Thursday, December 29, 2011

Grafton progress

The newly constructed "Karnes Kitchen Ltd." bakery is ready for the upcoming operating session on February 10. The track in Grafton is ballasted and scenery is in place. The building in the background on the left is the Mason and Risch piano factory (click on the photo to enlarge).

Saturday, December 17, 2011


The Carleton Railway is preparing for the resumption of regularly scheduled operating sessions. A new timetable should result in more efficient movement of trains, and the addition of the Grafton spur adds four major industries. A total of 14 trains (6 passenger, 8 freight) are scheduled to move across the Avondale and Northampton Subdivisions during each 3-hour session.

2012 operating sessions are scheduled on the following evenings (7 p.m.):

Friday, February 10
Thursday, March 1
Friday, May 4
Friday, May 25
Friday, June 15

Both new and experienced crew members are welcome! Email me ( for details and directions.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

November Train Show

The annual train show of the Saint John Society of Model Railroaders was a great success this year. The Carleton Railway added two more modules (for a total of six) to better depict the busy commercial town of Monticello, Maine -- just across the border from Bloomfield, NB. The photos below show some of the progress:

The agricultural industry is key to the success of Monticello's downtown area. Whether at the MPG garage on Main Street or at the general store just across US Route 1, it is the farming economy that determines whether or not it is a good year. Big potato deals are negotiated and finalized in these sturdy old office buildings on Monticello's Main Street. Both the Carleton Railway and the Bangor and Aroostook will ship thousands of carloads of potatoes through Monticello this year (1965).

Thanks to everyone who attended today's show!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Model Train Show -- Saturday, November 5

The Carleton Railway will be participating in the annual Saint John train show on Saturday at the Lion's Club in Quispamsis (behind the Ken-Val Co-op). The railway will be represented by six modules portraying the busy junction between the Carleton Railway and the Bangor and Aroostook Railroad in Monticello, Maine. Two of the modules have been newly constructed this year and will be included in the show for the first time; I have added many details and improvements to the other four modules. Information about the show is available on the club wesite:

I hope to see you on Saturday!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

San Luis Central

A leased San Luis Central reefer loaded with freshly harvested potatoes is shown in a way freight (the Carleton-York Peddler) leaving Avondale, Carleton County en route to the port of Saint John via interchange with the CPR. Throughout the fall season, the scheduled train more than doubles in length as leased reefers make their way from Carleton County to market.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Grafton Track Work Nears Completion

The track gang is busy getting the new Grafton spur ready for the inauguration of rail service to the community just across the St. John River from Woodstock. Several major new industries in the community will keep the crew of the nightly "Grafton Local" busy. In the photo below, railway employees are hard at work while some locals watch the action from the Hyram T. Myshrall overpass. The photo is framed by Karnes Bakery's modern building on the left, and the Mason and Risch piano factory on the right. That is the nearby community of Pembroke at the top of the grade in the distance (click on the photo to enlarge).

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Changing Times

In its efforts to provide increased efficiency and convenience for its customers, the Carleton Railway continues to upgrade its facilities. The soon-to-be-opened "Mulheron Street" flagstop station will provide convenient passenger access to the commercial centre of South Newbridge, allowing shoppers and retail employees a much shorter commute to the fashionable stores and offices of the bustling downtown area. The photo also shows some additional changes that may be less obvious to those outside of the railway industry. The newly installed concrete telephone booth at Mulheron Street will enable eastbound crews on the Northampton Sub. to call the yardmaster in South Newbridge before entering the yard limits, and the new maintenance shed next to the station will provide equipment storage for the section gang on the branch. But the biggest changes of all--shown in the foreground--are the CTC signals that have recently been installed. In addition to the signals on the Northampton branchline, CTC signals have been installed between Hawkins Corner and Rosedale on the Avondale Subdivision. These really are changing times for the Carleton Railway.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

More Horsepower for The Carleton Railway

Exclusive to the South Newbridge News-Advertiser, August 1965

Monticello, ME: While vacationing this week in Monticello, Maine, the News-Advertiser’s ace reporter Freda Mulheron had just stepped out of the West End Diner when she spotted a gigantic new locomotive being pulled through the Main Street crossing on its way from Montreal to Carleton County. After capturing a few quick shots of the action with her new Instamatic camera, she hurriedly drove back across the Bloomfield, NB border crossing and then to Avondale to interview railway management about this obviously important development for the railway and for the local economy.

