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

Friday, December 27, 2013

North Shore Line 409 - Part 7 Fixing a Pilot and a Missing Drawing

Before starting the cutting out of the 2 window panel on the side of the car, as work progresses with the conversion, often I'm involved with other parts of the model. One such item turned out to be a repair of a pilot which had been cut into during some of the work. Of course, always be careful when working with power tools. Most errors can be corrected - while others cannot be repaired!

The pilot was cut on a bottom horizontal piece. To repair the cut a small, short piece of  flat brass was soldered onto the pilot. A piece of small, brass wire could also be used. In the photo taken after the repair was completed, the "V" shaped cut can be seen. Fine, pointed tweezers were used to hold the small piece of brass in place while the soldering was being done.
The pilot is being held upside down for better viewing. The repair is to the right of the pilot.

Speaking of soldering, always use a soldering iron, gun, torch with sufficient heat to melt the solder. Heat the items to be soldered together until the solder actually melts (looks shiny or glossy) and then rapidly withdraw the source of the heat. Do not move the parts during cooling!

Too many modelers use a source of heat which is too small for the work being done. This provides a "cold solder joint" which will break apart given enough time. Using a source of too little heat can cause the entire piece of work being over heated in a attempt to melt the solder. Doing this can ruin paint, cause glued joints to fail, and melt plastic parts.

One last comment about soldering - always keep a small bowel or cup of water handy. If the piece of work gets too hot and starts to deform dunk it in the water. If you touch something hot, dunk your fingers.

The other part of this post is my drawing of measurements used in cutting a window into the cars bulkheads. It should have been included in the post on revising the bulkheads for the model. The drawing on the left side is for the bulkheads.

On the right hand side of the drawing are some dimensions you will find handy for other items in converting the model. I tend to write down important data as work on the model is being done.

The 1st labeled "Roof Matt" is the dimensions of the styrene strip pieces to be used in the roof matt.

The 2nd is the height of the stud used to hold the lighting strip in place which was cut off inside the roof. The last is the thickness of the models walls. This last piece of information will come-up again in the next post.

Finally if you didn't understand my comments about the mounting of the trolley poles for the 409 - either on the 2-56 screw or the hole in the roof with a drop in trolley pole - when the posts are completed for the conversion of the 415 into the 409, a set of post on trolley poles will be done.

The next post will definitely be the cutting of the model's walls to start the inserting of new windows into the side.


Sunday, December 22, 2013

North Shore Line 409 - Part 6 Finishing the Roof

Before starting on the roof you should have been referred to prior posts in this blog. These are February 15, 2012 "Sunset NSL Silverliners #7A - The Roof" and February 18, 2012 "Sunset Silverliners #7B - The Roof".

The reason I refer readers back to prior blogs is I do not want to take out time to cover material which has been covered before. This blog like many of the model railroad blogs should be read from the beginning. Material which was covered before can be quickly reviewed by reader.

Next comes the addition of the roof vents. When the prototype car was built Garland vents were used. These are the same vents the car had when it was converted to a Silverliner. The 2 non-conventional Silverliners, combination car 215 and the 409, continued to have their original vents on the roofs.

Luckily at a recent O Scale Show I picked-up some cast brass vents which had been left over from producing O scale NSL cars in brass. The vents I obtained were either used to make the MTS or The Car Works NSL models.

The vents came with the strap metal protector over the vent. The strap metal was added by the NSL to protect the vent from errant trolley poles or other items. All I had to do was to clean-up the castings and straighten out the straps.

If you do not have vents like mine, you will have to use Garland vents and add the straps. After the vents are  installed make the straps out of thin, narrow pieces of brass. Both the vents and the straps can be ACC'ed to the roof.

Using both the MR plans for the 409 plus photos the vents were ACC'ed to the roof. The remaining items to ACC to the roof were the electrical junction box at the #1 end of the car, the roof fuse, and some copper wire to look like the electrical cable from the trolley pole bases to the roof fuse and electrical junction box. You can refer to the prior posts mentioned above to see what the junction box and roof fuse look like.

