Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A Couple Of Cabooses

I keep an eye on Walthers sale items, which they make known either via the flyer that comes through the mail or on their website. I can often find bargains, especially for railroads that aren't directly in my sights, but which I follow with some level of interest. Both of the cabooses here are Walthers RTR items that came from the Walthers flyer over the past several years. They aren't perfect models of their prototypes, but they're "cose enough" for the $20 range in which I got them.

A Bessemer & Lake Erie car, with a diesel-style sunshade added per the prototype, as well as an ACI label:

A Missouri Pacific ex-C&EI caboose. I painted the truck sideframes red, which was MP practice, and added an ACI label:

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Another AHM Rehab

The American Train & Track ore car, later brought in by AHM, IHC, and Model Power, was a prolifically produced model brought in from the 1960s until recently. Here's a stock version:

Around 35 years ago, I found a fair number on the used counter at a hobby shop. Although these came lettered for several ore hauling railroads, these cars are about a foot longer on the prototype than the Lake Superior style ore car. They were built for the Bessemer and Lake Erie, at least nominally for ore service between Conneaut, OH and Pittsburgh steel mills. Somewhat similar cars ran on Canadian Pacific, SP and UP.

A friend showed me some slides he'd collected covering a wreck on the PRR Middle Division with these cars mixed in (literally) among PRR G39 ore cars. US Steel imported iron ore from Venezuela beginning in the 1950s. I think this was transferred from ships in both Philadelphia and Morrisville, PA, farther up the Delaware River, and hauled by rail to Pittsburgh. This was the reason for the PRR G39s, and my friend's slides show the B&LE cars also ran in this service. I've found another photo of B&LE cars on the Erie Lackawanna at Marion, OH, presumably on a move from Cleveland to a Chicago area steel mill.

Floquil had recently brought out its Rail Brown paint color, and I thought this was very close to the color on the B&LE ore cars. Here's a closeup of one that I upgraded with new trucks and Kadees:

I used the Champ ore car set, which was a really good set. Both Rail Brown paint and Champ decals are now gone, of course.

I can't remember how many of these cars I upgraded. I've dug out half a dozen. Here's a shot of a cut:

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Behind The Manhattan Transfer Roundhouse -- II

Here's what will now go in this area. It's a Bollinger Edgerly Scale Trains B&M-New Haven-Maine Central tower:

It's mostly complete. The kit isn't all that well thought out, some of it laser cut tab-in-slot, some of it more loosey-goosey, not intuitive and instructions not helpful. I had to figure out the colors myself. It looks like the B&M and New Haven used the same structure paint scheme through the 1940s, so I went with it after studying DVD video footage and photos on the web. Naturally, I also have to bring the scenery up around it as well.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Behind The Manhattan Transfer Roundhouse -- I

I'm moving beyond early memories, though I have others that I'll probably get back to later. But this week I've been working on the area around the Manhattan Transfer roundhouse. This was actually an afterthought, as in fact was the whole Manhattan Transfer terminal area (which is not based on the former Pennsylvania Railroad location, for what that's worth). The roundhouse is a Kibri plastic kit of a German prototype:

although it's very similar to many 19th-century roundhouses built in the US. For instance:

The area behind my roundhouse is something I've never been ready to finalize. Here's its current state:

The carbodies were meant to be kitbashed into something like a former SP structure that I found in 1996 in Suisun-Fairfield, CA:

There was another feature I had in the area, using decals from Bollinger Edgerly, a Boston and Maine reefer prototype from Boston's North Station:

The carbodiea will go, but the ice storage reefer will stay. I'll try to find someplace else to use the carbodies.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Modeling Childhood Memories -- III

I'm starting to realize I'm covering territory that another model railroad blogger has covered recently, why we like certain prototypes. Ralph V says, "It’s often been suggested that a lot of model railroaders prefer to create layouts that reflect their early awareness of trains." He especially likes the Penn Central as a result.

This brings me to a family trip that is even more puzzling than the one I mentioned to Roanoke, VA in my last post. Around 1955. my paternal grandparents moved to Lenoir, NC, where my grandfather worked for a wood chemical company in Hickory. Sometime around 1955 or 1956, a memory places me in a car on what I now realize had to have been US Route 421 southbound near Clinchport, VA, where I could clearly see a high steel railroad trestle with a lower timber railroad trestle paralleling it. There was a green diesel on the lower trestle, with the unique profile of an RS-3. (This had to have been the first RS-3 I ever saw, age about 8).

This was pretty clearly the well-known Clinchfield Copper Creek trestle, with the Southern Railway trestle below it. Another memory puts me later in the day in what must have been Kingsport, TN, because I clearly recall a concrete underpass lettered for the Clinchfield. At just about that time, I remember the sound of a 5-chime horn, loud and unique -- the first 5-chime diesel horn I ever heard. As an 8-year-old, I must have blurted something about how neat the Clinchfield Railroad was.

My paternal grandparents, I fear, were even more against my railroad interest than my own parents, and my grandfather, who was in the car, said something intended to discourage me. Didn't work, I guess. But if neither my father nor my grandfather was interested in railroads (and would have preferred that I like cars or baseball or whatever else), I'm left with the puzzle of why they appeared to have driven some distance through three states along the route of the Clinchfield, which itself was far away from either Lenoir, NC or New Jersey. I simply have no answer.

All I know is that this was my only sight of the Clinchfield in the flesh, and 60 years later, I still think it's really, really neat.