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

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Current Line Models Power Trucks and More

Ed Miller, the owner of Current Line Models (CLM), contacted me about my comments regarding CLM power truck dimensions. Ed Miller stated, "They have not changed in over 50 years. The LL truck that Wagner produced was 1 1/16 high. the CLL is the same.

"If you look at the lower bolster on the older CLL truck you will see that Rick (Wagner) built up the casting to support the round can motor. The upper brass bolster is the same one as the bolster on the older LL trucks with the open frame motors. Only difference is the LL truck had the mounting plate riveted on and the CLL has the screw and spacer. The was done because if someone used a screw that was too long it would foul the motor. After a few repairs Rich went to the rivet.

"The CLL trucks I make with the Johnson motors use the lower bolster from the older open frame motors so they work out to the same height. What I can do on trucks with a 6' 6" WB or larger is use the smaller 64 pitch gearbox and shave the rear of the motor a little and drop the motor below the rear axle a little and get the top of the brass bolster down to a little below 7/8".

"The pictures of the CSL X car have this and the truck is completely under floor. Only thing that shows on the top is the head of the 2-56 flat head screw which I hid with some detail parts that I glue on top of it with some hot glue so if the truck has to be removed they can be removed."

To demonstrate what Ed is talking about, below is a page from the “Wagner Car Company, Truck Book No. 6”. The CLL power truck is in the middle with a photo to the right.
Current Line Models, Wagner Car Company, Truck Book No. 6, page 3

The pictures of the CSL X car Ed mentions are these. The model is a CSL crane. Most of the CSL service cars were numbered in the “X” series. It is a beautiful model.

The other item of interest is my taking out time to up-grade the electrical system of my layout. For about a year 2 of the turnout motors has not worked correctly and some switch lamps were out of order. Also, more storage space is required to display models.

Work has been under way for the past 2 weeks to prepare smaller “control panels”. About 1/3 of the work of installing them has been completed. Four small “control panels” will replace the large control “panel”.

In the opened up space either my small streetcar test track can be placed or a tiered display unit installed.

Originally my layout was designed and built with the idea of operating either 2-rail models OR trolleys with both rails grounded. A number of small electrical gremlins kept popping up. With the electrical up-grade only trolleys will be operated. The layout is an interurban layout without street running.

The other change is the use of real interurban or rapid transit controllers to operate the models. Many years ago both a CA&E and CRT controllers were wired-up for 12-18 volt operation. They will be used instead of a power pack.

To see the layout in operation visit Eric Bronsky’s Electropickle Productions U-Tube videos at  OR

The electrocution of the pickle was to make Eric an honest man!

Old chemistry teachers never die, they just fail to react!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

AEFRE 49 - #3 Getting Ready to Build the Model

Before getting into starting the model, The dimensions of Current Line Models' power truck is unknown to me. Therefore, the Q-Car Company power and trail trucks were chosen. Current Line Models should publish the dimensions of his power trucks. 

There are a number of items to get ready to be able to build the model. This includes photos, books, and whatever primary information you can. Primary being 1st person accounts or professional literature of the prototype. If not, then secondary information can be used. Secondary being 2nd hand accounts such as modeling articles. More weight has to be given to primary information.

Primary information includes (not in any particular order of importance):
·         Photos
·         C.E.R.A. Bulletin 104 “The Great Third Rail”
·         “Aurora-Elgin Area Street Cars & Interurbans, Aurora Elgin & Fox River Electric Company Volume 2” by Hopkins Stolp Peffers
·         The Story of the Chicago Aurora & Elgin Railroad 2 – History

Secondary information includes: 
·         “AE&C flat motor No. 49”, Railroad Model Craftsmen June 1996, written by James Tangney

Besides the 2 photos in a prior post here is another photo which may be of interest. This is a photo of the #49 when it was painted orange.
In orange paint John Cloos Collection

Always try to get 8” x 10” prints of photos. However, sometimes enlarging a photo to a print this size will cause the details to blur. If this happens then smaller prints need to be made. If needed use a magnifying glass to examine your prints no matter the size.

The employees at the local Walgreens must think I’m nuts with the large photos, then small photos, and then, large again of the same subject. Each print being a close up of one special section of the prototype.

After the photos comes the plans. Whatever plans you have, print out to scale size. In making the scale size print, you probably used only 1 dimension to scale out the printing. Not to say there is anything wrong with the plan, but check as many of the other dimensions on the scale copy of the drawing as possible. Sometimes drawings are not as correct as they should be. Things happen during the printing process.