The replacement piece of styrene roof board should be ACC'ed in place. The replacement piece should blend in to touch. Run you fingers over it. Use a small straight edge to be sure it is not bowed. It may have to be shimmed with paper or thin styrene to fit in correctly. If need-be place a weight on top as the ACC cures.

Finally 2 trolley pole hooks were soldered to the end of a roof board. These were soldered on instead of ACC'ed due to the amount of handling the trolley pole hooks get. If correctly soldered on trolley pole hooks will take a lot of abuse before coming off. Also, if soldered on the trolley pole hooks can be used as part of a pole reverse electrical circuit.

This is the roof with all items added prior to painting.

In preparation for painting, clean off the roof with a good brush. Inspect the roof for any imperfections. The areas with body putty should be smooth and level to the touch. The primer will cover some extremely minor imperfections. The light color of the primer can be used to see imperfections hidden by the black paint. Fix any problems prior to the final painting. Take your time - do not rush through this process.

Mask off the roof with a quality masking tape. Be cautious not to touch the Silverliner part of the model with the tape. I applied a coating of Rustoleum Automotive Primer first. After the primer was allowed to dry for 24 hours Floquil Weathered Black was sprayed over the roof.

The 2-56 screws for the trolley poles have been added after the masking was removed.

The Weathered Black is a black-gray color which mimics what gloss or flat black would look like if left outside in the weather and sun. It didn't take long for a newly painted NSL car to loose its gloss and newness after coming from the paint shop. A NSL employee told me depending upon the weather as little as one high speed round trip between Chicago and Milwaukee would start the process of removing the gloss.

Remove the masking from your model. Inspect your model. I found if my model was held upside-down, the area of the roof matts over the end doors and diaphragm was unpainted. A small brush was used to "touched up" this area by hand.

Next will come a fix of a pilot then on to the hardest part of the conversion!


Saturday, December 21, 2013

A 2013 Merry Christmas and a 2014 Happy New Year

A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year plus any other seasonal greeting to all.
This year a model of Chicago and West Towns Railway locomotive #12 was chosen for the Christmas photo. The #12 spent its life running up and down the streets of Oak Park, Forest Park, Berwyn, Cicero, North Riverside, Riverside, Brookfield, and  La Grange.
It was painted yellow with red doors and window sashes. There was little in the way of markings on the locomotive. The car number was covered up by the larger interurban headlights on both ends of the cab.
The model of #12 was built from plans given to me by the late Don Idarius. Don had built a similar model many years ago. A photo of #12 can be seen on page 209 of the CERA Bulletin 138. #12 was normally found at the "Siberian Car Barn" in North Riverside.
This is a better view of my model of #12. It is powered with the older Magic Carpets.
Peace to all,

Monday, December 16, 2013

North Shore Line 409 - Part 5 Installing Roof Matts

The positioning of the roof matts will be the hardest addition to the roof to do. Back when the lost wax cast parts for, at that time, the two Clouser NSL cars became available; I purchased a number of each of  them. Little did I know then, the same parts would be used now.

The cast parts were sold under the Wade Model Products line. This is a photo of what must be the earliest packaging of the products. The name of the item is hand written. Notice the price: $2.85.

This is a trial fitting. The sox is holding the casting in place.

To get the castings, one for each end, ready for installation the sprue has to be cut off. This is best done with a cut-off wheel. Once the sprue is removed, file any other excess material off. Bend each casting to conform to the contour of the end of the roof on which it will be installed. 

What is missing from the castings is more of the material mounted on the roof end to which the individual wood slats making up the matt are mounted (nailed). Part of this material is a rail gutter to keep rain off the end door. Styrene strips of the appropriate dimensions are ACC'ed to both castings.

