Author Topic: BC Rail- Fictional Esquimalt & Nanaimo Subdivision 1985-1999  (Read 3539 times)

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craigolio1

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BC Rail- Fictional Esquimalt & Nanaimo Subdivision 1985-1999
« on: March 14, 2015, 12:43:34 PM »
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Hello all.

   I've been reading a bunch of your layout threads here and it has motivated me to start my own. 

   My layout will be based on a hypothetical situation where BC Rail took over operations of CP Rail's Esquimalt & Nanaimo Subdivision, on Vancouver Island.  BCR had plenty of four axle power and experience running on light rail branch lines.  The Island had most of the same resources and types of customers as BCR already served so rolling stock wouldn't be an issue.  They also had experience with rail-marine operations, and possessed the RDCs for the passenger run (which VIA would be happy to abandon).  Finally BCR had existing tourist passenger trains.  Several attempts at tourist lines had been made on the Island but ultimately failed for one reason or another.  BCR with their extensive experience and quality equipment, could make it work for sure. Mmmmm.  Royal Hudson over the Malahat (even though in reality it wouldn't make the curves and would likely fall through the bridges.)

Modelling:

   The goal is to create long runs of single track main line so I can watch my trains travel through the forest.  Train lengths will be 5 to 20 cars with sidings to accommodate 10 car trains.  The only trains that would be maximum length would be the train to and from Port Alberni, and my collection of passenger trains so meets would have smaller trains taking the siding allowing the longer train to run through (and my collection of passenger trains wouldn't be part of an opps session).   

   I plan to model representations of:

-Victoria, including compressed Store Street trackage (including associated switching industries), passenger station built in '85, Johnson St Bridge, the Cn interchange and a compressed version of the Russel's Roundhouse.

-A Malahat mountain crossing scene featuring the only tunnel on the line, a full scale custom built Niagara Canyon bridge, and if space permits a slightly compressed Arbutus Canyon bridge

-The City of Duncan which will be represented by the station, siding, possibly a propane dealer, Top Shelf Feeds, the Cowichan River crossing, and the Hayward wye

-The Lake Cowichan Subdivision beginning at the Hayward wye, a CN trestle crossing scene (CN won't be modeled as an operational part of the layout but will be represented) and the town it self represented by a station, siding, and an interchange for logging traffic.

-Nanaimo Welcox yard compressed but built following yard track diagrams, and including a wye and rail-marine operation - with the intent to eventually build a full scale model of Carrier Princess

-City of Nanaimo represented by a siding, station, and a couple of switching industries such as a Superior Propane dealer.

-Parksville represented by a station, siding, associated industries like National Silicates, and a wye.

-Extensions for the run to Courtenay and the branch to Port Alberni starting at Parksville.  Both of these lines will end with either a runaround or a loop track and the destinations won't actually be modeled.  I don't have the room to model the industrial complex in Port Alberni but having the branch will give me the ability to build the trains at Welcox and run them to staging for turning and return.  Same thing with Courtenay only with much shorter trains.

Operations:

   The layout will be run most often on my own but will be designed for the odd time that there is more than one operator.
For the most part I will operate the trains as they did on the prototype, with most freight trains originating in Welcox and running to Duncan, Victoria, Port Alberni, and Courtenay.  Passenger trains will run from Victoria to Courtney, and while not representative of the time period, possibly also from Duncan to Lake Cowichan just for fun.  Power would primarily be 4 axle locos per the prototype.  An S-13 for Victoria (I'll use a leased CPR SW9 or BC Hydro SW9 until an N scale S-13 comes about), C420s and RS18s for the Welcox yard, and C425, M420, M420B, and RS18 for power on freights.  Even though 6 axle locos couldn't make the curves on the island, and in all likelihood would have crushed the bridges, I plan to run them too because I have modeled them and I think they are awesome.


Construction:

     My plan is a 3 deck around the wall type design with a helix joining the three decks.  The helix will be a 24" radius and as such will have quite a long run of track in it.  While it may go unused most of the time, I'm considering going to double track in the helix to reduce congestion at that point.  That being said, each helix will only be about 3 or 4 turns so it might just add congestion having the extra turn outs at the entrances and exits.  I'm undecided about this.

