Sunday, September 10, 2017

Images from PRM Vol. Four

Cover photo of Jim Dufour's layout of the Cheshire Branch of the Boston & Maine
I know that not everyone out there will buy a copy of Prototype Railroad Modeling Volume Four. However, I am sure that many people out there appreciate seeing photos of finished models, so I am sharing some of the photos of the work that is included in the articles that either profile how to make these models or in the case of Jim Dufour's layout, his overall attention to detail and accuracy. Enjoy.

B&O M-15K as kitbashed by George Toman

Two kitbashed PFE R-40-14 reefers from Athearn and Intermountain models

NYC Lots 693-B end door box car and 742-B box car, as kitbashed

AAR 50-ton flat cars from, back to front, Pittsburgh Scale Models, WestRail, and Proto 2000
The Tichy flat car detailed as an NC&StL FM9

Monday, July 31, 2017

"Fixture" on CNW/CMO AAR Recommended Practice Gondolas

Jim Gerstley Collection
Yesterday, I posted a question to the Steam Era Freight Cars list (STMFC) on Yahoo! Groups in the hopes that someone could identify a detail on the CNW/CMO AAR Recommended Practice Gondolas built between 1945 and 1956. Here is the query:
If one looks at photos of the CNW/CMO AAR recommended practice and related "11-panel" gondolas of 1945-1956, there is a distinctive detail at the lower right corner of the far left panel (adjacent to the left end). It appears to be a casting of some sort. In looking at my photos, I cannot identify it or its purpose. Since it is on both sides of the car, it is unlikely a defect card holder, as these were usually only on one side of the car. Does anyone know what this detail is? 
It can be seen in the articles on these cars by Jeff Koeller in Mainline Modeler, May and June, 2005. 
The Sunshine kits do not duplicate this feature.
Page 42 from May 2005 Mainline Modeler

I received a few requests for photos or at least to be pointed to photos. To that end, I have created this blog post. Click on any of these images to view a larger version. The two-part article by Jeff Koeller is excellent and I recommend adding it to your library if you do not already have it.
Detail of CMO 88173 from page 42 of May 2005 MM.
CMO 88173 has its defect card holder (a different type of defect card holder) mounted in the same location as CNW 70351 shown above.

Can anyone identify this detail? It almost looks like one of those beer bottle openers mounted to the face of a bar... just sayin'

Thursday, July 27, 2017

What do you model?

This postwar scene is of New Haven I-2 Pacific 1305 arriving at Hartford from the south (New Haven) with a local passenger train. Armour facility, including a string of reefers, is at right. Kent Cochrane photo.
Asked almost as frequently among model railroaders as, “Do you have a layout?” is “What do you model?”, meaning some combination of what railroad(s), location, and era do you model? Like many, I have progressed in my interests and thinking. I have yet to truly construct anything beyond a modest, partially completed, New Haven-themed layout with my dad, and that was almost 30 years ago. About a decade ago, I conducted a lot of research and put some effort into designing a few different New Haven layouts, all in the central portion of Connecticut. 

Rough map of my GN-based Minnesota layout
A little less than ten years ago, I started to gravitate to the Great Northern, with its impressive steam power, first being attracted to the area between Litchfield and Benson, Minnesota (see the rough map I created). With my divorce and other life interruptions, I drifted away from things for several years. When I returned, I became smitten by the Inside Gateway from Bieber, California, with an interchange with the Western Pacific, north through Klamath Falls and over Southern Pacific trackage in places, up to Bend, Oregon (I was smitten with Bend literally, as well, looking to it as a place to move when I become an empty nester).

Medford, Oregon from the John W. Barriger National Railroad Library flickr site
At some point, I decided to look at things through a different lens. I asked myself what interests me most? It’s little surprise that my first love is freight equipment. Specifically, I like refrigerator cars, flat cars, and gondolas. There are many places in the Pacific Northwest where these car types were plentiful. I also know that I am not interested in modeling a hotshot mainline. My preference is for something more modest. That narrowed things further. Somehow I stumbled on to the SP in the area around Ashland and Medford, Oregon. The clincher: my favorite wheel arrangement is the 2-10-2, a locomotive used in great quantities by the SP to conquer the Siskiyous over one of the most daunting grades in the U.S.*, to meet the line to Dunsmuir, California (the 2-10-2s were known as “decks” by the SP crews). This line also continued to operate steam well into the 1950s, meaning I could move my chosen date to October, 1951, to accommodate some additional “modern“ freight equipment and October to coincide with the harvest season in the Rogue River Valley.

It will still be another several years before I can entertain actually building any of this, except for the rolling stock and perhaps a structure or two. However, I have settled on a place and time that answers the question, “What do you (aspire to) model?”