Once the ACC has cured, the roof matt can be positioned on the roof using the "marks" from the original roof matt. Work on one roof matt at a time. Use large, thick rubber bands to hold the casting to the roof. I've been told Bill Clouser used this method to attach the castings to his models. Note the number of rubber bands used from different directions. A thick, slow curing, gap filling ACC should be used. Allow at least 24 hours for the ACC to cure.
I tried to position both roof matts in place and ACC on at the same time. This is hard to do since it's possible to dislodge one roof matt while working on the other. I've used this method before with 3 other Sunset models and have some skill in positioning the matts. I recommend you do one at a time!
As the ACC started to cure, the rubber bands had to be repositioned to bring the outer edges of the matt down to conform with the curve of the roof.

When the rubber bands are removed, part of a rubber band may have been "glued" to the casting. Clean up the casting with a sharp blade, file, and/or fine grit sand paper. After one roof matt has been attached, work on attaching the roof matt on the opposite end.

After both roof matts have been installed on the roof ends, check them to see if additional ACC needs to used to fill any gaps. Don't use too much ACC. The slow curing, gap filling ACC moves slowly. It continues to move until it cures which means it will move down from where it was applied and may fill in areas you do not want filled. If this happens you will need to clear out the unwanted ACC.
The piece of 0.005" brass was used to clear out excess ACC in the 4 areas under the matt between the supports.

The next post will finish the roof.


Thursday, December 12, 2013

North Shore Line 409 - Part 4 Bulkheads and Roof Detail

Modeling hint - buy an on-off foot pedal for controlling your Dremal Tool or other hand-held drilling/grinding tool. I found a Moto Tool Foot Pedal on for about $16.00 which works just great! The foot control pedal allows you to have a firm grip of the objects in your hands - the model and the Dremel tool. 

When the prototype 409 was rebuilt into a coach, the interior was set up as one large non-smoking section with the lavatory in the same place as it was when the car was a dining car - in the corner of the car. The bulkheads between the body of the car and the vestibules basically remained the same with the exception of the addition of a railfan's window. The same has to be done with the model. Scribe lines for the window, cut out a rough opening, and finish with jewelers' mill files. The jaws of a modeler's vise was used to file the edges straight.

After the bulkheads are painted, they can reinstalled in the model. This was done to protect the interior of the vestibules and the windows plus keep parts from falling into them. Also the bulkheads and attachment screws will not get lost.

To get the roof ready for additions, the antenna like structure protecting the kitchen vents can be pulled off. The 2 kitchen vents can be either pulled off or un-soldered. The smoke stack can be either un-soldered or cut off with a cut-off wheel. If the stack is cut off, use the cut-off wheel to grind down the stump level with the roof.

If you look at the roof boards you should notice 2 small holes in the roof where the kitchen vents were plus the 2 half moon cut-outs in the roof board. The easiest way to  repair the half moon cut-outs is to replace the involved section of roof board.

Using a medium size screwdriver blade pry-up by breaking the solder joint of the section of roof board to be replace. Do this carefully as the entire roof board is a large brass etching having small tabs between the individual rood boards. These tabs keep the boards parallel during construction of the model. In this photo you may be able to see the tab. The section of roof board was cut-out using a cut-off wheel. Use slow speed!
What is left of a tab between the roof boards can be seen on the roof cleat to the left of the smoke stack. The set of 4 roof boards were installed on the roof by soldering only the outside roof boards to the cleats.

I unsoldered the smoke stack seen in the above photo. After any protrusions on the roof are ground off and the area is cleaned up, the holes can be filled with Squadron Putty either green of white.
Note the cut roof board has been squared off at a roof cleat.

I took a gamble with the hole left from the smoke stack. No backing was soldered into place to back-up the hole filling material. A blob of the Squadron Putty was placed inside the roof to give a mushroom effect to provide backing for each of the 3 holes. The body putty on the exterior of the roof where the holes were can be sanded to the contour of the roof with fine grit sand paper.

A replacement roof board was made from the appropriate size styrene. The teeth of a small saw blade was run over the piece of styrene to simulate wood grain. The Sunset NSL models have wood grain in the roof boards. To "cut" the grain down a little, a fine grit sand paper was run over the piece of styrene. This piece of styrene will be installed later.

Please excuse the glare from the light.