Also, if you make photocopies of scale drawings, always check them out. Some photocopiers reduced the copy by a small amount.

There needs to be some corrections made to my corrections of Joseph Hazinski’s drawings. After checking Peffers’s book, #49 had only 1 controller installed along one side of the locomotive.  On page 95 under the “Miscellaneous” section is, “Only 1 Side Control”. This meant the single controller was installed closer to one side of the cab. The locomotive could only be operated from that side. Along with the controller would be the brake valve and probably an air gauge.

The controller was probably installed next to the open window seen in the photos. Installing the controller along the center line of the cab would make the controller too hard to reach with the operator at the window.

Switching with #49 was probably done with a meager crew - the motorman and 1 man on the ground to direct the motorman during switching operations. It was imperative for the motorman to see this individual for hand signals. The motorman had to be at the side of the locomotive almost all the time.

With the control location being next to the open window may be the reason so many photos were taken of this side of #49 and not the other. There is no telling about the windows on the other side of the locomotive. Unless a photo of the other side is found, I’d make both sides the same.

In the photo supplied above, no whistle can be see in the end of the cab. This probably means #49 had only 1 whistle and not 2 during the orange era of the locomotive. I'm making the red era and I'll stick with 1 whistle.

Another fact apparent from the photo is the center 2 side windows are recessed into the car "1 layer" more than the 2 outer windows. "One layer" only means for the model maker, in back of the current layer. It’s impossible to tell exactly how deep the center 2 windows are from the front of the side windows.

After looking at an 8 x 10 close up of the windows in the red painted version of 49, what had looked like a rebuilding (my red circle on Joe’s drawing) of the center 2 windows is a small gutter with a short drain pipe to the right. The lack of rain gutters on the roof had puzzled me. The rain gutter on the side would explain their absence.

In comparing the photos of the red version versus the orange version of #49, there are a number of differences between the two. Seeing I will be building the red version, having someone build the orange version will be an interesting comparison. More than the removal of the snow plow equipment took place during the rebuilding and painting to red..

I’ve starred at 8 x 10 photos using a magnifying lens for many hours. As the model of the #49 is built some of the other details or lack of details will be pointed out. The #49 is an interesting prototype to be modeled.

I personally knew Don Idarius, who took most of the photos we have of #49. Unfortunately Don died about 10 years ago. To see if there are more photos of #49 available I’ve contacted his son, Kevin. Unfortunately, his father's negatives are not available for viewing. However, I'm still looking for additional photos. There are more leads to track down.

Don was very active in the C.E.R.A. and went on many, if not all, of the fan trips sponsored by the organization. Don could have ridden on #49 during the fan trips. He would probably know more about #49 than any of us could gather from photos and written material in books.

Don was also an accomplished, well known O scale modeler. He was always challenging other modelers to build trolley models. Thanks to Don I built a model of the Chicago West Towns #12, a cab-on-flat locomotive much like the #49. Don gave me a copy of his notes and plan of #12.

My model is powered with the older Northwest Short Lines Magic Carpets. The CWT #12 had 2 controllers, with one installed at each end of the central, thin cab. Some of the brake and electrical gear was installed under the car. This could be done due to the length of the #12. To pull standard railroad cars, a chain would “woven” over the RR’s car’s coupler and attached to the #12.

Another cab-on-flat scratch built by me is CRT S-301 boom car. Photos and a partial plan were supplied by Bruce Moffat. With the aid of my son, using photos we were able to figure out the size of lumber used for the boom. It took awhile, but the workings of the boom were finally figured out.

My model is powered with the same power truck style to be used in building the #49. As you can see the S-301 had the cab at one end of the car with a central controller and windows all around. The cab doors were pocket doors common on the CRT passenger cars. Unless it was the dead of winter the open cab doors were the best means to see the railway ahead. The S-301 had 2 air compressors on the deck due to lack of space under the car were all of the other brake and electrical gear were placed. Interesting, obscure items are the air powered wenches to lift the arm of the boom and material to be lifted by the boom itself.

I don’t consider myself to be an expert on building cab-on-flat models. However, I’ve had some practice. It’s hard to compare one prototype cab-on-flat locomotive to another. Each is individually designed for a particular purpose taking into account what the loco is to be used for plus the environment in which it will be used. At the same time local, state, and federal rules, regulations, and laws have to be obeyed.

Building a model of #49 is one of those where you will need a little of this and a little of that.  So you don’t have to purchase an entire amount of something, network with your fellow modelers for some of the styrene and brass to be used. Connecting with 1 or 2 of the scratch builders in your area will go a long way. For unusual and obscure parts, I’ll mention the vendor of the item(s).

