Thursday, January 25, 2024

Milwaukee Road 40' and 50' Single Sheathed Auto Cars of 1928 & 1929


This photo shows one of the 40' cars with a raised roof. Big Four Graphics

In 1928, the Milwaukee Road received 300 single sheathed automobile cars from American Car & Foundry. These were assigned to series 593025-593324. This was followed in 1929 by orders from Bettendorf (nos. 593325-594324) and Pacific Car & Foundry (nos. 594325-594524.) All of these cars were nominal forty-foot cars, with end doors on cars 593025-593324 (AC&F) and 593325-593374 (Bettendorf.) Cars without end doors had 8" x 14" lumber doors in the A ends. All cars were single sheathed construction with 3/3/3 square corner Dreadnaught ends, Youngstown corrugated steel doors, Hutchins Dry Lading roofs, Dalman one-level trucks, and Klasing power hand brakes (early type with vertical shaft and hand wheel) on cars 593325-594524 and what appear to be unpowered, shaft hand brakes on 593025-593324. Some cars received Evans auto loaders and were renumbered to series 595000-596147. Further, the cars in the series 595000-596147 had their roofs raised by seven inches and their racks removed (likely in the lead up to and during the war.) Finally, in the postwar period some of the raised roof cars had auto loading racks (re)installed and were again renumbered, to the series 597000-598143. By late 1951, there were only two cars remaining in the 595000-series. When racks were removed, the cars were renumbered back into the 595000-series.

Good photos of the 50' cars are rare, but this is noteworthy not only for its good illustration of many of the traits of the cars, but also because, for some inexplicable reason (before its derailment shown here) the entire car was repainted and stenciled by the Northern Pacific (as opposed to the owner, the Milwaukee Road.) Bob's Photo

In 1929, Pullman Car & Manufacturing built 500 fifty-foot automobile cars for the Milwaukee that were assigned to series 271500-271999. The cars were essentially longer versions of the forty-foot cars, with an additional panel on either side of the doors. In all other respects they were identical, including the same ends, doors, roofs, trucks, lumber doors, and even Klasing power hand brakes. They did not have auto loading racks. 

These cars are the subject of a blog post because the next kit release from Speedwitch will be the fifty-foot cars. The completed model will be profiled here in the next week or so. It is likely these will be followed at some point in the future by the release of a kit for the forty-foot cars.

This crop of an FSA-OWI image provides a fine view of the Universal power hand brake, an enhancement when the roof was raised, as well as the tell-tale line at the top of the end, showing the additional section added to accommodate the raised roof. Jack Delano photo 

Sunday, January 21, 2024

Comparison of 12-Panel Box Cars - Southern Pacific and Great Northern

Many years ago (longer than I can believe) I built the model shown above* and patted myself on the back for having made an SP class B-50-25 12-panel 10'0" inside height postwar AAR box car. Truth be told, it's an acceptable outcome. However, it is many years later and I am now an SP modeler and this B-50-25 model no longer scratches the itch. Why? Well, there are numerous differences between the GN 12-panel box car (the basis for the Intermountain kit used to make the B-50-25) and the SP and T&NO's B-50-25 and -26 classes of 12-panel box cars.

First an interesting point: while the GN 12-panel box cars garner lots of attention, the SP had a sizable fleet of 12-panel cars and if confined to the inside height of 10'0"/10'2", the SP/T&NO cars were more numerous, at 3,475 for the GN vs. 5,600 for the SP/T&NO. 

There are several well-documented differences to these prototypes: the end panels on the GN cars were welded together while they were riveted on the SP/T&NO. The side sill support tab sections on the GN cars were welded to the underframe crossmembers while they were riveted on the SP/T&NO. The door stops on the cars were different for the GN vs. SP/T&NO. The GN cars used Murphy diagonal panel roofs while the SP/T&NO had rectangular panel roofs. These differences alone add up to these being quite different looking in aggregate (not to mention the early Improved Youngstown doors on the SP/T&NO B-50-25, with their wide overlapping sections.) The Intermountain models skew all of these detail differences in favor of the GN cars, making an SP/T&NO model a compromise on many levels. I did address many of these things in my model shown above, but the difference in the side construction was not addressed. Here is what that looks like (click on the images to see a larger view)

