Friday, February 26, 2021

Layout progress - Fascia and workspaces

 I've been working on the fascia for the staging level.

There's a basic fascia starting at the Agent's desk, that goes behind the spray booth:

What has been a process is deciding how I wanted to do the fascia along the main part of staging. The skirting is banquet table skirting which is very inexpensive at Amazon. But it only comes in one height, which was a bit too short. My original thought was to leave the top shelf visible, but I decided to make a hinged fascia instead. It's a simple process of using a continuous hinge (aka piano hinge) and a piece of 1"x lumber to screw it to. I have a couple left to build (was waiting for the hinges). Behind the skirting is Ikea Ivar shelving. 

At the far end of the room is the crew desk. The desk has a full hinged fascia.

Behind the fascia is the cars I need to repair, and the ESU LokProgrammer programming track. 

Recently there was a Facebook post asking, "What does your work space look like? Since I have a small basement, I've had to make the most of the space I have. This is a secondary desk, and I'll probably use it for installing and programming decoders, at least until those are all done. I'll design the storage and stock the tools here for that purpose.

It's primary function is a desk for the switching crews. They can use it for paperwork and refreshments. It's located beneath the end of the layout that is also the yard lead, and where I expect they will work with their paperwork.

I've been using the shelf to the left of the desk as the RIP track, where problem equipment is placed during a session. I haven't decided if I like the large storage drawers there, but it's a possibility.

To the right is the turntable in staging, and a scanner for photos, negatives and slides. That will be hidden behind a hinged fascia. You can see the helix and a rolling cart with electrical supplies.

Continuing to the right is another set of shelves. The top shelf (currently with cork and Woodland Scenics styrofoam grades) is spaced to allow crews to use as another workspace or place to put refreshments while operating.

Turning back the other way gives an overview of the main (Agent's) desk, storage, and spray booth:

Heading between the helixes (with the Agent's desk on your right), there's shelving under Stanley Works:

This houses the New Haven Railroad specific library, and a working shelf for the Stanley Works crew.

Under the Berlin Line to the left is a duckunder to a closet that is under the stairs, you can see the empty boxes that are stored there. The rest is the library, prototype books (Car Builders' Cyclopedias, Routing Guides, Shippers' Guides, etc.) on the left, with history and modeling books on the right. I still need to finish clearing off the bottom shelves on the right.

Turning the corner is the space under Whiting St Yard, which is where the fridge and bar is. Refreshments will be served under this as well, and the chop saw will remain. There is also some rolling storage that goes in the space beyond the chop saw for storing freight cars.

The top of the rolling cart will serve as the workspace for the crew, and they can keep their drinks on the shelf here.

I'm still finishing up some trackwork and cleaning up the rest of the basement to do a proper layout tour soon!

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

More Freight Ops from an old Trains Magazine article

I recently got a copy of an article called Passengers and trailer trucks ride the New Haven from the February, 1950 issue of Trains

It's a 7 page article including pictures and includes quite a bit of interesting information. More than half of the article is regarding passenger traffic, and how the New Haven was (is, at the time) the only Class I railroad to show a profit from their passenger operations, depending on the calculation used. Even using the I.C.C. calculation which includes all expenses, including rents and taxes, they operate at a modest loss, but much less than any other road. 

But about a page of the article talked about how the New Haven moves trailers on flat cars, which was still a new approach at the time. The New Haven wasn't the first, but it was close to it, starting their service in 1937. But what really caught my interest started with,

"I rode the caboose of a trailer train from Boston to New York one night..."

While the recollection of the trip itself is interesting, (37 trailers, on 25 flats on BH-1 which totaled 36 cars that night, hauled by DER-1-c/DL-109s 0740 and 0752, he was late for the trip because he had trouble locating the train in the yard, but the train was running at least 15 minutes late anyway, etc.), it's the operational information that can be pulled from the article that is of most interest to me.