Since the roof mats at each end will be replaced with new brass castings, the roof mats can be pulled off. After the roof matts are removed take note of the solder still on the roof. It's best to use a fine file to remove the solder first, then finish the work with a fine grit sand paper. However, DO NOT sand away the center area of where the roof matts were located. The center line of the old roof matt will be used to center the new roof matts.

Before we go further, let's take care of how the trolley poles bases are to be mounted. I prefer having the 2-56 screw attached to the body with the threads sticking up out of the roof. The other method has a hole in the roof for a small, round stud screwed into the trolley pole base to be inserted. Inside the hole is a piece of brass tubing with a piece of wire attached. There's pro and cons to both methods.

This method of electrical insulation can be used for both methods. Cut 2 pieces of styrene tubing into which a 2-56 screw will have a tight fit. Then enlarge the hole in the roof and roof boards for the piece of styrene tubing to pass through. For the inside of the model cut 2 pieces of styrene 0.040" thick into small rectangles. Each rectangle should fit between the 2 rows of pins from the roof cleats. Drill a hole in each rectangle for the piece of styrene tubing to pass through. Glue a piece of styrene tubing to each reactangle. Allow to dry over night.

File or sand the piece of tubing flat so each of the little insulators can stand. Insert the tubing portion of the insulator into the roof. Glue to the inside of the roof with ACC. Allow the ACC to cure over night.

Clean up the 2 pole base castings. enlarge the hole in the castings so the casting will slide over the styrene tubing. ACC the pole base casting unto the roof and styrene tube. Leave the styrene tubing sticking out until after the ACC has cured.

After the glue has cured, cut the styrene tubing level with the top of the pole base casting. This is what the pole base should look like.
Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of this detail. Another photo had to be used which fails to show the detail clearly.

Later either a 2-56 screw of correct length can be screwed into the styrene tubing or the styrene tubing drilled out a little and a piece of brass tubing into which a 2-56 screw can fit can be fitted into the styrene tube.

Up to now everything which should be removed from the roof has been and the trolley base has been installed. In the next post more items will be installed on the roof and hopefully the roof painted.


Monday, December 9, 2013

North Shore Line 409 - Part 3 Plans for Transformation & Trolley Poles

The installation of couplers and trucks in the prior post was done to see how well the 415 would operate with the other 2 models. Now some thought has to be given as to exactly how the 3 models will operate (run).

The prior post disclosed the model of NSL 256, a combination baggage-coach, is powered. This model has to be in any train containing the 3 cars. BTW - NSL trains having a combination baggage-coach car always had this car at the north end of a train.

My model of the 772 is an All Nation brass body of 1930 Standard Car Co. NSL coach. It is not powered and has operated behind the 256. A problem with the All Nation brass bodies is the end post of the models. They are too wide and are noticeable to most NSL modelers. Other than altering the brass body, the easiest thing to do is to run the model in mid-train between other cars.

To run the 772 mid-train, the 409 has to be the rear car of the train. If this is done then the 409 can be run with the 256 alone to give a 2-car train. Or, the 772 can be operated in-between the 256 and 409 to give a 3-car train.

If you are a "dyed-in-the-wool" North Shore fan, you'll remember seeing the NSL passenger trains running north of the Edison Court station in Waukegan, Illinois in route to Milwaukee. Unless there were unusual reasons, the trains were either 1, 2, or sometimes 3 cars long.

If the 409 is to be operated as the last car of the train, rear-end marker lights have to be installed on it. The markers on the 772 can be removed and the holes patched. This not a major problem seeing the markers are not lighted.

The other item to be considered is the coupler at the end of the train. I like to have the last car of a train with air hoses along with a more scale looking brass coupler. Since the couplers currently installed on the 409 are for mid-train running, one of the couplers will have to be traded with the rear-end coupler on the 772. Both the marker lights and rear-end coupler will be taken care of as construction on the car goes on.

