TOFC Trailer Project

One of the things I’ve found about building a layout of a specific prototype is you learn a great deal about subjects that may have had little to no interest to you before. On the prototype railway, goods were moved north packed in trailers mounted on flat cars, or TOFC. Before I started my layout, I knew nothing of the different types of trailers that were found on the BCR in the 1980’s, and although I’m still learning, I’ve found there ere quite the variety. I’m not going to get into the different types and sub classes, since I still know very little about them, rather I thought I would write about one trailer I recently completed.

One of the commodities to travel north on BC Rail was the life giving fluid that is beer. For reasons unknown (to me) Labatts shipped beer north in very sharp looking blue trailers with the company logo on the sides.

Here’s a shot taken by Richard Yaremko in August of 1985 that shows one of these trailers:
Prototype AUGUST 1985 RICHARD YAREMKO

No question what was hauled in that trailer!

Through some good fortune and the help of a couple of friends I managed to find a Briggs Models kit of this trailer. Cast in resin with some styrene pieces (ie the roof) it turned out to be a rather nicely designed kit

Kit mostly built before primer and paint:

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I left the wheels off for ease of painting and weathering of the under frame, the seperate hubs and tires make it nice to paint the pieces before assembly

Tires after paint:
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Body after painting with Polly Scale C&O Blue and lettered using the (very nice) decals that came in the kit:

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Now painted, weathered and assembled sitting on a TOFC flat that was kitbashed by Andy Barber:

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I added an A Line fuel tank and built the wire hanger contraption (spare tire mount?) to the kit before paint. I’ve always wanted one of these trailers to run on my layout and am happy how it turned out.

Finally, an Update and Some Scenery!

Yes, it has been (once again) too long since my last update, but I do prefer to work on the layout rather then write!

After a few operating sessions both with people and by myself, I essentially took the layout out of service to start scenery on one section. After throwing some plaster around and building a bunch of trees, I’m left with a few scenes:

Extra 708 North departs the siding at Kennedy BC after meeting a southbound freight

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708 North between Tacheeda and Kennedy

bcr-708-north-september-14-1989-kennedy-bc-small

Essentially I scenic a section of the layout between Kennedy and Tacheeda that is roughly 4 feet by 13 feet. Here’s an overview looking north towards Kennedy:

kennedy-tacheeda-scenery-jan-2017

The track curving off to the edge of the layout represents the Tumbler Ridge Line, I will add dummy catenery at a later date, as well as more trees in the foreground.

I’ll cover the scene at Kennedy in a future post, right now I’m ballasting the main into the staging yard at Tacheeda/Prince George

 

Locomotive Sound Evolution

For several years now I’ve installed or purchased locomotives with onboard sound, since I feel it adds another level of enjoyment to the hobby. I had long been a user of Soundtraxx Tsunami decoders, until I purchased a Rapido Trains Inc GMD-1 with ESU Loksound.

The ESU sound is like nothing else I have heard. Finally, distinctive prime mover sounds and bell and horn features that sound like the actual components, not something created in a computer. Add in the amazing motor control and the small size of the decoders and I was quickly sold on ESU.

So, now I fac ethe task of removing all the Soundtraxx decoders from the fleet, and replacing them with boards from Loksound. So far, I’ve got 6 models done, with many to follow. For now I’m keeping the ESU equipped units running together and the Tsunami equipped units seperate, to save me the trouble of speed matching everything.

So here’s RS18 #630 undergoing a decoder change out on the bench. I’ve also converting the units to LED lighting.

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One Year Later……

February 25 marked one year since I started the benchwork for my layout.

Helix frame started February 25 2014

helix frame built

Like most model railroaders, I didn’t spend an entire year building the layout. The majority of the summer was spent outdoors and on vacations, and it wasn’t until the winter months when I started to really build.

So current status of the layout is benchwork around 90% complete along with the track work. I’m wiring the upper level reverse loop (Prince George staging) and once completed, the bench work for Dawson Creek on the lower level will be constructed. I’ve found its much easier to wire the upper deck without any of the lower level bench work in the way!

I installed the final PSX circuit breaker the other day, so now the power panel wiring is complete:

PANEL POWERED UP FEB 2015

The good news is once the upper level is finished and Dawson Creek is built, we can start operating sessions!

UPPER DECK OVERVIEW FEB 2015

Another Milestone: Upper Level Benchwork Completed!

I reached another milestone in construction this morning, all of the bench work for the upper deck is complete! I’ve started to lay the cork roadbed for Tacheeda, which on the prototype was a small yard where coal trains off of the Tumbler Sub swapped power. On my layout Tacheeda will be the start of the staging tracks, but will also have a section of catenary for the electric GF6 locos that ran on the Tumbler Sub.  I was planning on having a back track at Tacheeda for power to lay over, however room is tighter than expected and with a reverse loop in the picture I’m not sure if I can work these tracks into the plan.

Here’s the North end of Tacheeda yard, which will consist of 8 tracks.

TACHEEDA YARD ROADBED

And a veiw of the yard from the other direction. Notice the grade coming into the yard. This is due to the height of the upper deck increasing to around 62 inches off of the floor. I had to raise both upper and lower decks slightly to allow for my work table to fit under the layout. The extra height at Tacheeda shouldn’t be a problem for operations, since the yard is basically staging for trains.

TACHEEDA YARD GRADE

And around the corner we have the reverse loop that will represent Prince George staging. The loop goes into the furnace room to save me some space in the layout room (priorities people!) Loop is 4 tracks

PG STAGING LOOP

And, over (ok actually below) on the Dawson Creek Sub, I’ve built a passing siding (Groundbirch) and roughed in the location of the Howe truss bridge at Kiskatinaw. The bridge is from Hunterline, and will likely take me about 20 years to build!

KISKANTANAW LOCATION

HUNTERLINE BRIDGE

I’m going to run to the hobby shop this week for some more cork, and plan on doing some steady track work to get the upper deck functional, since its a lot easier to finish the track on the upper level before the last of the bench work for the lower is built.

 

Roadbed in Chetwynd

Yesterday I finished laying down the cork roadbed for Chetwynd yard.

South end of the yard:

CHETWYND SOUTH END

The long track in the foreground leads to the Canfor mill, the stub track will be the Esso spur.

Mid point of yard, diesel servicing tracks and TOFC track in foreground.

CHETWYND MID POINT

The track in the background that runs through the backdrop represents the line from Chetwynd north to Ft St John. On the layout, FSJ will be a 4 track staging yard under a section of the lower level benchwork. The hole in the backdrop will be hidden by the Chetwynd station.

CHETWYND FSJ CONNECTION

And the north end of the yard. The tracks running behind the camera will be the line to Dawson Creek.

CHETWYND NORTH END