Saturday, September 22, 2012
Count our blessings
So as a result of the work we're doing on the next Yarmouth Model Works release, which I won't tell you what it is yet, I found myself in need of a couple of good views of the underside of a Canadian built 1937 AAR boxcar.
An online inquiry suggested that there were 2 in downtown Toronto as part of a grape wholesaler. So I grabbed the camera and the GPS and headed for the Big Smoke. 21/2 hours later I arrived at the desired location only to find that progress has taken it's toll.
Where the cars should have been, was a condo/apartment block under construction. However slightly south of that location was a pair of boxcars, but not the ones I was looking for. These had plug doors, which for me, made them newer than what I was looking for. As well as I couldn't get to the underframe due to all the stuff that was surrounding the cars.
As I was looking at these 2 cars and getting the hairy eyeball from the dock foreman, I noticed a lone 40' boxcar with a 6' door across the right of way. Maybe it wasn't a wasted trip after all.
I jumped in the van, whipped under the underpass and found myself at a semi-abandoned warehouse with a concrete loading dock. As I approached the car and looked at the details I knew I had found what I was looking for.
8 rung ladders. Check.
Stirrup attached to ladder. Check.
Canadian built 40' AAR boxcar.
The Mother Lode!
I jumped down and pushed through the trees to get at the underframe. The point of the exercise was to confirm the shape of the cross ties, cross bearers and the attachment of the reservoir.
As I crouched down and prepared to photograph the details I realized that under this car was someone's home, as well as another couple of sleeping bags under the loading dock. It was mid-day and none of these residents were in sight, but the moment went from elation of discovery to distinct discomfort. I truly felt that I was intruding in someone else's space.
I quickly took the pictures I needed and got out of there.
For much of the drive home I reflected on the clash of these 2 distinct realities. Me with the leisure time and where with all to look at and model 50 year old boxcars and those poor souls, who for whatever reasons use the same item as a roof.
Ya, we're indeed lucky. And I'm not going to forget it for sometime.