Monday, February 27, 2017

Line Poles

Line poles are a prominent feature in photos that just stood out to me. They are also a feature that I think tend to be overlooked on model railroads. Either they aren't present, or not much care is put into their modeling. Like the trackwork, the infrastructure around the railroad is always present, and in every photo you take of that scene. The reality is that you don't have to spend hours on them, you just need to take a closer look at photos and the prototype to better match what you're modeling.

Photos of the Highland Line are fairly easy to pick out due to the number of crossarms on the line poles. Like this Tom McNamara shot at Wooster St. (date unknown) of DERS-2c (RS-3) #554 with what looks like a race special or something as I think that's a diner behind the locomotive.

I've got links to a few sites that I found extremely helpful in understanding line poles (railroad and otherwise). The poles on the left appear to be the same line that runs through New Britain Yard. The ones on the right are consistent along the Highland Line, although you'll note that they aren't running through the center of New Britain. I haven't figured that out. They are definitely railroad line poles.

When looking at pictures of New Britain Yard, you'll notice that the number of crossarms is steadily decreasing over the years. This is less so on the Highland itself, although there is one fewer crossarm on the line on the right than in earlier pictures.

The line poles are also fairly tall. Since I don't know the actual height, I simply mocked up this scene and a line pole and tried them. I also mocked up a couple of other photographs. The original poles were a bit long, so I shortened them until they looked right. The taller height seems to continue through New Britain.

Although it's great to work with specific dimensions, this is also part of the art of modeling. Working with proportions and eyeballing things works very well. You'd be surprised at how good your eye is at estimating things once you have a little practice. In addition to the height, I also worked out a spacing that looked right on the layout. I knew how many poles I needed between Main and Elm streets, I just needed to adjust the spacing to look "right."

I'm using bamboo skewers with Rix crossarms. I clip the poles to length first, although they aren't all the same exact length (for gondola loads I'll be more precise). The bamboo skewers I found are a bit thicker than the Rix poles, but they look about right to me.  I also don't care for the Rix poles because they are notched for 5 crossarms, and I'm using far fewer. The notches are noticeable, particularly in photos. But other than staining the poles first, these techniques will work fine with Rix or any other commercial line poles.

I also experimented with chucking the skewers in my dremel to try to taper them, since the real poles often are. In the end I decided that it was too much work for too little reward.

I stain the poles in a mix of black and brown inks. I started with Micromark Railroad and Bridge Tie Stain, and also added some Citadel black and brown inks to the mix. The last batch (which I was using to stain ties) was weak, so I added some india ink. This primarily colors the top of the poles, and soaks in a little to "dirty up" the pole. The ones in the photo below soaked for at least two days.

After soaking overnight (at least), I dry them off, then use an oil pastel at the bottom of the pole to give a greasy creosote look, and Pan Pastels to weather the rest of the pole. Some are weathered more to a gray shade for variety, as some line poles fade to a very light gray. However, in the era I'm modeling, it appears the poles were replaced more frequently because color photos show them to be a more uniform dark brown.

This photo shows the crossarms being painted on the left, the various Pan Pastels and pastel crayon I'm using, the poles after being stained at the bottom, with others in various states of being colored. 

The crossarms are first painted with my usual choice of Rustoleum Camouflage spray paint. The insulators are painted with a Citadel or Reaper chainmail paint. I also used this for the crossarm supports. This is a silver paint for role-playing game miniatures (like D&D) that has a bit of black in it. I then use Citadel inks, usually green but occasionally blue or yellow, over the chainmail. The inks are transparent and give it that glass-like look. I then use Pan Pastels to weather the crossarm itself.

When attaching the crossarms, I drill a hole through the crossarm and all the way the pole, then mount it with a bit of phosphor bronze wire and CA. The wire acts as a mechanical joint, and also forms a mock bolt. I probably should use a nut-bolt-washer casting, but they are small, and since they are up fairly high I don't think they'll really show in photos anyway.

I drill a hole in the layout to mount the poles and leave the bottom pointy to plant them in the layout. That way they are easily removed, and easy to replace if somebody knocks them over or breaks them.

Note the differences in color and weathering. I'm also not concerned about slightly warped poles, as that's not uncommon on the prototype.

I initially intended to string the poles, but this proved impractical. They are along the edge of the layout, and between the mainline and the yard tracks in the yard.  The lines were a combination of too low to reach under, and too high to comfortably reach over. Fortunately, the lines themselves are often nearly invisible in photos of the prototype, but it is one of the compromises I wish I didn't have to make.

Here are a few sites that have more information about line poles that I found during my research: and
The final post in this thread has specific recollections of NH line poles.
Lots of great info and photos, particularly the section on Railway Line Poles.

Bill Gill sent me another link he's found:

Also, among other things, Lou Sassi has a great article on detailing line poles in How to Build and Detail Model Railroad Scenes. Of particular note is his technique to add a prototypical sag to the lines. While I determined that I can't really add lines to my poles, straight and taut lines are one of my pet peeves when adding line poles to a model railroad. I find it more distracting than not having lines at all.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

DEY-4 (44-tonner) Part III: Modeling

Modeling all four phases of 44-tonner that the New Haven owned is relatively easy. In reality, unless you are modeling the early-'40s, you only need to consider 3 phases.

Phase Ib
This is #0800 in its original configuration and is the subject of the Custom Brass "early version" of the 44-tonner. Of the 239 locomotives built, only 16 were built to this configuration so it was an odd choice for them to select considering GE built 50 of the Phase 1c, or the third most common variation.

W&R also imported this variation.