Because they were late, they were switched to run on Track 2, the eastbound main (running westbound) so they "could run around the Extra which was somewhere down the line on Track 1. This gave me the chance to watch block signals working in reverse: as we passed them, the cleared from red to green, with a brief flash of yellow in between." 

So I'll have to dig a little bit to see what sort of logic I'll need to put in place for the signals for running against the traffic.

"Conductor F.J. Fielding was busy at his desk in the front of the car, checking waybills and making a work sheet which showed at a glance just what would eventually happen to each of the cars on the train: drop a load at Readville, pick up 35 loads and 5 empties at Providence; take on 3 loads at New London and drop one off at Cedar Hill. That was the end of his run."

While the desk facing forward makes sense, I don't think they were turned on a regular basis. But the conductor writing out their own switch list from the waybills is quite interesting. The more I'm finding, the more I think that the conductor on a road job or local freight would write up their own impromptu switch list, which may or may not have used an official form. While within a switching district or yard limits, I think it was more likely handled by the agent, yardmaster, yard foreman, etc.

In any event, for model operations, I still like the idea of some sort of desk (rolling or permanent) for the crew to use to organize their work. Regardless of who is preparing the list, it's also pretty clear that it is done before they get to town. For example, in this article we read that they learned of additional work in Plainville before leaving New Britain. Which means the conductor could plan their work on the way, instead of not knowing what additional work they might have when they arrived. In this article, rather than receiving orders that were hooped up, they stopped and called ahead. I can also say that in my own experience on the CNZR, the crew has stopped and called the office for clarification or instructions on what to do. They also plan their moves ahead of time.

The main point here, is that if you are running a freight that will have work on the way, unless you are working a switching crew within yard limits, you'll have a plan on exactly what moves you'll need to make to finish your work in a town before you get there.

The article then talks about some of the complications of running late. They switched back to Track 1 at Readville, but were then slowed by Train No. 537, an except-Sunday local from Boston to Providence. They were able to pass the passenger train at Attleboro when it cut off its engine to pick up a couple of cars of express. It also started raining, which put them farther behind schedule.

I'm not sure why the rain itself slowed them down, but this is one of the most interesting tidbits:

"It had to wait up at Providence for three cars from UP-1, the New Bedford-Providence freight."

I've always been of the impression that such cars would simply make the next train. It doesn't indicate that they were hot cars, but it does become clear later in the article that this train doesn't meet the midnight deadline to get cars off of the road to avoid another day of per diem charges. So that may have something to do with it.

"The night fleet of passenger trains had crept up the rear and passed us. No. 181 had a 15-minute layover in New London, so BH-1 was stabbed while that mail and express train occupied the westbound main.

""The other side of the job" as Conductor Fielding called HB-2" was apparently also running late, passing at New London.

"We came to Cedar Hill Yard. Both the conductor and the flagman went to the front platform of the caboose. At precisely the right moment they uncoupled the car from the rest of the train. The train proceeded to the westbound classification yard, while Conductor Fielding dropped off of his rolling office and took his sheaf of waybills to the yardmaster's office. Flagman Patchelder braked his buggy to stop on the caboose track and hung out the yellow lantern which indicated he would sleep on the car that night."

They left Cedar Hill at 4:30 AM with 71 loads, no empties, with 3 motors (electric locomotives, type and road numbers are not noted). Just south of Bridgeport they had a hotbox 23 cars back and, "An hour went by while the train crawled slowly to the next siding and dropped the offending car. It was a bad spot for a set-off: an upgrade and with the last half of the train hidden around a curve. Engineer Horan, running blind as he backed to pick up the tail end, had to keep his speed down to a crawl."

They arrived at Harlem River three hours behind schedule.

