Friday, August 21, 2009

Podunk Below the Masthead, Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Model railroad club continues to provide marvels for Prince Rupert, yet another change at Skeena Queen Charlotte Regional District and Acroplis Manor continues to try to ease the adjustments to a new life in a new building. Some of the items of note for August 13.

DAILY NEWS Headline story, Thursday, August 13, 2009
The history and continuing dedication of the Prince Rupert Railway Club is the featured attraction of the Thursday paper (see story here) Item is reproduced at the bottom of this post.

Past recent history has made the Skeena Queen Charlotte Regional District a rather controversial place, and the recent burst of calm may soon give way to more intrigue as the Regional District once again must seek out the services of a new Administrator (see story here)

It's only been open for a couple of weeks, but there are still some growing pains to be dealt with at the New Acropolis Manor, the Daily news outlines some of the concerns of the residents and staff as they work to make their new home as comfortable as possible (see story here)

The Sports section continues its look at the local golf scene.

NORTHERN VIEW Web Extra, Thursday, August 13, 2009
The Prince Rupert Port Authority provides some details of their investigation into last weeks sinking of a charter vessel upon the arrival of the Cruise Ship Northern Star (see story here)

Daily News Front page, headline story:

Model citizens keeping things on track
By Monica Lamb-Yorski

The Prince Rupert Daily News
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Pages one and five

For almost 25 years members of the local model railroad club have been the caretakers of one man's model train collection.

The collection belonged to Norman Kinslor, who passed away on Oct. 5, 1987. It contains 1000 feet of track and switches and over 200 cars.

Housed at North Pacific Cannery Historic Village, the model trains once occupied the entire basement of Kinslor's bachelor home.

The house was crammed with contents, but there was a hatch in the pantry floor, leading to the basement.

"Down in the basement were the trains and everything was absolutely immaculate," recalled Dave Walker, a member of the railway club.

Before Kinslor died, he began making a will to bequeath his trains to NP's society and the railway club for permanent display at the cannery museum.

In preparation, Walker and some of the others began building a display room at NP in 1984.
Kinslor never signed the bequeath papers before he died and Walker said he was worried the trains would end up somewhere else.

Things worked out though because Kinslor's sister Myra Hanson said "no way, the trains were coming to NP. End of discussion," Walker remembered.

Within months the railway club had the trains up and running, but it took another two and half years to have them working fully.

One of the locomotives is over 70 years old and there are few cars that are World War One vintage. Others were made during the Second World War.

"There is one hundred feet of three-rail old gauge tin plate track and 200 pieces of rolling stock.

It's the largest display in Northern BC and probably one of the biggest in the province," said Walker.

Over the years the railway club has bought new equipment to augment Kinslor's original collection. Some of his original cars sit idly.

John Husoy has been part of the club for about ten years and joins Walker on Tuesday evenings to clean out the fare box, wipe down the glass window where tourists peek in to see the trains and do regular maintenance.

"Summer is a fun time," said Walker. "We get to play with the trains. The problem we're finding is that Norman's house was away from the water. Now in this location, we're over the salt water and corrosion is getting into the old tin plate track."

Plus, said Husoy, the building they are in used to be a salt shed and that doesn't help.

To rectify the rusting problem, they have been converting the track as money allows. The old tin plate is being replaced by new nickel/silver track that won't corrode.

So far they've replaced the top and middle levels - there are three - and the eight track, located on the bottom.

"The problem is, the tracks are $10 a foot to replace and so far we've done a couple thousand dollars worth," explained Walker.

With the new tracks, the trains have been running beautifully and all the money collected from the fare box is going toward paying for the next installment of track.

Additional donations from the Chamber of Commerce and the Prince Rupert Port Authority have helped , Walker added.

"When the chamber held its provincial bash here they made a donation. We ran the train steady for people to watch it. We'll be doing the same when Ports Canada holds an event here for its AGM in a couple of weeks."

Walker and Husoy are two thirds of the railway club's present membership. The third member is Wulf Elmer.

Recently the 60-year-old power packs were completely rebuilt and will probably be good for another 50 years.

"The challenge, as much as anything else, is to keep them running and running well," Walker attested.

Husoy's first love is working on the wiring and he admits to owning a large set himself. He got his first model train when he was 10 years old and said his layout keeps growing.

"The problem is finding time to work on it," he added, smiling.

Walker has loved trains since he was 11 years old and also has a set at home.

"It's not scenic, it just runs around the room," he noted.

Inspired by Kinslor's legacy as an amateur radio operator, par extraordinaire and lover of all things mechanical, the guys continue to keep the collection moving.

They received a handmade trestle from a railway club in Ketchikan a few years back and installed it on the top level of the track. "Norman would have installed it if he'd been around," Husoy said.

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