Phase Ic
W&R Brass imported this version of the locomotive, and it's a very accurate model, other than the placement of the horn which should be in front of the stack on the forward hood.

Phase III
Again, W&R Brass imported this, although the engine intake vents are shaped like the Phase IV locomotives. It's a minor detail, but it's there. However, since this version is very similar to the Phase IV locomotive altogether, I have opted to modify the Bachman model.

I just found out that Keystone also had a Phase III model kit. In the past I've heard they'd done a Phase I of some sort too, but I haven't found any pictures or specific information on them yet.

Brass Trains sold a custom painted and weathered 44-tonner (a W&R model) that has the intakes of the correct size. Probably modified by the modeler.


Phase IV
W&R Brass also imported this (along with Sunset Models and Westside Models), and Keystone Locomotive Works (upper right) produced a brass kit with some cast parts like the hood ends and cab; the Bachmann model is the easiest to get and can be made to perform well. My only real complaints about the Bachmann model are the very thick pilot/footboards and windows that appear a bit under-sized.

Modified Bachmann Phase III
I'll start with the Phase III model, which is a modified Bachmann model. While the W&R one is very well done, I haven't actually come across a Phase III one for sale. More importantly, though, I wanted to model the hood hatch covers in an open position. On the brass model they are closed, and would not be easy to modify.

To start with, remove the circuit board and the plastic holder that snaps on top of the chassis itself. You won't need them. I used an ESU Loksound Micro v4 decoder, and two 1/2" speakers from Tony's Trains. I had to file the sides of the speaker enclosures slightly to fit. I haven't installed the lights yet but here's what it looks like using Kapton tape to keep everything in place. As you can see, I've removed the shell a lot on this locomotive (to show people the decoder and sound installation), and the tape isn't sticking that well. It's not essential at this point, but I will point out that the black wires on the left side are slightly damaged from putting on the shell, so make sure they are not getting pinched.

The speakers are facing down through the trucks. My original plan was to have them facing up, through the vents on top of the hood (which I opened up), but that's no longer possible because...

...I also added an additional 3 ounces of weight. This was done with the usual peel-and-stick 1/2 oz weights, one on each side of the cab, and two under each hood.

For details, I added the hatch covers (I have to fix the supports on one of them), made the engine intakes smaller, added drip guards, and also added the stack covers by cutting off a very thin slice from the top of the stacks of another Bachmann shell. The door handles were shaved off and replaced with wire handles.

I also thinned the excessively thick footboard and pilot, and replaced the original uncoupling lever brackets with wire eyebolts. 

Wow, look how different the Warm Orange looks in those three photos! It's the same model folks, sitting in the same place on the layout, just different camera angles.

I plan on replacing the hinges for the hatch, they were actually rounded on the top, and I'll use some of the screen material from a donor shell (that is used on the generator vents) to install behind the engine intakes.

The locomotive performs very well. I just extended Track #5 around the helix, which required a ridiculously steep grade at the end so I could keep it level to that point. This locomotive pushed 9 cars up that grade + the 2% grade of the helix itself - all on a 26" radius curve, of course. Before I added the weight it struggled with 3 cars up the 2% grade.

W&R Phase Ic with Bachmann Chassis
To start, it's important to note that the Bachmann model has used two quite different chassis over the years. The original used two motors. This takes up more space, at a lower weight, and complicates DCC installations since there's no guarantee that the two motors will perform exactly the same. So I only use the single motor chassis.

To make the chassis fit, you need to shorten the coupler box mounting pad on the W&R shell (the modified shell is on the left in the picture above).

The chassis is a tight fit. So tight that you will also need to mill a bit off of the ends, and the side of the ends to clear the radiator shutters which are a part that is soldered in place and thicker than the wall of the hood itself. This is the silver portion of the chassis in the photo.

You also need to add a 0.05" thick spacer to bring the shell up to the correct height. I used strip styrene. I have not experimented with extra weight yet, but I should be able to fit it under each hood like the Bachmann model.

I still need to get speakers for this one. The biggest issue is that the two Ic locomotives will be painted in the delivery scheme of Pullman Green with Deluxe Gold lettering. Unfortunately, there aren't any decals available yet with the correct "New Haven" spelled out on the cab. Everything I can find is too large and doesn't fit. As soon as I get around to having some made I will post a source.

Other than being a little lighter right now, this performs exactly like the other one, as would be expected with the same chassis.

Friday, February 17, 2017

DEY-4 (44-tonner) Part II: Operations

Henry Statkowski pointed out the class designation on the builder's plate: B-B-88/88-4GE733 and that it tells you more about the locomotive:
  • B-B is a classification that indicates there are two two-axle trucks, and all of the axles are powered.
  • The 4GE733 indicates that there are four GE 733 traction motors.
  • The 88/88 took a little research. But I found that the 45-tonner is a B-B-90/90 and the 80-tonner is a B-B 160/160. Then I found a 44-tonner operators manual (which happens to be for Phase III locomotives which started with s/n 18145) and could confirm that the weight of the locomotive was listed as 88,000 lbs.
It would be interesting to see if operator manuals for earlier or later 44-tonners had a different class designation.

Aside from the Extra 2000 South article, there are some other resources for information on the operation and history of the DEY-4 locomotives on the New Haven. Here's the information I have from Engine Assignment Books, New Haven Condemnation records, and a New Haven Mechanical Department document from 1955. There are a some contradictions in these sources.

