To paraphrase Vane Jones, "Knowledge is of little value until shared with others."

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Other Chicago & Utopia Service Cars

Railways and railroads no matter what size they are have special "non-revenue" cars
used to move employees and material along the r-o-w. These cars can be called service cars. Employees can be given rides in regularly scheduled cars/trains. But often material - rails, ballast, trackwork, bulk tickets, administrative supplies, tools, and more has to be moved.

Sometimes cars were purchased new - Differential dump car. Or, old cars at the end of their "revenue" service career were recycled into "non-revenue" service cars. There is no way of telling how many service cars a railway may have.

Electric railways due to their nature - often having street running may have special cars. Towards the end of this post a snow sweeper will appear in a photo. The Chicago Surface Lines had salt cars. Old streetcars no longer suitable for "revenue" service were used to spread rock salt (NaCl) on the rails in streets to prevent ice from forming on the tracks.

The Chicago & Utopia has service cars to move material. When it comes to the numbering of the C&U's service cars, the numbers are 2 digits starting with a "0". Don't forget the portable substation is CURX 01 and the work/service car is CURX 00.

All-Nation C.E.R.A Box Car CURX 03 Tool Car
Back in 1950's and 60's All-Nation Hobby Shop had many kits for O scale locomotives, freight, and passenger cars. Among the kits were Central Electric Railroad Association interurban freight cars. There were 4 or more different bodies. I got and built an inside door, flat end box car. The model was built 57(?) years ago! It became the C&U's tool car. It has arch bar trucks since it is not to be used in interchange service. This car has radial couplers with non-operational knuckles.

The CA&E had a tool car made from an old unused box motor. It was unique with 5 light bulbs mounted high on each side of the car. The 5 bulbs were wired-up in series. The tools inside the car were track and other tools for work on the r-o-w and trackside structures. The light bulbs were for night time work.

Wooden Sheath Box Car CURX 05 Supply Car
This model was built from a kit whose manufacturer has been forgotten. The kit was never completed beyond being painted a box car red. When completed it was given Barber trucks so it can pick-up supplies from another railway. The car has Kadee couplers.

Interurban Flat Car CURX 07When this flat car was obtained 2nd hand, I didn't like the way the flat wooden top was finished. The wooden top of the car was removed with the use of sharp knife blades. After the top surface was sanded smooth, a piece of 0.020" thick Evergreen plastic freight car siding was glued on top.

To make the white styrene siding look like unfinished wood, Testors light brown enamel paint was smeared on the siding.  A "wash" of paint thinner was then used to give the paint an uneven, streaked look.  This is a hit-or-miss procedure but keep trying like I did. Keep a small amount of paint thinner in shallow container like the lid of a prescription vial. If necessary keep a sample of stained wood handy as an example.

This car has arch bar trucks and radial couplers with non-operational knuckles.
The Chicago and West Towns snow sweeper in the background was very busy a few weeks ago. We had more than 13 " of snow in 2 days. The snow removal service called up to ask where to place snow if we had more snow fall! All the parking places in the development were full of snow from the prior snow storm.

The decking is white styrene. To raise the "grain", the blade of a razor saw was scratched from side to side before painting with the light brown wash.

Interurban Flat Car Kit by Midwestern Hobby Models CURX 09
Midwestern Hobby Models or MTH is owned by Jim Osborn. He had MTH long before the hi-rail company by the name of MTH started. Jim has a few interurban freight car kits - a flat car, stock car, and some box cars. The kits are well designed and easy to assemble.

Assembly requires a few hours. Some of the time is allowing glue to dry. My MTH flat car has arch bar trucks and radial couplers with non-operational knuckles.

One or both of the flat cars can be made into gondolas by inserting wooden stakes into the pockets along the sides of the cars. Then lumber would be attached to the inside of the stakes. Ends, the same height of the sides of the gondola sides would have to be added.