I find a lot of interesting operational opportunities here. There have been a number of ways that modelers have tried to incorporate problems like a hotbox into their operations. I'm not sure how frequently something like that should happen. I think that they would be of most interest on a layout with long main line running. Having to slow to a crawl for however long it takes to get to the next siding would have the biggest impact on that type of layout. Even with a 4:1 fast clock, an hour is 15 minutes of real time, and that can have a real impact on the operation of a railroad.

What is much more common on a model railroad, though, are curves. Paying attention to what the engineer could see from the cab should affect how they operate the locomotive.

I also found the passage about kicking the caboose down the caboose track very interesting. And in a model railroad yard, having a caboose or two with a yellow lantern out also brings in prototypical operations.

I don't have the whole issue, but interestingly I noticed in the table of contents there is also an article on welded rail.

Monday, February 22, 2021


More photos of open-top cars from the collection Dick provided. Prior posts are here, here, and here.

These are three that show mishaps.

C&O 31023 with a lumber load that has shifted. There's another car with a lumber load behind it too.

I don't have a lot of info on this class of cars. In the 1950 ORER the 31000-31549 group numbered 500 cars. A note indicates they have low fixed sides, solid bottom and drop ends. They are 48'6" in length and look a lot like shorter versions of the Greenville design gondola that is available from Walthers (ex-Proto 2000). There are rivets in a few places that leads me to believe there are collapsible stake pockets inside.

Unlike the model, there is no stiffening rib at the extreme ends of the sides, and the two shorter ribs don't have much of a taper, if any, at the bottom. On the model the ribs are also tapered at the top, and this doesn't appear to be the case for this car. What I find particularly interesting is that there only appears to be a single grab iron at the right end of the sides, where we would typically see 4 or so. The interior height is 3' instead of the 3'6" of the Greenville 52'6" design, but the height of the side of the car is about a foot lower (6'5" instead of 7'4" from the rail). 

Sure enough, checking the C&O Historical Society Archives they have several photos of 29900 (1, 2, and 3), part of the 29900-30099 series built by Greenville in 1939 and have the same dimensions and appearance.

But a closer look at their list of resources shows they also have pictures of 50-ton gondola 31466 that haven't been scanned yet. But it indicates they were built in 1939 by ACF. It appears they were built to the same design, with minor differences. For example, the coupler buffer and brake step.

Note: Modeling buddy Mike Clements tells me that Richard Hendrickson showed how to kitbash the earlier class of this gondola in the November-December, 1982 issue of Prototype Modeler. Normally you can access this issue at TrainLife, but it appears there is a technical issue right now.

Fortunately, I have it. Here's the diagram from that issue:

I might start with the Proto 2000 model at this point, but the process would be similar. Might I add that this is one of the primary reasons I post. I know that there are folks out there that know things I don't. and I hope that they'll share.

Thanks, Mike!


I can't make out the road for the next two pictures (maybe PRR?), that show the load was perhaps a little heavier than this car could handle:

Friday, February 19, 2021

1932 ARA Standard Box Cars

 Yes, I got sidetracked again...

When cleaning up I put my freight cars into a rolling cart for storage. To make finding cars easier, I grouped them by prototype, and one drawer is 1932 ARA Standard box cars. Naturally I have more of these than I actually need, since it's readily available as a plastic RTR model produced by Atlas. Information is also easy to come by in the form a very thorough and fascinating book by my friend Ted Culotta of Speedwitch Media, The American Railway Association Standard Box Car of 1932.

While these models have been out for quite a while, I haven't seen the info compiled on one place.

In my notes from prior to the initial release, I thought they intended to release ten different body styles. To date they have released seven. In the book, I had noted which prototype matched the different body types, but as I go through that again I find that my notes don't match the actual releases so far. I had compiled the info from a number of (now forgotten) sources when the models were first announced. I am skeptical that three more variations are in the works at this point.

The models themselves are well done and they clearly designed the project to cover as many of the prototypes as they could accurately. Here are the seven body types.

Type 1: "Long tab" body, Murphy Panel Roof, 4/4 Dreadnaught Ends

The body type refers to three primary variables. The side sill, the roof, and the ends.

