A visit from Chris D’Amato

Railroad Model Craftsman editor Chris D’Amato and his wife were in town over the weekend for the annual Doors Open Toronto festival and they stopped by on Sunday evening to see the layout.

It was great to catch up with Chris – I haven’t seen him for a while – and to show off my layout to someone who has seen quite a few of them professionally. He and his wife seemed quite taken with the ambient sound I’ve added to the layout, as well as the trees and other scenery. And Chris really liked the small CN steam power I run.

Some of the things we discussed are captured in this sequence of photos, depicting an unusual event on the Port Rowan line – a meet between M233 and a work extra…

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Having completed their work in Port Rowan, the crew of CNR 2-6-0 Number 80 turns their mogul in preparation for the return trip to Hamilton. Number 80 has been on a work extra, delivering ballast from the pit in Hagersville to various places along the line. The crew is in Port Rowan to collect an empty hopper car: The Burro crane operator unloaded this ballast about a mile outside of town as part of a regrading project.

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With its engine turned, the crew of Work Extra 80 is pumping air and testing brakes before heading home. With a short train and a full head of steam, the engineer has decided he can make St. Williams in time to clear M233. The Burro, however, is too slow for that run – it’ll have to wait until the daily mixed arrives and leaves Port Rowan before starting the long journey home. Redwing Blackbirds gather in the meadow near the yard, and must be pretty used to the noise of the trains by now.

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With a flagman protecting Charlottville Street, M233 crawls through the crossing and into St. Williams behind 10-wheeler 1560. The folks on the porch are treated to this ritual twice per day, but they’re in deep discussion and pay it no mind.

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The head-end brakeman on Work Extra 80 has unloaded to give the mixed train a roll-by inspection as the two trains meet just west of the St. Williams station.

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With the meet completed, the brakeman lines the switch to let Work Extra 80 back onto the mainline at St. Williams. It’ll be clear running from here to Simcoe.

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Meanwhile, the M233 continues its journey. Having worked through the Lynn Valley, the train rounds the final curve and rolls between apple orchards as it enters the Port Rowan terminal.

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The Burro crane operator takes a break by the section house, but he’ll give M233 a roll-by inspection from his perch on the section gang trailer as the mixed train arrives in Port Rowan. The Burro is nowhere in sight – it must be parked well out of the way on the turntable lead.

Chris: It was great to see you. Enjoy the photos – and come again soon!

12 thoughts on “A visit from Chris D’Amato

  1. Assuming the Burro Crane was carried as an extra train, three in one day and good friends, what a day. Enjoyed the write up and the photos.

    • As noted, Tom – it was madness.

      I should point out that we didn’t actually an operating session when Chris visited. It was to be a flying visit, although we ended up talking for about 90 minutes if I recall correctly – certainly enough time for a session.

      But we did talk a lot about what’s available in S and what can be used from other scales – and I did show off a fair bit of my collection. Hence, the variety of equipment in the photos for this post.


    • I do have a River Raisin Models S scale Flying Yankee, Marty. Would that do?

      I’ve set it on the layout – it doesn’t have DCC so I haven’t been able to run it. Boy, does it look silly on those tight curves…


  2. What a great sequence! Thanks for sharing. I’m glad you got to show off the Port Rowen, is an article in RMC possibly in the works? It’d be great to see.

    I sure love that classy CNR Passenger paint scheme, I’ve purchased a number of cars in Green and Black (as well as CPR Maroon). However, I’d rather see an LRC then a Turbo-Train! I wonder what a LRC would look like in Green and Black?

    • Hi Brian:

      Thanks for the kind words. I think you’ll just have to paint an LRC in Green and Black.

      Fortunately, they’re not available in S so I won’t be tempted. I have put the bug in the ear with a manufacturer about doing CNR’s D1-C1-C2, though:
       photo D1-C1-C2_zpsd7c5b538.jpg

      I’d love to see it in S and HO. And the best part from a manufacturing perspective is it wouldn’t even need to be an operating model, because my understanding is the prototype spent most of its time being rescued by conventional power…


      • Nah…as much as I like LRC’s (and Turbo’s), if I was going to spend that kind of money, I’d rather spend it on some decent CANADIAN steam! I’d love to model the CN and CP lines in Southern BC (like Mark Dance’s Columbia Western), but in the early 1950’s.

  3. Thanks Trevor for the pics and narration of the “busy” day. I too hope your layout is featured in RMC. It is a great inspiration to see what you have accomplished. Great workmanship!
    Cheers, Gord

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