Another potential load for the flat cars is new or used rail to be moved from the "yard" to the area where it is going to be installed.

General Comments
All of the C&U's service cars are painted with the same paint as the portable substation. Decals are homemade.  Each car has brass air brake hoses except the service/wrecker car.

The cars are sprayed with Testors Dullcote. The wheels of the trucks are painted a rust color. Keep the paint off of the thread and flange of the wheels.

The side frames of the trucks are painted with a light brown wash to look like road dirt. This wash is more like a dry painting. The a drop or two of paint is applied wet and the brush is continued to be stroked over the truck until dry.

All the C&U's service cars have a family appearance. The color, lettering, couplers, and more look the same.

If necessary weight can be added to the cars. The flat cars in particular may be too light for good tracking. 

Next weekend is the annual 2018 March O Scale Meet. See you there? The March Meet may be the largest O scale meet.



Saturday, March 3, 2018

Finishing-Up the Single Truck Work Car Part 3

There are 2 items to be taken care of in finishing the work car. In a prior Post you saw a strange device attached to a coupler. The Van Dorn couplers with the tongue sticking out from the coupler head were intended to be coupled up to other Van Dorn, link and pin, and knuckle couplers with a slot in the head.

As an aside - many streetcar and interurban lines started operation with cars having simple link and pin or Van Dorn couplers. These couplers were mounted lower than standard knuckle couplers of the time. The North Shore Line started out this way. Some trolley lines retained the link and pin couplers until the line quit operations. The couplers were used primarily to tow a dead car into the barn for repair. A serious problem with the link and pin/Van Dorn couplers was the need for a man to stand between the cars during the coupling and uncoupling process. Many men were injured.  

Lines like the North Shore need to be able to couple cars together in trains. These lines either changed to knuckle style or Tomlinson couplers which could be coupled/uncoupled  "remotely" without a man needed in between the cars.

None of my models with knuckle couplers have a slot in the head of the coupler. Most of my models have Kadee couplers. The Kadee couplers do not have a slot in the head. To be able to couple my work/service car to Kadee couplers, a device with a shank to bring the Kadee  coupler up to the correct level had to be made.

These are photos of making the device.
The Kadee Coupler shank was filed down. 00-90 hex head screws were used. The piece of brass was tapped 00-90 to hold the screws.

This is the completed adaptor for Kadee couplers. After testing was done to see if the adaptor worked, 00-90 washers and nuts were attached below just in case the screw threads in the brass failed. The adaptor was painted black at that time.

 The adaptor attached to the Tomlinson coupler head on the work car.

The coupler on the work car droops making the adaptor droop. Some adjustment can be made to bring the Kadee coupler on the adaptor level.

Even since the 1st time I used bath tube caulk I realized it would be good for use as an adhesive in some applications. The original caulk gave off an odor of vinegar (acetic acid) during curing. Since then bath tube caulk has come in various colors including clear and has been used for various caulking/finishing applications.

The acetic acid brings up an interesting problem with using the caulk in electronic boards. The boards will short-out if the caulk is placed on them!

I've used the clear bath tube caulk to hold passengers in place. Mainly because the caulk does not interfere with the painted finish in most applications. Plus, the passengers can easily be removed!

Recently GE realized their caulk was being used as a glue. Here are 2 tubes of their caulk product labeled for different uses. Both tubes contain the same product - Silicone II.
The tube on the left has been opened and used. Both tubes contain the exact same product. The caulk is now odor free. Because they are acetic acid free(?) = no smell; I do not know if them can be used with electronic boards.

A paper clamp works out well to fold over the end of the tube in order to apply pressure on the contents of the tube.

This is the motorman of the single truck work car. The styrene base was painted a wood color. The controller was painted wood color, the top painted brass, and the knob on the controller handle painted black. The brake staff painted black, handle painted brass, and the knob on the end of the handle painted black.