The floor of the 409 has to be removed and something done to protect the sides and ends of the model as work progresses. If you recall the 3-car Silverliner train came from Sunset with a pair of cotton gloves. Taking a clue from this, the toes and ankle sections of some old, used white cotton socks were cut off and will be positioned over the car body. Don't toss out the cut off sections, they will be used to "stuff" the interior at appropriate times.

The prototype 415 was a trailer all of its life. The 409 was a powered all of its life. Now is the time to drill holes in the roof for the trolley pole screws. For measurements I used photos of the prototype 409 to locate where to drill the holes. Before any drilling starts remove the lighting strip from the interior of the model. The reason photos were used to locate the location of the poles was, I was unable to locate my Model Railroader (MR) plans of the 409.

An email was sent out to some friends and Bernie Rossbach responded with the plans. Unfortunately the issue of MR in which the plans were printed is unknown. Bernie, thank you for the plans.

If you compare the location of the trolley pole bases by counting the number of roof cleats as shown in the drawing and where I drilled the holes, it appears I drilled the holes one roof board cleat over. However, if the locations are compared to the windows, my locations are correct. The confusion is caused by the length of the roof boards on the Sunset models being too short!

This brings up a good modeling note - always compare both photos and plans if you have them. Do measurements of both to see if there are any differences. If the prototype car is available, do measurements.  

In drilling the 2 holes in the roof, 1 problem arose. The drill went through one of the 2 posts holding the lighting strip in place. This post was removed on the inside of the roof with a Dremel Tool cut-off wheel. The missing post will be replaced when the lighting is re-installed. Note the brass "filings" inside the model on the interior of the roof. Always try to remove all brass filings with each step.
Note the piece of white sock to the left of the picture. The small piece of post can be seen between the sock and the hole drilled into the roof.
Take a look at the interior of the model. The way the model is constructed can be seen. Note the clear material used for the glazing. It is attached (glued) to a piece of bass which makes up the sashes of the windows. This brass is about 0.020" thick. The way the sides are constructed will come up in a future post when the sides are cut out for the 2 windows.

As work progresses on the model normally a white sock will be seen over the model. In other photos no sock is seen. When this happens the exterior sides of the model will be protected by having the model placed in a foam cradle.


Thursday, December 5, 2013

North Shore Line 409 - Part 2 Couplers and Trucks

These are two comments regarding my prior experiences with Sunset Silverliners. The material used to give the appearance of the stainless steel fluting below the windows of the models started to lift off of my original 415 due to the inadvertent application of tape on the model. This plus  the material is fragile and easy to scratch has made me very "gun shy" of working on the models. This feature of the model must be protected as best you can at all times.

The red paint used on the models is hard to match. The red paint I used on my 3-car Silverliner set was not an exact match. Since a large area of the side of the 415 will be cut out and windows installed, a better match for the red would go a long way in making the whole project worth the effort. Hint - I think I found the correct color/paint.

Last and not related to my prior experience with the Sunset models is my desire to get the project done. This project came up as I was winding down the building of new models. There are enough models on my shelves and layout which need updating, finishing touches, and/or completion.

Upon arriving home from the East Penn Traction Meet immediate attention was given to seeing if the new model could be operated with NSL models currently in my collection. The prototype 409 was powered. I wanted to operate my 409 as an unpowered model.

There are 2 sets of the older NSL models in my collection. One set is a 2-car train made-up of cars normally operated in commuter service - 420 and 734. The other set are cars normally operated in Limited service between Milwaukee to Chicago - 256 and 772. The 256 is powered with an old Wagner DC60 power truck with an open frame motor. The prototype 409 operated in Limited service, therefore the new model could be operated with 256 and 772.

My 256 and 772 are coupled together using Wagner radial couplers. I used the same technique used by Charlie Pitts to install couplers on his Silverliner set. See post dated February 4, 2012 "Sunset NSL Silverliners #6A - Couplers . . . ." to see what he had done.

The only exception to how Charlie Pitts installed his couplers was, I used the exact same screw holes the couplers which came with the model were installed. These are photos of my installation of couplers on my soon to be 409. I think the same screws were used.

