Port Rowan: Satellite overlay

Port Rowan Yard - 2016
(“It’s around here somewhere, isn’t it?” Jack, Roy and Mocean stand in what was once the Port Rowan yard – but where, exactly, did the track go? And where were the buildings located? I now have an approximate answer…)

I’m not sure why this never occurred to me before…

… but while answering a question on the Stories and Legends of Long Point and Port Rowan Area group on Facebook, I realized I could probably take my scan of the prototype track map and superimpose it on a satellite image of Port Rowan. This would allow me to determine – roughly, at least – where various features were located in the large park that’s all that remains of the terminal. Here’s the plan:

Port Rowan Track Plot

And here’s the plan overlaid on the satellite image:

Port Rowan - Track Plot over Satellite Image

Next time I’m in Port Rowan, I’ll have a better idea of where I’m standing.

Abandonment Application – April 1938

In the 1930s, the Canadian National Railway sought permission to abandon the Port Rowan segment of the Simcoe Subdivision – including the two towns that I model. (Click here for a map)

As part of this effort, CNR submitted its description of the line and the communities that it served to the Board of Railway Commissioners for Canada.

I’ve written about this abandonment application previously on the blog and shared some of the data. But I realized I should share more – to expand on the record, as it were.

This information is not relevant to the era I model, of course – things changed significantly in the two decades that separate this document and my 1950s setting. Nonetheless, this document provides some interesting reading, and certainly can be culled as inspiration for operating sessions. So here it is:

Abandonment - Page 1

Abandonment - Page 2

Abandonment - Page 3

Abandonment - Page 4

Abandonment - Page 5

Abandonment - Page 6

Abandonment - Page 7

Abandonment - Page 8

Abandonment - Page 9

Abandonment - Page 10

Abandonment - Page 11

Abandonment - Page 12

Abandonment - Page 13

Abandonment - Page 14

Abandonment - Page 15

Abandonment - Page 16

(The following is the catalogue information from Library and Archives Canada, for those looking to find it themselves)
Abadonment - Archives Information

As one might expect, the village of Port Rowan was not happy about this proposal. Here’s their response.

I’m grateful to Jeffrey Smith of the CNR in Ontario website, who found this information in our federal archives and shared it with me.

Equipment Portraits :: 7

Here’s the seventh in a series of posts featuring portraits of the equipment that runs on my S scale model railway, with notes about each model. The equipment is presented in no particular order. Click on each image for a larger view…

CNR 4204

CNR 4204 - portrait

CNR 4204 - Portrait

This stunning example of the scratch-builder’s art was built for me by my friend Simon Parent, who also did my 2-6-0s and 4-6-0s. If I recall, it is the 3rd of 10 of these locomotives he plans to build – although the number may be less. The model combines brass castings and photo-etched nickel silver. Simon designs his own patterns and makes masters for his own castings: It’s an almost-lost art. Like all of Simon’s work, the 4204 is finished with details specific to the road number and the era. I obviously didn’t need this one – it’s way too big to ever have appeared at Port Rowan – but I love Simon’s work and wanted to support it. This locomotive gets regular workouts as part of the S Scale Workshop Free-mo style exhibition layout.

CNR 7184

CNR 7184 - Portrait

CNR 7184 - Portrait

This is an essential car on my layout – a combine in the solid green CNR scheme, to fill out the mixed train to Port Rowan. The model is a mixed media (brass and wood) kit designed by Andy Malette and sold through his MLW Services company. My friend Pierre Oliver at Elgin Car Shops built the kit for me. I then added finishing details – including the window glass and shades and the diaphragms (which need to be cleaned up and coated with a clear coat so they don’t rust). I also added the conductor in the vestibule and a spare DCC sound decoder with speaker in the baggage section so I can emulate train line signals from the conductor to the engineer. The trucks are American Models six-wheel trucks, which look nice but do not track well, so I enhanced these with special rigid beam compensation subframes designed and laser cut for me by Tim Warris at Fast Tracks, based on a solution sometimes employed by UK modellers. This working suspension made the world of difference.

BAOX 378

BAOX 378 - Portrait

This is a brass model (as evidenced by the bare brass peeking out around two of the domes), which I painted for a Canadian petroleum company. The lettering – the most important part of this project – came from Al Ferguson at Black Cat Publishing: He offers this set in HO scale, and kindly did a custom run for me in S. This is a great resource for Canadian modellers. Reasonably, he charges twice the price of the HO decals, since it’s a custom run. Also reasonably, this is a lot less than the set-up fee one would expect. Thanks, Al!

CNR 470015

CNR 470015 - Portrait

I did five of these cars about a year ago. They started as ready to run models by S Helper Service. I replaced the plastic roof walks with real wood, and updated the provided K brakes to AB brake sets using brass kits sold by BTS. I then painted this car (and its four mates) with CNR mineral red #11 from the CNR Historical Association, and lettered them with decals sets from Al Ferguson at Black Cat Publishing.

