Saturday, April 18, 2015

Friday, April 10, 2015

Noodling some Worms

What does one do during an endless telecon at work on a Friday morning? 
Simple, one doodles. 
Years ago I decided to stop fighting it. As a young naval officer I learned to keep notes to myself, work taskers and the like in what we called a "wheel book". I still do. New page every morning. I'm a dedicated doodler meaning my wheel book is filled with mundane work stuff and, of course, doodles. 
Considering yesterday's blog post it should come as no surprise that I tried some more variations of "SNE" in the post-1963 "wet noodle" CN logo. 
On the CV I often heard the employees refer to the CV intertwined logo as a "pregnant tapeworm." 
My collection of SNE wiggly worms is shown above. 
Not quite there but, but a couple of them show some promise? 

*A "Wheelbook" technically is (or at least used to be) a book kept by all naval officers standing bridge watches listing all the helm and rudder commands, ship sightings and the like. Kind of personal ship's log book. It's totally a CYA device. 
It's evolved over the years to mean a running log of work assignments - it's quite common for the ship's Executive Officer to "review your wheel book." That's not considered a pleasant experience!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

What becomes of the Southern New England?

Don't tell anyone! You know, when no one else is around….the clock rolls forward and the trains depict a more current era! But what would my freelance Southern New England look like in later years?  
While I try to keep it in check sometimes my prototype-freelanced Southern New England (affectionately called the “Sneey” by all her adoring fans) creeps into the posts on this blog. Sorry for the intrusion.
“Go whole hog SNE” is a temptation that creeps up from time to time around these parts. Truth of the matter is a lot more of the locomotives on the modeled railroad wear “Southern New England” and not Central Vermont on their flanks. I refuse to letter an out-of-the-box Bachmann 2-8-0 “CV” but have no issue lettering it for the SNE. On the layout they all tend to blend together after a while!
Although my modeling of the Southern New England is pretty firmly planted in the late steam era, a number of my friends who model a more modern era than me have asked "What would a SNE car look like in 1970 (or 80, or whatever)?" The answer is I don't really know. I’ve never had any issue with the steam and transition era paint schemes. As a subsidiary of the Canadian National (like the Central Vermont, GTW, GT-NE, and DWP) questions about SNE paint schemes, numbering, etc. . . . are already answered for me. Kadee has even done two versions of SNE PS-1 boxcar paint schemes using my artwork!

Remember, the Southern New England as I model it is a fairly small line (what one would call a "big regional" by the 1970s) that connects Providence RI with the CN/CV line north to Montreal and some sort of "Gateway to the West of New England" via something like the Poughkeepsie Bridge.  

In short, before deciding on a paint scheme - even for interchange freight cars with friends - I need to answer the fundamental question of “what happens to the SNE post-1955?”

Several possible scenarios have been suggested over the years:

1. The SNE continues as a subsidiary of the CN. The line between Hartford, Conn., and the main line stem that heads west of New England into New York state is cut back or abandoned altogether.. First generation units, such as our RS-11s and GP9s would be painted in "wet noodle" scheme, just as the CV did. Some second generation power, such as GP38s/40s, or even something as exotic as an RS-36, would join the roster. Basically, at first glance the railroad looks like a lot like the CV.

One practical issue has stood in the way of this option - even when I wanted to paint up a half-dozen 1970s era boxcars for friends layouts: After 1963 some version of the “wet noodle” paint scheme would be a necessity. But I’ve had no luck bending and twisting the letters “S,” “N,” and “E” into something that looked “right.” I should add if any one feels a burning need to sketch out such a SNE scheme I’d love to see it!

Other possible scenarios for the SNE: 
2. The SNE develops as a road without ties to the CN. (Alternative history of alternative history????) It ends up completely independent, almost "shortline" like railroad - serving as a small regional road serving the eastern Connecticut, Mass., and Rhode Island areas. Perhaps a group of otherwise unconnected lines in various locales in New England. Perhaps the routes etc… essentially replace the Providence & Worcester. The owner of the railroad shops around for slightly older early “second generation” Geeps at bargain basement prices….?
3. The SNE gets caught up in merger-mania -- the CN sells the line to Guilford Transportation Industries. The railroad operates with a selection of MEC, B&M, and D&H power with the "new" power (retread units, like early Guilford), some painted in the charcoal gray scheme with "Southern New England" lettering in place of the other roads names on the long hood.
4. A possibility I haven't considered yet. Or some combination(s) of the above.

At this point this isn’t much more than a mental exercise. But I’d like the option to dip my toe in the later era as the mood strikes – even resetting the layout for a later era op session from time to time. (Jack Ozanich shifts the era of his Atlantic Great Eastern to the 1960s/70s – fewer trains smaller crews etc… during the summer months). 
Back when we lived in Colorado I played around with an era shift on that version of the SNE. Someone on my SNE Yahoo Group drafted a couple of possible "scenario 2" paint schemes, but the idea never went further than the line diagram shown below. 
The MEC and D&H inspiration should be obvious - and I'm not sure that's such a good thing. The logo is a stylized “Maple Leaf” with a Southern New England tilted wafer monogram overlaid on top. That at least reflects the line's heritage and is "simplified" in a manner similar to a MEC “circle pine tree” logo. The colors in the artwork are a little off – the green would be much darker and may be close to the olive green on 1950s era diesels. 

Two early drafts for a "Second Generation" SNE paint scheme. Would something much closer to the CV/CN wet noodle schemes be a better choice?  

Friday, April 3, 2015

Derby and Ball Woodworking Shop

Back at the modeling desk adding some details to the Derby & Ball woodworking building. I have several photos George Dutka sent me as a guide, but clearly the structure had seen better days by the time he snapped these images.
Chief inspiration is a Phil Hastings photo of the Ambassador rounding the curve at Waterbury. That's the woodworking building to the left of the locomotive.
One thing that barely shows up in the photo it a "box on stilts" to the left of the gable window.
As far as what it actually was - my guess is it was some sort of sawdust handling/storage/collection system. Someone suggested it might be a steam box of some sort since the company made skis that would have been bent and formed from wood strips.
Here's one view of the woodworking shop. That "box on stilts" is just out of view to the left.

I'm not sure what it is, but it certainly adds some visual interest to an otherwise plain Jane building, so last night I cobbled it up out of styrene. The black styrene is a subshell that will be sheathed in Campbell's corrugated metal. I also got the roof panels cut out.
The door and windows are painted and I got about half of them "glazed" before calling it a night.