The "long tab" body refers to the reinforcing channel along the side sill. On the five prototypes, plus the C&O, ERIE, and NKP cars, the channel reinforcement of the side sill under the door was shorter than the later production cars. Differentiating between these two styles is a nice touch.

"Long tab" body on top, "Short tab" body on the bottom.

I included the PRR car, because a lot of modelers might think the Pennsy had a huge roster, so they have to have one. However, they only had a single car, No. 36986, the only car in class X35. This was because they received one of the 5 prototypes (No. 3). NYC also had but a single car, No. 100000, which was ex- ARA No. 1. The other three prototypes, Nos. 2, 4 and 5 because C&O 1900-1902. In addition, UP only built a single car to the design.

The major components (ends and roof) are correct for these cars. I'll get into the smaller details in a moment.

This was the most common style of this prototype, covering the following roads as built:

  • ARA 1-5 (5)
  • C&O 1900-1902 (3)
  • CofG 4000-4499 (500)
  • CRR 5000-5249 (250)
  • MEC 4248-4999 (752)
  • MP 30750-31399, 31500-31999 (1,150)
  • I-GN 17001-17300 (300)
  • MVCMVX 9000 (1)
  • NOT&M 17301-17400 (100)
  • NYC 100000 (1)
  • PRR 36986 (1)
  • UP 182500 (1)
There are also additional cars that can be modeled with this body type with some additional parts.
  • MP 31400-31499 (100)
This group of cars used Duryea Cushioned underframes. Speedwitch Media makes the 1936-1937 style Duryea Underframe that would be appropriate for these cars.
  • MP 32000-32499 (500), and NOT&M 17401-17500 (100)
These cars utilized Union Duplex door hardware, available as a minikit from National Scale Car Co. including doors, door tracks, and decals. The kit also covers M-I 4000-4249 (250), but these cars had W-corner ("round corner") 4/4 Dreadnaught ends, so is not an exact match.
  • WM 27001-27500 (500), 27501-28200 (700)

The first group of these also used a Duryea cushioned underframe. The second group had W-corner 4/4 Dreadnaught ends and Duryea underframes. While the Speedwitch underframe would be appropriate for the first group, I don't know what the differences were for the 1939 or 1942 built cars. National Scale Car Co.  has a Z26 version as part of their Rock Island and CMO mini kits that is good at least for 1944-45, but I don't see it listed as a separately available part right now. 


A note about underframes: I separate out the cars with Duryea underframes because they have features that can be seen at the end of the car, and also under the car in profile (even in shadow). There were some other more minor differences in the underframes that could be modeled for several other cars.

The first 550 of the C&O cars, and all of the Erie and NKP cars had the older ARA center sill, due to lack of availability of the new center sill components when built. This isn't noticeable unless you turn the car over. In addition, the L&A, NC&StL, Seaboard, and WRT cars had a truck center spacing of 6-1/4" wider than the other cars. This means the outer edge of the bolster is in line with the rivet seam between the outer side panels, instead of just inside it (about 7/100ths of an inch in HO).

Type 2: "Long tab" body, 11-panel flat riveted roof, Flat riveted ends

  • L&A 15000-15150 (150)
  • SAL 17000-18999 (2,000)
  • WRT 900-919 (20)

There's an excellent article on upgrading the Seaboard model in the Seaboard-Coast Line Modeler V3.1 (Q1, 2009). 

Type 3: "Short tab" body, Hutchins radial roof, 4/4 Dreadnaught ends

  • C&O 7000-7649 (650)
  • NKP 13000-13499 (500)

Type 4: "Short tab" body, Viking roof, Buckeye ends

  • ERIE 76500-76999 (500)

Type 5: "Long tab" body, 11-panel flat riveted roof, 4/4 Dreadnaught ends

This is the only major compromise in the models, although they do have at least one outright foobie as well. The general components are correct, but they opted to tool only a single flat panel roof. The 11-panel roof was used L&A, Seaboard, and WRT cars, and the tooling is correct for that. But the SOO cars, along with CGW, and NdeM cars had a 12-panel flat riveted roof.