A parts list is not available. I’m building the model and writing the posts as I go along. The exact parts will not be known until the model is built. Writing the posts as the model is being built means things may seem a little erratic.


Sunday, May 6, 2012

AEFRE 49 #2B – Ordering the Power & Trail Trucks

Q-Car power and trail trucks were chosen because I knew the power truck would fit completely under the flat car portion of the locomotive. The exact dimensions of the Q-Car Low Profile power truck are shown below.

Here is part of the page from Q-Car’s web site describing the Low Profile power truck. A correction to dimension “C” needs to be made. The shortest wheel base this power truck can be made is 6’6” and not 6’. I had tried to get a 6’ Low Profile power truck made. It could not be done. This is the 3rdreason for picking a 6’6” wheel base side frame.
Q-Car Company Photo

Dimension “A” is the most important to building an under the deck power truck. This is the power truck I ordered. It has some important features to explain. The description of the power truck is: Power Truck w/Trailer Built Backwards with Flat Plate Bolster; Gear Ratio 24:1; Q-Car Type MT10LP; Motor Type Mashima 1628 Flat Can; Truck Type Kemtron Conversion; Wheelbase 78”; Wheel Diameter 33”

Built Backwards – The power truck is to be installed with the motor facing the end of the model. The gear box will face the center. This will provide clearance for the draft gear.

Flat Plate Bolster – A flat strip of brass will be mounted to the top of the power truck instead of the usual 2-56 screw with soft metal body bolster. The flat strip of brass is the body bolster. The screw holding the brass strip is soldered to the truck bolster. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO REMOVE THIS SCREW! 
Gear Ratio 24:1 – This is the slowest gear which can be mounted in this power truck.

MT10LP – This is a Low Profile design power truck.

Truck Type Kemtron Conversion – The old Kemtron, now PSC, sideframes were used to make the power truck.

Wheel Diameter 33” – The prototype had 33” wheels.

This is what the Q-Cars power truck looked like after I did some alterations. It came with the holes drilled and taped 1-72 in the “flat plate”body bolster. More on them later.

When I got my trucks the following alterations were made. The end pieces of brass were removed and replaced with 1/16” “L” shaped brass. I find these do not bend as easily as the flat piece of brass. Because of the“L” shape they are easy to install.

Before these end pieces were replaced the ends of side frames facing the ends of the model were shortened. There is just enough clearence for the flange on the wheels. This provided more clearance for the draft gear and the end foot boards on the model. File all joints smooth but do not remove all the solder.

Also notice the added small pieces of brass which help the change in side frames look more like the Peckham 30. A drop of solder helps to hold the added pieces in place. The brass side frame is more durable than the soft metal with pieces of styrene added.

If you carefully examine the photo of #49 you should notice something attached to the truck frames towards the inner part of the locomotive. I wanted to add more detail to my model. PSC #5342 Underbody Detail Kit was purchased. The #5345 Brake Hanger castings were added to the trucks. The balance of the castings in the Underbody Detail Kit will be used to finish the model.
PSC Catalogue Drawing

Here is a photo of the trail truck modifications and ready for installation. Note the modifications from left to right:
  • The end of the frame filed shorter with the "L" shaped piece of brass soldered on.
  • The addition of Q-Car CS 190 Dummy Traction Motor added for weight and to balance the weight of the powered truck.
  • A 0.005" think piece of brass shim. More on this later.
  • Another Dummy Motor Casting added for the same reason.
  • The PSC #5345 Brake Hanger casting.
  • The new journal lids can also be seen.

Finally, the power truck was tested. It looks like the red wire coming from the motor is the ground. There are small spaces in the truck bolster into which the wires can be woven. Do this so the wires do not have to be attached to the truck itself with thread.

The red wire was soldered to the cross frame piece for the ground. This soldering can be done with a 15 w iron.

A word of caution – no matter what the side frames are made of, dropping a power or trail truck does not help the geometry of the truck. Twisting the truck back into shape can help, but sometimes the truck has to be disassembled – parts unsoldered and screws loosened to get the truck level on the track.

When you get your power truck, open and inspect the gear box for grease. Adding rubbing compound and then allowing the truck to run for 1-2 hours will help to lap the gears. Of the total time, run the power truck in one direction ½ of the time and in the other direction the other ½ of the time. After doing this completely clean out the gear box with lacquer thinner and replace the grease with Labelle’s106 plastic compatible grease. Oil all points where the axle ends are in the side frames with plastic compatible oil.

Now we’re ready to build the flat car part of the model.