DEY-4 #809 with NE-5 C-616 at Readville c1951
Engine Assignments

April 24, 1949
0800 - Readville Yard
0801 - Woonsocket Yard
0802 - New Britain Yard
0803 - Brocktown Yard
0804 - Putnam Yard
0805 - New Britain Yard
0806 - Meriden Yard
0807 - Westfield Yard
0808 - South Norwalk Yard
0809 - New Bedford Yard
0810 - New Bedford Yard
0811 - Holyoke Switcher
0812 - Cedar Hill/7:00 AM Manufacturers North End
0813 - Providence Pontiac-Bristol Local
0814 - Norwich Yard
0815 - Taunton Yard
0816 - Fall River Yard
0817 - Oak Point Work Train
0818 - Bridgeport Wire Train

September 25, 1949
0800 - Readville Yard
0801 - Woonsocket Yard
0802 - Meriden Yard
0803 - Brockton Yard
0804 - Putnam Yard
0805 - New Britain Yard
0806 - New Britain Yard
0807 - Holyoke Yard
0808 - South Norwalk Yard
0809 - New Bedford Yard
0810 - New Bedford Yard
0811 - Westfield Road Switcher
0812 - Cedar Hill/7:00 AM Manufacturers North End
0813 - Providence-Bristol Local
0814 - Norwich Yard
0815 - Taunton Yard
0816 - Fall River Yard
0817 - Oak Point Work Train
0818 - Bridgeport Wire Train

October 2, 1950
0800 - Taunton Yard
0801 - Woonsocket Yard
0802 - Meriden Yard
0803 - Brocktown Yard
0804 - Putnam Yard
0805 - New Britain Yard
0806 - New Britain Yard
0807 - Westfield Road Switcher
0808 - Providence Yard
0809 - New Bedford Yard
0810 - Readville Yard
0811 - South Norwalk Yard
0812 - Cedar Hill/7:00 AM Manufacturers North End
0813 - Providence Relief/Spare
0814 - Norwich Yard
0815 - Bridgeport Seaview Ave. R. R.
0816 - New Bedford Yard
0817 - Oak Point Wire Train
0818 - Bridgeport Wire Train

April 27, 1952
0800 - New Bedford Yard
0801 - Providence-Poscoag Local
0802 - Meriden Yard
0803 - Brocktown Yard
0804 - New Britain Yard
0805 - Woonsocket Yard
0806 - Holyoke Yard
0807 - Norwich Yard
0808 - Putnam Yard
0809 - Fall River Yard
0810 - New Britain Yard
0811 - South Norwalk Yard
0812 - Cedar Hill/7:00 AM Manufacturers North End
0813 - Readville Yard
0814 - Providence Shopping Margin
0815 - Cedar Hill Work Train
0816 - Bridgeport Seaview Ave. R. R.
0817 - Bridgeport Relief for Wire Train
0818 - Cedar Hill Work Train

September 28, 1952
0800 - Boston Work Train
0801 - Putnam Yard
0802 - New Britain Yard
0803 - Boston Work Train
0804 - New Britain Yard
0805 - Woonsocket Yard
0806 - Cedar Hill Spare/Shopping Margin
0807 - Norwich Yard
0808 - Providence Shopping Margin
0809 - Boston Spare Shopping Margin
0810 - Meriden Yard
0811 - Providence Work Train
0812 - Cedar Hill/8:00 AM Manufacturers North End
0813 - Readville Yard
0814 - Bridgeport Seaview Ave. R. R.
0815 - South Norwalk Yard
0816 - Holyoke Yard
0817 - Bridgeport Spare/Shopping Margin
0818 - Cedar Hill Work Train

October 30, 1955 (courtesy of Ed Ozog on the NHRHTA forum)
He also posted a great shot of #0813 on the Providence-Poscoag local which also partially answers a question I've had for a while: How many cars can a 44-tonner handle? At least 9, apparently.
I'd also recommend Ed's sites, starting with New Haven Steam Locomotives and don't forget to scroll down on the home page to see a list of his other excellent railroad sites.
0801 - Bridgeport Seaview Ave. R. R.*
0802 - Hartford Shopping Margin
0807 - Woonsocket Yard
0809 - South Norwalk Yard
0810 - New Britain Yard
0811 - Providence Relief
0812 - New Haven Manufacturer R. R.*
0813 - Meriden Yard
0814 - New Haven Jitney*
0815 - Holyoke Yard
0816 - New Britain Yard
0817 - Van Nest Shop
0818 - Norwich Yard

October 28, 1956
0801 - New Haven Manufacturer R. R.*
0802 - New Britain Yard
0807 - Woonsocket Yard
0809 - New Britain Yard
0810 - Meriden Yard
0811 - Norwich Yard
0812 - Bridgeport Seaview Ave. R. R.*
0813 - Hartford Inspection/Relief
0814 - New Haven Inspection/Relief*
0815 - New Haven Jitney
0816 - Cedar Hill Shopping Margin
0817 - Van Nest Shop Switcher
0818 - Providence Inspection Relief

*Equipped with swivel drawbars

Disposition Information (only from New Haven Railroad)
0800 - Sold to Youghiogheny & Ohio Coal Co. (3-19-56)
0801 - Sold to Schiavone Bonanao Corp for scrap c1968
0802 - Sold to Youghiogheny & Ohio Coal Co. (12-24-58)
0803 - Condemned at Readville (12-21-53)
0804 - Sold to Washburn Wire Co. (8-7-53) -although listed as condemned at Meriden (8-31-53)
0805 - Sold to Marquette Cement Co. (9-11-53)
0806 - Sold to Washburn Wire Co. (8-7-53) -although listed as condemned at Meriden (8-31-53)
0807 - Sold to GE (1961) and rebuilt in North Bergen, NJ for Trinidad Government
0808 - Condemned at Providence (12-21-53)
0809 - Sold to Connecticut Co. (1958)
0810 - Sold to GE (1961) and rebuilt in North Bergen, NJ for Trinidad Government
0811 - Sold to GE (1961) and rebuilt in North Bergen, NJ for Trinidad Government
0812 - Scrapped by Penn Central (11/69)
0813 - Sold to New Haven Trap Rock Co./Branford Steam R. R. (1/25/60)
0814 - Sold to Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics (1/23/59)
0815 - Sold to GE (1961) and rebuilt in North Bergen, NJ for Trinidad Government
0816 - Retired c1957, Sold c1959 to Becker Sand & Gravel
0817 - Retired and scrapped by Penn Central 11/69 in Boston
0818 - Sold to GE (1961) and rebuilt in North Bergen, NJ for Trinidad Government