March 22, 1959, Hamlet, NC, Col. Chet McCoid photo, Bob's Photo

June 6, 1948, Wilmington, CA, courtesy of Paul Koehler

Yes, these differences are subtle, but when added to the ledger of other differences in roof, ends, doors, side sill support sections ('tabs') and additional details, it all beckoned me to take the plunge and fix everything. So, I have created new side and end patterns to be incorporated into a full kit with one-piece resin body, accurate side sill support 'tabs' for the different builders (they were different!), correctly spaced ladders, etc. for the B-50-25/-26. Stay tuned as these will be available this year from Speedwitch.

*one interesting thing I found when making decals for the B-50-25 is that the Pressed Steel cars (which the model is based upon) used a zero for the 'O' in "SOUTHERN PACIFIC" lending a pronounced oval shape to the character, as opposed to the more rounded "O" as shown in the prototype photo of B-50-26 SP 59057, shown above. The prototype photo of SP 21264 is shown below

November 9, 1947, Reading Allison Hill Freight Terminal, Harrisburg, PA, Bob Charles Collection, Kalmbach Memorial Library

Friday, January 5, 2024

New Haven 1937 AAR Box Car


While the Western Maryland Baldwin-built I-2 Decapod and its train are no doubt the subject of this image, the color of the New Haven 1937 AAR box car immediately behind the tender is illustrated nicely. Cash Valley, Cumberland, Maryland, Bob's Photo

It's amazing what almost 20 years can do to the approach to a model. I added some detail to this kit a loonngggg time ago and it has languished since. Earlier this year, I pulled it from the pile of in-progress kits and decided to use it as a test bed for some of my detailing efforts.

Circa early 1945, Al Armitage photo, Ron Morse Collection

First, a little about the New Haven's fleet of 1937 AAR box cars. By the early 1940s, the New Haven box car fleet was on borrowed time. It consisted of thousands of thirty-six foot box cars rebuilt in the second half of the 1920s from cars that were built between 1903-1912. To provide a little context, by the early war years, these cars were so rundown that the War Production Board authorized their mass scrapping, even while forcing just about every other railroad to keep their equipment running. In the face of the cars' condition as well as the increase in traffic resulting from the war, the New Haven added 1,000 1937 AAR box cars in 1941 and an additional 2,000 in 1944. Like many blocks of cars built during the war years, they featured a hodgepodge of specialties. I chose to model a Pullman-Standard 1944 product with Superior 7-panel doors and a Miner power hand brake, narrowing my car nos. to 31000-31349 or 31500-31649.

Bob's Photo

This Norman E. Kohl photo of a NH '37 AAR that had come off the rails affords an excellent view of many of the end details, including the unusual placard board and the bracket for the angle cock/air hose. 

The basis for this build is the IMWX/Red Caboose 1937 AAR box car with W-section, round corners, a match for the NH's '37 AAR cars. There are a couple issues with the underframe that I chose to ignore. First, the original '37 AAR cars had two stringers, one on each side of the center sills. Later cars had four, two on each side of the center sills. When tooled, IMWX tried to have their cake and eat it too, so the two stringers on each side of the center sills are not correctly spaced. The other issue is that an option for buyers was to employ stringers between the bolsters and end sills, instead of diagonal bracing, as on the model. The NH's 1944-built cars (and perhaps the '41 cars, as well) used stringers instead of the corner braces. On to the things I did choose to update...

As previously noted, I did not modify the stringers and corner braces on the underframe (if you do wish to go that route, I suggest that you consult "New Haven's first steel boxcars," from the December, 1996 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman, by Ralph Harris.) I did replace the brake equipment with a Detail Associates AB brake set, styrene levers and dead lever bracket, Tichy turnbuckle "clevises," chain, and styrene and vinyl brake component brackets plus Grandt Line nut-bolt-washers on the reservoir lugs, plus Tichy wire for the piping and rods. The draft gear (coupler pockets) are Moloco parts with 1-72 screws.