I can understand the decision, though. It shouldn't be too difficult to sand down the rivet lines and add new ones with Archer rivet decals.

  • SOO 41800-42978 (even numbers), 135800-135998 (even) (600)

Type 6: "Long tab" body, Viking roof, 4/4 Dreadnaught ends

  • NS 25000-25499 (500)

Type 7: "Long tab" body, Murphy (rectangular) panel roof, flat riveted ends

  • NC&StL 18000-18499 (500)

Other 1932 ARA Standard Box Cars

I was pleasantly surprised at the number of variations offered, considering a number of them were for a single road. Yes, the molds are designed to be interchangeable, but it still increases the cost of the project. To date, though, there are a still a number of cars not covered by these variations which will be more difficult to model. I've already noted the M-I and WM cars that had W-corner Dreadnaught ends.

  • BAR 65000-65499 (500), 65500-65549 (50), 65550-65649 (100)

The most interesting one, perhaps, (and my old notes indicated they may have been body types 8 and 9) is the Bangor & Aroostook. The initial order of 500 was built for newsprint service, and had thicker floors than the standard car. This affected the interior height, but not the external characteristics of the car. But they opted for 4/5 Dreadnaught ends instead of the 4/4 style used on all of the other 1932 ARA Standard cars that used these ends. The second two groups of cars were the last 1932 ARA Standard box cars built, in February and December 1945. The first 50 were similar to their other cars, but the final 100 used the (then) new 3/4 Improved Dreadnaught Ends. So modeling either of these with the existing Atlas model will require replacing the ends.

Fortunately, F&C have a resin kit for the first 550 cars.

  • CGW 89000-89998 (500), NdeM 60000-612999 (1,300)

Another unique variation. Like the SOO cars, these used a 12-panel flat riveted roof. But the biggest difference was the 7/8 Murphy ends (was this the last application of these ends?). They also had a unique door only used by these two groups. Initially, I thought this would be Type 10. But Atlas has released Type 5 models lettered for the NdeM, so I'm taking that as a sign they are not planning on it. This, unfortunately, is a true foobie. But since NdeM cars are rare, I guess they figured it was a valid scheme for the prototype as a whole.

  • CP 225000-225699 (700)

Like the 1937 AAR Standard Box Car, Canadian Pacific had their own unique variation of these cars as well. It's interesting that they built these, in part because the side sill design for their "Minibox" cars is seen as probably a direct influence on the 1932 ARA Standard car.  In any event, their version used 4/5 Dreadnaught ends, and a Murphy Radial roof. The Murphy roof has only one stiffening corrugation in the center of each panel instead of the two that the Hutchins Radial roof used. So trying to start with a Type 3 body requires more than just replacing the ends.

F&C also makes a resin kit for the CP cars.

  • D&H 17626-17725 (100)

Built in 1937, it used 4/5 Dreadnaught ends like the B&A and CP cars. But what makes these unique is the early use of welded construction. The first group of 10 was almost entirely welded, including the side sheets, underframe and ends. The last 90 had a few more points where rivets were utilized, but still had welded sides and ends. So not the easiest variation to kitbash. With its welded sides, this would be a good choice for Pierre at Yarmouth Model Works, since he has mastered creating the oil canning effect.


Overall I'm very pleased with the quality of the casting of the Atlas cars. For example, while nobody makes bracket grabs as well as Kadee, these are on par with other injection molded models. They also took the effort to tool two door variations to account for the most common door hardware used. This includes the Camel Roller Lift and Creco Ball-Bearing styles. Along with the doors available as a minikit from National Scale Car Co with Union Duplex hardware, you can have the correct options for any of the styles Atlas produced.

