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

Sunday, November 4, 2018

60% of Modules for New Layout Almost Done

Originally the name of this Post was not to include the word "Almost". But then, I realized there are still minor tasks left to be done to finish 6 of the 10 modules. making up the layout. On one of the modules more trees have been ordered to plant while other modules need more road signs, people, autos, and more. It's amazing the number of minor details which when added to a train layout take the viewer of the layout to the next level.

What has taken my time during the past summer is the building of the South Entrance to the Brookfield Zoo (The Chicago Zoological Society) located on the borders of Brookfield and Riverside, IL. You can look up the Zoo and the South Entrance on Google and Google Maps to see what the prototype looked like in the past and currently. There are numerous photos of the South Entrance and the interior of the Zoo. If you have a chance read about the history of the Zoo.

My model ca 1948 of the South Entrance takes up the entire side of the module, 48" long (or wide). These are some photos of my work.
Palm trees do not grow in the Chicago area. They were added as conversation pieces. More vehicles in the parking lot as well as people need to be added.

Ticket sellers were added to the outside of the building. Normally tickets are sold inside the gates. The inside view of the Zoo was created with photos pasted to the back wall of the building. Lights inside the opening to the Zoo give the interior a day time look.
A special THANK YOU has to be given to Eric Bronsky who gave me ideas about creating the center Zoo building plus the encouragement to build the entire set of buildings.

The prototype Grange Line of the Chicago and West Towns Railway (CWT), had been in existence for about 40 years before the Zoo was built in the mid 1930's. The land on which the Zoo is located had been a farm owned by a member of The Chicago Zoological Society.

The South Entrance to the Zoo became an instant main passenger stop on the LaGrange Line of the CWT. This trolley line became the prime way for many families without autos to visit the Zoo during the 1930's and 40's. After the trolley line was abandoned, the CWT substituted buses. 

The Zoo is open for visitors almost all the days of the year. The animals have to be feed and taken care daily. The LaGrange Line became the busiest passenger trolley route of the CWT.


PS - There are some unfinished items left in this Blog to cover. As photos are found, the unfinished topics will be taken care of.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Grandt Line Sold to New Owners

Taken from the Grandt Line web site -

The new owners of our line of products will be The San Juan Model Co. in Colorado. 

You can contact them at (303) 913-1601



•  This is a new company  formed by Bob Stears and Doug Junda.

•  They have purchased the entire line, with the exception of our Miniatures Kits.  

•  We expect to say farewell to the truckload of stuff sometime in October.
This sounds great. Modelers will be able to continue to have the Grandt Line products available.


Tuesday, October 30, 2018

2019 East Penn Traction Club Meet

The East Penn Traction Club (EPTC) has announced the times, dates, and location of their 2019 Traction Meet. The Meet is scheduled for May 17-19, 2019 in Allentown, PA.

This is the URL for EPTC Meet:  Be sure to read both Page 1 and Page 2.

The EPTC Meet is held every other year in the odd years. It's the only Traction Meet of its kind. The last Meet held in 2017 started off slow but by Friday afternoon and all day Saturday was jumping!

There were multiple, operating, portable layouts in various scales. Over the years the number of dealers selling traction related items has seemed to have reduced. Some new dealers have popped up.

The location of the EPTC Meet is interesting!! On the Fairgrounds is a fantastic place to eat lunch or snacks across the parking lot. Allentown is an small, old town with many interesting places to stay and eat. It was the north end of the Lehigh Valley Transit's "Liberty Bell Route" trolley line.

The models you will see operating on the modules or entered into contest are outstanding. There is no telling what you will see. Each of the Meets have been unique. I usually bring an O scale Chicago area model to operate on the EPTC modular layout. 

In closing there is another consideration for you to ponder. As I start to think about train shows and Meets, no matter what scale, type of show, and/or type of trains; the number of attendees has been going down. In my age bracket, 77, the inability to travel, finances, time, family conditions, etc. have reduced the number of friendly faces at the shows and Meets. My main reason for attending the EPTC is to connect with friends and talk with them face to face.


Friday, May 25, 2018

New Owners for Precision Scale Company (PSC)

Precision Scale Company (PSC) has announced new owners. It's best for you to check out their web site for additional information.

The best to the past owners of PSC as they were great to deal with and worked to improve the product line. A toast to the new owners! PSC has a very broad product line  which has be of use to modelers over the years. Here's to many future years of production and enjoyment for both the new owners and the modelers who will be using their products.

What seems like eons ago, Kemtron and then PSC produced and sold the William J. Clouser line of traction products. I cannot begin to tell how many of these castings I have used on my models and those of others.