To change the trucks the floor was removed from the body. The interior was discarded since a new one has to be built. The trucks were removed. For the balance of the information related to the installation of new trucks see posts dated January 12, 2012 "Sunset NSL Silverliners #2 - Parts and Trucks" and March 18, 2012 "Sunset NSL Silverliners #11A - 415 Trucks".
Note the Squadron Green Putty used to fill in where the steps had to ground away.

Once the new couplers and trucks were installed, the model was placed on the track along with the cars it will be run with to see if everything works as expected. Unfortunately no photos were taken with the ex-415, soon to be 409 operating in a train with 256 and 772. The 3 cars ran together like a charm. The power truck in 256 didn't have any problems pulling the 2 trail cars.

With the 3-car train running as expected, it is time to consider the balance of the work required to transform the 415 body into the 409.


Sunday, December 1, 2013

North Shore Line (NSL) 409 - Part 1

This and the posts following this one bring many visceral thoughts and comments to mind. After rebuilding the Sunset/3rd Rail 3-car Silverliner train into a suitable looking set of models; my intention was to never, ever get involved with rebuilding any Sunset Silverliner models. (See prior posts published starting in January, 2012.) Friends have asked me to work on their models. My answer has always been, "No!"

When the many problems and oversights with the Sunset Silverliner models came to light and as information became known to O scale traction modelers, one friend told me he was planning on changing his NSL 415 tavern/lounge Silverliner into the NSL 409 coach. After he was informed 2 windows had to be cut into the side of the model where the kitchen was, he decided to do as I was planning. My plan was to rebuild the interior of the 415 model plus change the roof detail to make the model look more like the 1960's tavern-lounge.

As an aside - when this set of models became available, I looked at an O scale set of plans and drawings of the NSL 409 published in Model Railroader. It was then I realized Sunset had used the plans and drawings for their models. The underbody of the prototype 409 in the plans was exactly the same as the Sunset models.

At the last East Penn Meet a friend had a Sunset Silverliner coach and the 415 for sale. Originally his price for the 415 was more than I wanted to pay. After some going back and forth we worked out a deal where the sale included some cash plus parts I no longer needed. I now had a second 415 tavern/lounge in the Silverliner paint scheme. Also in my collection of parts were the items to rebuild the car into a more suitable looking model. All I had to do is to cut out the blank section in the side of the car were 2 windows had to be built! Or so I thought!

No one has been able to come up with a suitable reason for the NSL picking the 409 to be painted in the Silverliner Scheme. The windows on the side of the car matched the low 700's, that is, windows with an upper sash. All the prior Silverliner coaches were from the last NSL Pullman and Standard Car Companies built cars. The side windows did not have an upper sash which meant the upper letter board was wider.

As it turns out when the 409 was released for the paint shop as a Silverliner, the roof of the car had not been rebuilt. The car had the same roof vents as before repainting plus the horns were on the front dash instead of the roof.
Both photos form the collection of Terrell Colson.

Rumor has it operating crews and terminal workers who serviced the cars didn't like the 409. Again, the reasons are lost to history. When the car arrived at either Chicago (Roosevelt Road) or Milwaukee as part of a train, the 409 was switched out and placed on the first train leaving for the other terminal.

The following posts will explain what I did to change a Silverliner 415 into the 409. During the month of November work was done on the model and it is not completed. I'm just a curious as you are to see what happens!


Friday, November 1, 2013

One Step Forward, Two Steps Backward (part 2 of the prior post)

The name of this post should be "Is It Better to Leave Things as They Are? (Part 2)". Before anyone takes me to task over my choice to strip the paint off the model and literally start all over again, the model was built over 40 years ago. What paint was originally used and how the model was finished are long forgotten. Unfortunately I had, at the start of the project, painted over the decals on the letterboard when they should have been removed. This short cut lead to my having to do more work.

