Saturday, 25 May 2019

Layout Visitor - Mike Shirlaw

Mike Shirlaw stopped by for a Hanley Spur layout tour today. Mike is a fellow model railroader, as well as being a musician. Mike and I met through music and the rail enthusiasm we share came as a surprise! Another surprise was that Mike spent part of his career working for the Canadian Pacific. Where? In New England - Mike was in St Johnsbury, VT. As in the St Johnsbury & Lamoille Valley Railroad - a quintessential Vermont shortline, and one of the signature scenes of the previous iteration of my HO scale layout. Since I changed my modelled locale from Vermont to Kingston last fall, Mike couldn't reawaken memories of working in that area from my layout, though we could still trade some stories about the challenges of model railroading, and what Kingston's industrial waterfront used to look like.

I assured Mike that the layout he was viewing was the most-scenicked and least-cluttered-with-junk that any layout of mine has ever been! These are two points of personal pride as a modeller! I was pleased to be able to share my layout with Mike.

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Modelling a Limestone Rock Cut

Rock cut views: after (above) and before (below):
 If you're modelling Kingston, it's not just 'bringing coals to Newcastle' to realize that modelling limestone will be a must-have. I have a berm that separates the CN spur and the CN-CP interchange from the CP line. It's made of 2x4's and some other lumber scraps, covered with papier-mache. Soon after I built it, I painted it with green paint, making the rock face two colours of grey. And I thought it looked 'good-enough' for now. But not forever:
I've been reading about modelling pioneer Frank Ellison and his talent at creating depth on a flat surface, using colouring and shading.  I'm a fairly lazy modeller (perhaps economic with exertion would be a better term) so this type of creative, and easier, approach appealed to me. Visions of shaving and cutting stacks of Styrofoam suddenly vanished! The finished product, which I like much better!
A magician never reveals his secrets. But "Dammit, Jim - I'm a model railroader, not a magician" so here's how I did it!
I Googled limestone rock cut. The Alamy stock image (above) was neat, because it included greenery top and bottom, which would fit with my rock cut. 
These images (click for larger image) fit together. I formatted all three in Paint or Word as needed, pasting and flipping to create non-lookalike images. Prototype images here. After printing, I had more than enough height, so trimmed the printed rock cut images to fit my rock cut. I Scotch-taped the images together to form one continuous image - drilled back on the left side, closer to the spur, and rougher on the right side. Push-pinning them into place, I trimmed the bottom of the printed images to clear rock debris already glued in place. 
Almost finished. Sectionman inspects the results. I white-glued the images into place, paying special attention the joints and edges. The top and bottom of the rock cut are scenicked in to match ground cover and further hide the 'joint' between the rocks and ground cover. I also later added more cut-out pieces of limestone to hide the joints on the paper images.
I'll likely print more images and use them on the berm over by Imperial Oil's warehouse as well. Before (above) and after (below). No, those aren't styrene bases the sectionmen are standing on, they're pieces of...limestone!

Thursday, 9 May 2019

Dear Landlord film, 1970

Through the wonders of Facebook and the efforts of the Swamp Ward and Inner Harbour History Project(SWIHHP) and others, here are a few captures from a 1970 film entitled Dear Landlord. For the full back-story on the film, keep scrolling. The views were interspersed with neighbourhood footage and first-person interviews. Leading off with my personal favourite, a view towards downtown from the River Street bridge. Note the (CN?) boxcar at the National Grocers building (top) or perhaps delivering newsprint for the Whig-Standard. The same year this publicity photo of a local band was taken.  Our still-recognizable Bajus Brewery building:
Bikers in Kingston? Yessir! They even tagged the Montreal Street underpass bridge. Note the embankment of the CN Hanley Spur in the background, under the bridge:
Looking up Princess Street: 
Looking along King Street through Portsmouth Village:

The back-story: Dennis Crossfield and others made an amazing film in 1970 about Kingston's housing crisis and how to organize tenants, titled Dear Landlord. SWIHHP was honoured to help Dennis locate the film, and we had a sold-out showing of it at the Screening Room a few months ago. Now Clarke Mackey has done some audio cleanup and it is online for all to see. It shows neighbourhoods you will know, but from a completely different moment and perspective. It also shows, beautifully, Kingston's history of radical organizing, a history not very often known or celebrated. Thanks to all those involved in making the film -- there are some supremely articulate people in it -- and to Neil Roy who notified me it was online.

