Thursday, January 19, 2017

Gathering Information

The process of gathering information on that fascinating prototype sped up thanks to many fine folks. I'm actually quite surprised by their enthusiasm will certainly acknowledge their efforts in the future.

As I'm writing, many new facts surfaced and started to bring a new light on Temiscouata Railway. In that regard, the work of Carl Riff is absolutely pivotal in providing first hand account and evidences.

While I won't publish parts of their collection by respect toward the ones that put hard work for years, I can assure you the line is much more fascinating than I ever thought. The small doubts that lingered in mind yesterday have all been swept away this morning we I saw the old pictures.

As a matter of fact, an extensive collection of good quality photographs of rolling stock at various epochs exist, showing the variation in paint scheme. Among that, many cabooses, roofless boxcars for pulpwood, strangely braced and probably custom-built boxcars and flat cars with their load of squared timbers. Add to that a generous amount of passenger equipment, including the very neat president's car "Madawaska".

Also, while not in great quantity, at least three old original 4-4-0 are now documented, including locomotives #1, #3, #4 and #5. The more modern 4-4-0 and 4-6-0 are also very well documented which will be useful in recreating these proud iron horses.

I've also got the photographic confirmation stub switches survived at least until the 1930s at Connors.

A friend also gave me recently a CNR reprint of old Intercolonial and Grand Trunk Railway plans of various trackside structures and elements. It includes stations, fences, turnouts, culvert, telegraph poles, signs, mile post, etc. All that is relevant to my era and the good thing is we know Temiscouata Railway took inspiration from Grand Trunk practices even if it was quite low scale.

Motive Power

Investigation on motive power continued over the last days. After figuring out Bachmann's On30 locomotives critical dimensions I can affirm none of them are close enough to be bashed. In fact, they are quite far from Temiscouata locomotives specs. Their 4-6-0 were extremely small!

That means all locomotives for the layout will have to be built from scratch. While it will cost a lot, it means the results will be closer to the prototype, which is a big incentive for me. The next step will be to find technical drawings for these locomotives.

The 4-6-0 being MLW products, a search in Exporail could yield results. We already have the builder photo and the CNR diagram, which is a good start.

The newer 4-4-0 used at Connors were Portland-built and originally owned by Quebec Central. I have good access to their archives so maybe I can find something there.

The older 4-4-0 were of various origin. #1 was a 1872 ex-Intercolonial Dübs-built engine. We have a picture of it and there is a good deal of information available online about CNR #40 (Museum Train) and its original appearance in 1872. While not from the same builder, general dimensions were quite standard between companies. Don McQueen's Canadian National Steam! books have a few pictures of Dübs product. It could be doable.

Other 4-4-0 built in 1887 were from CLC. I have little info on them and would like to know where in the world CLC archives and technical drawings ended up.

Finally, the last pair of 4-4-0 was built by Manchester, which was merged into ALCO. Yes, even when doing steam, it seems I always have a soft spot for MLW and ALCO. As of now, I have no idea where Manchester archives are stored. I'm well aware the ALCO legacy is well alive and some historical associations exist. Finding technical drawings would be great and probably a builder picture did exist.

Yes, it's the beginning of the search, but at least it's promising. Over the last 10 years I've been doing research on New France colonial monastic architecture and I can tell you looking for documents made 400 or 300 hundreds year ago isn't exactly a walk in the park. Their archives often burned once or twice in their long history, leaving large gaps in the collective memories. At this point, the Temiscouata has already shared a few secrets.

Track plans

Temiscouata and Quebec Central shared the same management board during my era. A recent visit at Groupe TRAQ in Charny shown QCR kept extensive records of their customers and stations. Every little upgrade and modification was drawn on paper or survived as blue print. I'm pretty sure Temiscouata did exactly the same thing, both routes had too much in common.

Now, the big question is finding where the Temiscouata Railway archives ended up. It's a given CNR inherited the papers, but right now, I have no idea where they are located. Maybe Exporail, maybe the Canadiam Museum of Science and Technology, maybe somewhere else. One thing is sure, before driving any spike on the layout, it would be truly useful to find such documents. Connors being a terminal, it's almost certain several plans do or did exist.

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