Canadian National Santa Fe

No, that’s not a new, merged railway à la BNSF. Rather, it’s CNR 4204 – a T-3-a 2-10-2 (Santa Fe type) beast of a locomotive:

CNR 4204

While visiting Exporail with the S Scale Workshop this past weekend, I was able to collect CNR 4204, built for me by my friend Simon Parent. Simon truly is one of the top builders in our hobby, in any scale. His work is impeccable.

I did not buy this to run on the Port Rowan layout. Such a locomotive would’ve collapsed the bridge at Caledonia and busted all the rails in the two towns I model. For the time being, this one is primarily for running on the S Scale Workshop modular layout.

That said, I’ll want to be able to test it on my own layout from time to time. Even though it won’t fit on the turntable at Port Rowan, it will need to turn a wheel now and then to keep it in good working order.

I was pleased that Simon designed this massive machine to negotiate a 40″ radius, even if it looks a bit pinched in the process. Here it is on the 42″ radius leading into Port Rowan:

CNR 4204

And just how big is a T-3-a? Well, it hulks over a Mogul:

Extra 80 West - Glanford cutoff

CNR 80 and CNR 4204

CNR 2-10-2s were used in the Toronto area to help shove eastbound trains up the Don Valley. But the trains on the line I model also needed help – not 2-10-2s, but 2-8-2s – to scale the Niagara Escarpment as they headed south (railway west) out of Hamilton. Those helpers would be cut in behind the road power, as suggested in the above photos. I guess in this case, the crews forgot to cut out the helper at Glanford and just got lucky with the bridge…

Thanks, Simon: Great work as always!

S Scale Workshop – Exporail 2016 is in the books

I joined several of my friends in the S Scale Workshop this past weekend, to exhibit our free-mo style modular layout at Exporail – Canada’s national railway museum.
I’ve added a full report – with lots of photos – to the S Scale Workshop blog. Click on either photo, below, to visit that blog and read the report. Enjoy if you visit!

Workshop - Exporail 2016
(Fredrick Adlhoch runs a double-headed coal drag across “Division Street” – one of two modules I built for The Roadshow on TrainMasters TV. To his right, Andy Malette is preparing to leave the junction after meeting Fredrick’s train.)

Workshop - Exporail 2016
(This is what two scratch-built CNR T-3-a 2-10-2s look like in S scale. Locomotives by Simon Parent. The one in the front is now wondering how it ended up in Port Rowan. But that’s a story for another post…)

What a wonderful surprise!

I had no idea I was even in the running…

… but my friends in the S Scale Workshop emailed me this evening from the National Association of S Gaugers (NASG) annual convention in Novi, Michigan with news that I’ve received the 2016 Josh Seltzer Award for my Port Rowan ramblings:

NASG Blogging Award
(That’s a smiling Andy Malette holding the award: LLAP, Andy!)

What a wonderful surprise!

I’m not sure who to thank – the award is based on nominations form NASG members and selected by the Board of Trustees. So I’ll start by thanking the NASG Board, and the person or persons who nominated this site. Also, all of you who have shared information and ideas through the comments on my posts – the blog, and my layout, are better because of your contributions.


“You can never find a horn when you’re mad”

This was the rationale Homer Simpson used when adding horn buttons everywhere in the car he designed for his long-lost brother, the head of a major automaker.

Homer Car

The episode came to mind as I was installing a power bar over the central work table in my shop:


I’ll never say “You can never find an outlet when I need one.”

This monster is a six-foot long Tripp Lite 24-outlet power strip (part PS7224, and ordered via Amazon). I’ve mounted it to the bulkhead that contains the ductwork for our heating system – making a virtue out of a necessity. It installed in about five minutes, using butterfly toggle bolts.

The power strip has a 15-foot cord, which would stretch right across the shop. To keep things tidy, I plugged it into the outlet I plan to use, then mounted some rope tie-backs on the bulkhead – spaced so that the cord would stay up out of the way while still reaching the outlet:

PowerStrip Cord Storage

Most of the time, I’ll leave it unplugged, but I can unwind one loop of the cord to plug it in when I’m ready for power.

(Thanks to my friend Chris Abbott for finding this one for me!)