Painting Records 1955
Consult photos for other schemes worn by a given locomotive.
0800 - 401 Green (2-15-54)
0801 - Pullman Green and Warm Orange (6-30-53)
0802 - Pullman Green and Warm Orange (8-10-53)
0807 - Pullman Green and Warm Orange (12-4-52)
0809 - Hunter Green and Warm Orange (7-26-49)
0810 - Pullman Green and Warm Orange (7-2-53)
0811 - Pullman Green and Warm Orange (4-28-52)
0812 - Pullman Green and Warm Orange (6-16-50)
0813 - Pullman Green and Warm Orange (1-19-51)
0814 - Pullman Green and Warm Orange (8-28-52)
0815 - Pullman Green and Warm Orange (11-28-52)
0816 - Pullman Green and Warm Orange (5-1-53)
0817 - 401 Green (11-25-53)
0818 - 401 Green (11-1-54)

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

DEY-4 (44-Tonner) Part I: Prototype

Sparked by a discussion on the NHRHTA Forum regarding New Haven's 44-tonners, here's some more information.

Henry Statkowski sent me a scan of a builder's plate for locomotive #0812:

You can see the builder's plate on the frame, centered under the cab in this photo of #0807.
Photo taken by Ed Ozog at Charles Street Engine Yard, Providence, May 20, 1956.

I might look into either 3D printing or photo-etching the builders plates. The Build Number and Date are listed on each one, but fortunately this information is available.

The New Haven rostered 4 variations of the GE 44-tonner. Note that the locomotive phases described here are from railroad historians, and not official designations of the builder, although they roughly correspond to different builder's drawings. To the best of my knowledge, the 44-tonner phases were designated by Don Dover in issue #51 (March/April 1975) of Extra 2200 South. He differentiates 5 phases with 10 sub-phases based on appearance. While the phases are mostly chronological, there are some overlaps. For example, the 9 Phase Ib locomotives were built during a period that overlaps the Phase Ia and the Phase Ic locomotives. Phase IIb locomotives were built at the same time as the Phase IIa locomotives.

There is an enormous amount of information on these locomotives in this and the following issue, including a full roster of all 44-tonners built.*

Phase 1b
GE Drawing #PP4747841, 9 built 2/41 - 1/42

#0800: Build #12946 1/16/41
(14th 44-tonner built by GE)

This is the Custom Brass model, a prototype photo of #0800 is in New Haven Power. The main difference between this and the following Phase 1c is the steps. Phase 1b has a single set of steps each side, centered on the walkway in front of the cab door. All later phases has a set of steps on each corner of the frame. The New Haven later reconfigured the frame steps on #0800 as Phase Ic.

As with all of the DEY-4 locomotives except the final two, #0800 was delivered in Pullman Green with Deluxe Gold simply spelling out New Haven on the cab, with the road number underneath. Apparently this was never repainted, and was sold to the Youghiogheny & Ohio Coal Co. in Bridgeport on March 19, 1956, and then sold to a Stratford dealer in July, 1971, still in its original scheme and lettered as New Haven #0800.

DEY-4 0802 in New Britain 1949. Photo by Jim Karl.

Phase Ic
GE Drawing #PP4749880, 50 built 7/41-10/42

#0801: Build #13097 9/3/41
#0802: Build #13101 9/12/41
#0803: Build #15025 11/19/41
#0804: Build #15026 11/14/41
#0805: Build #15027 11/26/41
#0806: Build #13100 12/2/41

Note the three small vents on each door on the hood and large radiator shutters at the end of each side. In addition to the door on the nose, there are also sand fill hatches. All of the doors open toward the ends, and there are large generator vents next to the cab. The top of the hood does not have a hatch. Although not visible, the single-chime Wabco A2 horn is centered (from left to right) in front of the stack. The door on the nose is open (or removed?) in this photo.

Phase III
GE Drawing #PP6741126, 34 built 11/43-6/45

#0807: Build #18184 2/9/45
#0808: Build #18185 2/9/45
#0809: Build #18186 2/17/45
#0810: Build #18187 3/1/45
#0811: Build #18188 3/1/45
#0812: Build #18190 3/10/45
#0813: Build #18191 3/10/45
#0814: Build #18192 3/21/45
#0815: Build #27793 3/21/45
#0816: Build #27794 6/4/45

Note the louvered intake on the nose instead of a door. The vents on top of the hood have hinged covers. The radiator shutters have been moved to the nose, and the sand fill hatches relocated to the side at the end. The hood doors are installed in pairs opening in opposite directions. There are small intake vents on the side of the hood above the door closest to the end, and the generator vents are much smaller and between sets of the hood doors. The horn is next to the stack, on the fireman's side.

Phase IVa
GE Drawing #PP6741178, 106 built 3/45-1/49

#0817: Build #29080  12/4/47
#0818: Build #29081  12/4/47

Instead of the vents on top of the hood being protected by doors, the vents had tilting louvres that were controlled from inside the cab. The engine intake vents above the first door are longer, but not as tall as Phase III. Otherwise this is visually identical to the Phase III locomotives.

These two were delivered with Hunter Green cabs and Warm Orange hoods (as shown on the photo of the Phase III #0813 above.)

*The information in the original article was compiled by Allen Copeland and Dan Dover, with help from Ken Ardinger, Ray Corley, John Baskin Harper, Tom Lawson, Tom Nelligan, Joe Strapac, Bill Volkmer, and Raymond L Waye. 

Water Column

The signature scene is really New Britain Yard itself. This includes the station area, and the structures around it. There are a number of photos I'd like to replicate as closely as possible, and it's the combination of these photos and additional research that goes into building the model itself.

Here are some additional photos highlighting some of the details around New Britain Yard. You can easily see the reduction in crossarms on the line poles in these two photographs. Once again these shots also show the track and the mix of ballast and dirt quite well. The second photo shows the front of the speed limit sign and the Ring post just past the end of the platform.

The Water Column is an eBay find that was the closest I could get to what was located in New Britain. It's an old soft metal (probably lead) kit from Apag Hobbies. Never heard of them.

It's tough to tell because I have exactly two pictures that provide any view of it at all:

K-1-d #404 with World of Mirth train in New Britain Yard.
Kent Cochrane (?). August, 1940.
The K-1-d was produced by NERS. The NE-4 caboose was produced by Custom Brass/NJ International and Challenger. The Challenger model is more accurate. The only commercial circus train flats that I'm aware of are the old Walthers cars.

L-1-a #3228 with 80 cars at New Britain Station.
Kent Cochrane. August, 1946.
The L-1 was produced by Custom Brass and Precision Scale. I can't figure out what the herald is on the reefer. The single-sheathed box car in the background looks like a MP 90000-90499-series with the inverted Murphy ends and wood door, previously available from Sunshine. The care immediately behind the locomotive looks like a Soo "sawtooth" single-sheathed box car, a version of which is available from Speedwitch Media.

So the Apag water column is not a bad match. But it looks like the New Britain one has a bell-shaped top instead of a ball. So I'll eventually modify that.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Modeling from a Photo: Rare or Not?

I've talked a bit about the trackwork and ballast in earlier posts, and focused a bit on a set of photos taken in 1949. The first photo was published in an early NHRHTA calendar, which I don't have, but the photographer was credited there. I still need to dig that up. The second photo is a slide that was obviously taken moments before. This time I'll take a closer look at the equipment in the photos.

You may recall an earlier post asking about that gondola in this picture by Jim Karl:

Jerry Stewart identified it as a Litchfield and Madison gondola, to which he said any midwest railfan/modeler would be able to identify. Apparently he's the only one that reads my blog! I found a couple of photos which don't appear to be available online anymore, but I do have a plan that looks pretty darn close.
A kitbash using an Intermountain USRA composite gondola seems the obvious starting point. I've considered the Detail Associates end, but the horizontal ribs are in the wrong location, so I'll either modify them or find a different solution. Decals are also an issue, in part because I haven't found any, and also because I haven't located a better photo in this paint scheme.

On the far yard track is Mather reefer leased to Morrell, once available as a Sunshine kit (which I have). The Red Caboose model could be a stand in, but has wood instead of steel ends. The kit has the large, red, rectangular "Morrell" lettering instead of the simpler lettering seen here, so I'm still working on that detail as it's not as simple as just leaving it off.

Note that there are two baggage cars on the station stub track for the storage mail to the left and Ted Culotta noticed the clerestory roof behind the gondola, which was revealed in the slide we found later to be another baggage car.

The car in the yard, and the one farther away on the station track are both wood baggage cars, released by Bethlehem Car Works. The model used an early set of plans, so the doors are in the wrong location, and there are a few other missing details, such as the way the bolsters wrap around the side, but it's easy enough to fix. The steel baggage car is a long out-of-production F&C/NHRHTA kit that Steve keeps threatening to redo as a one-piece body. I have several of those in progress as well.

Perhaps 5 baggage cars were dropped at the yard on Monday, and moved into position through the week. If so, then this picture is a Wednesday, or a Thursday if they started with 6 cars to include Saturday. As I've noted, these were for storage mail, to be forwarded to Hartford on passenger train #463. An interesting operating opportunity, and one that might also give a visual hint as to which day of the week it is on the layout at a given point in time. But I don't have any other pictures with this many baggage cars in the yard. In most cases there is only one at the station.

The N&W #52136 is a B-3 auto car. These were essentially exact copies of the PRR X32A box cars. Well, the final 50 X32A cars with a 14' 6" door opening, meaning the side sheathing pattern is three panels to the left of the door, and five to the right. Naturally, all of the released models are of the earlier X32A cars, with a 12' 1-1/2" door opening and four panels to the left and five to the right. I have an old NKP brass model that I'm modifying. The Bowser underframe fits perfectly, so it's a matter of figuring out how to shave off the rivets. I'll need to find the right doors and use Archer rivets for the new panels. Not sure if there are appropriate decals yet.

The Milwaukee rib-side car is #20945, the series represented by the Exactrail model. Sunshine and Rib-Side cars also released models of this series. Of course none of these are still in production, but I have one of the Exactrail models. I gave an Exactrail kit to Chris years ago because we see lots of the rib-side cars in photos of the Valley Line.

If you look closely at the steel box car in the consist, it has the Pullman-Standard proprietary end used on the so-called "PS-0" cars.  The only cars I know of that used that type of end with a Youngstown door rather than Superior is the B&O M-55A class. They were a 1937 AAR standard boxcar with the Pullman-Standard end and Duryea underframe along with a flat riveted roof. An Intermountain kit with new ends and roof would work, but the F&C end is too short to use as is and is lacking the rivet line separating the upper and lower panels. Scratchbuilding may be the best option. The Speedwitch Duryea underframe for the M-26D/E conversion would work well here, although I don't know if the layout was identical to those classes. Sylvan makes a flat panel roof that might be appropriate, part DP-0046.

The remaining cars are as-yet-unidentified: a single-sheathed box car (the bracing pattern along with the door will help narrow the field); a tank car (looks like a fairly fat tank, an the ladder and frame may give some more clues); and a covered hopper. The scheme on the covered hopper is a light color, so it very well could be one of the 15 cars that the NH rostered in 1949. It was almost certainly for cement. The Intermountain kit is the go-to kit for these cars with Speedwitch decals for the earlier NH scheme.

The 44-tonner is a phase Ic, I'm using a W&R brass body on a Bachmann chassis.

All in all, an interesting collection of freight cars in a small yard on a branch line in CT in 1949, and a signature scene to be recreated on the layout.

A common comment I've heard is that you have to be careful when selecting freight cars from photos, because people tend to take pictures of the unusual and rare cars. While I think that there are times that this is the case, looking at the "whole picture" is important. Looking at this series of photos, while there are a number of what would be considered "rare" cars, none of them are featured. The L&M gondola is certainly a rarity (in 1950 they rostered 559 cars with two classes of composite gondolas with 98 and 144 cars in each), but it's not the focus of the photographs. The other rare cars would only be identified as such by somebody familiar with freight car construction and rosters overall. These photos are clearly of the train working on a given day, with whatever cars are there.

That's not to say that an L&M gondola appeared in New Britain daily. Statistically, there's a high likelihood this is the only day it ever appeared here. Another example is a photograph that's published in Trackside Alongside the New Haven 1950-1956 with Arthur E. Mitchell. Arthur worked for the New Haven as a brakeman and a conductor during this period, and took photos regularly. On pg. 47 is a photo of a car that they knocked off the track and cost him 3 days off with no pay. The photo is one that documents a particular point in time. The fact that it happens to be a CN&L single sheathed box car in the mid-'50s is just a bonus for us. The entire roster for the Columbia, Newberry & Laurens in 1950 was 49 box cars, 25 with steel underframes, and 24 single-sheathed with steel underframes and steel ends like the one in the picture. The photo is undated, but he didn't start working for the New Haven until 1952.

I'm lucky in that prolific New Haven photographers Kent Cochrane and Tom McNamara happened to live in New Britain. Their criteria was based on the weather and time of day. They were looking for good shooting conditions, and then would work a series of locations, or often follow a train taking a roll of pictures along the way. Again, these are random days and the subject is whatever happened to be on the rails that day. They had an opportunity to take photos, and they didn't go to see whether there was anything interesting and go home if it was the same old thing.

Just for fun here's another rarity sitting on Track #5 in New Britain. The date is unknown but it's a screen grab from a color video taken by Paul Wales from his office in the Stanley Tools building.   The L-1s were replaced by FA-1/FB-1/FA-1 sets in 1947, so I'm guessing c1946. But anytime in the '40s would make the Southern SU box car with the older "T"-braced end rare.

There are more captures from this Paul Wales video in this post for those who care to start the process of narrowing the era based on the freight cars in the video for me!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Freight House Part II

A bit of a preview about some other things I'll be posting soon, but the main reason for this picture was to test out a new mock-up for the freight house.

The freight house was located at the Whiting Street Yard on the Berlin Line, and is quite large.

This is the north end of the freight house, truck side.

The south end, also truck side.

And this is the track side.

There were three tracks servicing the freight house, although the specific layout means that only the back half of the tracks could be bridged by plates. It appears that there were 17 spotting locations per track, not including the open platform at the far end. The track closest to the Freight House is 845 ft. long, or enough for about 20 to 21 40-foot cars.

The single track that is between the yard and the freight house appears to be the scale track for a 42 foot, 100-ton scale. I'm assuming this was used to weigh cars loaded at the bulk tracks. 

The bulk tracks swing behind the yard, and include a 15-ton pillar crane and a concrete unloading (undoubtedly used for cars among other loads). One of the bulk tracks continues across Whiting Street as a siding for Stanley Tools, the third of three Stanley plants in the city.

So after realizing how many spotting locations I'll need at a minimum, I was considering whether I would have that much space. As it turns out, if I stick with a prototype layout of three tracks, I can. I might have to space the tracks closer than the usual 2" on center that I've been using, but that's actually more prototypical and looks better too.

I also figured that 1947 (or 1946) would be the busiest, and that the traffic would decline as we operate in future years. So here's a compiled listing of the arranged service from New Britain for several more years. 

