Central Okanagan Railway Company

December 5, 2017
by Dave Winter
0 comments

IS THERE REALLY A SPANISH FORK IN BC ?

    Actually no, and none in all of Canada either.  But today you will find an HO scale approximation of what “might have been” in Spanish Fork UT, right here in West Kelowna.  Dave Spritke, a newer member of our Central Okanagan Railroad Club has moved his 8’ two section HO Free-mo module from Utah, USA to it’s final home in Canada.   Its transit included several homes via an 8000 mile journey, including Eastern Newfoundland/Labrador.    

 

    Dave is in the process of integrating his Spanish Fork module into an around the room depiction of places that are, or might have been, around the Spanish Fork and Provo area of UT.  Given a small room, these are necessarily being represented by place names, and a few modeled actual structures, scenes and bridges from places he visited during a three year residence in Spanish Fork.  Loosely represented is the steam-diesel transition period spanning several years.

  

    Being a D&RGW modeler and fan before arriving in UT, he soon took an affinity to the Tintic Branch of the D&RGW in particular, and also discovered and fell in love with the UTAH RY as well.   Soon there was a flurry of activity in chasing trains,  research of the Rio Grande in UT, and a stint working on the Heber Valley RR which operates on the former D&RGW Provo Canyon branch, plus tracing a bit of the abandoned portions of railroads in UT.  New friends provided help and needed encouragement in building a module which was then used in several Utah and Colorado meets, in addition to participating in operating on other’s model railroads.   Dave reports that Utah, sometimes termed the cross roads of the west, is a relatively little known treasure of several RR’s and history.

It’s train time in Spanish Fork as the 5591, with bell ringing, glides to a stop at the station. It’s a rare occurrence that a brand new F-7 passenger unit of the Grande ever visits the town which is on a branch line that is diminishing in importance, but the Grande is here showing off it’s recent purchase to the residents of towns on the line, hoping to reinvigorate passenger travel and business in general.
The models shown include a repainted and slightly enhanced version of a Walthers station with an Osborne models train order signal, an Athearn F-7, and a custom painted Lambert brass caboose. The little shed is a hard to find Wolf Designs kit/model of a prototype D&RGW work shed.

A Utah Railway RSD-4/5 in fresh paint, but lacking it’s cab side number decal, is returning horsepower hours by switching Andersen’s elevator, pulling an empty car just relieved of it’s load of Potash. In the background the 5591 idles as the station just barely clear of the road crossing with it’s signals turned off to permit a Rio Grande box truck and other traffic to cross.
Models include the Atlas Alco RSD 4/5, Athearn wide vision caboose, and the Trona potash car, an Atlas model. Anderson’s elevator is the Spanish Fork signature structure of the module and was modeled in Evergreen Styrene via photographs and a few dimensions from ground measurements. It has several sizes and types of corrugated siding closely matching the prototypes five different types and sizes, none of which are metal. Also interesting is that instead of loading RR cars, it received granulated potash by rail car which was elevated and stored in upper level bins to be later loaded directly into trucks for hauling to the regions agricultural fields. The structure, abandoned in place many years ago, was still in Spanish Fork in 2017. Sometime, ask Dave about this structure and how it came to prominence on his module.

Yet another Utah Ry locomotive is working off horsepower hours on the Tintic Branch in Spanish Fork. It has just set off a bulkhead flat and appears to be ready to help with the tow of an old truck. The model 2003 is an Athearn Blue box kit, with a custom painted and decaled shell, but otherwise an original blue box kit. Dave repowered, upgraded and detailed the loco and detailed it to match the prototype.
The prototype Utah Ry 2003 was originally an SP GP 35R and rebuilt to a GP38-2, losing 500 hp in the process, but retained it’s original GP-35 body. It reportedly continues to serve the area, but wearing the colors of the RR’s new owner, Genesee and Wyoming Industries.

It’s rare to see steam locos these days, but D&RGW 1134 still serves the Tintic Branch hauling large quantities of rich mineral ore, grain, and ballast rock for company use. The C-48 class 2-8-0 makes it’s weekly appearance a brief but noisy passing through Spanish Fork on it’s way to the nearby mainline, and then on to Provo where it’s based. In all, it serves three separate branch lines from it’s base as well as making local runs to Geneva Steel and Ironton.
The model is a Nickel Plate Products brass model produced many years ago. It now sports a can motor with flywheel and decoder. On the adjacent track is a caboose from the now predominate diesel era, a ready to run Athearn model.