CNR 52247 and CNR 52274

CNR 52247 and CNR 52274 - Portrait

CNR 52247 and CNR 52274 - Portrait

These two scale test cars are certainly conversation pieces. They are brass imports from Southwind Models, which I painted, lettered and finished as CNR prototypes. The decals are a mix: The road name came from HO scale van (caboose) sets from Al Ferguson at Black Cat Publishing, while the balance of the lettering is from HO scale CNR scale test car sets from Andy W Scale Models. Scale test cars are kept relatively clean since dirt can change their weight, so I was very careful with the weathering. They also typically are used in pairs, so I was fortunate to find two models. Despite being so small and having a two-axle stance, these cars are heavy, being almost solid brass, and the springing is well done in the journals so they track very well. They’ve become my go-to cars for testing track work, appropriately enough…

Eventually, I hope to document all of my S scale equipment in this fashion. We’ll see how that goes. Meantime, see the Portraits category to find all posts in this series. If you’ve read this far, thanks for sticking with it. I hope you enjoyed these equipment portraits and notes.

Equipment Portraits :: 6

Here’s the sixth in a series of posts featuring portraits of the equipment that runs on my S scale model railway, with notes about each model. The equipment is presented in no particular order. Click on each image for a larger view…


CNR 1 - Portrait

CNR 1 - Portrait

I’m tickled that even a continent-spanning operation like the Canadian National Railway system had a “Number 1” locomotive – and this is it. Dan Navarre at River Raising Models imported 180 of these GE 44 Ton diesels in December 1993. They’re a well-designed model with a nice drive. To create CNR 1, I added marker lamps on the four hood corners, removed the stock single-chime horn and added an (oversized) HO scale Miniatures by Eric horn on a custom bracket on the front exhaust stack, and built the cab roof-mounted number board from a pair of steam engine style number board kits from my friend Andy Malette at MLW Services. I added a crew to the cab, real glass in the windows, LEDs in the headlights at each end, and a Loksound sound decoder hooked to a TCS Keep Alive module under the hoods. A speaker shoots sound up through one of the open hood hatches. I painted the engine with Warm Black from the CNR Historical Association and I worked with Bill Brillinger at Precision Design Company to develop custom decals. At some point, I may re-visit this locomotive to add the protoype’s boiler-tube pilot. But for now, I’m really pleased with this project.

CNR 3640

CNR 3640 - Portrait

CNR 3640 - Portrait

This was a real beast of a project. The model started as an Overland brass import from 1989. (Yes: Overland used to offer S scale brass!) I found a few errors on the model that needed to be corrected to more accurately represent a CNR locomotive. I did not fix most of them because they were, to me, minor. But the one I did address was turning the cab interior 180 degrees so that the crew would face the long hood, which was “forward” on these models. The mechanism also needed attention to remove binds, isolate the (two!) motors, and adjust the ride height of the trucks side frames so they wouldn’t foul on road crossings and turnouts. In S scale, there’s a lot of space inside an RS18 and I packed it with electronics, including a Tsunami decoder and current keeper module, a large speaker, a second decoder to give me additional lighting effects, and a fistful of small LEDs for headlights, class lamps, number boards, truck lights and a cab interior light, all run off separate functions. (At some point, I will revisit this model to upgrade the decoder to a LokSound with “Full Throttle” features. I have the decoder, and an expansion board that will give me enough function outputs to control all of the lighting. I just need to sit down and do it.) The next challenge with this model was painting: There are no decals for this unit in S scale, and while CDS offered dry transfers at one time, they are wrong. So, I painted the whole unit yellow and then, based on photos, carefully masked it and sprayed the green. The yellow bands were then trimmed in black by hand, using a fine tip marker. The lettering – cab numbers, road name, heralds and so on – came from a set produced for S scale F-units and available from Al Ferguson at Black Cat Publishing.

CPR 191200 and CPR 403726

CPR 191220 - Portrait

CPR 403726 - Portrait

My friend Pierre Oliver at Elgin Car Shops built, painted and lettered these these two Fowler patent boxcars for me from Ridgehill Scale Models resin kits. I did final finishing – such as adding real wood roof walks – and the weathering. I like that the two models show different styles of Fowler car: One has a wood roof and door, while the other is rebuilt with a steel roof and door. The roof walks are different, too. It’s the little details like this that attract people to prototype modelling.

PRR 503798

PRR 503798 - Portrait

This is a rarity in S scale – a modern, injection molded plastic kit. This PRR X29 was introduced by Des Plaines Hobbies at the 2013 NASG Convention, and since the prototype was ubiquitous it was easy to justify one for my layout. My friend Pierre Oliver actually asked if he could build this one for me, and I was happy to let him play with it. I did the weathering. Many manufacturers have abandoned kits in favour of ready-to-run models – while others have abandoned S scale altogether. So it’s great whenever a company like Des Plaines Hobbies bucks that trend. Thanks for that!

Eventually, I hope to document all of my S scale equipment in this fashion. We’ll see how that goes. Meantime, see the Portraits category to find all posts in this series. If you’ve read this far, thanks for sticking with it. I hope you enjoyed these equipment portraits and notes.