On the sides, I made a few upgrades. The bolster tab sections (added after I glued the center sills/bolsters to the car body, making the endeavor a little more challenging!) are etchings from my own artwork that capture the "notched" look of the tab sections favored by Pullman-Standard. The door tracks are 0.002" brass sheet cut and bent to represent an angle. I opted to add this detail because the door tracks and hardware for Superior doors is quite different than for Youngstown doors and manufacturers have largely ignored this, opting to replicate Youngstown features. After adding the door tracks, I applied brackets along the side sill supports behind the door tracks. The last bracket is also part side sill support tab, as shown. These features were fabricated from styrene. I scratchbuilt the "ramps" and "stops" for the door latches using styrene. They are fairly crude, but are better than nothing! The placard and route card boards on the doors were scratchbuilt from styrene to match the NH-style ones used on the prototype (I didn't have actual dims so these are my best guess.) Note that the placard boards on the doors and ends are different. The door handles were also fashioned from styrene. They are too long, but do impart some texture that is lacking on the stock IMWX/Red Caboose doors. The final door detail I added is the locking mechanisms pilfered from a Detail Associates Superior door parts set.

The roof received very minimal change and upgrade. The kit includes wood running boards. The prototype I am modeling was equipped with an Apex Tri-Lok running board (and brake step.) I used etched parts from Yarmouth to replicate this. For the corner grab irons, I used 0.008" wire for the grabs and the corner eye bolt-like fixtures. Before adding the running board, I carefully drilled holes (no. 80 bit) in the "legs" that curve down to the eaves to be able to pin these legs into the roof edge. I also trimmed the legs to an appropriate length. The running board was affixed with Barge cement thinned with MEK (~50/50) augmented with ACC applied with a pin.

I replaced all of the ladders and hand holds with finer parts. The bracket grabs at the left edge of the car sides are Kadee parts (use a Yarmouth etched drilling guide to save yourself some headaches!) The ladders and treads (rungs) are etched parts from my own artwork supplied to PPD and etched in phosphor bronze. They are extremely close to scale-sized and are durable. A little bend here and there looks highly prototypical, as the rungs on the prototype were beaten up over time, as well. The sill steps are from Yarmouth and are designed specifically for this model. The end sill grabs are 0.008" wire (I filled the holes before drilling newer, much smaller diameter ones.) The right edge bracket grabs on the ends are also from my own etching artwork.

For the end details, I again used very little from the kit. Brake step supports are a combination of the kit's with 0.005" styrene. The power hand brake is a Miner housing from Tangent with a Kadee hand wheel. I added chain and 0.012" wire from the housing to the bell crank. The bell crank is from Detail Associates and the "clevis" is also one of my etchings. The pressure retainer valve is a styrene part from Precision Scale with 0.008" wire plus "brackets" created from 0.001" brass. The angle cock/air hose parts are from Hi-Tech Details with brackets created from phosphor bronze scrap from etched parts (the leftover "fret" material.) I used this because it is more rigid than brass. The brackets have pairs of no. 80 holes drilled in each end and a no. 68 hole for the main parts. I secured these brackets to the end sills with "rivets" from Scale Hardware. The angle cock/air hose parts are secured to the brackets with 0.006" wire threaded through the holes and around the angle cocks. The uncoupling devices were bent from 0.010" wire. The brackets for these are also from my own etchings and those are attached to styrene added at the corners. I also added push pole pockets created from round styrene discs punched with an RPToolz punch and die. These push pole pockets were dimpled witha drill bit and the outer edges shaped to replicate the prototype.

The next step is to blast the model with 600-grit aluminum oxide in preparation for painting. This prep will be done to the metal and engineering plastic details, including the trucks. After that, I have a bunch of rivets to add (I save these for post-blasting to ensure none are blown off in that step.) Then, it's off to the paint shop, but that's for Part Two in this journey...

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Dalman One-level Trucks: Part One


May 29, 1937, Kingston, Rhode Island, Bob's Photo

A preliminary note: this post covers only Dalman One-level trucks without Barber Lateral Motion Devices. There will be a "Part Two" that delves into that group. There is a table of known (to me) prototype users of this design at the end of this post.