   A disproportionately large portion of one section of the layout will be dedicated to the Welcox Yard.  I want it to be large enough to assemble and stage the trains, but never to be full of trains.  It needs to be sufficiently large enough to have that partly unused feel that you always see in pictures of the prototype.  Plus I love yards and I'm only going to have one so why not go all out?  It will include compressed representations of the "A" outgoing yard, "B" incoming yard, and "C" assembly tracks for the ferry.  It will also have the outdoor service facilities.    Welcox will be the first part of the layout built and will allow me to play with my trains as I build the rest of the layout.  Actually, the FIRST piece of the layout built will be the Niagara Canyon Bridge.  I know that's not a great place to start since it'll be ten years before I build that section of the layout, but thanks to help from Scott, I have artwork for the etchings so I feel the time to move on this is now!  I'll likely integrate that model into the layout elsewhere just so I can see trains on it, or maybe store it in the crawl space, but at any rate, it's getting built first and I'm really excited about it.  But I digress, back on topic.

   The three levels of the layout will need to spaced quite close together.  I'm 6 ft tall and a good friend of mine, who will be operating with me most often is about 5ft8.  I plan to put the top level at about nose level for him, with approximately 12" separating each level so we're not kneeling to operate the bottom level (although it may require sitting on a stool, haha.).  With the exception of key scenes, each level will only be about 8 inches deep so the height is not an issue as far as reaching in to the levels.  Shallow shelves will also allow me to make faster progress with scenery, concentrating on the right of way as the model, and limit my need for home made conifers to the hundreds of thousands, instead of millions, haha.  Major areas of operations, like Welcox and Victoria, will have either no track above/below, or just a 8 inch shelf so that the featured area of operations isn't eclipsed by the level above.  Care will be taken not to place major industries above or below these areas of congested operations as well to prevent problems there.

Bottom Level:

   Level one will be about waist height.  Victoria will be the only major area of operations on the bottom level so the operator there can sit on a rolling stool.  The Malahat crossing will also be on the bottom level which will allow me to use open space below to model convincing deep canyons at the bridge crossings.  Duncan will finish the main run on the bottom level and end at a two sided wye which enters the next room for the scenic run to Lake Cowichan, or enters the helix for the climb to Nanaimo. While prototype wye was three sided, trains didn't go from Victoria to Lake Cowichan and I won't be turning trains here.  Using a two sided works because having only 12" between levels makes it impossible to properly model a full wye in this spot and not have it look like it's in a cave.  It'll present more like a siding or a spur.

Middle Level:

   Level two will be about mid chest height.  As you exit the helix you enter a 3 sided wye which breaks of to either the Welcox yard or the city of Nanaimo.  Welcox will be over the scenic run to Lake Cowichan.  Out of Nanaimo trains will run over top of the Malahat crossing making their way to Parksville to enter the helix again.  The wye will actually be located away from the helix so I can have it in a corner out in the open and properly model it.  The most time standing in one spot operating trains on my layout will be the yard operator at Welcox.  The planned height of mid chest height and a depth of about 2 ft will be a comfortable position to work on this section. 

Top Level.

   Level three will be just below my chin height.  (my shorter friend will need a stool, sorry Danea).  Exiting the helix sets you off either towards Port Alberni or Courtenay.  On the prototype there was a three sided wye here but at eye level it won't really be visible, and would be too deep to use and maintain so I'll represent it the same way I did on the lower level with just a single switch.  Again no traffic went north off the of the Port Sub so it works for operations.  The top level will be a scenic delight with river crossings, forest, and possibly the series of trestles at Cameron Lake on the Port Sub.  Switching will be limited or non existent on the top level and will simply allow me to watch my trains run through the forest at a height just below eye level.  It'll give the trains a place to go and to stage for the return trip and switching at Welcox.  Thats enough for me.

   I'm very busy with my jobs and family so my modelling time at home is limited.  Most of my modelling is done during slow periods at night while I'm on shift.  You can get a lot done when it's 4am and nothing's going on.  I probably shouldn't say that too loud but I trust you guys, haha.  I plan to build layout design elements in small blocks, two or three feet at a time.  A bridge scene, a station scene, etc and then integrate them into the layout with scenery as they become complete.

   Train control will be DCC, however it will take me years to convert my fleet so I will have a switch to allow me to use a DC control when I want to run my DC locos, however the layout will be wired for DCC with no blocks outside of those needed for power districts (likely one for each level).

    Turnout control will be manual either from knobs on the fascia or control on the layout it self.  I haven't decided.  Likely knobs in the yard so I don't knock my trains off the rails and ruin details.  It for sure won't be automatic as I need to keep the bench work as thin as possible and with the number of turnouts in just the Welcox yard, the prospect of buying that many Tortoise motor scares me.