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

32 Ontario Street

So read the neatly-written photo caption listing in the Hazelgrove Fonds of the Queen's University Archives. But the slide showed something much more exciting.

Check out the shipyard-to-street gantries that allowed large pieces of equipment to be transferred from the very end of CN's Hanley Spur into the sprawling complex. So much for property values. Now, folks living near the side of the former Kingston Shipyards might complain about the number of storeys, massing or other details of developments along the waterfront.

But in the early-60's, I wonder if these residents of Ontario Street complained about having this very industrial, very gritty operation in front of their front yards. CN drop-end gondola! I can scarce believe that this happened! There are at least three apartment buildings on this site today.

If I hadn't seen the photo taken from street-level, I wouldn't have believe it nearly as much!

Transformers on Poles

It just kept happening! Paging through some archival photos of Kingston's historic buildings, not once, not twice, but three times in a short while I came across these photos. Transformers on twin wooden poles! 

This was evidently a common way to supply power at street level. As I recall, if coloured photos the transformers would be painted a dark green colour.

I knew there was just such a transformer set-up at Macpherson's on Rideau Street. But I moved my HO scale scratchbuilt model to Presland Steel. So I need to build at least two, maybe more!

One of those scenic elements we forget about, in this era of underground cabling and diesel generators for Tim Hortons!

Sunday, 28 April 2019

Driving Tour of Railway and Cataraqui Streets

Overcast and a few spots of rain, and I'd seen media coverage of the rebuilding of the Bailey Broom factory, so it was time for a driving tour of some of the remaining (formerly rail-served) buildings of the Hanley Spur. Along Railway Street, the Weston's Bakeries on the factory tower is fading, replaced with a somewhat soulless 'Weston Foods' sign above the offices. 
Across the parking lot was this neat-looking Furniture Warehouse. Formerly Gamble-Robinson, the truck-loading dock has an interesting loading dock. Along the rear wall was the former spur location:
 Side wall for posterity, paralleling Railway Street:
Across Railway Street is the moving warehouse, formerly MacCosham Van Lines. The two-spot boxcar-loading doors are still visible, where the track had crossed Railway Street. A third paralleling spur reached I. Cohen and Pilkington Glass farther south:
For orientation purposes, here's a 1957 aerial photo from the city's Snapshot Kingston site. The Railway Street industries and spurs are shown (Weston; G-R = Gamble-Robinson; Mac = MacCosham and To Cohen = the third paralleling spur across Railway Street:
Hang a right, down Rideau Street to the Bailey Broom factory. The office remains, but the concrete wall along Rideau Street had been reduced, potentially for future residential units:
I'm reminded of the Vietnam War-era military justification: "We had to destroy the village to save it."
Cataraqui Street side view of the office:
and the to-be-rebuilt wall along Cataraqui Street:
 Across Cataraqui Street, the National Grocers building is still in use:
Former spur side:
 Paralleling Rideau Street:
Let's reminisce just a little, back to the year 2001 on a similar driving tour:

 The faded National Grocers sign was still in place:

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

CP Wayfreight at Cataraqui St.

During an earlier run down CP's waterfront trackage on my HO scale home layout, one area that I didn't photograph the wayfreight at was the Cataraqui Street area. Granted, Cataraqui Street hasn't really been 'paved' yet, but I took the opportunity to place my point-and-shoot camera down at track level to record the scene for posterity. Let's go B&W!
Looking towards the lake, my National Grocers is at left, with the Woolen Mill behind the train at right (above). Looking back north, here's the opposite view, with Cataraqui Street to be added in the foreground:
Looking towards the lake again, we're slightly closer to the Santa Fe ice reefer spotted at National Grocers:
Now an overhead view, showing the same scene from a different vantage point. Interesting that a balsa-wood loading platform handcrafted by my Dad has found a home on my layout! While the prototype National Grocers building was not curved, this structure was formerly part of the Ogilvie Flour Mill on my Winnipeg layout, also serving in my Vancouver and Vermont locales!
Cars on the train are scrap from Cohen's, coal for Macpherson's, a non-flour covered hopper of flour (!) for Weston's, two Chessie cement cars for Gus Marker, and steel for Presland ahead of the van. Taken from the roof of National Grocers, the script-lettered van is just under the River Street bridge! Now, time to get that train in motion, switch the customers and head back to Smiths Falls!