Brake Wheels

They tooled at least 5 different brake wheels. I don't have a CRR model, which should have a Klasing brake wheel. However, I don't remember anybody indicating Atlas had done a Klasing brake wheel prior to the one we produced at True Line Trains. Since those aren't available now either, you'll have to go with the Resin Car Works/Shapeways one, or wait for rumored one from Kadee.

Ajax, ARA "Plate B" (aka "stemwinder"), Miner, Miner (early), Universal

Yes, the NC&StL was the only group of 1932 ARA Standard cars to receive the early Miner D-3290 brake wheel with holes in the center portion. I do not know what other prototypes used this brake wheel.

While there are better rendered versions of many of these, I give Atlas credit for making this many, especially the rather rare NC&StL variation. Aside from the Klasing brake wheel used on the Clinchfield cars, the only other brake wheels used on these cars were Equipco on some CP and NdeM cars, Peacock on some CP cars, and Ureco on some WRT cars.

The C&O, ERIE, NKP and SOO cars were delivered with horizontal brake wheels with gearing at the bottom of the staff. The ERIE car pictured above has it, but my C&O and NKP models have Miner powered handbrakes and the SOO has the Miner hand brake with holes instead. The gearing detail is not rendered at all on the bottom of the staff, but could easily be added. Clearly some cars received powered handbrakes later on, so work from photos.

Other Details and Comments

  • The only significant detail that's really missing is the air hose.
  • The retainer valve is "missing" but the pipe with brackets is nice and it will be easy enough to add a proper retainer to the top.
  • The bottom-operated uncoupling lever was standard on all except the CP cars, although they tooled it as a straight handle rather than the 3-bend handle that is rendered well on Detail Associates and other bent wire detail parts.
  • The end grabs are both applied as drop grab irons. This is correct for the CofG, CRR, I-GN, L&A, MP, MVCMCX, NOT&M, NS, SAL, WM, and WRT. The C&O, ERIE, NC&StL, NKP, and SOO all had straight grab irons attached to small brackets below the end sill, and the MEC cars had a bracket-mounted one to the left of the coupler, and a straight grab iron attached to the end sill to the right. I suspect that other than the MEC variation, few modelers will make any changes.
  • Poling pockets and the attached uncoupling lever bracket are not accurate for all cars. This is understandable, and expected on a mass-produced car.
  • The brake gear is molded as part of the underframe, with a separate cylinder and reservoir and the AB valve is very rudimentary. The exact placement looks to have been fairly consistent so it's generally OK, but you certainly don't get the proper profile under the model with regards to the rodding, etc. So replacing the cast rodding with stand-alone would improve the appearance. There was some variation based on photos, though. The prototypes had an early version of the reservoir that is quite evident. Ted's book is the best resource if you are looking to accurately replicate these features.
  • I have not looked at any variations in trucks yet. I'll do that when I get around to detailing and weathering a given car.

Painting and Lettering

The paint schemes themselves look pretty accurate. I haven't gone through them in great detail, if for no other reason than I'm unlikely to change it since these are RTR. As I get to final detailing and weathering each car, then I'll see if there are any glaring issues. But the variations in box car brown/red is nice, the lettering is crisp and well applied as I would expect from any RTR model today. They have released several roads in multiple schemes as well.

They are an important prototype but were, overall, a small portion of most rosters and the national box car fleet. I haven't taken the time to determine what percentage these cars make up for a given road. Instead, they will be generally lumped into a "rare" category when operating. That is, there probably won't be more than one or two 1932 ARA Standard car on the layout at a given time. I would 

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Along the Line - December, 1940 - Jointless Rail

This is an interesting article from the December, 1940 Along the Line.

8 ½ Miles Jointless Rail Now In Track

''What makes The Bankers so late this morning?"

The query was addressed to the information clerk at Hartford station by a man who had just come from the subway passage under the tracks.

