By the late 1930's coal revenues had dropped precipitously, and the O&W
had to file for reorganization under section 77 of the bankruptcy Act.
This aerial photo was taken during the latter part of the 1930's or early 1940's.
O&WRHS Marine Line Equipment Observer
Modeling the Ontario
by Don Spiro
Lest readers suspect that I have given up on modeling completely in deference to reading, let me share one of the true hidden gems in structure models currently available.
Over the past year or so, Walthers released one of their more interesting "theme" series, "The Waterfront." I built and reviewed most of the series for RMC and all components were first rate; the finished tug, traveling crane and car float apron are awesome. For modelers who have wanted to model "Rail-Marine" operations, you got more than you ever could have imagined. Sheepscot has announced a New York Central steam tug in their line of fine kits this year so Weehawken is suddenly within the grasp of any Maritime oriented O&W modeler.
In amongst those "Waterfront" models though is a building that has more widespread appeal "inland" than merely something on a shoreline. That model is the Front Street Warehouse [kit #933-3069]. Walthers has artfully produced a kit that captures the look and spirit of the typical Post Industrial Revolution brick mill, warehouse or manufacturing facility that existed in any town throughout the US. I have no clue as to the prototype Walthers based this model on. I've seen similar structures in Paterson and Newton, NJ; Easton and other Anthracite region towns in PA; just about any town throughout New England; and yes, right along the old O&W right-of way in Middletown.
The large three-story brick building assembles easily. Two types of windows are included with the kit. There is a set with the mullions cast integral to the window frame, typical of any plastic structure kit. The other set has the window frames cast with no mullions in them. Large sheets of clear acetate with the mullions silk-screened are to be cut and ACC'd into the frames for a much finer and delicate look to the finished structure. Of course this allows one to see into the structure more easily but this is a plus if you've ever wanted to detail an interior of a building this large.
I have this building on the edge of my layout. As a foreground model, it is a killer, especially when the mainline passes behind it. It is a chance to let a structure instead of scenery "dwarf the train" and the effect is incredibly realistic.
I am making floors out of sheets of .80 mil. Styrene and detailing the interior with assorted crates on the first floor, Preiser and Con Cor drill presses and machinery, pipe racks, figures etc. on the upper two stories. My friend Rich Hedstrom has used old stereo and radio components to model nondescript interior machinery, tanks, etc. One circuit board from an old appliance will yield a multitude of capacitors, resistors and what have you that make very interesting interior details once painted. I am also adding interior view blocks so you cannot see through the floor and placing most of the details in front of the windows.
What the building is used for is still undetermined; it really doesn't matter though as it just looks typical of these great old mill style buildings. The building features two large loading doors on either side of the building so the "siting" possibilities on a layout are endless. Definitely add a Korber water tank and perhaps Kibri's smokestack and boiler house and you will have a manufacturing complex to keep a switch crew busy for an operating session. This is a stunning model and worthy of a place on any O&W or Northeast layout.
I would like to share with you an incredible video I came across recently. It's titled "The Maine Central Mountain Division" and is available from Herron Video. I can say without hesitation that this video includes some of the finest footage ever shot of steam on a mountain railroad operation anywhere. Were footage available of this caliber on the O&W, smelling salts and a box of Kleenex nearby would be required.
Scott Whitney shot the 16mm film footage in the late 40s. Mr. Whitney was no rank amateur: his eye was "gifted and talented" and all images were shot with the camera on a tripod. Early on it's evident that Mr. Whitney gave careful consideration to framing, lighting and how the finished work would look before exposing a single frame of film.
The film opens with wonderful views of the "Mountaineer," no, not OUR beloved Y-1 powered Mountaineer, but the Boston & Maine's Mountaineer from Boston to Intervale in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Mr. Whitney presents a multitude of views of the Mountaineer as it heads west out of North Station towards the White Mountains. He pulls back, places the train in its environment and offers little celluloid snippets of a lifestyle and time long gone. The ideas for modeling along the way are overwhelming! So too is Mr. Whitney's portrayal of those men that worked for the railroad. He dignifies them with a sensitivity that rivals the similar black and white images of Dr. Phil Hastings. These images of workers are as fine as the images of the locomotives and trains and give life and substance to the overall story.
When Mr. Whitney arrives at Bartlett NH, this gem of a video elevates into the realm of genius. Bartlett was the helper base for trains heading up through Crawford Notch on their way to St. Johnsbury VT. All freight trains received one or two helpers and all facets of this operation are covered like you've never seen before. The MEC night freight from Portland would arrive at daybreak and most of the images of steam helper operations are enhanced by the magic golden light of dawn. The initial scene of helpers being added to the night freight and the spectacle and masterfully synched sound of this train getting underway will literally knock you out of your seat!!!!!
The 15-mile stretch of severe mountain grade between Bartlett and Crawford Notch at the top of the grade is covered from a multitude of angles and vantage points. The aerial view perched on a mountain ledge 1700 feet above the tracks with the train passing below like a Z Scale model beneath blew me away. The Beechers Falls mixed train is covered and you have the treat of seeing an outside braced boxcar being spotted by the depot and the agent unloading L.C.L. while the power heads to the roundhouse for servicing. Quality time is spent at the roundhouse as a USRA Mike, mainstay helper power "on the Mountain," is serviced. The fire is cleaned, markers removed, coal is loaded, valve gear oiled and greased and sand is topped off. This is a stunning segment and the modeling side of your brain will be spinning.
A variety of views of Train 162, the daily passenger train between Portland ME and St "J", VT rounds out this amazing video. This train is close to an O&W passenger train from the same era. Sure, the light Pacific on the head end had no counterpart on the O&W. However, the milk cars, wood truss rod baggage car, Osgood Bradley Baggage/ RPO and coach following would be equally at home at Liberty, Cadosia or Middletown as at Crawford Notch.
This video has no equal. Mr. Whitney captured steam, railroad workers and mountain operations like no other. The images, sound, music score and editing are flawless. Regardless of the road name on the tenders, if you have a passion for steam this video will only enhance and elevate that passion.
Apron kit # 933-3067
Crane kit # 933-3068
You can order these models on-line through Walthers at http://www.walthers.com