Management confirmed that the Carleton Railway has purchased a new Alco C-630 locomotive, indicating that two important factors led to the decision to add a 3000-hp loco to the railway’s fine fleet of powered units. First, the anticipated growth of the railway, the robust Carleton County economy, and the railway’s perennial goal to offer exceptional service to its customers led management to consider how best to improve freight service. Second, when MLW heard that the Carleton Railway was talking to GE about the possible purchase of some “U-Boat” locomotives, they contacted management with an attractive offer. It seems that MLW is very concerned that no Canadian railways purchased the earlier C-628 model, and they are determined to make sure that the same does not happen with the C-630. MLW expressed confidence that once other Canadian railways see the new 3000-hp loco in service on the Carleton Railway, they too will place orders. In fact, management has heard rumours that in light of the Carleton Railway’s recent purchase, CNR, CPR and PGE are all talking with MLW about adding C630s to their rosters (click on photos below to enlarge).

A Carleton Railway C-424 pulls the new locomotive into the yard at Monticello, Maine. The new locomotive is equipped with Sountraxx Tsunami technology--a first for the railway.
Freda had just exited the West End Diner in time to witness the arrival of the new high-hp loco.

This bird`s eye view of downtown Monticello shows how much larger the new locomotive is compared to the C-424, which is currently the most common locomotive on the Carleton Railway.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Salvage Yard Expansion Means More Railway Business

To the consternation of nearby residents, Vaughn's Salvage has recently completed a major expansion that has nearly doubled its capacity to receive and prepare various scrap items for shipment on the Carleton Railway. Well-known local politician Hyram Myshrall has hailed the expansion as a sign of the growing local economy, while also taking credit for the realignment of the highway that was necessary in order for the expansion to proceed: As can be seen in the above photo, the expanded lot is already filling up with junk cars and scrap auto parts. The H66-24 Trainmaster in the background is on the point of the Carleton-York peddler as it makes its way through Wakefield.

The above view shows the close proximity of nearby homes to the expanded scrapyard.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

RR Action in Monticello

The Carleton Railway's photographer recently recorded some of the busy railway activity in Monticello, ME:Locomotive #2492 pulls a wayfreight through town. In the background, it looks like a busy day at the West End Diner.

The caboose clears the crossing, allowing traffic to resume on Main Street.

The local switcher picks up a box car from one of the local industries.

The switcher moves the loaded box car across the grade crossing and into the yard.

A soon as the car clears the crossing, the crew will run into the diner for a quick snack.

Farmers are clearing out the last of the potato crop from the warehouses.

Just across the border in Aroostook Junction, NB, a string of BLR box cars have just arrived in the yard.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

More Grafton Progress

I have been working on the structures that will provide some of the rail traffic in the community of Grafton. Although these industries never actually were located in Grafton, they do represent Carleton County industries in the 1960s: Karnes Bakery (located in Woodstock in the real world) was an important rail customer for the CNR. Their new bakery building was built in the 1960s. It is now owned by Canada Bread. On my layout, as in the real world, it will receive lots of flour deliveries in covered hoppers.

Hatfield Industries (actually located in Hartland) will be a major rail customer in the HO-scale version of Grafton. I remember going on a tour of the plant when I was a "Wolf Cub"--right around 1965. They made potato chips, but there was also a starch plant. They gave each of us a brown paper bag of warm potato chips--the grease seeped right through the bag!

The Baird Company Ltd. was located along the CNR near my boyhood home in Woodstock, and dealt in patent medicines. The building is now the Knight's of Columbus Hall.

I am still building the other major rail industry in Grafton--the Mason and Risch Piano Factory. It was actually located in Woodstock and opened in the 1960s--I remember attending the grand opening as a child. It had a very large dry kiln and received wood by rail. The CNR timetable warned that the curvature on the siding was very sharp and required reduced speed.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Grafton Progress

Simple flat-top benchwork has been installed where the small but busy community of Grafton, Carleton County, will be located. Several railway customers will be located in the 8' x 2' space. Hopefully I will soon be able to provide a photo from the same perspective that shows a bustling, fully scenicked village. Grafton will be located directly below the Avondale locomotive servicing area and coach yard.

Monday, March 7, 2011

An Unusual Visitor

It has been several years since the residents of Carleton County have heard the sound of a steam whistle approaching in the distance, but that soothing sound returned as a special "Cabot Cove excursion train" made a visit today under the control of engineer Bruce Bosence. The Carleton Railway hosted the VIP guests on board who had lunch at the Nortondale Resort, toured the South Newbridge station and signed the guest book at the South Newbridge Town Hall, and enjoyed an excursion through the Carleton County scenery. The railway photographer managed to record the event (click photos to enlarge): Folks at the General Store at the east end of South Newbridge watch in amazement as the old 4-4-0 approaches the Route 585 crossing. The slow clanging of the bell and the long whistle of the steam engine are in marked contrast to the sounds of the Carleton Railway's modern fleet of diesel locomotives.

A stop at the South Newbridge station allows local onlookers to have a close look at the locomotive while the VIPs head downtown to do some quick shopping.

The 4-4-0 rounds the curve just west of the station in Wakefield.