Besides the traction products PSC has many other castings for use on models of all sorts.


Saturday, April 7, 2018

Part 4D Turnout in Street - Installation of the Point Casting and Brass Tubing to Control the Turnout Point

It's time to get back to finishing old Post topics. At the time the Posts regarding the installation of the castings for street turnouts were originally written, about a year ago; I was 1st installing them on my new layout. After the 1st few turnouts were installed, I decided to stop writing the Posts for the Blog and just finish installing all of the turnouts and track work. If need be you might have to go back to see the initial Posts on this topic. 

As the Posts were published on building the track work, I started to notice there were modelers who didn't necessarily know what was required to place the castings into use.  After the fact I'm covering the information needed to place the castings into use. Also, the titles of the Posts covering the installation of the castings into a street turnout have been simplified.

I found it easier to install the brass tubing used to control the turnout point after the castings are soldered to the PC ties but prior to attaching the castings to the layout. It's time to re-read the written instructions which come with the castings.
The 2 castings making up the point and mate of the turnout soldered to ties. Rail connectors have been added. Any soldered joints requiring cleaning can be cleaned as the turnout is built.  

A 1/16" diameter brass rod is to be used to control the single turnout point. My way of installing the brass rod and the tubing used to hold the rod is different from the printed instructions included in with the castings. While I install and solder the brass tubing before the casting is installed in the street. I don't install and solder the turnout point to the brass rod until the turnout is completed.

Check the hole in the big casting commonly called the point casting. You should be able to see through the hole. On the bottom of the casting is a nipple onto which the brass tubing will be soldered. The 1/16" brass rod fits into a 3/32" diameter brass tube. Cut the 3/32" brass tube about 1/4" longer than the thickness of the layout top.

A 1/4" diameter brass tube will be used as a collar to hold the 3/32" brass tubing to the point casting. Cut the 1/4" brass tube 3/16" to 1/2" long. Apply soldering flux to the nipple on the casting plus the 3/32" and 1/4" tubing. Soldering all these parts together.
The brass tubes have been soldered to the bottom of the point casting. Drilling out the tubes after soldering will get rid of any excess solder inside the tubes.

During the soldering process keep the brass tubing square to the bottom of the point casting. If you're having problems keeping the brass tubes square to the nickel silver castings, a long piece of 1/16" aluminum rod inserted into the hole in the point casting and the brass tubing will help. 

After the soldering is completed, drill out the hole for the 1/16" brass rod using a #51 twist drill. This drill is slightly larger than 1/16". This will make it easier for the 1/16" rod to rotate. During the drilling process don't be surprised if you drill out some solder and brass.

The point/mate assembly can be installed on your layout. Now the turnout point casting can be examined and cleaned-up. Drill out the hole for the turnout point with a #51 drill.
My fingers are holding the turnout point which has been cleaned up with a file and the hole drilled for the brass rod.

Slip the turnout point into the larger casting. If the holes in the layout top are off center, the small arm on the turnout point may not fit into the casting. If this happens use a sharp knife or cutting blade to enlarge the hole. 

Slip a 1/16" brass rod into the point casting and through the brass tubing soldered to the point casting. DO NOT SOLDER THE TURNOUT POINT TO THE BRASS ROD YET!!! This will be done when the street turnout is complete. You do not want this rod to be sticking down under the layout while other work needs to be done. Do not allow this rod to be bent.

The point should move easily from side to side using your finger nail. If not, grind or file the turnout point until everything fits and works. Most of the time the turnout point will fit and move without any filing.
The turnout during testing of the point. (For ease of viewing and testing, the testing is being done in my hand so all the parts can be seen.) It should move freely back and forth. If the point is too long file the end to fit the casting. If everything works as planned, the castings can be installed on the layout. Remove the brass rod and point during the installation.

A piece of brass plate can now be added (soldered and screwed) to brass tubing sticking out from the bottom of the layout now. Unfortunately I do not have any photos of an installed brass plate under the layout. I cut 0.010" thick brass into squares large enough for the tubing and 4 short brass screws to be installed.

More to come, cheers,

Friday, March 23, 2018

Grandt Line to Close

Grandt Line which produces architectural parts, for example windows and doors, plus narrow gauge cars parts in many gauges and sizes will close in June, 2018.

The company started by Cliff Grandt many years originally produced many parts in lost wax brass and plastic. After Cliff's death his children continued the company converting many of the brass parts to plastic.

Without Grandt Line products some of my models could not have been built. I hope another vendor will pick up the line of products.

Without Cheers,

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.