The Belmont Candy Company crew is hard at work on their loading dock, putting the last few boxes of sweets into one of two BCCX company owned cars. The structure is a Design Preservation Models, Cuttings Scissors kit, a gift to Dave from a dear friend who also designed and printed the decals for the kit, numerous signs on the module including the colorful Belmont Candy Company signs and the decals on the Accurail box car. Dave added the loading dock and canopy, plus various other items and details to the otherwise simple kit.
No Belmont Candy Company in the real Spanish Fork, but the name has a special meaning and Dave has a story, too long to relate here, all about it’s origin, how it fell onto his module one day, and the people involved. As such it occupies a special place on the module and is a busy industry to serve.

January 13, 2017
by Dave Winter
Comments Off on A Day at Lower Summerland

A Day at Lower Summerland

There’s always plenty of action in Lower Summerland.  The big mill is a scene of immense activity.  Powerful trucks carrying loads of logs beat a steady path through the mountains and down to the Mill.  Saws saw, chippers chip and the machinery of the lumber industry goes on 24/7. There might even be a train dropping off cars for us to load.

Not today though.  Today we ship our lumber out by boat.

The Sawmill

The Sawmill

The lumber leaves the mill and heads down Old Logging Road towards the offices of the dock yard.  They’re expecting us so the sorting and the transfer is easy.  Some will leave by train and some will be sent down the lake by barge.

The old road

The old road

The crew at the yard office doesn’t hang around there full time.  Train and barge service are both scheduled so guys from the mill can be down there when needed.  Some days are short and some are long.

Yard Offices

Yard Offices

The mill has it’s own office down at the yard making it easy for customers to pick up a few things directly as soon as they’re brought in by that same train or the same barge and tug boat service.

The Lumber Yard

The Lumber Yard

At the water front the tug boat has just delivered a outside braced boxcar with parts for the mill.  A plainer has been down for over a week and the boys are anxious to catch up on their hours.

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The barge service also moves small, hand carried items when needed.  Less-than-carload invoices are not uncommon and even small items can be vital.

Down by the Dockyard

Down by the Dockyard

Away from work, the shore line is a busy place in the summer as well.   The trail down to the lighthouse is dangerous but it never stopped a local from enjoying a day at the beach.

Swim Bay

Swim Bay

July 22, 2016
by Dave Winter
Comments Off on World wide recognition – sort of.

World wide recognition – sort of.

After many attempts our local group has finally made the big time.  We took dozens of photos, night and day, and from every conceivable angle and attached them to a story line that caught Morgans attention.  We’d tried in the past but the magic of digital photography got us to the finish line.

In the end he chose the pictures that he felt best told our story and that’s what it’s all about.  He also gave each of the club members a copy for their own brag wall.  Nice.

This issue hit the stands just as the Selkirk Express was getting underway in Salmon Arm BC and we hosted over 125 of their guests who bused down to pay us a visit.  Thanks to that great NMRA group for putting us on their itinerary.

The engine house at Penticton

The engine house at Penticton

So there you are.  Find a copy at your local hobby shop and see us in print.  It’s actually easier and nicer that what you see on this screen.

More to come.  We have finished a few projects you’d be interested in.

 

October 14, 2015
by Dave Winter
Comments Off on The Peachland Boys and Girls Club

The Peachland Boys and Girls Club

All the members of the Central Okanagan Railway Company want to thank one of our long time members for his generous donation to our group.

Blair Middleton has moved into a ‘full service’ community and there was just no room for his life long hobby.  As a result he donated everything he had to us so we could raise the much needed funds to carry on.  A part of that donation included the condition that we donate some to the Peachland Boys and Girls Club.  Something that they could build on or simply store away maybe to just bring out at Christmas.

The result?  Three weeks in my garage and the club came up with the plywood and a couple of turnouts.  A added the paint and the glue.

The result?

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Heck!  We may even get a new model railroader out of this.

 

August 16, 2015
by Dave Winter
Comments Off on Finishing off the Midway Scenery

Finishing off the Midway Scenery

The group at CORC spent most of yesterday completing the scenery on the Midway display while keeping the coloured photos of the small yard taped up right in front of us.   As stated earlier, our goal was to recreate a vast flat, open grassland with railway tracks.  Even the few small buildings could make the large shelf look like a city.  We would have to be very careful.  

As seen from the right hand end, the ‘west’ end, you can see three or more tracks heading off to the left and the one, lower track that leads into the lumber yard and sawmill.  We maintained the ‘open’ theme by installing a small herd of cattle in the space and a single pickup truck far to the left.   Utility poles actually help create the impression of emptiness.

 

 

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On the left side of the display there is more empty space.  Almost lost in that space are the 5 small CPR sheds we found in photos taken in the mid 60’s and the two white structures that make up the refueling facility.

