Friday, April 30, 2021

Operations - More on Train Orders

I have been reading through Rights of Trains by Peter Josserand, which is a fascinating book. I have the 1957 fifth (and possibly final?) edition. Peter was the Night Chief Dispatcher for the Western Pacific. The first edition of the book was originally published in 1904 by another Dispatcher, Harry W. Forman. It was updated in 1925 and both Harry and Peter are listed as authors, 1945, and 1951 and at some point Peter became the only author listed.

The format of the book changed quite significantly over the years though. As you can see in that first edition, it is focused on the examination for the rules, specifically the ARA Standard Code of Rules. As such, it's presented primarily as examination questions and their answers, with a copy of the Standard Rules at the end.

The 1957 edition, however, starts with the Standard Code of Rules (adopted 1949). The second portion, and bulk of the book, then looks at how the rules have been adopted for use on other roads. He lists 35 other roads that were studied as resources for this section of the book. In the process of comparing differences, it provides a lot of clarity on what the rules mean and why. Part III is the question and answer section, then a chapter on CTC and finally one on special instructions.

Suffice to say, if you want to understand how railroading under Time Table & Train Orders works this, along with a copy of your prototype's book of rules, is the place to start. I have a 1945 edition on the way to see how it compares with this one, and if there are enough differences I may look for the 1951 printing as well.

Reading through the book the first time immediately clarified some things, which made me look back at this post on several train orders.

The "Aha!" moment for me this time was: An Extra doesn't really "exist" without a train order. It also means, once it reaches the destination on its train order, it cannot operate until it receives additional orders. But orders could be provided at any Train Order Station on the way.

This seems simple enough, but it clarifies the way the rules work (at least for me).

Order No. 162
Dec 21, 1942
To C+E Eng 3013 at Berlin
Eng 3013 run extra New Britain to Plainville
Complete 1.06 PM (?)

Engine 3013 already had orders to run extra to New Britain, probably from North Haven where it would have originated. How do we know that? Because this order was delivered at Berlin, but didn't give it any right to run from Berlin to New Britain. So it must have already had orders to run to New Britain.

Once the train arrived in Berlin, the Dispatcher would know the state of the road from New Britain to Plainville. Remember that the train would be coming up the single-track Berlin Line, but then entering the double-track Highland Line in New Britain. So this order is indicating that the route is clear between New Britain and Plainville. 

To get this order, the Train Order signal must have indicated there was an order. It's interesting because the station is past the south leg of the wye that would have been used by trains going to New Britain. The order could have been hooped up, so the Agent may have walked to the leg of the wye to give the orders and the crew could have seen the signal as they approached it.

The order went only as far as Plainville, because there may have been a train coming from Westfield that hadn't arrived at Plainville yet. It could also be an indication that the train had work at Plainville. Or perhaps it was only running as far as Plainville.

Had this order not been given, it would have had to receive an order at New Britain. It's on Form 19, so the train wouldn't have to stop in either case, and just have it hooped up.

A later order the same day shows the reverse direction: 

Order No. 20
Dec 21, 1942
To C+E 3010 at Berlin
Eng 3010 run extra Berlin to North Haven
Complete 7.53 PM

The train had orders to Berlin, but no further. I would guess it stopped on the wye track prior to entering the Springfield main track and received this order there. This gave it authority to run on the Springfield Line to North Haven.

On the Layout

The most important aspect of this to me is understanding how to incorporate it into movements on the layout. Some of the train orders list Berlin to New Britain, which means they would have to stop at New Britain to get further orders. One question is whether there was an Agent at Whiting St. Yard that could give orders to crews. I think the Employee Timetable makes it clear that it's at New Britain Station. 

At New Britain, the Agent can hoop up orders for the crew. Since the majority of the trains during the day are passenger and scheduled, I won't need to prepare any orders for them. The switchers, of course, are operating within yard limits. So it's just a couple of freights, but it will still give the crews a taste of TT&TO operations.

Train Order Numbering

I had also commented that the Train Order numbering didn't seem to follow the rule that orders started with No. 1 at midnight. For example, I have four orders for December 29, 1942:

3.53 AM - Order No 108
6.11 AM - Order No 111
4.48 PM - Order No 35
7.22 PM - Order No 38

The first two were written by Dispatcher RHC, and the second by EWR. Considering the time span, I figured they were different shifts. While that must have been true, what I didn't initially catch is that they were also from different divisions.

The two earliest orders were to run New Britain to Westfield, and New Britain to Plainville, which are in the Hartford Division, while the last two orders were to both to run Berlin to North Haven, which are the New Haven Division. Furthermore, while I don't have any evidence other than the Train Orders at this point, I think that the New Haven Division Train Orders started at "1" each day, and the Hartford Division Train Orders started with "101" each day. In other words, I don't think 108 orders had been written by 3.53 AM, only eight.

Order No. 162 is still interesting. Running from Cedar Hill to Plainville (at least) it would have most likely been NY-2 or NY-4, expected in Berlin around 3:00 am and 7:50 am respectively. I originally thought the order read 1.06 AM, but based on the order number I'm now thinking it is 1.06 PM. These trains were usually assigned a J-1. 

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Unexpected Information

Last week I wrote about some information I found in documentation from a telegraphers' dispute with the railroad. It's a good example of being able to find useful information in unexpected places.

Here's another one.

Don (signaldesign) posted lists of Public Railroad Crossings that the NH compiled on the NHRHTA Forum recently. I hadn't taken a look, since while seemingly interesting enough, I know where the grade crossings in New Britain are. But I knew I would want to grab it just to have the information.

What is helpful is that the date of installation of the automatic gates/signals is noted.

Here's the Berlin Line

But, you say, that's information that is expected in a document like this. Very true, but it wasn't what I found most intriguing.

