Annacis Island Rail Barge/Car Float Slip

It’s been much too long since I last wrote about Annacis Island.

So in this post I’ll be taking a look at the Annacis Island barge slip and the car float service that operates between Annacis Island and Nanamio on Vancouver Island.

Annacis Marine Terminal (AMT) ~ Delta by Chris City – All rights reserved
Used with permission, View Image

The barge slip is a fairly simple facility but it has the potential to add some interesting operations to a model of the Annacis Island railroad…

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Inspirational Modelling #1 (Shunting Tractors)

While researching rail-served industries in the United States and Europe I’ve often seen pictures that include interesting looking rail-car movers or shunting tractors like this Mercedes Road Rail UniMog:

Unimog U-400 As Two-Way-Vehicle by LosHawlos – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, View Image

For a while I dabbled with the idea of creating a 3D model of one of these units but put the idea on the back-burner because I’d assumed it would be impossible to motorise something as small as a shunting tractor in N scale.

Then I saw this amazing bit of modelling posted on the East Surrey N Gauge blog: It’s shunting Jim, but not as we know it….

A fully-working, ‘free-range’ shunting tractor in N scale!

After taking a look at the video I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s an amazing piece of engineering and very inspirational.

Grain Silos: Useful Reference Photos

Grain silos are a common sight alongside railroads in agricultural areas and seaports in the United States and Canada.

Nebraska Grain Silo RAAM 2015 by D Ramey Logan – Own work, CC BY 4.0, View Image

Many of these silo complexes have evolved and expanded over time resulting in an interesting combination of different building materials and styles. As such they have the potential to make a fascinating scratch-building projects.

You’ll often find photographs of the whole complex but sometimes photographs of small details can provide inspiration for a project so I thought I’d share a few interesting photographs that I’ve discovered on the Internet…

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Useful Website: OpenRailwayMap

Regular visitors may have noticed that wherever possible I use open source images and maps when creating posts on my website. Once I’ve identified an area with some interesting operations I’ll use the transport layer maps on OpenStreetMap to get a better understanding of the layout of the tracks in the area.

As an example, here’s an OpenStreetMap transport layer map of an area of Basel, Switzerland with some interesting intermodal (ship to rail) facilities:


View Larger Map

The OpenStreetMap map is great but today I stumbled across an open source mapping website that focuses specifically on railways and covers the entire World!

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T-Trak Modules

You may have noticed that over the last year, I haven’t actually built any modules despite doing the design work and finding suitable plenty of suitable locations. Unfortunately, my plan to have a space to build those modules hasn’t come to be… yet. However, I’ve still got the desire to build something and practice modelling techniques but to make this a realistic prospect anytime soon, it’s going to need something small, relatively cheap and easy to store.

Johnstown – Oheygi T-Trak Module (Paul Ohegyi) by Topherson – Own Work,
CC BY 2.0, View Image

I’ve talked in previous posts about wanting to create small modules or cameos; where the scenery is of equal importance to the trains and where the scenic elements are used to frame a scene. T-Trak modules might be the answer…

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Interesting Ideas For A Module #3

Appleton Swing Bridge, Wisconsin, USA

Here is an interesting photograph of a swing bridge over the Fox River in Appleton, WI.

Appleton, WI Swing Bridge by Unknown, CC0, View Image

It looks a bit rusted but those modern relay cabinets on the bridge deck made me think it might still be in use. A quick search revealed that it is an active bridge on a short Canadian National line. It’s not a mainline, so trains using the bridge will be shorter locals that are serving industries further east…

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Interesting Idea For A Module #2

Attractive Grade Crossing, USA

If you’ve visited the site before you may have noticed one of the background images is a fairly typical North American rural grade crossing.

It’s another example of a photograph I found on the public-domain photo sharing website Pixabay. I choose to use it not only because it’s a particularly nice photograph but because it also reminds me of a similar crossing, although perhaps not quite so photogenic, that I stumbled across whilst out for a drive in Tennessee.

I’d always thought a simple grade-crossing scene like this could make a great module to watch-the-trains-go-by.

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Annacis Island Industries #3 (Western Transloading Corporation)

I remember when I started getting interested in North American N gauge I used to see adverts for the North American Railcar Corporation Hawker Siddeley cylindrical hopper wagons everywhere… and I remember really wanting a rake or two.

CP 608386 Cylindrical Hopper Car by Pete Hughes – Own work,
All rights reserved by creator – Used with permission.

They’re beautiful looking models and just like the real wagons they are produced in a range of colourful liveries. You can see the range on the Pacific Western Rail Systems website by clicking this link.

So you might wonder why I’m mentioning these models in a post about Annacis Island industries?

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Annacis Island Industries #2 (Ebury Place Transload Dock)

While researching the Vancouver area I’ve found a couple of examples of shared transloading docks like this now defunct example in the Marpole neighbourhood.

Marpole Spur East by Chris City – Own work, Used with permission, View Image

Presumably shared docks like this gave any of the nearby industries without dedicated spurs the opportunity to have a car spotted at the dock for loading or unloading of goods.

Although it’s even more rudimentary than the Marpole example above (it doesn’t even have a roof) there is a transload dock on Annacis Island too…

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Getting Onto Annacis Island (The Annacis Island Swing Bridge)

Having introduced Annacis Island in previous posts, this time I thought it would be worth taking a  look at how trains actually get onto the island. That’s because they make use of a rather interesting road and rail bridge known as the Derwent Way or Annacis Island swing bridge.

Booms by Glen Ritchie – All rights reserved
Used with permission, View Image

The slightly cryptic image above doesn’t reveal a great deal about the bridge itself (it’s a view from the control tower of the bridge as it opens/closes for passing river traffic) but it has the potential to make a very interesting module and scratch building project…

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