Saturday, December 27, 2008

Rosedale upgrade

A new house in Rosedale provides a hint that there are people living in the community. I put together a "Branchline" house kit and added it to the front of the layout, along with a new "private crossing" that provides road access to the Irving Bulk plant and the string of potato houses.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

More Moncton photos

Here are a couple more photos of the Moncton operating crew on Saturday, December 13. Below, Milne is operating the Carleton-York peddler as it crosses the Rosedale Road between Waterville and Rosedale. Milne was especially adept at the prototypical use of the locomotive's horn at the highway crossings. In the photo below, while yardmaster Mike finishes making up the "Newbridge Turn", Jim waits to take the train out of the Avondale yard.
Thanks guys for an enjoyable day.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Moncton Operators, Northampton Train

Although operating sessions have been rare lately, a group of five Monctonians operated a busy schedule over the Carleton Railway on Saturday, December 13. One of the highlights of the day was the arrival of #24 (the Northampton mixed train) at the end of the day. The unexpectedly long train, with engineer Milne and brakeman Murray, brought five loads of logs to Patterson's mill, a tank car for the Esso bulk plant, a hopper load of ballast to be used by the track gang, and several empty freight cars for loading at the local industries. At the end of the train was the rejuvenated heavyweight coach Muniac filled with workers for the mill. The above photo shows RSD-15s 2416 and 2417 at the front of the Northampton mixed train as it pulled into the bustling community. Although the yard tracks resemble a switching puzzle, the crew ably spotted the various freight cars at local industries in short order.
Above, John works as yardmaster in South Newbridge. As always, South Newbridge was a very busy spot with a lot of cars to deliver to local industries.

Murray is the engineer on today's Fast Freight West. In the above photo, he is switching cars in the Millville Yard before departing toward Avondale. This was Murray's first visit to the Carleton Railway.
Although there have been few operating sessions this fall, the Carleton Railway has been a busy place: I have been troubleshooting some of the track trouble spots, working to improve the reliability of the freight car fleet, adding more scenic details, and making changes to the timetable. I still have a few projects to complete, so regularly scheduled operating sessions won't begin again until March 2009 (celebrating the third anniversary of operations on the layout).

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Parade Marks Opening of Overpass

The past weekend marked two major milestones for the Carleton Railway. The Carleton Railway took part for the first time in the Saint John club's annual show. Four modules depicting the Carleton Railway's Monticello, Maine freight yard and interchange with the BAR were part of the club's modular layout. An Alco S4 was busy all day switching cars in the yard, while an Alco C424 took its turn on the main line. Even a trio of the railway's vintage Geeps--the only GMD units ever owned by the Carleton Railway--were brought out of retirement for use on the Aroostook subdivision. Then on Saturday evening, at a special operating session manned by an enthusiastic crew from Nova Scotia, the first train operated across the newly completed Northampton subdivision. The train travelled under the "Hiram T. Myshrall Overpass" just after the parade that officially opened the community-saving structure. In the photo below, obtained from the News-Advertiser's ace reporter Freda Mulheron, local politician and community hero Hyram Myshrall waves to the grateful residents of Pembroke as he sits in the first car to cross the new bridge at the front of a giant parade in his honour (click on photo to enlarge).

Friday, October 31, 2008

Module Progress

Here is a very brief update regarding the Carleton Railway's Monticello, Maine freight yard / BAR interchange modules that I have begun constructing. The first photo shows the wiring crew making sure that everything works well electrically. The overview of the four modules in the lower photo shows the track ballasted and some basic ground cover installed. I still have a week to get the module ready to be part of the SJSMRR modular layout. I hope to add a few more scenic details, and I will also install the backdrops. Obviously I will still have lots of work to do in the coming year to make it look complete for the fall 2009 show, but at least it will be in place and operational for this year's show. The gray ballast represents the Carleton Railway's Aroostook subdivision mainline (the far end toward Avondale, and the near end toward Montreal) and freight yard. The brown ballast represents the BAR, which crosses the Carleton Railway at Monticello, Maine (the far end toward Presque Isle [Blake's yet-to be-completed modules] and the near end toward Houlton).
Bob Kane and Bruce Bosence have helped immensely with the project, as did Lou McIntyre earlier in the year. Thanks guys!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Monticello Yard Construction