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From a lower angle the visitors can see the open grassland stretching off to the west.  All of the buildings are in their correct location based on early photos with the exception of us having to leave out two tracks and pinch the scene to some degree. 

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The fuel facility is our best guess in many ways.  We have some photos of the larger two story building but oddly, all of them are taken from the same side.  Nothing is seen of the west or north sides.  There were photos of at least two different fuel tanks and one of the tank support minus the tank.

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All of the pictures we have were taken after the stock yard was abandoned and in disrepair.  It was simply easier for us to build it as a functioning facility that we could use during our operating evenings.

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Over the next few days we will tie up the new wiring harness going to the lights and the smoke generator used in the sawdust burner.

So as this project comes to an end we will be looking at other large displays around the museum and trying to recreate some semblance of reality.  Something visitors will recognize.  Greenwood is done, now Midway and by spring I expect to be well into fixing Grand Forks.  

 

 

 

 

 

The second page

August 5, 2015
by Dave Winter
Comments Off on Rebuilding Midway

Rebuilding Midway

Much anguish resulted in the decision to strip Midway of it’s eclectic collection of ‘stuff’ and rebuild it into something vaguely representing the little town at Mile 0.

There really wasn’t a great deal to see there. Not a great deal going on. Just a lovely CPR station on a broad, flat, dry spot in the mountains with it’s accompanying fuel tank, lumber mill, stock yard and a M of W track. That was what attracted me the most and that was what scared off many others.  Would we lean towards a model railway or would we lean towards a museum piece?

Eventually we came to some accommodation. All the old junky quasi-European buildings would go.  All the North American items would stay. Well, at least some. The new Midway didn’t need a dozen logging trucks and an equal supply of lumber.

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As can be seen, Midway didn’t need much but it was a great place to model and, if done right, would offer a great scene for the visitors.  Other pictures showed us where the loading pens were and where the fuel tank was.  You can see the lumber laid out on the ground here and there.  The station is getting a new roof.

First things first, we needed to extend the original Midway display in order to fit in a usable siding.  One that would leave the confines of the station and push into the yard.  Much of the activity at Midway was done in sidings.  Our work would have to be done using spur tracks – and only two at that.

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Seen above, the third track around the museum was pushed down into the new space left behind by tossing the old buildings.  The small railway buildings were photographed, measured, built and set in their appropriate location.  The fuel facility was installed right across from the station.  Two dead end tracks would have to suffice for all of the rest of the day to day Midway activity.

The station BTW would be scratch built of course but only be the front 1/2 simply because there was very limited room between the museum window and track #1.  It worked for us in Nelson.

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Farther ‘west’ we reworked the original turnouts into the new track #3.  Two direct track to the spurs seen previously and one heads to the right (East) into the new sawmill area built onto the original shelf display.  This was done with no thought to fitting a known sawmill into the space but rather we would simply build a mill to what ever size the new shelf extension offered.

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So, this is what we have.  The sawdust burner has to be filled with smoke fluid so it needs to be ‘up front’ where it can be reached and the car loading needs to be near there as well.  That leaves us with a few inches of space at 7 o’clock from the burner, the little unused space on the right where cars are loaded and the back wall of the museum.

We have some nice photos of sawmills, large and small, so we’ll use the best, get them copied at 2 or 3 times the photo size and place them against the wall.  I’ll add a few bits of pipe here and there and a large ‘over the track’ walkway with a mass of pipes that connect the lower wedge of space to the mill itself.  That should create a compact, busy industrial area with lots of lights, noise and smoke while retaining the hot dusty prairie atmosphere of the station area.

Hopefully.

We’lll keep you up to date.

February 21, 2015
by Dave Winter
Comments Off on The Yardmaster Saga – Years in the making.

The Yardmaster Saga – Years in the making.

The Yardmmaster II (ATCS) Automatic Train Control System

The Central Okanagan Railway Company needed a 100% reliable system that ran three trains in the Peachland Museum, on demand, and without the need for a supervisor. A visitor pushes a button, three trains leave their station and proceed to the next station where they stop and wait for the next “GO” command.

This was necessitated by the age, and parts availability, of an old mechanical relay sequence that had worked very well but only operated two trains. The upgrade simply needed three.

The first edition, June 2013, consisted of three Yardmasters installed as directed by the manufacturer. A full year of trying, and with a lot of help from the designer, was deemed unsuccessful. Our building was simply unfriendly. There was very poor wiring that supported a great deal of EMI and large windows consistently interfered with infrared detectors. The system was moved and reconfigured time and time again and the Yardmasters were even returned for upgrades on a number of occasions. In the end it was simply set aside as a failure.

