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

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.



  1. Looks like another interesting project on your workbench. Keep up the good work.

    1. Thank you for watching my blog and your kind words.