In this photo of the old steamer passing a potato farm in Rosedale, it could be 1935 instead of 1965.

The steam loco approaches the Rosedale Road crossing as it passes one of the many potato warehouses along the Carleton Railway.

Friday, February 18, 2011

A Busy Friday in Monticello

In addition to its customers in Carleton and northern York Counties, the Carleton Railway also serves the agricultural industry in Aroostook County, Maine and interchanges with the Bangor and Aroostook Railroad in Monticello, where the Carleton Railway maintains a small yard. The company photographer recently captured a busy day in Monticello.

The main street in Monticello is especially busy near Anderson's Garage and the popular West End Diner. The three tracks in the foreground are the Carleton Railway's double-track main line and a siding; the track just past the garage is the BAR mainline:
Anderson's garage is a favourite of the locals--notice that they advertise a 7-minute oil change!
Although potato products are the main commodities shipped by the Carleton Railway, other agricultural products are also important. Here two Carleton Railway stock cars are ready for loading at the stock pen:
This bird's-eye-view shot of Monticello shows the Carleton and BAR main lines, the Carleton Railway yard, the passenger station, and one of the local potato warehouses. Passengers on the platform are waiting to board the Nor'easter -- the Carleton Railway's daily passenger train between Fredericton and Boston:
The narrow street through town is a busy spot to navigate with lots of trucks and railway crossings:

Monticello is represented by four modules that are assembled at shows with modules belonging to other members of the Saint John Society of Model Railroaders.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Grafton Work Begins

Now that the Carleton Railway's big crane has arrived on site and the skillful track gang has begun surveying the work to be done, construction of the Grafton spur should proceed quite rapidly.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Last Frontier

Activity at the Grafton Spur!
For the past two years, train crews on the Northampton Subdivision travelling between Northampton and South Newbridge have noticed on the employee timetable that there is a location called "Grafton Spur" and there is indeed a turnout with the label "Grafton" on the nearby lineside sign, but the spur is very short! However, that is about to change.
Recently, a Carleton Railway work train arrived at the site. Townspeople from nearby Pembroke have perched themselves on the Hyram Myshrall overpass to see what will happen.
News-Advertiser reporter Freda Mulheron has learned that management is about to authorize the construction of the line to Grafton, where a major industrial area will provide ample freight traffic in return for the railway's investment. A bakery, a potato chip plant, a wholesale druggist, a piano manufacturer, and several smaller industries have already committed to locating along the line. Construction is expected to get underway soon.

Translation: I brought the plywood and lumber home this morning to begin working on the last unconstructed section of the Carleton Railway. The 9' spur to Grafton will be located directly under the Avondale locomotive servicing facility--and just above the refrigerator. To avoid aisle congestion, my plan is for the Northampton local to spot and pick up cars on the spur but not switch the industries. During an overnight shift (the midnight to 6 a.m. shift not included in the Carleton Railway's operating sessions), a yard switcher will work the Grafton industrial area. In other words, the 9' x 2' town of Grafton will be a challenging switching area that I can work at between operating sessions without throwing the rest of the layout into disarray.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Ready for snow!

With the big snowstorm forecast for tomorrow, railway management has ordered the plows out on the line to be ready for the first flakes. Even old #10 has been pressed into service, much to the surprise of the seasoned workers at the Avondale shops. A pair of vintage RS3s pull the old plow out onto the main to be ready to keep the line clear between Avondale and Monticello. Over in South Newbridge, the yard switcher spots spreader #14 on the lead, ready to keep the yard clear of snow so freight switching and passenger train movements can continue during the impending storm. As the junction with the Northampton and Newbridge subdivisions, efficient operations at South Newbridge are key to keeping the whole railway on time:
A couple of big Alcos provide lots of power for #16, the wing plow on which the railway depends to keep the main line clear:
(As always, click on the photos to enlarge them).

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Rumours in Wakefield

Daily Passenger Service Returning to Wakefield?
Residents of the rural community of Wakefield, famous for its Drive-In Theatre and its church suppers, are accustomed to watching high-speed passenger trains run through the community without stopping. Ever since Carleton Railway management decided to make Rosedale the passenger hub for central Carleton County, the little station in Wakefield has been idle.
However, residents have noticed carpenters working at the old station and it appears that they are refurbishing the passenger end of the station. Management has been tight-lipped about plans, but rumours abound that in light of the tremendous success of its passenger operations the railway is planning to add a daily high-speed commuter service to and from Fredericton. In fact, several new pieces of passenger equipment have recently been painted and lettered in the Nortondale shops but the stainless steel cars are currently sitting idle in the South Newbridge yard.
The community is abuzz with speculation about the rumoured new passsenger service, but for now the Carleton Railway's two daily passenger trains continue to speed through the communtiy without stopping.