1 - It didn't work

1. – The first and second installations didn’t work

During the following year, we tried a DCC/DC system that needed no high tech wiring and no infrared or photo sensors.  All of our engines were programmed not to operate on DC.  Trains would run when DCC was applied to a stopping area and when the trains left, plus a timed 20 seconds, the DC would be reapplied stopping the next train that arrived at the station.  The system should have worked but the DC/DCC/DC switching played havoc with every train on the layout.  They often stopped and started pretty much as their feelings moved them.

In the end, and in frustration, we delved into the guts of the old Yardmaster to see how they actually worked and John Kirby came up with a interconnection plan that seemed to do the job reliably “on the bench”.  As well, high tech multi shielded cables were properly installed reducing the IMI to less than 5% of the original and we attacked the issue again.  

2 - Reworking the circuit

2. – Bench tests determined the inner workings.

Modern, reliable, infrared pairs were reinstalled in the three locations, and we used MRD1 drivers to interface between the sensors and the Yardmasters.  It worked.  The sensors and the Yardmasters clearly understood each other 100% of the time.  We had a beginning.

3 - A new installation

3. – New installation – new location

And so to ‘count’ the trains, should there be an accident somewhere on the layout, the visitors GO button would have to be disabled until all trains were safely home.  Not as easy as it seems because the Yardmasters were not equipped with the AND function nor it seemed any output that would suffice.  This time there was no help from the Yardmaster engineers.

As it turned out that the DCC input to the Yardmaster not only switched the DCC signal to the track on one pin, it also turned off the DCC signal at another.  If a train was ‘in the station’ when the GO was pressed DCC would be applied to pin 18 and removed from pin 20. I could use that simple logic because the DCC signal is actually an AC voltage with the code riding on it.  Simply rectify that extra AC and use the + DC voltage to turn on and off 12 VDC relays.           

We bought three small voltage A-230 regulators from China for $10.00 CDN.  Delivered.  They use the 14.4 VAC (The command control signal) to provide an adjustable 11.2 VDC output to the relay coil.  They come with two pairs of contacts.  One would be in series with the GO button circuit and the other would feed 3.5 VDC to a bright green LED on the GO button.  

4.1 - AND circuits

4. – AND relays and regulators.

When the GO button is activated DCC applied directly to the second or ‘far’ track at each station.  The DCC signal for the near track is switched on through the Yardmaster.  The Yardmaster turns RED and the trains start to move out.  When the caboose, or EOT passes the detector the Yardmaster turns BLUE and the AND cct opens.  When the next train hits the sensor again the Yardmaster turn GREEN, the DCC is removed from the near track and a relay is closed again.  After three relays are closed the GO is rearmed.  

5 - Yardmaster logic

5. – Two trains in – one out on the main.

It was agreed that the administrator should be able to easily see the LED signaling rather than have it all put neatly away under the layout.  Should a problem develop, and it surely will, he can identify the area right away and see it.   

6 - Everything is easily seen.

6. – Everything is handy for the museum staff.

Should a coupler become disenchanted with the work the next train through will simply move the lost train into a stopping block.  Should a engine pick at a switch, sadly the most likely issue, the Yardmasters will show where it happened and it can be put back on te track.  It will move forward right away and finish the Yardmaster sequence.

So there we go.  After two years of fooling around we have a very reliable public display.  Yes.  There are computer friendly systems being used on big layouts. They can run an unlimited number of trains into and out of an unlimited number of stations.  They cost money and in every case I know of, require a specialist who does nothing else.  What’s more, all these high tech systems were built, as new, while our layout was, and is, a 20-year-old creation morphing time and time again into something bigger and better.  

January 21, 2015
by Dave Winter
Comments Off on Greenwood is done and waiting for the first train.

Greenwood is done and waiting for the first train.

….although I’m sure there will be additions here, there and everywhere.  A car and some flashing lights I expect.  Lets see how it goes. We should take a quick tour around town and ask for suggestions. We’ll drop over to the station first.

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It’s a busy little place.  Quite idyllic actually.  A few passengers sitting in the sun and an old dog waiting to go home. But it’s in a rather run down neighbourhood.  The scrap metal dealer is right over the tracks.

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and his back yard isn’t any better than the front.  But it’s been seen by fewer people and thats’ a good thing.

 

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Right across the street from the station is the bulk oil dealer.  Well every small town has one and I guess they have to be somewhere.

 

 

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And next door to the oil shop is the town machine shop.  They probably get a lot of their stuff from the scrap guy over the road.

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The country side open up behind the bulk oil and starts to resemble why we like it here.  Birds, the sound of the creek and the wind in the trees.  That track on the right leads off into the small servicing facility. 

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That small shop gets to be a busy place from time to time as there is nothing else between Grand Forks and Midway.

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An over view shows off the very best of Greenwood.  It’s a place where you can let your kids run free and the neighbours will keep an eye on them.  

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So, except for that flashing x-ing light at the station track we’re pretty much done here.  Moving on the Penticton and Nelson next.  

December 15, 2014
by Dave Winter
Comments Off on Penticton on hold – Greenwood at work

Penticton on hold – Greenwood at work

With the sudden disappearance of creativity in and around Penticton the crew have moved over to the sleepy village of Greenwood.  It’s a quiet ‘near ghost town’ high along the Highway 3 route across the south.  Promoted as BC’s smallest ‘city’ it boasts a population of 650 future ghosts at last count.  

Just last summer though, when it was a mere grade crossing in the corner, it was decided to enhance the scene somewhat.  We had purchased of a supply of great new buildings with Penticton in mind but there were at least 4 that were unsuitable. Sleepy Greenwood it seemed would have a short, unexpected and unexplained construction boom. 

Tracks were torn up, land was acquired and the simple scenery was removed…..

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Two of the old main line tracks remained where they were but the new acreage allowed for a single new “inside” track that would serve a small station and a few small buildings.  The degree of industrial development was in dispute but I may have won that one.  Happily, Imperial Oil will NOT be constructing their new billion dollar refinery in Greenwood.  

These small photos highlight the identifiable landmarks we wanted to include while keeping the space ‘small’ in scope….

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The goal was to install our new structures while offering visitors who knew the area a glimpse of home.   Some cut and paste was in order.

Landmarks were built flat against the wall and new, small buildings would be organized on the new benchwork.  The old smelter was a priority.  The bell shaped objects were created when containers of hot slag were dumped in the area.  An odd tourist attraction indeed.   

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A single small road would serve the new structures.  The station, a warehouse, a welding shop and a junk dealer.  All having seen busier and better days.

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We have decided that a single spur will serve a business of some type just off the frame to the left.  The ‘business’ is actually there to cover the switch machine that controls access to the station siding.  

But more on that as we finish this small scene…

October 31, 2014
by Dave Winter
Comments Off on And so it begins…….

And so it begins…….

….It seems the winter rebuild is already under way.  Much more extensive that originally planned of course.

What was planned was a “dressing up” of the large Nelson yard.  It’s a dark wall with a very long, 6 track yard.  Fine when it was out of view of the public but now it offers the one of the best views in the building.  So add some scenic backdrops and a few up to date buildings and we’d be good there.  But then there was the operating trolley, a big job in itself,  and a highway overpass that took hours, and without warning Nelson became a PROJECT.

Penticton was always sort’a on the list but now we will remove a length of track so we can build a fully functioning down town street scene, install a better station, remove a scenic hillside with all the mess that entails, move the turn table pit (Not my job.  Not my job) and rebuild the roundhouse.   Next summer when everyone is out enjoying the beach our scenery folks will still be inside working full time on that one.

Look!  My G gauge work bench is fully occupied with HO stuff already so nothing at all is being done on my own layout.  The club got a real good deal on a box of 15 building kits from Woodland Scenics but even with less track Penticton each building has to be reduced to 1 1/2 inches deep so they fit the area.  Course if we eliminated, or vastly reduced the roads, the buildings could be finished in days.  Hmmmm.

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Some of the buildings will be used at Greenwood.  

Greenwood?  That wasn’t a part of this rebuild!!

Well it is now.  We are adding 6 to 8 inches of  ‘benchwork’ to peaceful little Greenwood so we can move the tracks and create a town complete with station, section house, industrial facilities, paved streets with x-ing guards and probably some noisy engine facilities.   

The fine people of Greenwood don’t deserve this.

So, if your in the neighbourhood, and you have your toolbox with you, we expect you to drop by and lend a hand.  I expect we’ll need 40+ hours to install, test and prove the updated Yardmasters before Christmas. If that works it will take weeks just to remove the old relay system and clean up the wiring mess it left behind.  That 150 foot bridge over Wilson’s Canyon has to be replaced (more scenery rebuilding) and some lighting has to be built and installed on 8 feet of facia.  We also need to buy or build a very reliable CPR passenger train or find some replacement 6 wheel trucks for what we have.  A thousand miles and they’re completely warn out.

This never ends.  <VBG>