The first track has been laid for the Carleton Railway's Aroostook Subdivision, which has to this point existed only as staging in the basement furnace room. With help from Bob Kane and Bruce Bosence, all of the track has been laid on the four modules that will represent the interchange betwen the Carleton Railway (double-track mainline at the front) and the BAR (single track mainline at the rear that crosses the CR mainline in the foreground) in Monticello, Maine. The Carleton Railway will provide a yard crew (an S-4) that will be kept busy with industrial switching and interchange trafic. A small yard between the two railways should provide ample space for sorting freight cars and making up trains. The various tracks can be seen more clearly in the view below; the yard lead is at the far end (just inside the double track mainline). The BAR mainline is located so it can connect at the far end with Blake Wooley's BAR modules at Presque Isle (hurry up and get those done, Blake!), and then Blake's modules will connect to Bob Henry's Aroostook Valley Railway at Caribou, which then connects to Bob Kane's Aroostook River Railway at Washburn Jct. All together, the modules will provide an operating Aroostook County layout that will be more than 40 feet long; the two tracks in the foreground can operate independently of the rest of the modules, so at SJSMRR shows the Aroostook County modules can be operated in a prototypical manner without interfering with the trains that are traversing the mainline.
An additional inner track at the southern end is available in case someone wants to entend the operations-oriented modules (anyone want to model Houlton, Maine?).

The SJSMRR Fall Show will be held on November 8 at the Lion's Club (right behind Ken-Val Co-op) in Quispamsis, and the Carleton Railway will be there!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Branchline Completion!

The Northampton Subdivision is now complete--at last. The track crew has completed their work and a test train--2 RSD15s, a few freight cars and a caboose, followed by the heavyweight coach "Muniac", ran from South Newbridge to Northampton and return without incident. The daily Northampton Local may be a "mixed train" with the refurbished coach used to transport farm workers and mill employees to Northampton and to bring shoppers and other travellers to South Newbridge. The photo below shows the branchline heading under the "Hyram Myshrall Overpass" on its way to the community of Northampton. The line to the right will eventualy provide a connection to Grafton. The building in the upper left is in Pembroke.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Pembroke Reconstruction

Public access to Pembroke restored!
As the "Fiddlehead" local passenger train (RDC) stops at Pembroke, residents are pleased that they will once again have highway acccess to the community. The Carleton Railway has been the lifeline to the small community ever since road access was removed because of construction of the new branchline to Northampton. The photo below shows the new road that has been built (sloping down in the foreground) to provide highway access to Pembroke. An overpass will carry traffic across the Northampton branchline
Progress continues slowly as I work on the new branchline to Northampton. Construction of the branchline necessitated major changes in Pembroke--especially the removal of about half of the real estate in the small rural community. In the photos, you can see that the station has been moved to the east (left), the freight station has been removed, and one of the sidings is gone. Pembroke residents and businesses will still have highway access to the outside world via the crossing by the station and the road that goes down the hill to an overpass across the branchline (not quite completed yet). It has been a very busy (stressful, hectic) summer, so I am pleased to have made some progress on the layout!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Pembroke Reconstruction Underway
The addition of the new branchline (the Northampton Subdivision) between South Newbridge and Northampton resulted in major changes for the small Carleton County community of Pembroke. The two industrial sidings were removed, and replaced by a single track directly behind the passenger station. A new road will link the station with the community of Grafton, just downriver. An short overpass will facilitate vehicular traffic over the branchline.
More Alco Power for the Railway
A new Alco C420, #2072, freshly painted in Nortondale and on its way to final lettering and handrail installation at the loco shops in Avondale, waits in the siding in Wakefield along with C420 #2010. The new loco is equipped with QSI sound.

