Modeling the Algoma Central!


Nick Masney of Dorchester Ontario has done some really nice work on modeling the ACR!

Here are some of his photos and comments:

" My rendition of the ACR circa 1951 has become a gratifying ( long term ) project.  It began with some basic goals...I wanted to model a Canadian prototype, one which was challenging, had 'character', and traversed landscape which would be dramatic.  My research resulted in selection of a prototype that was all that and more.

The ACR was the ideal challenge.  It possessed a fascinating history, one of turmoil and struggle...it had character...perhaps truly Canadian.  It connected with the CNR and CPR at multiple locations, allowing for diversity in traffic, and opportunity to model additional prototypes.

The layout design is L-shaped, double decked, and cantilevered off the walls to avoid use of legs in the viewing area.  It measures 22 feet by 18 feet along the outer walls.  Access is gained by a duck under. This is a long term project, which I estimate could be another ten years before completion.

The ACR is represented as point-to-point from Steelton yard to Hearst via Montreal River, Awana (to be re-named), Hawk Junction, Alden, Franz, & Oba.

While I couldn't replicate the entire ACR, I decided to capture some of the major points on the railway. The CNR and CPR are represented, each with a closed loop of some 70 odd feet, crossing the ACR at Franz, Oba, and Hearst as on the prototype.  My theory here was to provide 'live' interchange points through which traffic could be generated...so in fact the two transcontinental railways became 'moving storage' for rolling stock on the layout.

The Soo and Hearst subdivision main line totals 280 feet in length.  The Michipicoten Sub will be built on the lower deck (some day) and is reached through a 5.5 turn 2.1% grade helix which is installed and
operational.  With about 86 feet of track in the helix, it currently makes a heck of a storage track!

The layout consists of traditional 3/4" plywood sub roadbed, with Tentest (a compressed paper building construction product) used for sound deadening and profile.  The track is Micro Engineering code 83, with Shinohara turnouts.  In order to efficiently utilize layout space, I incorporated as many curved turnouts as possible...I believe this also improved the visual flow of the trackage.

The following digital photos show some of the scenic'd portions of the layout.  There are still more layers of scenery to add, thousands of trees, and a painted backdrop...maybe ten more years is too optimistic.

I hope you enjoy viewing these photos as much as I have in creating them...its important to keep the spirit of this prototype alive. Any feedback would be appreciated."

NEW! Here are some more photos that Nick recently sent of more of his ACR models. He has done a great job as usual! Scroll down to see these photos.

 
9_22_99.JPG (169498 bytes) A layout view towards Alden. A CNR  train is passing westbound to Hornepayne through the twin Central Valley truss bridges. A future project is to scratch build the typical section house which would have been resident at Alden in 1951. The holes in the fascia are for access to hidden storage tracks (Sault Ste. Marie). 
Viewnorth2.jpg (185334 bytes) A layout view looking north over Steelton yard.  A selectively compressed version of the Steelton roundhouse...which will also include a small backshop is planned for the future (behind the camera).  Franz is located above and to the left in this photo (note the CPR water tank in the distance). 
Viewnorth4.jpg (188723 bytes) Another view of Steelton looking north over the ready track tacks, ACR #102 and the van alley. The lighter gray ballast is the main line.
Locosattower.jpg (181275 bytes) ACR steam power simmers on the service tracks. No. 71 is a modified brass SP MK10 2-8-2, no. 40 is a Bachmann Spectrum 2-8-0 (awaiting tender and running board work), and the tender of no. 102 is to the right. The gent reading the "Sault Daily Star" has his 3 year old '48 Ford convertible polished up nicely.
VIEWRIP.JPG (171909 bytes) A view south across the rip track shows a pair of ACR gons (Athearn) framed by 2 wood ACR boxes (Accurail). Caboose 9514 rests in the van alley.
9504inthealley.jpg (167519 bytes) ACR 9514 rests in the van alley in the shadow of a water plug. Its a Northeastern Scale Models wood Great Northern caboose kit decorated for the ACR...the story being the ACR bought the van second
hand (as they did with many pieces of equipment).
9_27_99a.jpg (165983 bytes) A view of the helix which will provide access between the upper deck ( Hawk Junction ) and the lower deck ( Michipicoten Harbour ).  It consists of 5.5 turns, 60 inches in diameter, 2.1% grade, and 86 feet of track...100 hours in the design & making!
 
9_27_99b.jpg (147556 bytes)  A layout view with the future Montreal River Bridge and power dam on the left, with Steelton yard to the right.  Way off in the distance, above the work bench is Oba on the highest track level.
ACR_CABO.JPG (160960 bytes)  ACR van 9504 clears a turnout.  This is a brass Van Hobbies CNR caboose which I painted and lettered to loosely represent the ACR prototype.  The switch stand is a Utah Pacific lighted and operating unit.
ACR MODE.JPG (174383 bytes)  ACR ten wheeler #102 is in position for coal at Oba.  This model is actually an old  PFM Western Pacific loco which matches the ACR's version in basic dimensions.  I modified the tender a bit, painted it, and lettered it with my custom ACR steam decals.  In the future, I'll add the running board skirts to make it a closer representation.
Gp7_no_1_1.jpg (256487 bytes)  ACR geeps work tonnage north towards Hawk Junction past a clear train order signal at Awana (Ted informs me that Awana wasn't actually a train order station...I'll be changing the name in the future). GP7s #153 & 154 are Proto 2000 GP18s which I backdated to GP7 specs.
Gp7_no_1_2.jpg (186070 bytes)  ACR geeps within the one mile marker of Hawk Junction.
Gp7_153_1.jpg (232199 bytes)  A meet at Franz between "new" (1951) northbound ACR geeps and an eastbound CPR passenger train led by Royal Hudson 2860.
CPR_2860.JPG (219511 bytes)  Another angle shows CPR 2860 on the diamond at Franz.
Gp7_no_1_3.jpg (229521 bytes)  With double red boards holding them back, the crew of the ACR northbound patiently waits for the CPR to clear.
GP7_NO_1.JPG (219372 bytes)  Green over Red indicates the CPR operator has given clearance to the ACR train.
GP7_153.JPG (148249 bytes)  The crew notches up their northbound consist...next stop will be for the CNR at Oba.
This is the start of the new photos!

Here is a close up shot of Nick's ACR steamer #40 with his custom made decals.

Here is a wider view of the 40 in the backshop area at Steelton.
This photo is of the 40 near the roundhouse at Steelton.
Here is the ACR #60 with the diesels that were to soon replace all steam power on the ACR.
A really nice closeup shot of the 60 as she rides the turntable.
No. 60 is northbound with a heavy train.
ACR 166 is at a grade crossing.
And here the 166 is at the south switch Oba.
A close up view of the cab of ACR #66.
ACR 71 is at Awana.
And here is the tail end of a eastbound CNR train nearing Oba, the point where the ACR and CNR interchange.
 

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This web page is copyright 2000-2009 by Ted Ellis with all photos shown here copyright 2000-2002 by Nick Masney. Used with his permission. All rights reserved.