"It wasn't late," was the reply. "It left here five minutes ago."

"Good gosh!" the man exclaimed, "I've been standing there in the subway for over ten minutes and I never even heard it!" And thereby hangs a tale.

He was one of our regular commuters, and had formed the habit of waiting in the subway, reading his paper, until he heard the vibration when his train headed in on the station viaduct. But this particular morning there was no noticeable vibration. Nor has there been since. And welded rail is the answer.

The Hartford station viaduct is equipped with jointless welded rails, each 840 feet in length. This was the New Haven Railroad's first experiment with this new development in track construction and it has proved eminently successful. It has been followed by additional installations elsewhere and in all likelihood the future will see much additional track butt welded to form continuous rails of a thousand or more feet in length.

We now have altogether a total of 45,106 feet, or about 8-1/2 miles of welded rail in place, on bridges, through stations and grade crossings, and tunnels. Bridges were chosen for first installation because of the elimination of vibration through elimination of the impact at joints, with consequent lessened wear and tear on the bridge structure. Grade crossings and stations were next chosen because the expense of maintaining joints is greater in those places; at crossings it involves tearing out and replacing- part of the roadway material: and at railroad stations it often involves tearing out and replacing portions of polatforms.

The longest stretch of welded track which has yet been laid on the New Haven is 3,600 feet through the Terryville tunnel. This was welded at Bridgeport yards into 1,200-foot sections and these field-welded in the tunnel to make continuous rails from one end of the tunnel to the other without a break.

The longest single stretch which has been welded and moved in one section to date was 1,421 feet for each of the two rails for Track 2 through the Fair Haven tunnel, while two 1,407-foot rails were placed in Track 1 at the same location. These were welded at the Bridgeport yard and moved on flat cars to the tunnel.

A close-up inspection of a railroad rail would make a layman very doubtful of the feasibility of transporting rails of such lengths on flat-cars except on a perfectly straight stretch of track. It appears to be so rigid that it would seem impossible to bend it but actually there is sufficient flexibility so that the rail will bend with the curvature of the track.

The ordinary rail length is 39 feet, so that in ordinary track there are two rail joints for every 39 feet of track. These joints represent the point of greatest wear in rail because each wheel which passes from the end of one rail across the small gap to the beginning of the next, strikes that next rail the equivalent of a heavy hammer blow. When tracks are welded together it makes one continuous smooth surface and thus eliminates entirely track joint maintenance and at the same time makes for very much smoother riding track.

There are two methods of doing the welding job - by an electric annealer or by the oxy-acetylene method, the latter being the latest development and the method used bv the New Haven. The abutting rail ends are heated to a temperature of about 2,280 degrees Farenheit, using a mechanically-oscillated welding head that applies heat evenly to the rail sections from all directions. Simultaneously with the application of heat, the rail ends are forced together under a pressure which attains a maximum 2,500 pounds per square inch

Next, in order to achieve a refinement of the grain of the metal in the vicinity of the joint and to relieve internal stresses set up during the welding procedure, the ioint is uniformly re-heated to the critical temperature (about 1,380 degrees Farenheit) and allowed to cool in the atmosphere. In a test of the strength of such welded rail, a load of 50,000 pounds was rolled back and forth across the joint of a welded rail, supported as a cantilever, two million times without any failure developing.

Other locations where welded rail of varying lengths is now in service are Sackett's Point Road, Toelles crossing, Ward Street, Wallingford station, Parker Street, Hosford Street, Lee's Crossing, Mooney's, Cooper Street, Cherry Street, South Colony Street, Meriden station, Cross Street, Brittania Street, North Colony Street, and Warehouse Point bridge, all on the Hartford Division. 