The original goals of upgrading the model were:
  • paint the letterboard maroon
  • re-letter the car to my layout's name
  • rebuild the interior
However, to get the model looking OK and in operating condition the following was done:
  • painted striped off
  • model exterior upgraded
  • exterior painted with tough-ups
  • lettered
  • gloss over-coated
  • re-wired
  • interior rebuilt
  • interior lighting rebuilt
  • passengers and crew installed
  • roof repainted
As you can see many more things had to be done to the model. Hence the names of the posts: "Is It Better to Leave Things as They Are?" and "One Step Forward, Two Steps Backward ". 

Least you think the model could have been left unfinished and picked-up later to work on, when my wife saw the model on my work bench she said, "Never sell the 'Lois Ann'. I want it for myself!" She knows the model and keeps tabs on it.

What was anticipated to take 2-3 weeks time has required 8 plus weeks. Part of the additional time was caused by avoidance on my part as other non-model projects came up.

This is the interior of the roof with the new lighting installed. The lighting uses 16 volt bulbs. Newer 1.5 v lighting wasn't used mainly due to cost and the need to get the model completed.
The front of the model is to the right, The lighting strip has been installed and needs to be painted white the same as the ceiling of the model.

The new interior was built-up from styrene. Much of the same layout was used, Starting at the front, right, is the cab. The companionway is to the top of the model. In the kitchen is Ike trying to figure out what to do with a giant lobster, The dinning room is next. Ike is not only the cook but also the attendant for the car, He set the table.

Lois and I are seated in the solarium-parlor with two guest Eric Bronsky and Bruce Moffat.

On the dinning room wall is a map of the Insull electric railways.

After the dinning room is a library which contains many books on electric railroading and information on Insull's empire.

Next is the master bedroom. 

The solarium parlor is next. Unfortunately no close-up interior photos were taken of this part of the interior.

Guest can sleep in the solarium parlor on a fold out bed made from the long seat next to the bulkhead. The tables and chairs have to be moved. Sleeping accommodations are mentioned mainly because sleeping accommodations for the crew seem to be missing. But then, it's only a model. 

The interior could have been altered more than I did when the model was first built many years ago. When the model was first built the motorman's operating area across the front of the car was added along with a door in the side of the car. For now Mike, the motorman, and Ike can sleep in the motorman's operating area in hammocks! 

The finished model with its new paint and lettering is on the railway.

The paint was purchased just for this model. It has the new orange color which to my eyes looks a little on the pastel side.


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Is It Better to Leave Things as They Are? (Part 1)

For our honeymoon, my bride and I went to a vacation resort on one of the many small lakes west of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Most of the days were sunny, warm, and beautiful. On a day which was was cold and rainy, I talked by bride into going to Milwaukee supposedly to go shopping and sightseeing.

In the back of my mind was a plan to visit the Walthers shop at 1245 N. Water St. If you're my age you may recognize the address and be able to tell how long ago this was. The store was small with some of the many models built from the kits Walthers offered for sale displayed.

One of the display cases had a car from a kit almost completely assembled. Only the painted, finished sides were left off.  In case you are not aware, the way Walthers passenger car kits (including their interurban kits) were to be assembled - the floor, ends, and roof were to be attached and painted. The interior was to be added next. The sides were painted and lettered. After the window material was added, the sides were to be attached to the model with glue and if needed nailed onto the floor and roof.

I wanted a souvenir of our visit to the Walthers store. At the time the Walthers interurban kits didn't interest me. One kit which did interest me was a short, Lionel size, executive or business car. It was about the size of a steel South Shore car before lengthening. The kit would make a great business car to be run on a trolley line although it was wider than most interurban cars.. 

A couple of years after purchase, the kit was assembled with a Walthers interior kit used. The almost standard Wagner Baldwin 8440 power and trail trucks were installed. The only alterations were a motorman's door at the front right of the car, the cutting of 2 windows into the front end, and installing a door in the center of the front end. Trolley poles were installed on the roof. The balance of the car had appropriate traction items added.

The model was paint traction orange with a black roof and underbody. Now the question came! What to name the car? The executive decision was to name the car after my wife, "Lois Ann".

