Long story short, it took me a few years to collect the LEGO® bricks required to complete this train. I wanted to build this train in a bright color and choose yellow, primarily due to the availability of yellow 2×2 sport LEGO® bricks. The inside of the train is quite complex in that the bottom section is built “up-side-down” to create the underside of the car. I am looking forward to using these cars in an industrial section of the Calgary Lego Train Club‘s display at Heritage Park‘s Railway Days at the end of September.
I had the opportunity to build a replica of the third Calgary CPR railway station in Calgary for 2012 GIGYYG. The original was built in 1893 (earlier stations were simple wooden structures, the first a converted boxcar and the second a typical small town railway station that was short lived). This station stood in Calgary from 1893 to 1911… and then was replaced by a larger station to the East of the Palliser Hotel that remained until 1966 (torn down to make room for the Calgary Tower (formerly the Husky Tower). The station built in 1893 was dismantled and half relocated to High River and the other half to Claresholm. Heritage Park has also created an excellent replica of this station for the entrance to their park.
From the replica structures at Heritage Park, as well as the historical photographs, it is clear that the wooden support for the eave has a small stone footing in the wall. Additionally, the wooden support protrudes from the wall, but only slightly. If one were to, in LEGO® terminology, have the support stick out one “stud” (or the width of a full 1×1 brick), then the support would be disproportionately large.
Fortunately, LEGO® makes a very useful brick called a jumper plate or modified plate which fastens to two studs on the bottom, but only one on the top. This allows for one to build a structure that is offset by ½ a stud. With this technique, one can build the eave support protruding from the wall by only ½ a stud which is closer to being proportionally correct. Then at the top of the eave support, one uses the modified plate again to bring the top of the studs back in line again so that the roof can properly fasten to both the walls and the support.
The other interesting detail noticed is that there is a different cut to the rock (or possibly a different material) just beneath the window sills. The majority of the building wall is tan, but I chose to use light gray plate for this detail. Bricks are three plates tall in the LEGO® realm, and this detail only needed to be a single plate tall (a third of a brick). To maximize the use of this detail from a functional perspective, I chose to use this horizontal accent line to place the modified plate which would inturn support the footing for the eave support. This technique can be seen below in the partially constructed wall:
The final project at one of our shows in Banff in 2017.
To add to the authenticity of this display, a replica of the 4-4-0 Steam Engine was also built out of LEGO®. Interesting about this locomotive is that one an clearly read that it is number 144 on the side of the coal car by using a clearer copy of the original photo below, taken in 1884. When one does a search on CPR Steam Locomotive #144, it is preserved in the Exporail Museum located in Quebec – but by the photo, the two locomotives are clearly different? Upon further research, the Canadian Rail, Issue 349 (1981), Page 51 magazine provides the answer to this question.
The CPR purchased several of the original locomotives used to build the railway from Joseph Whitehead in 1883, one of which was Locomotive #2 that was renamed to Locomotive #144 which is the one photographed below. This steam engine was also called the “Joseph Whitehead”. These wood burning locomotives were effective on the prairies, but not so effective in the mountains. In 1902 the steam engine #2 was scrapped.
Back to the steam engine in the Quebec museum, it was built in 1886 and renumbered a few times before ending up as CP #144.
Lastly, of interest, two very interesting links:
- If you are looking for hikes in to find old, abandoned steam engines, you will find Forgotten Locomotives fascinating.
- There are many LEGO® fans around the world, and two excellent resources for locomotives are RailBricks and Big Ben Bricks.
Last, but not least, in LEGO® minifig scale, it is very challenging to get the push arms off the steam pistons to actuate properly in such a small space as well as make it so the steam engine can navigate the tight corners on LEGO® track. The four front wheels have to be double articulating and have to pivot from very close to the fixed rear four wheels (a trick also used on the Emerald Night).
I have included instructions using Lego Digital Designer on how this locomotive was build. Note that the large wheels and the Power Functions train motor were not available at the time this was created in Digital Designer, so one will have to “imagine” that they are there.
Enjoy! Note that there is a subsequent post at 4-4-0 Locomotive
Thank you again to Heritage Park for hosting us at their Railway Day‘s, which was held on September 29th and 30th. We created a 15′ x 40’ display that was rich with both city themes as well as themes from our Western Heritage, including LEGO® steam engines! The city core included Andrew’s ever-famous LEGO® C-Train stopping at various stations downtown Calgary, which (if one looked carefully) was being over-run with “comic” characters such as Spiderman®!
Glen also impressed both children and adults alike with outstanding representations of heavy machinery. The functioning round table that fed in to the roundhouse by Mike was outstanding in detail and caused many people to stop in their tracks, causing a slight traffic jam. The functioning round table that Heritage Park was demonstrating outside provided a level of realism that was mutually beneficial. The amazing downtown buildings and scenery from Daryl and Albert were much appreciated and made the display fill in perfectly; additionally, Daryl’s downtown core that hid the two return tracks of the train as it came around was also a highlight – on more than one occasion, one could hear children saying, “It’s back there!” or “The train is coming from behind the building around the corner…”
Rudy provided a replica of the 1880’s CPR Calgary Railway Station, closely matching the replica that Heritage Park also built at the entrance of the park. The sight of Indiana Jones (not historically accurate) coming out of the railway station made many children squeal in delight.
Thank you to the members who put countless hours building the various buildings and structures, the some sixty man hours it took to set up and another additional dozen to tear down, and to Bruce, the Meccano specialist to our North, who supplied some original Singer Sewing machine oil to quiet down one of our noisy train motors. Thanks as well to The Dispatcher for generously making available Digital Command Control to us at a reasonable cost.