Snowy Soo

Winter Railroading.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

CP plays host to 7-year-old Toronto railfan and blogger

Railfan and blogger Nathan O'Neill, 7,  meets with a CP crew member. The railway has regular visits from Nathan, who writes about what he's learned on his railway blog. (Photo credit:

' I don't want kids, I just want to drive trains'

An excellent story in today's Toronto Star about a 7-year-old railfan and blogger from Toronto, whose love of trains has been recognized by Canadian Pacific.

As the story by Rebecca Eckler tells, Nathan O'Neill is very into trains. But what sets him apart from his Grade 1 peers is that he started his own blog about them. His work was noticed by CP and the railway has hosted him for regular visits to learn about how the railway works.
He's climbed into the cab of a locomotive and even been issued his own engineer's vest. His blog is worth a visit, even if some of the photos are upside down!

In my favourite quote from the story, he tells Eckler: "I don't want kids, I just want to drive trains."

Nathan has had a ride on the CP Holiday Train and his grandparents bought him a share in CP (quite a gift considering the share price!)

It's nice to see a kid so interested in railroading, but it's also great to see CP recognize this and give him behind-the scenes access to their operation.

Obviously they got a nice PR boost with the Star story and maybe down the line they'll get an enthusiastic engineer in training!

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Late January layout update

Basic level of ground cover is down here with many areas still needing ballast. I will go over all this ground cover again and fine-tune things. 

It's been a while since I've posted an update but I've been managing to get some work in on the layout. I've been doing a lot of ballasting, adding a few buildings and fixing some electric problems than have cropped up though regular running. I've also had to sort out problems with one pesky locomotive, the details of that problem I'll explain in another post.

New warehouse background building

This is a Walthers warehouse kit I tuned into a background structure. It's the longest spur on the layout. I may add tanks on the left side to make it more of a manufacturing plant that also takes plastic pellets as a way to add to the operating potential of this industry
Above you can see a new background building. This is a Walthers Lakeville Warehouse kit turned into a background building. It came together quite well. I'm not sure about the colour but I've still got to weather it down. There are many rail-served warehouses like this in the west Toronto area that I model. I mainly wanted a destination for boxcars because other than this industry, only the team track (see below) will take boxcars.

I've got to add roof details and a few other bits yet.

Quonset hut/maintenance area.

This little space will be a maintenance area. The quonset hut right next to the Lambton Yard office is similar to one on the prototype. 

This Quonset hut sits just to the left of the Lambton Yard office. It matches one on the prototype. I also stained a few wood pieces to represent tie piles. I plan to add extra rails, barrels, maintenance vehicles, dumpsters, etc. here.

Team track/transloading area

This is the team track. The pavement needs some weathering. This spur will take any kind of rolling stock. 

Here you see the team track area. The pavement is plaster stained with grey acrylic paint. It needs some weathering to make the colour less monochrome and a bit more dirty. Here I will add some containers, forklifts, loading docks, trucks and a modern prefab steel office/warehouse. 


The plywood block at the back will become Hymopak, which is a plastics plant that makes shopping bags.

I'm going to write a full post about this industry in the future but that plywood block at the back corner will be Hymopak, a large plastics company that makes take-home shopping bags, like the kind you get after buying stuff at Home Depot. 

The prototype is a large brick building (with black corrugated steel trim) that takes plastic pellet hoppers. I've got a Walthers plastic pellet transfer station kit that I'm going to use for tanks here. I've also got some brick sheets to laminate to the wood.

Below is a bing screen shot image of Hymopak. I will be modelling one wall and four of the white tanks.

A Bing maps aerial shot of Hymopak on Medulla Avenue in Etobicoke (West Toronto). This large industry takes rail delivery of plastic pellets (seen at the right) and turns them into shopping bags, like the kind you get at Home Depot. 

Two final wide shots

Here's an overall view from near the window looking to the left. 

Here's another overall view. looking to the left. The LaFarge cement silos will go in the back corner. 

This work is all happening on one leg of the peninsula. The other side still has plenty of exposed pink foam board. 

My goal is to at least paint out all the pink before the end of winter. 

Sorry it took so long to post an update!