Fast forward to today -  the "Lois Ann" was starting to look a little old. The paint was very dull and the interior looked its age. I wanted to paint the letter board maroon so the car would be orange and maroon. The name of my railway, the "Chicago & Utopia Railway" was to be on the letter board. 
The process of taking the car apart has started. The trolley poles have been removed and the roof is loose from the body.

The model was taken apart. Alterations were made and the interior was upgraded. The letterboard was maroon with a new railway name in gold letters. There was a rebuilt interior. Then "things" didn't go as planned! When a coat of Glosscoat was applied to the car body, one side of the car was blotchy!

The only way to correct the problem was to completely repaint the car. BUT, with a simple repaint over everything would  give an uneven finish with the outline of the old decals showing. This called for a striping of the old paint off and restarting the painting process.

The repainting is in the next post.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

CERA at 75 - The FRTM Inspection Trip

On Sunday, September 22 CERA scheduled an Inspection Trip to the Fox River Trolley Museum (FVTM) ( in South Elgin, IL.The weather was fantastic!
All of my tickets ended up being folded.

Before any trips stated about a dozen Museum volunteers; motormen, conductors, and ground crew; gathered around the dispatcher to hear instructions. All the CERA members present were given a schedule of trips for the day.

All rides at the Museum are from Castlemuir, South Elgin, to Coleman and then on to Blackhawk Station in the Jon Duerr Forest Preserve. For CERA the schedule was set-up so cars would meet at Coleman where a passing siding existed. At Coleman CERA members could exit cars for photos. We had a choice of getting back on the car we had just exited or take another car.

The cars in operation were:
  • 304, AE&FRE 1923 St. Louis lightweight interurban
  • 43 & 45 CTA 1959 St, Louis rapid transit car
  • 715 CNS&M 1926 Cincinnati Car Co. steel interurban
  • 20 CA&E 1902 Niles Car Co wood interurban
Other equipment in the Museum were available for viewing and if possible enter for inspection. My photo taking was centered on 4 reasons for going to the Museum. 
  • To meet Joseph Hazinski and show him my model of AE&FRE 49.
  • To photo and ride AE&FRE 304.
  • To photo and ride CA&E 20.
  • To see and photo the CSL 6 the street railway Post Office car.
Joe Hazinski is the fellow from the Museum who shared plans and info regarding AE&FRE 49. The model was the subject of prior posts in this blog. I had brought my model of 49 along to show to Joe. He liked the model!

Here is Joe Hazinski with 304. Joe operates 304 and has been working on the car along with other volunteers. 304 is painted in Shaker Heights Rapid Transit colors. Eventually the Museum will repaint it in AE&FRE colors.

The smoker section of 304 showing the interior bulkhead separating the 2 sections of the car.

The operator's controls for 304. The blue "thing" is a set of plastic steps to be used at Colman where the grade was below the normal platform level for loading 304.

CA&E 20 waiting for brake test before going to its run.

An interior photo of 20 taken from the smoking section. Note the bulkhead. All the bulkheads had sliding pocket doors. The original CA&E woods came without a lavatory. The length of this series of cars was about the same as a Metropolitan "L" car.

A scheduled meet between AE&FRE 304 and CA&E 20 at Colman.

The CSL 6 street railway Post Office car. This car was built in 1891 by the American Car Company. It looks like it needs a new coat of paint!

The graphics on this car are fantastic!

Other cars are the Museum include CA&E 458, the exterior of which is being painted a little at a time.

CTA 45, which is reotinely run with CTA 43, at Coleman.

AE&FRE 5 which was the topic of a prior post in the blog.

Since the FRTM is less known than IRM, some comments are warranted. You need to visit the museums web site to read about the museums history and other information. The museum is small and short in track length. The original ROW was the Aurora Elgin & Fox River Electric Railway.

The museum has less income sources both in riders and donations. The museum can use your help with manpower and money!

Also interesting to note the museum does not cross any streets, probably due to insurance costs, and has no track connection to a railroad. The only track connection was removed by the railroad to which it was connected.