The motorman was glued in place using the GE Glue caulk. Once the caulk cured (about 24 hours) the base with the motorman was glued in place used the caulk.

Everything on the work car was screwed together and the work car runs well!
I guess the motorman is in the opposite end of the car.


Saturday, February 24, 2018

Finishing-Up the Single Truck Work Car Part 2

After assembling my single truck work car I decided to place an operator of the car inside plus make a coupler adapter for Kadee couplers. For the interior of the work car a pattern for the floor at the end of the car had to be made.

I work with lined index cards mainly due to their availability, the lines help to keep the drawing square, and are thick enough to keep their shape. The card stock is easy to remove and place back into small spaces and retain its form.
Initial drawing for interior end of floor

Final drawing for interior end of floor after trying out for size.

Next the 2 styrene floors with vertical pieces to hold the controller and "wind-up" brake handle were make using the card stock floor piece as a pattern. The floor and vertical end pieces were make from 0.040" styrene. Little gussets were added to keep the end pieces square with the floor. The middle section was left out for the headlight and wiring.
The headlight housing and wires are visible in the center of the dash.

Two pieces of square styrene were added to the bottom of the floor to provide space for screws holding the coupler in place.

The next photo shows the Q-Car controller and brake used in the model. The 2 men in the Fun & Games containers show the figure I found to use as a motorman even though his hand is not in the correct location to operate the controller. The stock number is ORL-12.

You should be able to find Fun & Games Figures on the web. He has a large number of figures for sale. He is located near St. Louis, MO. Originally this figure was painted with dirty skin as though he was operating a steam locomotive. I contacted the owner of Fun & Games and was told I could request cleaner skin if I ordered a few of them at a time. So, I ordered 6. I've repeated my order many times.
Some of Fun & Games figures are soft metal while others are epoxy. This figure is soft metal and can be bent a little!

We will cover the strange thing attached to the coupler and the use of bath tube caulk as an adhesive in the next Post.


Saturday, February 17, 2018

Finishing-Up the Single Truck Work Car

When choosing windows to be installed in the sides of the car, remember this car due to its use as a wrecker or repair car; would have bins for small parts and supplies, ropes, chains, etc. installed along the interior of the sides. The larger the windows installed in the sides, the less supplies and equipment can be stored in the car.

Before the glazing is glued in place. Other work on the model had to be done. This type of car can have couplers. Usually the type of coupler used was the Van Dorn coupler. The Van Dorn was a common link and pin coupler found on streetcar lines.

As part of the models and parts available when Pittman was making not only small electric motors but also models in which the electric motors could be used was a working Van Dorn coupler. In the 1950's Wagner had the same Van Dorn coupler in his catalogue. At that time I picked-up a couple of the coupler sets. They were installed in the brass open bench models I had finished. Then the couplers were no longer available.
Sometimes parts come broken or bent. If possible obtain more than you need. The coupler pockets cannot be repaired. The one coupler pocket with the broken loop for attachment to the coupler shank can still used. With the pin in place the pocket can be glued in place. 

At a trolley meet last fall a vendor had a few sets of the Van Dorn couplers I was able to obtain. This allowed me to add them to the model of the work car plus another model of the same era. The photos show the installation of the couplers on the model.

One comment on the installation: Since the point of installation would be where a large hole in in the underframe of the model, small pieces of brass were installed to the cast metal frame. This way the 0-80 screw used to mount the coupler shank be screwed into a material that will hold the threads. Styrene is used for spacers only where a strong metal is under the styrene to hold the threads.
The painted, not squarely installed cross-piece in the left is for mounting the power truck. The coupler carrier was glued in place. The coupler shank is mounted with screws. 

Next comes the decals. Microscale and Micromark have decal paper for computer printing of decals. Carefully follow the instructions of the manufacturer of the decal paper. With newer computers and printers a large number of fonts are available. The program "Word" will allow you to have a number of printing the letters.