   Track will me Micro Engineering Code 40 with Fast Tracks hand laid turnouts.  Number 10s on the main line and number 7s in the yards or other tighter areas.  The exception is the helix with will be Atlas Code 80 flex.

   Room lighting is to be fluorescent with plans for layout lighting in the form of LED strips under each level.  The top level will have a valance for the lighting and also serve to attach plastic painters sheets that will prevent dust collection on the completed sections of the layout during times that it's not in use or being worked on.

   I'm not a computer drafting guy so I've hand drawn the room with dimensions and will soon post a basic drawing of how the plan will work.

   I've also included some pictures of the room.  It's under construction with major things like moving the water softener, framing, and sub-floor complete, as well as a knock out in the cinder block wall for trains to enter the helix.  It's very messy right now but believe it or not, clean enough for me to work on the next stage, which is wiring the room.  It's closer to being done than it is to being started!


Room drawing with dimensions




Looking in from the corner to the right of the entrance




The corner where the helix will go, showing the hole in the wall for passage into the next room.




Inside the second room, Welcox will take up the entire wall on the right.




Same room from the other end. The hole for the helix is at then end there on the right




Close up of the hole





   Thanks for your interest.  I hope I can post new information often enough to keep you interested.  As I go along any suggestion or criticism will be appreciated and considered.  This is my first layout and I know it's very ambitious.  The plan will change 100 times by the time it's done (or by the time I die - Which ever comes first.) I'm looking at it as many small layouts that will morph into a finished product as I go.

Craig
 
« Last Edit: March 14, 2015, 02:24:38 PM by craigolio1 »

craigolio1

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Re: BC Rail- Fictional Esquimalt & Nanaimo Subdivision 1985-1999
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2015, 06:37:18 PM »
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Here are some sketches of how I thought I would lay things out. 

This is not to scale.  I plan to have minimum main line radius of about 16" so I did my best to sketch this but I doubt I was close.  It looks to me more like I sketched an HO layout.

Some thoughts:

   I need enough room on the right side of the room to maintain the furnace,water heater, and water softener so the aisle there needs to be large enough to remove the furnace and drag it out of the room when it dies.  The lift out section in Victoria and the thin Store Street Trackage section will both be removeable for this purpose.  I only need to get behind there every three months to refill the softener and change the furnace filter.

   The door way to the second room is only 3 ft wide.  I have one track on each level going through there.  it will be on a piece of bench work 3-6" wide and will be protected by some sort of clear material there right at the corner.  Not much else will go on there.

   I sketched double tracked helixes but they come together at the exits/entrances into one track.  I did this to prevent hiding a turnout beyond the visible area which would make them impossible to maintain.  These two turn outs do form a wye, as on the prototype, but would never be used for turning trains just as they were not used for that purpose on the prototype in the era I'm modelling.

   Nanaimo is kind of wierd.  The train would exit the helix and pass the Nanaimo station, then carry on around the corner to the wye where the route goes either to Welcox yard or onward to Parksville.  The route to Parksville goes back through the wall, around the back of the helix and then out in the main room to carry on around the peninsula to Parksville. This adds about 10ft to the run.  Unfortunately it's hidden (but not inaccessible for cleaning).  I put this here in order reduce congestion at the helix exit.  This allows the wye to be located closer to Welcox where the yard operator can use it.  It also located Nanaimo south of the wye and Welcox, which is geographically correct.  Not a big deal but still something I'm hoping to achieve.  Another interesting benefit of this design feature is that if I connect the outgoing Parksville track to the track exiting the helix, I will have a small continuous loop with no grade.  Great for breaking locos.  I plan to build the helix at the same time as I start the Welcox yard so this feature would be completed early on in construction.

Finally, Courtenay would terminate as a simple runaround track as would Lake Cowichan.  The trains going there would be short.  Lake Cowichan would have a station and Courtenay likely would too as it was the northern terminus and had passenger service, via Budd cars, until it ended a few years ago.  Port Alberni would be represented by a two or three track loop over the top of the helix where I could bring a 20+ car train in, and then bring a different 20+ car train out. 


Level One:




Level Two:




Level Three:



Thanks again for looking.  I'm looking forward to peoples' suggestions and criticism.  Being my first layout, and a big one by the end of it, I'm bound to make all kinds of mistakes, but I'd like them not be in the design so I don't have to rebuild anything.

