Sign = solved (thanks, Dan!)

Just over a year ago, I posed a question on this blog about a sign across from the Port Rowan depot:
The Daily Effort arrives photo PortRowan-AP-1.jpg

Recently, reader Dan Kirlin came to the rescue. Dan dug through his extensive library of prototype data and found CNR engineering drawings for various signs. He photocopied three likely candidates and sent them to me. As it happens, I can use all three on my layout – so yesterday I built some signs:
 photo CNR-Signs-01_zps133cce9e.jpg

Rather than attempt to recreate the lettering, I simply scanned the photocopies then cleaned up the scans in PhotoShop. I then reduced the scans to approximate S scale dimensions, loaded them into a document in MS Word, and printed them out. (I actually loaded a few different sizes of each sign into the document so I could choose the print that worked best.)

I was worried that glue would discolour the paper or make the ink run so to create the sign boards, I grabbed a strip of scale 1″ x 10″ lumber and put a short strip of thin double-sided tape on one side. I then trimmed the paper signs to size, stuck them to the tape on the 1″ x 10″ and trimmed the board to match the printed sign.

To further protect the printing, I finished the sign face by sticking a piece of clear tape over the sign and trimmed it to size.

To make the posts, I grabbed some round toothpicks. They’re approximately six-inches in diameter in S – perfect! What’s more, they’re sharpened to a nice point to stick into scenery. I cut the point off one end and filed two angles onto the tip, as on the drawings. I then located the sign and marked the front face of the post so that I could file a flat space onto it to mount the sign – a detail I picked up from Dan’s drawings.

I glued the signs in place on their posts, then drilled and installed two Grandt Line 101 NBW castings on each sign, as indicated on the drawings. I had black plastic castings, so I didn’t even need to paint them.

A quick bit of brushwork with some Reefer White finished the posts and the back of the sign boards. I put a mark on each post at the appropriate ground level, drilled holes in the subroadbed at the appropriate locations, and pressed the signs into place on the layout. They were a nice press fit – no glue necessary.

I made one of each style of sign.

The “End of Track” sign stands across from the Port Rowan station. It alerts engineers that their run is about to end:
 photo CNR-Signs-02_zps7376e8ae.jpg

 photo CNR-Signs-03_zpsebf08ad9.jpg

The “Engines must not run past this point” sign is located to prevent crews from running a locomotive onto the discharge bins on the coal delivery track:
 photo CNR-Signs-06_zps56e8bdc5.jpg

 photo CNR-Signs-07_zps61009f9d.jpg

The “Cars must not stand outside this point” sign stands next to the team track at the end of the elevated coal track. It reminds crews not to leave cars on the team track next to the elevated section:
 photo CNR-Signs-04_zps16c794ed.jpg

 photo CNR-Signs-05_zps91dd1e0c.jpg
(I do not have a prototype photo of this sign – but I do have photos, taken from the back of the signs, to help me locate the other two.)

I love adding little details like this to the layout. While they’re too small to read in normal operation, they do show up well in photos. Thanks for the data, Dan – much appreciated!

8 thoughts on “Sign = solved (thanks, Dan!)

  1. They look great Trevor! Your post yesterday looking into the yard was very impressive, not in it’s complexity, but rather, it’s simplicity. I am giving a clinic tomorrow called “Track is a model too,” and your layout exemplifies that philosophy. I am going to delve into more track specific details, but I would lump these signs into that category. Many of the details that we add to track (or the right of way) may not be too visible in person, but as you say, in pictures they really do pop out at you, even in N scale (which, even I will admit, is bordering on madness …)

    Once again, Trevor, well done and all this 3D modeling foolishness that I’ve been doing in O scale is DEFINTELY your fault.

    Oh, and I really need to renew my passport so I can go up and see your layout, and see what all this Harbord House hub ub is about …

    • Hi Jim:
      Sounds like a neat presentation. And yes – you do need to come up. I’m sure many other people in the area would love to see you here as well.
      It’s always my fault…

    • Hi again Jim:

      The yard and its simplicity – good observation.

      My friend, the late Richard Chrysler was also a bit fan of Port Rowan as a modelling subject. He observed that it was about as tiny as you could get and still represent all of the typical jobs found in a terminal. Port Rowan includes a station handling a combination of passengers, LCL, express and mail… a couple of spurs to switch… a turntable to turn the engine: everything you need, and nothing extra.

      Another friend, Pierre Oliver commented one time – one of the first operating sessions at which he assumed the conductor’s role – something along the lines of, “Port Rowan is deceptively simple. You think it’s going to be easy to switch. Then you start switching and you realize there’s just enough track to get the job done – but no more. It’s more challenging than it looks.”


  2. A propos the restrictions in this small yard, does the “Cars must not stand outside this point” sign also apply during switching, or just for longer periods, i.e. once switching is over and the train has departed?

    Incidentally, the prototype photo reveals a mass of information about many things, including the loco: I love the slightly open door on the cab front. It is one of those things which show a less than perfectly pristine world, and reveal the human touch, hinting at a hot summer’s day.


    • Hi Simon:

      Great – now I have to pry open a door? 😉

      Since it’s my railway and therefore my rules, I’m going to assume that cars may stand outside that point during switching, but may not be left there once switching is done. We often use the head end of that spur to sort cars after pulling the team track and prior to shoving cars that are staying back into it.

      Great question – thanks for asking it.


      • “Great – now I have to pry open a door?”

        Oh yes. 😉

        Actually, it is the sort of feature which can be incorporated during construction, but should be exercised with restraint, i.e. not too often and also – as per the photo – with subtlety.


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