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

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!


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