Craig
« Last Edit: March 14, 2015, 06:58:59 PM by craigolio1 »

LIRR

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Re: BC Rail- Fictional Esquimalt & Nanaimo Subdivision 1985-1999
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2015, 07:03:24 PM »
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Pretty ambitious a 3-decker for your first layout. I think your nuts for trying to tackle so much the first time out. You will make mistakes aka learning experiences. Also, over time your skills and methods will improve and you will become dissatisfied with your early efforts and will end up rebuilding anyway. I highly recommend building in stages. Pick a a section and work from start to finish.....track, wiring, scenery, ops, etc. maybe some temporary trackage that lets the first section operate self-contained before you embark on the next stage.

I had planned a double decker (after building a 3 or 4 layouts previously. I did it in states as I mentioned. It turned out the single deck provided plenty to build, operate and more than enough to maintain. I never built the second deck.

Good luck. Keep us posted.

craigolio1

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Re: BC Rail- Fictional Esquimalt & Nanaimo Subdivision 1985-1999
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2015, 09:02:05 PM »
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   I agree it's ambitious.  I agree that I'm nuts.  I will add naive, biting off more than I can chew, and maybe more than I can finish in a life time.  What I've posted here is the grand plan.  What I would like to achieve in the next 30 years.

   I'm also not a novice modeler.  I've helped a friend quite a bit with his HO layout through it's various stages, most often trouble shooting issues he had and came to me to solve.  So I have skills.  I just haven't had the opportunity to put them to use in my own house yet.

   I do plan to build it just as you say, section by section.  I've learned detailing locos all these years that as time goes on better products and techniques come along, as well as acquired skill as you mentioned.  Building it in sections makes complete sense.  There were times, before I built the room, where I thought about building a small layout but I decided I didn't want to waste time and money on something that isn't working towards my ultimate goal.  The only benefit I see in that is that it would get finished.  I'm not interested in finishing something I don't want.  So I put that effort into building the room, which has been a long time coming.

 
   Your comment on picking one section and building it start to finish is a great idea.  Having lots of small victories will help keep me motivated instead of laying track for two years.  It'll allow me to enjoy all of the aspects of modelling and prevent the entire layout from coming to screeching halt when I get to a task I don't like.  That's part of the reason I'm starting with the yard.  Each section of the layout starts at the yard, as far as opps goes, so if I build it first, it'll be in use as each of the following extensions is constructed.  The yard starts out as it's own self contained switching layout and a place to display my years of efforts painting and detailing my fleet.  Hours of entertainment!

My plan was to build the yard and get it operational, but prior to scenery build the helix. Then scenery.  But your comment about completing some temporary track comes in here as I had thought about a temporary track around this room, where I could install my Niagara Canyon Bridge, that would complete a loop.

Next would be level one in the same part of the room as the yard.  It's bench work will be complete already as part of the structure that holds up the yard.

Finally level three in that room, which is the simple 8" wide shelf around that room.

Once complete in that back room I would begin construction of the peninsula. 



Great advice!

Thanks very much for your comments.

Craig
« Last Edit: March 14, 2015, 09:17:38 PM by craigolio1 »

3DTrains

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Re: BC Rail- Fictional Esquimalt & Nanaimo Subdivision 1985-1999
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2015, 10:12:22 PM »
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You may want to think about layout height in regards to your own stature (or those of your friends and/or operators). I'm a tall guy, but many of my friends aren't so blessed, so three decks for me would be pushing things. On the flip side tho', build it low and you make it tough for the tall folk. Thus two levels might be worth exploring, especially when considering the scenery elements (bridges, mountains, etc.), not to mention the claustrophobia factor goes up the more decks you add. Either way, good luck! :)

Cheers!
Marc - Riverside

craigolio1

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Re: BC Rail- Fictional Esquimalt & Nanaimo Subdivision 1985-1999
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2015, 10:40:25 PM »
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Marc you make a very valid point.

My shorter friend will have no use for the top deck. Even in my design i havn't given it a purpose other than a long run to staging. The truth is its just high enough to be useless.

I would be happier with two decks logistically speaking (less to build, more room for impressive scenery as you say) but the thing that's pushing me to a third deck is my want to fit in all of the layout design elements I desire.

Your suggestion deserves some thought for sure. Perhaps I can do two decks and represent the two branches on the third level as staging instead.

Thanks for the suggestion.

Craig.

craigolio1

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Re: BC Rail- Fictional Esquimalt & Nanaimo Subdivision 1985-1999
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2015, 01:14:53 AM »
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Marc,

I've been thinking about what you said about going to two decks.