April, 1949 (11 spots):
Alexandria via PRR-SOU (YN-1 to BG-3)
Chicago via ERIE (AO-5) (Tue, Thu, Sat)
Cincinnati via L&H-CNJ-RDG-WMD-B&O (AO-5) (Tue, Thu, Sat)
East St. Louis via PRR (YN-1 to NE-1) (Tue, Thu, Fri)
Philadelphia Transfer via PRR (YN-1 to NE-1)
Pittsburgh 11th St. via PRR (YN-1 to NE-1)(Tue, Thu, Sat)
St. Albans via CV (YN-1 to NM-4)(Tue, Thu, Sat)
Utica via NYC (AO-5 to RI-2)(Tue, Thu, Sat)
Cedar Hill Transfer (YN-1)
Inbound from Cedar Hill Transfer (Daily), and Maybrook (Tue, The, Sat)

April, 1950 (8 spots):
Hornell via ERIE (YN-1 to BO-1)(Tue, Thu, Sat)
Philadelphia Transfer via PRR (YN-1 to NE-1)
Pittsburgh 11th St via PRR (YN-1 to NE-1)(Tue, Thu, Sat)
Springfield via B&A (YN-1 to 1/NS-2)
Cedar Hill Transfer (YN-1)
Inbound from Cedar Hill Transfer (daily), Hartford (Mon, Wed, Fri) and Maybrook (Tue, The, Sat).

The Springfield move is interesting, it goes south to Cedar Hill to then go north up the Springfield line.

April, 1951 (8 spots):
Hornell via ERIE (YN-1 to BO-1)(Tue, Thu, Sat)
Philadelphia Transfer via PRR (YN-1 to NE-1)
Pittsburgh 11th St via PRR (YN-1 to NE-1)(Tue, Thu, Sat)
Springfield via B&A (YN-1 to 1/NS-2)
Cedar Hill Transfer (YN-1)
Inbound from Cedar Hill Transfer (daily), Hartford (Mon, Wed, Fri) and Maybrook (Tue, The, Sat).

Jumping ahead a bit to Oct, 1956 (11 spots):
Baltimore via PRR (YN-1 to BG-1)
Cleveland via L&H-DL&W (YN-1 to BO-1)
Hornell via ERIE (YN-1 to BO-1)(Tue, Thu, Sat)
Newport, VT via B&M-CP (YN-1 to NS-4)
Philadelphia Federal St. via PRR (YN01 to BG-1)
Pittsburgh 11th St via PRR (YN-1 to NE-1)(Tue, Thu, Sat)
Scranton via L&H-DL&W (YN-1 to BO-1)
Springfield, MS via NYC (YN-1 to NS-4)(Tue, Thu, Sat)
Spencer, NC via PRR-SOU (YN-1 to BG-1)
Cedar Hill Transfer (YN-1)
Inbound from Cedar Hill Transfer

The busiest in my era for some reason is actually from September1952 (24 spots):
Baltimore via PRR (YN-1 to BG-1)
Cumberland, MD via L&HR-CRP-RDG-WM-B&O (AO-5)(Mon, Wed, Fri)
Holyoke via B&M (Extra, NS-4)(Mon, Wed, Fri)
Hornell via ERIE (YN-1 to BO-1)
Philadelphia Federal St. via PRR (YN01 to BG-1)
Pittsburgh 11th St via PRR (YN-1 to NE-1)
Scranton via L&H-DL&W (YN-1 to BO-1)(Mon, Wed, Fri)
Spencer, NC via PRR-SOU (YN-1 to BG-1)(Mon, Wed, Fri)
Springfield, MA via B&A (Extra to NS-4)
Cedar Hill Transfer (YN-1)
East Hampton, MA (NY-2, Extra)
Hartford (Extra)
Holyoke (NY-2)
Northampton - Williamsburg, MA (NY-2, Extra)
Westfield, MA (NY-2)
Inbound from Cedar Hill Transfer, Easthampton, Hartford (Mon, Wed, Fri), Maybrook Transfer (Tue, Thu, Sat), Meriden, New York (Harlem Station), Northampton, Westfield, Williamsburg, plus truck from Berlin and East Berlin.

Not sure why Holyoke is listed twice.

No way I'll be able to accomodate the 1952 schedule. I just don't have the space for that. But with the triple track I can manage 18 spots, or 15 loading, 3 unloading spots. The crews will just have to switch out cars as they are unloaded.

However it pans out, it appears that the freight house will be a more significant industry in operations than I thought. Each morning it will need 5 to 10 empties, plus the incoming loads. Outbound will be anything between 3 cars to clearing out all of the house tracks.

It's also entirely possible, and perhaps probable, the the cars that are loaded only 3 days a week are spotted only on those days. Since the railroad pays a per diem, they wouldn't want a car just sitting there, but a New Haven owned box car could. Otherwise they probably staged the load in the freight house the first day, and loaded it the second day once the empty was spotted.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Freight House Traffic

I'm a bit away from having the freight house operational, as I haven't actually built the Whiting Street Yard yet. But as I was going through some paperwork I realized that I have everything I need to set up the freight house properly.

In the Freight Train and Package Car Schedules, there is a section in the back for Arranged Package Cars. This section tells you exactly what cars are inbound, and what is outbound at the freight house, including what train picks them up.

For example, for New Britain there are cars for the following destinations in September 1947:

Picked up on ANE-1

  • Chicago via the PRR
  • Philadelphia Transfer via PRR
  • Pittsburgh 11th St. via PRR

Picked up by AO-5 (All Tue-Thu-Sat except Waterbury which is daily)

  • Cincinnati via L&H-CNJ-RDG-WMD-B&O
  • East St. Louis via NYC (OA-5 to Bridgeport then EI-2 to State Line)
  • Hornell Transfer via ERIE
  • Scranton via L&H-DL&W
  • Utica via NYC (OA-5 to Bridgeport then EI-2 to State Line)
  • Waterbury

Picked up by YN-1

  • St. Albans via CV (YN-1 to Cedar Hill then NM-4 to New London) (Tue-Thu-Sat)
  • Cedar Hill Transfer 

Picked up by HDX-5 (Tue-Thu-Sat)

  • Middletown, CT - the car is from Harlem River, transferred via HDX-5 to Hartford, then HDX-7 (the Valley Local) to Middletown. So I could actually coordinate this with Chris for his sessions if we wanted to.

