work on making my layout the club layout more photogenic. It was a late night on Friday, but I got back to camp in time to make plans for the two days of riding that followed. I’ll post more about that soon.


Finished Projects: PC SW1500 and N-12 Caboose

Two more projects came off the workbench today.


Penn Central 9570 is an Athearn RTR SW1500 that I bought through an online group two years ago. The only work I did to it was install a decoder, renumber it, and add an ACI label. I had to mess with the handrails for a long time, and they still aren’t quite right.  I might some day replace them with hand-bent wire handrails, but for now, I’m calling it finished. I weathered it using artist oils, airbrushed acrylics, and Bragdon powders. I expected that these locomotives would have been relatively clean because they were some of the newest power that PC bought.  Photos prove that they probably didn’t see the wash rack until they got repainted by Conrail. This model has been on and off the bench for some time. My friend Jurgen helped me get the decoder programmed properly, so it was time to finish off the last of the weathering.


Penn Central 24520 is a stock Walthers N-12 caboose.  I weathered it with airbrushed acrylics and Bragdon powders.  This is the second “road” caboose that I’ve recently added to the fleet.