Friday, July 4, 2008


Preparing for a Photo Shoot
Bob Boudreau spent most of this morning taking photos of several scenes along the Carleton Railway. Preparing for the photo shoot was a reminder of the importance of details. For example, the Newbridge Drug Store had no interior, just big frosted windows, which made it look abandoned in photos. The photos below (obviously taken by me, not by Bob) show the result of adding some simple interior details to the storefront. The billiard parlour already had an interior. The top photo shows the importance of having the traffic signal turned on for a realistic photo (compare the dead signal in the top photo with the ooperating traffic signal in the lower photo).

The problem with the scene along the Little Presqu'Isle stream was that the "water" had been cleaned so many times that the surface had become noticeably scratched, and needed a new thin coat of WS "Realistic Water" to look good in the photos.
I also had to clean up stray ballast along the right-of-way and REALLY dust and vacuum the layout. Once Bob lit his 600-watt spot lights, every piece of dust or tiny cobweb showed clearly in the photos!
Thanks Bob for your time, effort, and skill--I'm looking forward to seeing the results. The photo shoot not only produced photos of far better quality than these ones that I have taken, but it improved the detail and the cleanliness of the layout in the process!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Northampton Subdivision

Considerable progress has been made on the Northampton Subdivision. Scenery and ballast has been applied to all but the last three feet of the branch line, which will soon be supplying the sawmill and other industries in the bustling community of Northampton.
In the photo below, the Northampton Local waits to enter the South Newbridge yard. The change in the track configuration is evident: the yard lead is now on the left, leading to the Willett Fruit warehouse. The Northampton Subdivision (now using the former yard lead) is on the right. The change has also provided an additional siding behind Willett Fruit.
Local business and community leaders have been pressuring the railway to install a small passenger station in the heart of the downtown area now that the new Northampton Subdivision passes right through the business district. They envision shoppers travelling to South Newbridge by train to spend the day in the local shops. A small parcel of land on Mulheron Street adjacent to the railway has been offered by the town for the purpose, but railway management has made no commitment.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Northampton Subdivision Construction

Northampton Subdivision nears Completion
My project this week is the long-awaited completion of the Northampton Subdivision. The line will run between South Newbridge and Northampton (in the furnace room)--right at the bottom of the stairs to the basement. I did not want to make the layout any wider at such a busy spot, so I trimmed two-three inches from the mid-level benchwork that carries the mainline up the grade toward Pembroke. There will be a very steep cliff down from the mainline to the new branchline; I haven't decided for sure whether it will be a rock cut, a retaining wall, or lots of ground foam vegitation. I am leaning toward the latter--I think it will make the two tracks seem farther apart. Below is a view of the scene right now. The branchline will follow the very narrow shelf at the base of the plaster/screen wire cliff:
The community of Pembroke poses a problem: I cut away part of the town (all of the structures have been removed), and the only road into the community is now a sudden drop off. That would be fine at the edge of the benchwork, but it is not the edge--it is at the top of a steep cliff above the bracnchline.
The Northampton branchline should add some unstressful operation to the layout. One local a day will switch Northampton (a sawmill, an apple shipper, and an oil dealer); passenger service may consist of a coach tacked onto the rear of the local.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

New Foliage added

The landscape artist is so captivated by the beauty of the Nackawic Stream that he hardly breaks his concentration as a train load of potato reefers rumbles across the route 585 crossing near Nortondale, York County. I have finally done some landscaping along the Nackawic stream, adding lots of foliage along the banks, some fir trees on each side of the valley, and even some beekeepers next to the woods. Since it is one of the first scenes people see as they descend the stairs into the basement, it makes quite a difference in one's initial imprssion of the railway.