*the grades over the Siskiyous were severe enough that when the American Railway Association put the AB schedule brake equipment through its operational testing paces, that’s where the tests were conducted.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Very interesting placard

Over the past few weeks I have been working on several sets of Bangor and Aroostook decal artwork. I came across something in this photo* that I had not noticed previously and I found it to be interesting enough to share. The placard on the door not only cautioned that the car contained newsprint, but the placard was actually shaped like a roll of newsprint. I plan to create this placard in HO scale and it will add a nice, prototypical touch to a BAR or Maine Central box car model in future. 

The lettering on the placard read, "NEWSPRINT" and the next line cautioned, "TAKE IT EASY". I can not discern the smaller writing below that. A mystery to be solved...

*BAR 5523 was a 1932 ARA design box car, built February, 1945 as BAR 65523 by Magor Car Corporation and renumbered to BAR 5523. As shown here at Readville, Massachusetts on June 28, 1958, it had been repainted in the "STATE OF MAINE" scheme with red, white, and blue stripes on the sides and black ends, roof, and underframe.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Kitbash Clinic from St. Louis RPM

The file for my presentation at the St. Louis RPM can be accessed via this LINK (it's not wildly different from what I presented at the NERPM... however, I have made much progress on models since St. Louis so the next time I present this topic, it will be quite different!)

Any questions can be posted in the comments section below. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

St. Louis RPM 2017

A Santa Fe GA-43 converted covered hopper from Sunshine mini-kit by Clark Cooper - a car sitting in my stash - inspiration!
Before my hiatus from attending most of the RPMs circa 2010-2015, I had been a (mostly) regular at the St. Louis RPM held each year in Collinsville, Illinois. At that time it was generally a vendor and modeler-centric event with one clinic running at any given moment, in the corner, behind a curtain. Models were clearly the focus of the event.

Tom Palmer brought a large group of cars from Texas... mostly resin
Fast forward to my first visit in several years during last summer's event in August, 2016. Things could not have been more different. Gone were the concrete floors with black mats and the clinics held behind a curtain. Also, the crowd had doubled in size.

Early TOFC and early covered hoppers from Ben Bartlett
For 2017, the decision was made to add a second track of clinics so there were two running simultaneously. The number of attendees grew, as well, to 550+. The model/vendor room is now the size of a modest exhibition hall. All this has combined to make the event the "RPM National". 

A variety of models from Rick Mink
The photos here are not intended to be the top models at the event nor are they included for any other reason than they caught my eye. The modeling was top-flight and the general sense of mutual admiration was palpable. There were a lot of talented people at the event and the models clearly illustrated that point. As abundant as the number of models was the generosity in sharing peoples' talents and skills. Everybody was happy to humbly share their skills and techniques through a seemingly infinite number of on the spot show-and-tell sessions. There was a lot to absorb.

Crazy realistic weathering by Don Schnurpfeil
Lastly, the organizers were first-rate at assembling a great group of clinicians, vendors, and attendees and keeping the trains running on time. They did an excellent job of welcoming everyone and providing information to keep even the first-time attendees up to speed.

Another great weathering job, this one by George Malcolm
I highly recommend putting this on your calendar. It is well worth the visit. The facility is ideal, the hotels circling the venue are convenient, and the plethora of nearby restaurants the cherry on the sundae. See you next year!

New technologies abound... a 3D printed SP C-40-3 kit from Bruce Barney
A selection of fine models by Gregor Moe
Three models by Mike Wise and Bill Giese... love the Quanah Route cars!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Commercial Solvents Corporation tank car mystery not solved, but...

Commercial Solvents Corporation 1955 Annual Report, front cover

When I initially sought assistance in identifying the colors of the logos, etc., on GATX 65808, I received some good advice as well as some good conjectures about the colors. I was also directed to the Vigo County Public Library in Terre Haute by Richard Brennan, where there are materials about the company in the library's archives. Knowing I was going to pass right through Terre Haute on my way to the St. Louis RPM, I allocated time for a visit. The bad news is that I did not find the colors for GATX 65808. However, among the many annual reports in the collection was the 1955 edition. Interestingly, that annual report featured a full color cover, unique among all the CSC annual reports I perused (all others were black ink on various shades of white paper, with a single spot color for effects, graphs, tables, charts, etc.) It was undoubtedly expensive to print such a glossy color cover. 

Commercial Solvents Corporation 1955 Annual Report, rear cover
However, we are the beneficiaries of the cost. On the back cover was an image of GATX 74805. While it is of a different prototype and certainly different color in the logos than GATX 65808, it is nonetheless an interesting find. The image of the car itself is isolated below. It was an insulated car (TRI) with an aluminum tank and a capacity of 10,112 gallons, part of series 74800-74899, 25 cars in January, 1953. I have tried unsuccessfully to identify the exact classification and I just cannot make out the lettering. My guess is ICC 201-A-35-W, but I am simply not sure.

I owe a huge thank you to Sean Eisele and the staff of the Vigo County Public Library.

GATX 74805 from Commercial Solvents Corporation 1955 Annual Report, rear cover