Extra 80 West leaving Port Rowan – July 10, 1953

Having spent a couple of days recovering from a flood (minor for me, but major for the city), I decided to run a train this afternoon. I’m glad I did. This scene drew my eye so I paused my operating session to grab my camera…

X 80 West - Leaving Port Rowan photo X80East-PtR_zps203669a5.jpg
(Click on the image for a larger version)

I’m pleased with the section foreman sitting on the trolley in front of the section house. I also like how the rusty roof turned out on the barn next to the team track.

The 1798 Backus Mills of Long Point

This week’s mail brought a copy of The 1798 Backus Mills of Long Point, a 158-page book self-published in 1977 by Donald A Buscombe of Port Dover.
Backus Mills of Long Point photo BackusBook_zps8a25a8a4.jpg

I grabbed a copy for $15 via the Advanced Book Exchange, thanks to an alert by regular reader Mike Livingston that it included a photo of the (railroad East) side of the shed that stands next to the team track in Port Rowan. I recently completed my model of this shed – which I call The Barn, because of its roofline – and wrote about it on the blog:
Team Track Barn photo PtR-Barn-01_zps2cd0bf26.jpg
(Click on the image to read more about the model)

Backus is an important name in Port Rowan / Long Point history, owning sawmills and grist mills in the area. The family’s legacy includes a heritage conservation area anchored by the the grist mill shown below, which was built in 1798:
Backus Mill photo BackusMill_zpsc5b10bae.jpg
(Click on the image to visit the Backus Heritage Conservation Area online)

Ironically, the Barn has nothing to do with Backus – at least, not that I know of. But it appears in the book, in a photo taken in the 1920s of a young member of the Backus family standing on a flat car spotted at the team track. The flat car is loaded with 16-inch squared white oak timbers being shipped out for use in building the gates for the locks on the Welland Canal. According to the caption, the Backus family also supplied all the ties for the line from Port Rowan to Simcoe – some 30,000 in total.

With this detailed look at the family’s grist mills and sawmills in the area, I’m certain that I will find additional information in this book that will help me model the traffic carried on the Port Rowan branch. (Thanks for the lead, Mike!)

Meanwhile, the photo of the Barn shows what I believe is a vent near the top of the peaked end wall. I’ll assume that there’s a vent on the opposite side as well. I will have to build a pair of vents and add them to my model – easy enough to do, as they can sit right on top of the existing siding. Off to the workbench – stay tuned for an update!

The Team Track Barn

Team Track Barn photo PtR-Barn-01_zps2cd0bf26.jpg

I felt like doing a structure yesterday, so I built the small “barn” that sat next to the team track in Port Rowan. I know very little about this barn, and only have one photo of it – in the background at right in this image (with thanks, again, to Keith Sirman for the scan from his collection):
Where's the track? photo PortRowan-KS2.jpg

The CNR track diagram describes it as a 21.5′ by 20′ frame shed:
Port Rowan track arrangement photo PortRowan-Plot-Web.jpg

Since it’s near the back of the scene, I didn’t need to worry about doing an interior. Therefore, for the four walls I stained scale wood of various widths, chopped a bunch to length, and laminated the strips over black styrene sheet. I braced the finished walls with more styrene inside.

Four styrene panels formed a sub roof. I framed these with wood strips to simulate the boards under the roof covering.

I don’t have a good picture of the roof of this structure, but I decided a corrugated roof would look nice – and I had a package of corrugated metal from Builders In Scale in stock (Part 839, if you’re interested). I cut this into 26″ wide strips as recommended in the directions, and glued the panels in place with thick CA. The weathering was applied later – using weathering powders to create that rusted out look that are de rigeur on old corrugated roofs.
 photo PtR-Barn-03_zps175f9eb2.jpg

I took a magnifying glass to the prototype photo to try to discern details on the shed, and what really showed up under magnification was a canvas tarp covering part of the end. I assume it serves as a door, since the photo shows a horizontal bar like a track directly above it. Perhaps there was a sliding door at one point, but by the 1950s this had been replaced with the tarp. Regardless, it’s a neat feature so that’s how I modelled my barn. For the tarp, I cut a piece of kleenex oversize with scissors, lay it on a piece of wax paper, and carefully brushed it with acrylic paints. I then left it to dry. Several hours later, I was able to carefully peel the kleenex off the wax paper, then trim it to final size with a fresh blade. It’s naturally wrinkled, and adds a different colour/texture to the finished structure
Team Track Barn photo PtR-Barn-02_zpsc33c53a1.jpg

Not all of my structures will come together in a single day, but it’s great to have this one done. Next time I’m doing scenery I’ll work on the ground around the base of this barn. Meantime, onto another structure for Port Rowan!

Instant Town

… but don’t add water, because it’s made of artist board.

I enjoy structure building, although I don’t engage in the type of structure building that wins craftsman structure contests. But when I need a break from other aspects of the hobby, structures are a favourite.

That’s especially true of the planning/proof-of-concept stage. This involves no wood, styrene or glue – just artist board, a knife, a ruler, tape and so on. I almost always build a cardboard mockup of structures first, so I can confirm roof angles, overall placement on the layout and other things that are easier to fix before one starts cutting and gluing styrene or wood.