Inbound cars are from:
Cedar Hill Transfer on NY-2
Maybrook on OA-2 (Tue-Thu-Sat only)
New York (Harlem Sta.) on NY-2

So I'll need 3 unloading spots and 12 loading spots at the freight house, which always for the same destinations. Cincinnati, E. St. Louis, Hornell Transfer, Scranton, Utica, St. Albans, and Middletown be at the rear of the tracks, because they are pulled only on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

Because the freight house is double-tracked and they would use bridge plates to access all of the cars, the house tracks will need to accommodate 8 cars each. This is perfect to know right now because I'm working on the layout of the yard.

Note that it's possible to have more volume than one car per destination or origination, the crew would just need to switch out cars when there is a surplus. I doubt there will be a surplus for the cars pulled only 3 times a week, because they would be daily jobs if the traffic warranted.

This information is also helpful when I get around to creating waybills for the through freights, because I have the information for all of the freight houses that are feeding those freights.

But wait! There's more!
As a bonus, here's the information for Middletown, CT which Chris will need for his layout:

No outbound destinations are arranged. Inbound traffic is from New Britain as noted (which would arrive the next day, or Monday, Wednesday, and Friday), and Cedar Hill Transfer daily (on the Airline local). All of the other freight houses on the Valley or Air Line aren't listed.

LCL by Truck
This doesn't mean that the freight house or bulk tracks don't ship out. Just that there aren't arranged destinations. So if an industry not served by the railroad needed to ship out, they would have to have the freight agent order a car. However, unless the load will nearly fill the car, it wouldn't be terribly cost effective. Instead, it would go via truck service (which is in the following section in the schedules) to a centralized freight house to be loaded in that direction.

  • From New Britain that would be truck route A-11 to Hartford.
  • From Cromwell, Middletown and Portland, A-6 to Hartford.
  • Wethersfield to Cromwell is A-4 to Hartford. Middletown to Amston and Colchester would be N-1 to New Haven
  • The rest of the Air Line and the lower Valley, N-13 to New Haven.
  • Deep River to Saybrook would be trucked to New London on route M-1. 

These trucking routes also brought in LCL to the same freight houses that weren't served directly by arranged freight service.

These smaller LCL loads that are handled by truck would be added to the trains that have arranged routes where possible, including those that would then be transferred to truck.

"Peddler Cars"
The other option is for an industry that has several small loads to multiple destinations. As long as they can fill the car enough to make it economical, the industry would ship from the freight house via a single car to multiple destinations. I have some O&W freight house that shows that this was a regular approach for several of the industries there.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Switch Hardware

So here's a little more on the switch hardware, what I know and what I don't.

It started with this photo by Jim Karl, in August 1949. 

One of the things that jumped out at me, pretty much from the beginning, is the track and switch hardware, and the trackwork itself. Part of this probably has to do with how much track, and how few trains you see nowadays railfanning. But it's also in the forefront of photos like this, just as model trackwork often is in layout photos.

Later on, we came across this slide from moments earlier.

What's front and center is the switch hardware for two crossovers.

We can clearly see the small signal box (with the rounded cover) in front of the rear switch stand, along with the junction box where the signal line goes underground. On the front ties is the rodding that uses a crank and a connecting rod that is as large as the connecting rod from the switch stand itself. When you zoom in on the first picture (I need a better scan, but you can see it on the original), there is a small curved metal connection at a right angle at the end of the point closest to the signal box. This is where that connecting rod is attached to the points, and is much smaller than the connecting rod from the switch stand and the rod that runs along the tracks. Just to the right of the switch stands, on the adjacent track, is a small cylinder with wires apparently welded to the tracks. Part of a signal circuit? The crossing gates at this time were still controlled manually so it couldn't have been for those.

The following picture shows the rodding coming from a signal box on another switch at an unknown location on the New Haven. It's much smaller, and you can also see the strap steel brace that keeps the two ties in alignment (this is also visible on the first picture, next to the signal box that is on the left side of the tracks since the switch rodding is taking up too much space on the right side.

I will also note that the rodding that runs alongside the track is only on the crossover that connects the Berlin Line to the Highland Line. None of the other crossovers have them. At this point I'm not entirely sure what they are for, but I do expect that I can model their appearance.

Although Alexander Models has a signal box, it's the wrong one. Details West has a switch stand set that has the signal box (SS-914, although I think SS-915 also has the details). For the switch stands themselves, the Rapido ones are a no-brainer for me because they were modeled after the New Haven switch stands, starting with the tall stand that's in Bill Schneider's front yard.

For the point rodding, the British modelers seem to have an edge. Here's a great page with more detail. Here's another using Model Signal Engineering parts. Here's an excellent post about using the Wills (Peco) rodding.

For those who enjoy fiddling, here's an installation in 4mm (slightly larger than HO at 3.5mm) with functioning rodding. It doesn't actually throw the turnout, but moves when the points are moved, which is the approach I'll take if I decide to make it "operational." Check out the video at the bottom of his page.

You can find the brass etched details at Brassmasters and the Wills (Peco) point rodding kit is a popular non-working plastic option, available at Model Railways Direct or via Walthers. There is also an extension kit.

C&L Finescale has working point rodding for 7mm (O) scale.

For other track details, I've been using a mix of parts from the Microengineering turnouts themselves, joint bars from Precision Design Company and Proto87 Stores.

I have the Proto87 stores tieplates and spikes as well, for scenic elements. You'll want to click on this to see a larger version to find them...