Monday, May 20, 2024

Green Bay & Western Single Sheathed Automobile Cars

April 12, 1954, Muscatine, Iowa, Rich Wilson photo, John Harker collection, Remembering the Rock Island facebook group files*

Awhile back, I posted about some Milwaukee Road forty and fifty-foot single sheathed cars. I hinted in that post that in addition to kits for the fifty-foot cars, I also was entertaining the forty-footers. Since then, I have done some pattern work for the sides of the Milwaukee cars, as I have drawings for both the 40 and 50-foot cars and there are a lot of similarities. 

Feb. 23, 1954, Cedar Hill Yard, New Haven, Col. Chet McCoid photo, Bob's Photo

Recently, an image popped up online that had me go looking through my photos to see what I had on the Green Bay & Western's single sheathed auto cars. The GB&W car in the image made me think "Milwaukee" and I wanted to see if my instincts were on the money. I was correct, but there is a very interesting twist. The GB&W cars were built at the same time and by the same builder as one of the Milwaukee's group of cars: the Bettendorf Co., circa late 1929 to early 1930. The GB&W received 50 cars total from Bettendorf in 1930, assigned to series 14000-14050 and 15000-15098. Cars moved between these two groups depending upon whether they had auto loaders installed. The 14000-series cars originally had the loaders, although by the 50s there were not loaders in either group and there are no differences noted in the Equipment Registers of the time.

circa late 50s; no additional information about this image

The twist is that while the GB&W cars are identical to the Milwaukee cars dimensionally and in almost all details, the GB&W cars have the panels adjacent to the doors swapped, which quite noticeably changes the overall layout and appearance of the car sides (excepting the wood vs. steel doors, too.) An examination of the various rivets on the side sill and side sill supports illustrates that the GB&W cars used the same underframe; it's just the sides that were modified. Below is a composited image for comparison of the two sides. I have already (excitedly) worked out all the specifics to make a second side pattern to add the GB&W cars to this project, including the later single door versions, like GBW 15082 shown above.) What a cool discovery!

* from John Harker: "Rich Wilson captured this view looking to the northeast of the Milw derailment that occurred on the RI in downtown Muscatine, Iowa on Monday morning April 12, 1954. The derailment occurred about 5:00 am. This morning view shows some of the derailed cars that stretch from about Iowa Avenue by the Hotel Muscatine back to the southwest where Rich was standing. I scanned and edited this image from an original Kodak red bordered Kodachrome slide."

Friday, May 17, 2024

A simple, effective tool


There are times when one needs to sand a surface that is not easily accessible by our pudgy digits, even if using something as ingenious as Tight Spot Sanders. I recently had need to do a little sanding in just such an area. Years ago, I had made (and misplaced) a functional little sanding tool. I decided to (re)make one. It's a simple thing. I used 0.125" styrene rod, sawed at an angle using a razor saw, a piece of 0.040" x 0.100" strip (0.040" x 0.125" would be more logical, but I am out of that size,) two-part epoxy, and sandpaper. Glue the strip to the angled face of the rod, let dry, then attach sandpaper to the bottom of the strip using two-part epoxy, let dry again, trim the edges of the sandpaper, and you're ready to use. You could make several using different grades/grits of sandpaper.

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

NERPM is approaching!


The Northeast/New England RPM will be held at the end of this month, May 31 - June 1. It's exciting for many reasons, but perhaps the biggest is the new venue. The event will be held at the Sheraton in downtown Springfield, with all event-related activities now in the same area as well as top-flight food and entertainment (did someone request a bar?) right on site. The meet also boasts yet another great lineup of presenters. This event is now one of the longest running in the nation and has continued to grow and improve from its roots at the Collinsville, CT community center. It is now a top-flight event in every aspect: clinicians, display space and models, vendors, the facilities, and layouts on display. If you haven't attended recently, I heartily encourage you to come this year. It promises to be the biggest and best yet. Here are some links to photos from previous years' events: