Friday, January 17, 2020

Then and Now

A quick look at 371 Main Street, Enosburg Falls, as it appears on Google Streetview today:

Here's how this building looked in 1941:
J. Delano photo, FSA Collection, Library of Congress

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Images from videos

Back 20 or more years ago an outfit called A&R Productions produced a series of VHS tapes titled "Central Vermont Railway in Steam." I bought the video tapes, and then, several years later the same footage was re-released on DVD. These were essentially 8mm and "Super 8" movies shot in the last couple of years of steam on the CV - primarily on the Southern Division. As such, they're not terribly clear - there's lots of handheld camera work and quick cuts, but they often show things that I've never been able to locate anywhere else. Which brings us to the topic for today. 
Video #3 is actually two parts - the majority of the first half of the video shows lots of switching in Palmer and Willimantic, and then shifts to a ride in the caboose up the Richford Branch. (The second half of volume #3 is a cab ride on the Willimantic sub in Connecticut). 
I was going through some boxes a couple of weeks ago and came across the DVD - which I haven't looked at in a number of years. I went ahead and popped it into the DVD player to see if there was anything useful to me. In short, there was. I did a few "screen captures" with my iphone - they actually turned out fairly decent - considering this was a DVD remastered from a VHS that was itself sourced from a handheld 8mm camera on a caboose that was bouncing around quite a bit. I've mentioned the Richford plywood plant (which burned in 1954) quite a bit - this is the only color image of that plant I've seen, ever... 
Atlas Plywood in Richford, shortly before it burned to the ground in October 1954. 
Approach into the CV's Richford Yard
Another "only time I've seen a photo of ..." - the HP Hood Creamery in Richford.

In Enosburg Falls, that's a coal dealer shed in the right foreground. 

Enosburg Falls - note how tight this area was. Basically east of Main Street, West of Plesant Street. Feed mill, with a "Wirthmore Feeds" sign atop the roof barely visible to the left. 
Video features switching the Condensed Milk Plant at Enosburg (the gray building with all the windows). Pulling (above) and setting out new cars (below). Interesting this sequence shows CV milk cars - and B&M cars. 

Monday, December 23, 2019

End of Year Progress Report

I'd mentioned in a previous post that we were having a holiday open house for our neighbors. Happy to report the event was a complete success. It's always interesting to see the reaction of non-modelers to a scale model railroad. A lot of people mentioned they'd expected to see a train around the tree, or perhaps a Christmas Garden* - instead when they came downstairs they saw, well, this.... 
I managed to add some initial scenery to the front corner by the entry to the layout area prior to our open house. I'm happy to report that the trees that were carefully packed up by my father close to two years ago survived the move and storage. 
Take this as an end-of-year report on the status of the Richford Branch. 
I placed the cannery in the front entrance area. The structures, such as the barn in the background and the various buildings visible in the previous photo, are stand-ins. 
The stationary end of the swing gate
 showing the slot the gate slides into. 
 The entire mainline "loop" is in place, including the swing bridge track. The photos show how it's constructed and how it works. Essentially, the swing gate surface slides beneath a piece of mdf that's secured to the plywood subroadbed with a gap between the underside of the MDF and the layout frame. 
Action shot! The end of the swing gate. Note the
paint scrapes indicating the friction lock.
To date friction does a fine job holding the track in place. At some point we'll add some sort of locking mechanism and a perhaps an electrical interlock to kill power when the bridge is open. 
Closed position. I soldered the rail to
some PC board ties on both the gate
and the layout to help keep the rails aligned. 
The trains ran just fine over this bridge for more than 4 straight hours - so I consider the swing gate a complete success. 
With the mainline in place and operating, I've turned my attention to the two peninsulas - the papermill peninsula and the Richford peninsula. 
A set of Fast Tracks twist ties glued to a piece
of 1/8" plywood to form the lead into the paper mill yard. 
After playing around with flextrack for an afternoon, it became obvious the paper mill
 peninsula would benefit from a handlaid turnout or two. Besides, I continue to have issues with ME turnouts, meaning I might be handlaying all the turnouts on the two peninsulas.
I also have been laying out the track for the Richford yard. But that deserves it's own blog post. 

Friday, December 20, 2019

Nine Years of Blogging

December 17th marks the ninth anniversary of this blog. In keeping with what has become a blog anniversary tradition, here are a few numbers, going back to December 2012 (first month I actually took notice of these statistics!).
I started this blog to create a diary of sorts that would document the building, rebuilding and operating my home layout. I did take a break from the blog between January-May of this year, but have resumed in the last few months. 
One thing I did this year was resume video updates on the layout. I didn't do one for November, but managed to record a November/December update that I hope to get edited and posted this week.  
I'm surprised, thrilled, and more than a little humbled at how many people following (and I hope enjoy!)  my little corner of the model railroad internet. 
As of today, there's a total of 719,448 unique page views!
Based on the typical number of reads per year, I don't think the blog will crack the million view mark in 2020, but you never know!
 The top all time posts** are shown below:

* There are no stats available for the first year since I didn't include them in the first anniversary post! I also didn't do a "End of 2018" Anniversary post for some reason. 

** Of course, by including the list of Top Ten posts and associated links here all I've done is guaranteed people will click on them, increasing their total views more!!

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Farewell to White River Junction

Back in August I received the following email: 

"Hello Marty.

Don Janes and George Dutka visited my B&M-CV layout yesterday and in the course of the discussion they said you had several (?) models of White River Jct. structures, but thought you had moved away from modeling the CV and/or WRJ and might be interested in selling some of these structures. Specifically, they thought you had a model of the WRJ Union Depot. I would be particularly interested in that - but other structures reflective of WRJ as well.

I live in Imlay City, MI, but my daughter lives in Bethesda, MD; so, I get to your "neighborhood" a couple times each year.

Let me know if you are interested in placing any of your models in a good home. - Bill Moore"

The White River Junction station, ball signal and shack, all built by Rich Cobb, on the old CV Roxbury Sub. 
I wrote back and told him that I did have models of the station, the ball signal and shack, and the Twin State Fruit Warehouse, all of which he was interested in obtaining for his layout. I didn't hesitate for long before emailing Bill back and telling him I was willing, and ready, to part with the models. They weren't doing me, or anyone, any good sitting in boxes and I don't have any plans to model WRJ at any point in the future. I'd rather have them go to good home where they would be appreciated.
And Bill's layout is shaping up to be a fine home for these, or any models, indeed. For a virtual visit to Bill's layout that George Dutka included on his blog, click HERE.
In short, Bill and I made arrangements for him to take delivery of the White River Junction structures the weekend before Thanksgiving when he and his wife were in the area visiting their daughter. We had a pleasant visit with Bill and his grandson when they stopped by. 
I look forward to seeing the structures in place on Bill's layout.