At Parksville on level two I could pull off to the right, have a second crossing over the aisle and continue on down the wall, the same as I did for Store Steet on level one. This section would have to be a lift out section as well for furnace maintenance but that's no big deal. As I pointed out earlier that's 4 times per year and to be honest if it's just a furnace filter I'll crawl under.  This extension would represent Courtenay and could still have a station and a siding for a runaround.

The run to Port Alberni could be two or three loop tracks over the helix, as in the original plan. This would give me the same operational plan only on two decks.

Craig

craigolio1

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Re: BC Rail- Fictional Esquimalt & Nanaimo Subdivision 1985-1999
« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2015, 03:35:56 PM »
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Here is my sketch of level two revised to show the runaround for Courtenay added, and the staging loops for Port Alberni, eliminating the third level. 



Craig

3DTrains

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Re: BC Rail- Fictional Esquimalt & Nanaimo Subdivision 1985-1999
« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2015, 04:42:24 PM »
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Hi Craig,

You can still add a third deck without affecting the two-level plan by making the lowest level as staging (under Wilcox). This could serve as a source of traffic for interchange at the yard or to store extra equipment.

There's a lot of potential to your plan. :)

Cheers!
Marc - Riverside

Scottl

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Re: BC Rail- Fictional Esquimalt & Nanaimo Subdivision 1985-1999
« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2015, 05:49:53 PM »
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Craig,

Late to the game, away for the weekend in Toronto.  Great to see your ideas laid out like this.  All big projects start with planning and building one step at a time.  I really like your vision here, can't wait to see it unfold. 

craigolio1

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Re: BC Rail- Fictional Esquimalt & Nanaimo Subdivision 1985-1999
« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2015, 06:20:05 PM »
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Thanks Scott.  It's certainly inspiring to have the input of others.

Marc. 

   Below Welcox is the branch to Lake Cowichan which is a given for me however, Welcox will be about 30" deep.  It will be built as a big box frame.  On the front legs of that box frame is where the 8-12" wide shelf that is to be the Lake Cowichan Sub will go.  So while the Lake Cowichan Sub will be under Welcox, there will be almost 2 ft of unused space behind it's back drop.  With a two level design, say 18" between levels just for sake of argument, I could have the top sky portion of the back drop hinge down to view the unused space behind which could, as you suggest, be staging.

   Staging on that level would require a helix to serve Welcox but really, staging isn't needed at Welcox.  It will be a massive yard where trains can be staged in the open and will be assembled or broken down for shipping on and off the Island.

   However your suggestion actually opens up a lot of opportunities that I hadn't considered.  Until 1983 Lake Cowichan was a major hub for logging activity.  For 80 years, numerous logging companies either floated/loaded or interchanged logs at Lake Cowichan.  Also a large mill a few miles away interchanged box cars of finished lumber there.  That ended in 1983 with the closure of the mill.  Having hidden staging would allow me to include some staged log/lumber trains for interchange.  My plan for Lake Cowichan was a short way freight and passenger service but hidden staging opens the door to modelling the twice daily trains of logs that once were as well.  1983,1985? who's counting.

Great idea!

Craig

craigolio1

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Re: BC Rail- Fictional Esquimalt & Nanaimo Subdivision 1985-1999
« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2015, 06:38:43 PM »
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Revised level one with staging for Lake Cowichan:


jmlaboda

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Re: BC Rail- Fictional Esquimalt & Nanaimo Subdivision 1985-1999
« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2015, 11:07:15 AM »
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Gotta ask... what paint scheme are you doing???  If I were to model the BCOL it would be the two-tone green, which was what first attracted me to the road way back in the early-70s.  Still remember how great the M630s looked in that scheme even now so many years after the fact and have always been a bit sad that they left it behind... B (

craigolio1

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Re: BC Rail- Fictional Esquimalt & Nanaimo Subdivision 1985-1999
« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2015, 11:05:01 PM »
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Jerry,

The time period I've chosen had all three (green and both versions of the red blue and white). Most of my modelling is centred in the 1986/87 time period so more than half of my fleet will be in one form of green paint or another, including the RDCs. I also like the green paint scheme a lot but I have to say, the freshly painted red blue and white units with the silver trim really popped in the green forest landscape, which is why I like them.

Craig.

aflica

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Re: BC Rail- Fictional Esquimalt & Nanaimo Subdivision 1985-1999
« Reply #14 on: July 22, 2015, 09:08:46 AM »
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Hey Craig

Just wondering how this is progressing . Im curious to see how it comes together , as i a long time Islander and live on the Duncan side of the Malahat

That and im a BCOL fan

Steve