The only limitation is that you will not be able to print in white or the metallic colors of gold, silver, etc. unless you have a special printer.

Once the information you are interested in having is printed on the decal paper, it needs a coating of a material to protect the printing procedure the installation of the decals. Microscale makes Micro Liquid Decal Film which can be painted on using a brush or sprayed. A very thin coat is required. If you have problems spraying the Decal Film, isopropyl alcohol can be added by the drop to thin the Film. Only a small amount (1-2 drops)of the alcohol is needed. A 91% solution of isopropyl alcohol is available in most pharmacies.
Microscale's Micro Sol was used to soften and set the decal film. Sometimes it takes multiple applications of the Sol to get the film to go into the lines between the boards. A new razor blade can be used to cut the decal film to get the film into the lines. 

The glazing for the windows made from 0.015" clear styrene. The clear styrene was cut and filed into the correct size. My favorite tool to file plastic is an emery board. Model window glue (A diluted clear water soluble caulking.) was used to keep the glazing in place.
The "EMERGENCY" lettering is a special feature of Word. Letters can be outlined in a different color. Outlining a letter in black gives the letter more character.

The headlight lighting is directional using diodes. An operator was installed after the photo was taken.

More C&U service cars in the next Post.


Thursday, February 15, 2018

OOP'S Better be Careful

After Posting the last I attempted to cut off my finger!!!!!

In cutting the glazing with a new single edge razor blade, my finger was in the way. Approximately a 1 cm round piece of skin etc. was cut off. 

Since it would not stop bleeding a trip to the emergency room was required.

Before the accident, I wasn't too sure I wanted to work on the glazing (0.020" clear styrene). The razor blade made up my mind for me!

Be careful it's a jungle out there!


Saturday, February 3, 2018

What Can Happen After a Positive Project Outcome?

Scratch building and completing the portable substation model turned out so well, it gave me the idea to bring the roster of my railway's service cars up-to-date with new paint schemes, parts, and more. The work included repainting, making decals, alterations. The non-powered cars were given odd numbers while the powered car was given an even number.

The service cars are:
  • An old Pittman single truck work car. CURX 00
  • An All-Nation C.E.R.A box car. CURX 03
  • An incomplete wooden sheath box car. CURX 05
  • A secondhand interurban flat car. CURX 07
  • An interurban flat car kit by Midwestern Hobby Models. CURX 09
Pittman Single Truck Work Car
Originally completed about 40 years ago, this work car had been painted yellow with red trim. The roof, underbody, and truck sideframe were painted a weathered black.

If you're familiar with the model, you know the motorman can only see forward and not to the sides. I've always wanted to add side windows just like the ones I had added to my Pittman box motor. .After looking into the use of the same windows, I found them to be too small for what I wanted. Instead a larger size Grandt Line window was chosen.

Adding the windows is easier than you think. Know where the sides have to be cut and work slowly. It's better to make the initial window cut-outs for a smaller window and work your way to a larger size. The photos will show the steps I took. The work took a little less than 30 minutes per window. Most of the time was spent filing the metal to the correct size.

I like the Grandt Line windows because they have a casing around the window as part of the plastic casting. The casing hides the edges of the hole filed into the metal side of the model. Although many windows in railroad cars did not have a casing around them, the windows added to the model with a casing do not stand out as being unusual.

The paint was not removed from the model. If this was a better, more important model the paint would have been removed. However, the model was lightly sanded to remove any loose paint, remove the decals, and smoothened the metal.

The 1st photo was taken with the model in its side. For the Blog the photo was rotated to the right. Also, notice the new window openings have been cut into the side. I had forgotten to take this photo before starting the work on the model.

This photo gives you an idea as to how the selected window looks compared to the end windows. The new windows will be shorter and wider. 

 The side of the model prior to starting any cutting

 Smaller than required holes have been cut. Lines had been drawn to show where to cut.