It was hot outside yesterday so I went to ground in a cool part of the house, with tools, materials, photographs, notes and a supply of adult beverages, and created mockups of almost all the structures for my model of Port Rowan. It may be helpful to have a copy of the Canadian National track map and my layout plan handy while you look at the photos:
Port Rowan track arrangement photo PortRowan-Plot-Web.jpg

Port Rowan layout photo PortRowan.jpg

Here’s an overview of my Port Rowan, taken from the end of the peninsula looking over the roof of the two buildings that make up the feed mill. The Daily Effort has arrived at the station, and for some reason there’s a freight on the team track. I’ve mocked up the barn located next to the team track and, behind the feed mill at left, a rather substantial structure labelled as a garage.
Instant town photo Mockup-PtR-01.jpg

If we were to travel down Bay Street – at the end of the peninsula – towards the backdrop and then look up the driveway towards the station, this is what we’d see. We’re looking into the L of the station at this point. The L-shaped main building has extensions at each end, and there’s a shed tucked into the L. The feed mill is in the foreground at left.
Along the driveway photo Mockup-PtR-03.jpg

If we were to walk to the station, then cross the tracks and look back at the feed mill, this is what we’d see. The mill consists of two buildings, each with extensions or additions. The locomotive is stopped next to a coal bin extension at the mill. To the right of the trackside mill building is the office for the mill – which appears to have been the railway’s freight house at one time. In that role, it would’ve been next to the station but was moved to the feed mill’s site. In the foreground is that garage again.
Structure cluster photo Mockup-PtR-02.jpg

Here’s another look at the barn mockup next to the team track. Doing the mockup was essential for getting the roofline right on this structure. The only prototype photo I have of it is from the Keith Sirman collection, taken from the station platform.
Barn mockup photo Mockup-PtR-Barn-01.jpg

Where's the track? photo PortRowan-KS2.jpg

Here’s another view of the garage mockup. It can be seen in the prototype photo below, but I have another view in a book that shows large sliding doors on the front of the structure, in the open position, so that’s how I mocked it up. I’ll have to do a detailed interior since it’s right at the front of the layout.
Garage mock-up photo Mockup-PtR-Garage-01.jpg

Train Time at Port Rowan photo PortRowan-KS3.jpg

I’ve taken several images of the feed mill and the Port Rowan station. Click on each thumbnail for a larger version.

Feed Mill
Feed Mill on Bay Street photo Mockup-PtR-FeedMill-01.jpg

Feed Mill mockup photo Mockup-PtR-FeedMill-02.jpg

Feed Mill - trackside photo Mockup-PtR-FeedMill-03.jpg

Mill and track photo Mockup-PtR-FeedMill-04.jpg

Feed mill (station end) photo Mockup-PtR-FeedMill-05.jpg

Port Rowan Station
End of the line photo Mockup-PtR-Stn-01.jpg

Now arriving on Track One photo Mockup-PtR-Stn-02.jpg


Train time photo Mockup-PtR-Stn-03.jpg

The side never photographed photo Mockup-PtR-Stn-04.jpg

I need to give a special shout-out to my friend Mike Livingston. Mike provided many of the critical dimensions for both the station and the two buildings in the feed mill. He also photographed the feed mill earlier this year, with a measuring stick posed in each photo, which was invaluable when creating the mockups. And his photography expedition was timely, as the trackside structure was in the process of being demolished when he visited. It’s gone now – but thanks to Mike’s timely work I’ll be able to model it.

I think I’ve captured the size and proportions of each structure. But the great thing about mockups is that if I haven’t, I can make adjustments quickly and cheaply.

The last mockup to do for Port Rowan is the railway section house. Then I can mockup the depot, coal shed, tobacco kilns and other structures for St. Williams. Then I’ll have to start building the structures for real.

In the weeds

Thanks to Keith Sirman, I have a photo to share of the mixed train arriving at Port Rowan:
Where's the track? photo PortRowan-KS2.jpg

The photo was taken by Elmer Treloar and shows CNR 2-6-0 #88 on the main track, just pulling up to the Port Rowan station with the mixed train in tow. Note the boxcar in express service, the RPO and – bringing up the markers – a combine.

Look closely to either side of the mixed and you’ll spot rails in the weeds. We must presume there are ties in there somewhere too. The track to the left is the run-around, while the line to the right is the team track.

The barn at right blocks our view of the elevated coal track. I’m told this barn is not a rail customer. It shows up on the prototype track arrangement about where the diagonal line crosses the page. Look below the turntable and slightly to the right:
Port Rowan track arrangement photo PortRowan-Plot-Web.jpg

There’s a turntable hiding somewhere to the left of the locomotive, in the field of grass and weeds. I’m going to put my grass-planting skills to good use.

Finally, note the pole line along the team track. Two poles are visible. This is the railway telegraph line that connects the depot to the rest of the CNR. Its location is clearly indicated on the track map.

Thanks again, Keith!