Monday, April 21, 2008

New Steam Generator Unit

Railway Upgrades Local Passenger Service
With scores of university students heading home to Carleton County this weekend, the railway has added a new steam generator unit (a refurbished F7B) for use on the daily Fiddlehead local passenger train. The photo below shows the unit stopped at the Nortondale station during a recent test run. Although the weather is getting warmer, the nights are still chilly and the steam unit will assure a cosy ride for students heading home. I picked up the inexpensive Athearn dummy at the train show in Sanford, Maine last week. A steam generator unit will provide more flexibility as I assign locomotives for the passenger trains.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Increasing Competition

Carleton Railway management has been increasingly concerned about competition from other New Brunswick (model) railways. The railway recently decided to begin competing more aggressively with the ICR, but this week management noticed that a Fundy Northern Railway boxcar had been delivered to the Green Cross dealer in Wakefield.

Meanwhile, management just returned from a railway meeting in Sanford, Maine with prospects that the new Monticello yard will result in considerable interchange traffic for the Carleton Railway.

(Translation: On the way home from Boston this week, I stopped at the Model Train show in Sanford, Maine and bought a number of BAR freight cars for use on the Monticello modules. I also found a used FNR boxcar on the bargains table!)

Friday, April 4, 2008

The Arrival of Spring

From the cool waters rushing under the bridge in Nortondale to the carloads of beef cattle arriving at the BQM packing plant after the "spring show and sale," it is obvious that the long winter has finally come to a close. Not only is one of York County's most famous artists in his shirtsleeves while being inspired to put brush to canvass by the scenic valley of the Nackawic Stream, but the heated swimming pool at Nortondale's luxurious resort is attracting the rich and famous from near and far. Spring really is here (click on photos to enlarge): All the artist needs to make the day even more inspiring is to feel the vibration of a train approaching along the Carleton Railway's mainline.
A parking lot filled with Cadillacs, Porsches, Shelbys, and Jaguars suggests something about the class status of the guests at the posh resort. Of course, the guests from the Boston area who seek the ultimate in luxury arrive at the resort not by car but via the Carleton Railway's daily Nor'easter limited.

Some of these healthy-looking beef cattle may think they have found their own resort vacation as they feast on last summer's hay while awaiting their turn to enter the BQM packing plant. Alas, the catttle seem not to exit the building in the same condition as when they entered. The BQM plant is the single busiest generator of railway traffic on the layout. Every day, numerous stock cars and reefers are spotted at the plant (along with boxcars of supplies and occasional tank cars of fuel or chemicals). In the above photo, several stock cars (left) have just unloaded, while a long string of meat reefers (right) is being loaded for shipment. Barbeque season will soon be here!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Geeps on the Carleton Railway??

As plans continue for the Carleton Railway's new yard in Monticello, management is considering ways to provide the necessary motive power to meet the needs of the growing railway while also meeting the DC electrical requirements for interfacing the Monticello modules with the Saint John club's other modules. Management has recently taken three long-idle GP-7's (#1752, #1756, #1759) out of retirment as consideration is given to putting them back in service on the Aroostook subdivision. It looks like they will need some clean-up work after sitting on the shelf for 11 years. Actually, the now 25+ year-old GP7 units may simply serve as background scenery on the new modules. They have a long and distinguished history on the Carleton Railway, having been the railway's main motive power on the 9' x 16' layout located in our basement in Waterville (1980-1988). During our nine years in Woodstock (1988-1997), two of the GP7's served as yard switchers (the layout was contemporary, so GP7's were no longer used on the mainline) and the third unit was donated to the Rosedale railway museum for static display (next to the Rosedale Station which had become the museum). The Woodstock layout was predominently powered by SD40-2's and GP38-2's. How things changed when I backdated the layout to 1965 and the EMD units all disappeared from the railway in favour of Alco and F-M units.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Locomotive Facility Upgrade