Dalman one-level truck under MILW 595000-series automobile car

The Dalman Two-level truck had a lesser known and lesser adopted sibling, the Dalman One-level. While not as distinctive as its sibling, the One-level was nevertheless unusual in appearance.

MILW 595775 had its Hutchins Dry Lading roof raised by seven inches and rides on Dalman One-level trucks, too! Jay Williams/Big Four Graphics

Why the post about this truck? Well, we are now fortunate to have a beautiful HO scale version of this truck, just in time to pair with my forthcoming Milwaukee 50' single sheathed auto cars. Plate C has released yet another fine rendition of a truck missing from the HO scale modelers lineup. 

Plate C's HO scale Dalman One-level truck

February 27, 1948, PRR Eastbound Yards at Radnor Street, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Bob Charles Collection, Kalmbach Memorial Library

I am certain this list is not exhaustive. If you know of any omissions or errors, please leave a comment below and I will update the table. Thank you!

RoadSeries BeginSeries EndTypeNotes
Erie3900039799HopperARA 70-ton
MILW271500271999Automobile50'; single sheathed
MILW360000361999Gondola70-ton; composite;renumbered to 70000-series
MILW595000596147Automobile40'; single sheathed; renumbered to 597000-series (qty. unknown)
MILW650150650749Flattrucks Dalman by Bettendorf
MILW*716500716999Box40'; single sheathed
MKT4000140050HopperARA 70-ton
MP5500055499HopperARA 70-ton; 1937/1942 conv. to LO in series 1700-1724 and 1770-1981
MP8907089169Automobile50'; single sheathed; may be other similar MP Lines w/Dalman one-level
MP9300095249Box40'; single sheathed
NH**6050060649GondolaClass GA-4
NH81000HopperARA 70-ton; secondhand from ?
NH115000115545HopperClass HM-2; some sold to NH Trap Rock

*There were several groups of MILW cars, including from the 714000-series of virtually identical single sheathed cars, that rode on a Symington truck that can best be described as a hybrid of the Dalman one- and two-level designs, without Barber lateral motion devices. It is not the same as Dalman design trucks

**There are photographic examples of Dalman one-level trucks in use on NH 58000- and 60000-series gondolas. Those are likely replacements or swaps made in the company shops

Monday, January 1, 2024

A little New Year's Stock-taking


Will Whittaker photo

It's normal to look around at the turn of the calendar and assess what one did and/or what one set out to do. Last year did not go at all according to plan and I believe that this year cannot be any more unpredictable or worse than last year was. One thing I can do to create some certainty, knowing that there will be plenty of the alternative, regardless, is to set a few realistic goals. One caveat: these are not Speedwitch-related, as those will occur on a separate path and trajectory with their own peaks and troughs. These are all personal projects.

Without further fanfare:

  • Bike 3,000 miles
  • Finish 12 of my in-progress freight cars from the following list (and blog about the results here):
    1. PRR F29 flat car (F&C)
    2. New Haven 1937 AAR box car (IMWX)
    3. Chicago Great Western 1937 AAR box car (Chicagoland RPM parts set)
    4. PRR G22 gondola (F&C)
    5. GTW reefer (old Norwest/Brian Pate kit)
    6. USAX Emergency tank car (Tichy kitbash)
    7. MP Lines 52' gondola (Sunshine)
    8. NP and SP&S flat cars (Speedwitch; twofer listed together)
    9. SP O-50-13 tank car (Athearn kitbash)
    10. T&NO Emergency design gondola (F&C kitbash)
    11. CG 50' 1-1/2 door box car (old Speedwitch kit)
    12. M-K-T single sheathed box car (old Speedwitch kit)
    13. at least one Shake-n-Take project (Cocoa Beach freight car projects)
  • Complete benchwork for switching layout (there will be separate posts about this as I had to shift direction from the Ikea Ivar solution due to some sizing issues... all will be revealed)
  • Lay track for said switching layout
  • Complete two structures
  • Develop a true skill/facility with solid modeling tools and 3D printing, as opposed to mere dabbling
Happy New Year... What are your plans?