Saturday, October 28, 2017

Coming Soon: The End of the SD40-2s on CP and CN in Canada

Readers of this blog know that I like SD40-2s.

That’s why the Manitoba & Minnesota Sub. is set in the early to mid-1990s, when the SD40-2 was king.

It’s also why I was so excited when Bowser brought out its great-looking and great-running CP Rail SD40-2 models—including the Red Barn.

But if time is frozen in my basement on the M & M Sub., it marches on in real life on both the CPR and CN.

According to the latest information I can find (on Canadian Railway Observations), as of last year there were only 13 SD40-2s on the CP roster, with only four of those operational (and based in St. Paul, MN). The rest were stored.

Some SD40-2s are being upgraded into that railway’s new SD30C-ECO program, so that’s good news. But it’s not the same.

Meantime, the famed MultiMark is also almost gone; as of last year only two units (5911 and 5863) still sport the iconic mark (again, according to CRO).

Once they are gone, the MultiMark will cease to exist in real life.

Meanwhile, according to a report in the September issue of Railfan & Railroad CN has only four SD40-2s in operation, with seven stored serviceable and 142 stored unserviceable. One of them is 6017 (in the photo above).

In 2010, I interviewed local modeler Don McKinnon about his home layout, the Malamute and Klondike.

With construction on the layout starting in 1950, it was the oldest home layout in Winnipeg by the time Don died in 2013.

When I asked him why he modelled the transition era, he replied: “It was modern when I started!”

At 23 years old, I’m beginning to feel the same way about the M & M Sub. layout.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Donald Trump, Politics and Model Railroading

If there’s one thing we all probably would like, it’s to keep politics out of model railroading. No more fighting in clubs over control systems, era, track, scenery or the type of coffee people buy, or anything else.

But what about putting politicians on model trains?

That’s what’s happening with the "President Donald Trump Express" from the Bradford Exchange.

According to the Exchange, you can get a “heirloom-quality HO scale electric train collection [that] salutes the 45th President of the United States.”

That may fire up Republicans and annoy Democrats. But before we get into a partisan, um, “conversation,” everyone should know that the Exchange produced a President Obama train when he was elected, too.

(Jimmy Kimmel satirized the Bradford Exchange Trump train on his show; depending on your political persuasion, you will either find it amusing or offensive.)

Curious about the intersection of politics and trains, I decided to see if there were any other manufacturers producing presidential-themed items.

And, of course, there are. Micro-Trains has a Presidential Series for rolling stock, featuring a number of past presidents—and the current one.

Con-Cor also produced a President Trump car. I can’t find a car for any other president, though.

Kato produced a model of the prototype George Bush #4141 in N scale.

And USA Trains made one in G scale.

Individual modelers also got in on the action, like this one who made his own “Make America Great Again” train.

Not to be left out, Preiser made President Obama and Michelle figures in HO and G scales.  (So far, no Donald Trump figure I can see.)

So, there we are; politics and model railroading mixing. And so far, nobody is tweeting: "Sad."

Sunday, October 8, 2017

More Photos of Chris Round's Atherley Narrows

Like his previous layout, Stoney Hill Yard, Atherley Narrows is also HO Scale and also features CP Rail in Ontario in the 1990s.

Chris sent me a few more photos of his newest effort, and I grabbed some off his Facebook page.

This includes some shots of the boats he is scratchbuilding for the layout.

As usual, what I can say but: "Wow!"