With more "big Alcos" recently joining the Carleton Railway's fleet of high-horsepower locomotives, management has acted to increase fuel storage capacity at the Avondale locomotive servicing facility (click on photos to enlarge): The railway`s 200-ton crane had just lowered the new fuel tank (a retired railway tank car) into its permanent position on blocks in the Avondale yard. Meanwhile, maintenance crew members inspect a broken hose on a nearby water line.
The new fuel tank will soon be filled and ready to assure an ample and uninterrupted fuel supply for Carleton Railway locomotives.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The ICR on the CRL

The Long History of the ICR on the Carleton Railway
At least as far back as 1965, as these photos prove, the Island Central has been shipping products to and from Carleton County on CRL rails. After more than 40 years of the ICR diverting revenue from the Carleton Railway, it is high time that the Carleton Railway begins to compete for ICR traffic (click on photos to enlarge). An ICR mechanical reefer has just been unloaded at the White Road Produce warehouse in Avondale and wil soon be routed back to Saint John as an empty.

Two ICR pulpwood flatcars have just been loaded in East Newbridge and will head for the Irving mill on the next eastbound train.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Generating New Business in 2008

2008 Carleton Railway Generates Revenue on the ICR
(click on photos to enlarge)
Not content to depend on past performance, the progressive and hard-working management of the Carleton Railway (ca. 2008) continues a long tradition of pursuing new opportunities to increase revenue and ensure customer satisfaction. Management has been especially interested in generating business in the Saint John area amid the talk of several new industrial projects in the works in the port city. The latest operating session on the ICR illustrated the success of management's latest initiatives.
Seen above is CRL box #3826 in the ICR's McAdam yard. It will soon head onto the Shogomoc subdivision on its way back to Avondale for another load.

Another CRL freight car, #6757, arrives in McAdam with a load destined for Saint John.

Another loaded car #6758 passes through Fredericton Jct. on the ICR fast freight with a priority shipment for one of the railway's new customers in Saint John.

A shot of the same ICR train (including CRL #6757) on the main in Grand Bay. It was about this time that ICR management began to realize that there had been an invasion of several CRL freight cars on the ICR. Some concerns were expressed about the syphoning of traffic from the ICR.

CRL car #6759 at its destination in the ICR's Mill Street yard. Carleton Railway management sent an agent (with camera) to observe the delivery of the freight cars and provide the necessary 'research' to enable the Carleton Railway to make prudent decisions about future shipments. Although there was a considerable delay in the scheduled departure of the ICR's fast freight from McAdam, as well as a recurring mechanical problem along the way, the ICR train arrived in Saint John in time for the promised "next day delivery" for the Carleton Railway's new customer. The CRL's friendly management will carefully consider the results of this first opportunity to use the ICR as a major connection to Saint John. Of course, it remains to be seen how ICR management will respond to this increased competition for business.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Time Machine -- Fast Forward to 2008

Railway Prosperity Continues In Distant Future
(Click on photo for closer view)
Although the era of the Carleton Railway is 1965, management decided it would be good to see if the success of the railway will continue into the future. They engaged the services of a photographer who claimed to have a time machine and requested information about the fate of the railway in some distant future time -- say -- 2008. The result was this unusual photograph from the future, showing a string of well-maintained modern CRL 50' freight cars being loaded at the busy McCain plant in Avondale in 2008. Railway management is relieved and pleased to know that the railway will not only survive but will prosper in the competitive transportation market of the future (however management is concerned to notice that there are no roof walks on the freight cars. Will such a thing be allowed in "the future"?). The photographer has not yet provided additional details about the future of the railway. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