 A window has been placed next to the hole to show how small the hole is. The window needs to be turned to the correct orientation. Mill files were used to cut the hole to the correct size.

 The window in the enlarged hole. 

 One hole on this side done. The other has to be enlarged.

 Both holes are completed.

 The windows have been glued into place. Notice the mullions have been cut out and the window frame sanded. My windows will be 1 pane of glass. This will give the motorman an unobstructed view. 

When all the windows were installed, the model was spray painted with the same color as the portable substation. Above the model are cut-outs of potential words to be made into decals. They are being tried out for size and location.

More about finishing the model and making personalized decals in the next Post.


Saturday, January 27, 2018

Planning & Building the Portable Substation (PSS) Model Part 2

The roof of my model PSS is removable. An inner body was made from 0.040" styrene sheets and strips. Excess pieces cut from the styrene sheet were used to make strengtheners placed between the side walls and down to the floor. Holes were cut in the sides for windows.  Photos are below in this Post.

The outside scribed sheathing of 0.040" was placed on the sides while 0.020" sheathing was glued to the ends. Why the double sides and ends? - ease of cutting the material, material that was available without cutting more full sheets, strength, weight of the final model compared to a car if it had been made lighter (single sides), and probably a dozen more reasons I cannot remember.

The frame for the roof fits inside the sides of the car. The roof itself has to fit over the ends and the bumped-out letterboard on the sides of the car. The 2 sheets of styrene for the roof were glued on the frame. When the flat slabs of the roof were glued on, the excess material was left to overhang the body. The excess was cut off just before painting the model.

There's a number of details on the prototype. The details even if they are strips of styrene were added just as if they were cast plastic or brass parts. For wire 0.020" brass rod was used.

I could find only one location where a step was added to the prototype. Since a Grandt Line Delrin casting was being installed (normal plastic glue may not work) Pliobond adhesive was used. It's available from ACE hardware in small tubes. Pliobond is a rubber based adhesive. It provides a non-ridged, flexible bond.

Delrin can be hard to deal with. I find it's hard to get paint to stick to it.

To install the completed model on the layout a short section of track was placed on the layout. I had a short section of flex track with code 100 weathered rail. Since the flex track had plastic ties, the track was glued to a piece of 0.005" styrene sheet. Additional wooden ties were glued in place as rail stops to keep the car from rolling off the track. Every thing was sprayed a suitable color. Some ballast was attached.
The model was placed in its side for the photo of the  track. Note the wire and hole in the track for a light mounted inside the model.

Inside the model with the roof removed the partitions as well as the cut-outs for the windows can be seen. A flashing red light was placed in the section where the motor-generator would be located. The instructions and electronic board were placed on other sections. The roof was placed next to the model so you can see how the roof was made.

For the final installation of the PSS additional line poles for the  high voltage AC could be brought to the car. A pole so the 600 v DC can be brought to the overhead on the layout was placed at the other end of the substation. Wires have yet to be installed.
According to Standards regarding line poles and location of wires, there has to be a distance of 4' (prototype) between wires crossing over one another. The new line poles are 1/4" wood dowels. The cross arms are brass castings from PSC although they can be scratch built. I had the casting for 30+ years. 

With the poles made of wood and the cross arms of brass, a hole for a 00-90 bolt was drilled and tapped in both the castings and pole. The bolt is held in place with a nut. Finally a couple of drops of ACC is placed in strategic places to keep the cross arm from moving.

The other model inside of the loop is an old plastic box car with a 1970 calendar advertising All Nation Line when it was located in Des Plaines, Illinois. It's mounted on the layout as a storage container for the Chicago & Utopia Railway.

The portable substation is an interesting model for any layout. Furthermore it allows you to individualize the model to suit your needs. Some PSS had open sections enclosed in fencing.

The yellow tie is the location of an electrical gap in both rails. This has been a technique used by me for years.

Now what to do now that the PSS is finished? Cheers,