1. A typical rail joint showing wear from constant impact of wheels.

2. A finished weld.

3. Oxy-acetylene welding apparatus at work welding two rails.

4. A close-up of the flames showing how they are brought to bear on the rails from all directions at once.

5. The complete weld, before finishing and polishing.

6. Removing upset metal with Oxy-acetelyne cutting machine.

7. Grinding and polishing.

8. Finished rail loaded on flat cars.

9 and 10. Unloading the rail where it is to be placed in track, by means of pulling the flat cars out from underneath.

11. The other end is anchored so that engine can pull cars out.

12. The finished job of continuous train at the Hartford station.

I was surprised to see that the New Haven was installing welded rail prior to WWII. I wonder how much more was finished by the end of the '40s, even with the war.

Monday, February 15, 2021

Gondola Plate Loads

These photos are from May 1947, and indicate they were taken at the sub(marine) base in New London (which may be Groton?). Anyway, they show the blocking and loads of plate steel.

The first two show the frame that was built in DT&I 6220.

These two views show NH 60442 with a steel plate load. It looks like the frame was constructed a little different than in the DT&I car, but it's hard to tell. Unfortunately, there isn't a better angle of the interesting wheel load in the other car. I don't know what kind of car it is, maybe a well hole flat of some sort?

 As my buddy Dick pointed out in the comments, it looks like these two are from the construction of the lift bridge at Cape Cod in 1933, with the wheel being a cable sheaf. He points to lots of photos at the Library of Congress. Thanks, Dick!

Friday, February 12, 2021

Layout Construction: Bulk Tracks and Whiting St Yard

In order to be ready for potential ops sessions later this year, I need to get the layout construction completed. The bulk of the work remaining is in Whiting St. Yard.

Here's an overview of the entire room taken from the stairs, with the lift-up in the down position:

The section of the room beyond the wall (where the lift-up meets the layout) is roughly 6-feet wide and 11-feet long. I was able to maximize the yard tracks by putting the ladder on the lift-up, where the joint is at the fouling point of the yard tracks.

In order to cover the swing bridge, I built out the deck to cover it. Dick wisely recommended I remove the foam next to the house tracks, so I could securely attach this to the existing benchwork.

It turns out that an Ikea Ivar shelf cut to fit, plus a layer of OSB is just a smidge taller than the 1" foam with the thin craft foam on top. This will be just fine as a base for the freight house, and now I'll also have plenty of room for trucks as well. All screwed and glued in place.

It also provides sufficient clearance when the swing bridge is stowed against the front of the layout. The swing bridge is made from wood Dick brought along, 1" x 8" "water table " boards from his house:

Here's the bridge extended, with a mock-up of some of the track:

There will be a pair of bulk tracks, with a concrete dock and crane, plus a single track running to the end that "goes" to Stanley Rule and Level.

The white and black are both the craft foam, just what I had on hand. They are the perfect thickness when layered over a sheet of HO scale cork to meet the end of the swing bridge.

The other end of the bridge goes up a 2% grade to the yard. The container of coal is a weight to hold down the foam that is being glued. I also capped the deck with Masonite, I still need to do the fascia for the rest of the yard. To the right you can see how I've started to build up the hill for Ellis St, and will need to construct the bridge which also functions as the end of the scene.

I carved around the end to make it easy to reach the turnout for the bulk tracks. The markings on the foam was when I was testing out yard track spacing. The white foam and a chalk line worked great for that process.

Here's a bunch of pictures of what things look like after adding the fascia. This was all trial and error, just test fitting masonite until I had a piece/design that I liked.

Next up - track. I decided to go with Code 55 for these, in part because Roger only had one pack of Code 70 and I'll need that elsewhere. The turnouts will be Code 70, so I can try KV Models transition joint bars, which was another incentive to go with Code 55.

Once concern is that the scene will be quite deep now, and you'll be reaching over the freight house, using a stool. However, I expect the bulk of the work to be done near either yard ladder, which are the narrowest portions of the scene, rather than at the point where it's the widest. But it is 37" wide along much of the freight house, so we'll see how it goes.