New Motive Power

New Alco Power Readied for Service
Three new Alco units pose next to the Avondale station
With the expectation that good economic times are ahead, the Carleton Railway recently added three new Alco units to the roster. The 2000 hp C420 #2010 (the railway's first C420 unit) with its distinctive Alco sound has already entered regular service on the main line but management anticipates that in the near future it may find more consistent duty as business expands on the Northampton subdivision. C424 #2492 will be based in the Aroostook County town of Monticello where the railway is in the process of constructing a major classification yard for marshalling potato and lumber traffic. The reconditioned 1000-hp S4 #1097 will also be assigned to Monticello where it will be kept busy in the yard. The railway currently has six additional C424's in service, along with 2 S4 locos that are assigned to the Avondale and South Newbridge yards.
Over the next year, the Monticello yard will be contructed on four modules that will be added to the Saint John club's modular layout. The modules have been assembled and are awaiting track and scenery. Several adjoining club modules (Blake, Bob H., and Bob K.) also represent railroading in Aroostook County; joined together they should provide lots of operating possibilities. Unlike the rest of the railway's roster of locomotives, the S4 and the C424 will remain as DC units for use on the club modules (unless the club converts to DCC).

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Nova Scotian Invasion

For the second weekend in a row, the Carleton Railway was operated by a crew of extra-provincial visitors. Following today's annual Saint John train show, a crew of five Nova Scotians along with the ICR's Doug Devine provided the expertise and labour to run a full operating session. Undeterred by the blizzard outside, the dedicated and enthusaistic crew skillfully operated the railway. Although unfamiliar with the layout, the crew did a fine job of acquainting themselves with the car forwarding system.

Being the first full day of the March break, there was considerably more passenger traffic than usual so the Carleton Railway added extra cars to its passenger trains to accommodate the Carleton County students who were travelling home for the week. There was a near disaster when the crew of #12 (the Nor'Easter--under the control of Doug D.) nearly ran head-on into #15 (the Fiddlehead) near Pembroke. An investigation led to the conclusion that the crew of one of the aforementioned trains neglected to read their train orders. However, a "near miss" is a miss, and no repercussions are expected.

With the expectation of warmer weather soon, the boys working in the Carleton County woods have been busy moving lots of pulpwood out to the siding in East Newbridge. South Newbridge yardmaster Ron was busy adding loaded pulpwood cars to both eastward and westward trains.

All in all it was an excellent operating session. Thanks Bruce, Doug W., Ray, Ron, Don, and Doug D.

As Ray concludes the run of the Carleton-York peddler, he switches cars in the Millville yard.

Don consults with South Newbridge yardmaster Ron as he prepares to take the Newbridge turn back to Avondale.

Avondale yardmaster Bruce ably sorts cars in the Avondale yard.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Saint John Show March 1

This will be a great weekend with the Saint John model train show at St. Malachy's High School on Saturday. It also looks like a crew from Nova Scotia will be arriving in my basement to bring the railway to life on Saturday evening.

With the hope of being minimally ready for the show, and with help from Lou McIntyre, I have been constructing four modules that will serve as the Carleton Railway's Monticello yard and interchange with the BAR. Construction of the wooden frames is complete but installation of the trackwork and scenery have not yet begun. Although I won't be ready to include them with the club's modules at this year's show, with a full year to work at the modules I should have a very complete scene for the show next year.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Inter-provincial Operations

On Saturday, February 23, a group of six crew members from Prince Edward Island took control of the railway for an entire operating session (with a little help from Bob Kane and the railway president). The visiting crew did a great job! The entire schedule of 12 trains across the Avondale Subdivision was run (8 freight and 4 passenger). This was a repeat visit for some from PEI. Of course, after one visit to the Carleton Railway you are considered an expert! Thanks Scott, Tom, Derwin, Mark, Brian, and Greg! Mark is the crew for today's "Carleton-York Peddler" as he prepares to switch the Nortondale industries.

Scott serves as Avondale Hostler and Assistant Yardmaster as he works with Derwin (the yardmaster) to organize the very busy yard.

Brian is today's South Newbridge Yardmaster. The midpoint yard is a very busy spot and he managed the traffic very well.

Greg serves as engineer of the Newbridge Turn as he switches the Buckingham Quality Meats plant in Waterville.