As I noted on Monday, I was working on a page for the New Hartford Local/New Hartford Line on the new site, so I decided to grab the list of crossings for that line. And what did I find?

Not only information on the crossings, as expected, but also when each section of the line was abandoned, including the number of the ICC docket of when the abandoned the section from Collinsville to New Hartford after the 1955 floods. That actual abandonment was a full year later. I haven't dug up the ICC docket yet (it doesn't look like it's online), but it's on my list now.

I had seen it reported that the line outlasted the New Haven, but it appears it was abandoned 10 months earlier, in February, 1968. The 1967 date of the section from Unionville to Collinsville makes sense, since Collins & Co closed in 1966. It looks like the traffic to Unionville wasn't enough to warrant maintaining the line at all.

Thanks again to Don for posting these on the forum.

Monday, April 26, 2021

HDX-5 in Newington and New Britain

I've been trying to maintain a steady pace of posts this year, but at the same time I am also rebuilding my website.

I built my current site on Google Sites. But like so many products and services Google has created, they have decided to end the old Google Sites and create an entirely new (and less flexible) product. Long story short, I've been rebuilding the site on the new Sites (after looking at alternatives), and I've taken the opportunity to essentially rewrite most of it as well. It needed it anyway.

When I get there, it has lots of new information, compiled information from the blog (that was the point anyway), and new photos too. 

Since the new site is still some time off, here's a teaser. I've been working on the page for the New Hartford Local. Kent Cochrane photos, of course, c1947-8 unless noted.

K-1-d No. 423 with HDX-5 westbound at Newington Junction.

479 westbound with HDX-5 with a 15 car* train taken from Black Rock Bridge in New Britain.

*This is noted by Tom McNamara on the back of the photo, which comes from his collection. I count 11 cars. The date is also stamped on the back of the card, but it doesn't look like mid-October to me. All of the distant visible buildings on the north side of the track (to the left of the train) are part of Stanley Works.

The photo of 423 is great, because I could finish the K-1-d that I have since it has Baker valve gear. Since HDX-5 ran with steam until the end of 1948, it makes it easier to get it up and running. Then I can worry about how to fabricate the Southern valve gear for 479 in the future. Of course I'll still have to see if I can get it to haul 11 cars up the helix...

Friday, April 23, 2021

Modifying the Tichy Flat Car Part VI

In the first post I showed how I modified the deck and assembled the basic kit.

The second post covered scratchbuilding side sills and measuring and installing stake pockets. The third post covered how I was handling the rivets with an addendum from my buddy Bill Gill here. The fourth covered some additional prototypes. Fifth was the underframe on the NH car. 

The impetus for this particular project was a photo of a T&P flat car which also includes prototype information for that and similar cars.

With the underframe done, I needed to work on the body of the car itself. The side sills were done the same way as the other models, with strip styrene, the Tichy stake pockets, and harvested rivets. The car at the Trolley museum has some extra holes drilled on the side and end, but I skipped these as they looked to have been from various repairs over the years. 

But the end sill was quite different from the kit.

End Sills



I couldn't get a good full shot of the ends since it is sitting between two other cars. The end sill itself is just a simple steel channel with the flanges turned in toward the interior. In other words, from the outside it's just a flat end, and very easy to model. But what intrigued me was the rather substantial buffer, and the cast poling pockets that wrap around the corner. Also note the B-end is missing the handbrake altogether, although the support under the sill and retainer valve are still present.

Poling Pockets

I've been looking into the possibility of getting these 3D printed, but the parts are so small it may not be possible. A second option would be to 3D print the entire end sill. But I decided since I was working on these cars now I'd see if I could scratch-build them.

The casting is attached with two rivets on the end, and two on the side, one of which also attaches the grab iron. It is angled slightly toward the side, and has two stiffening ridges. The deck is entirely gone, so you can see how the end sill channel is notched to fit into the side sill (which is also a channel), and how the poling pocket casting ties it together.

I decided to try to replicate this, using a Cal Scale poling pocket and building the casting around it.

Because I find it easier to build something up, than to cut and shape it, the end sill is made of of three pieces of strip styrene. One across the top of the coupler pocket, and one on either side. Using liquid styrene cement means it will behave like a single piece when attached, and I brushed the cement across the face of it then smoothed it with a fine finishing stick to hide the seams.

After marking the end the width of the poling pocket casting, I glued a length of strip styrene to the end.

I found the easiest way to do this was to hold it on the end, and apply the liquid cement to the inside corner on the side. Once that tacked it down I could remove my finger and glue around the other sides of the piece. If you accidentally apply too much, don't touch the piece until it dries. The cement melts the plastic, but if you don't disturb it or squish it, it will be OK.

I then bent it around the corner, marked, cut, and glued it to form the corner casting itself. Next I drilled a hole for the poling pocket casting, at an angle since it would need to be tilted toward the side of the car:

These are the tungsten drill bits I got from Amazon, and I've found that the shaft is large enough I can just use it by hand for this. I then used a reamer to widen the hole.

I glued the poling pocket at an angle, then formed the casting with some thin strip styrene.

After doing the first two, I found gluing the center first, then bending around it once that had set worked best.

This is a process of bend and glue, bend and glue, and then trim once it has reached the desired shape. I then glued two pieces to form the stiffening flanges:

As you can see, I leave a good sized 'handle' to work with, then trim it once it has set.

It's hard to see with everything being white styrene, but I'm quite happy with how they came out.

Uncoupling Lever

The uncoupling lever is just bent wire, but after gluing it to the top of the end sill, I used the same approach to glue and bend the brackets.


This is a fairly substantial casting, but built the same way. I used several strips to make the basic shape, then glued on the flanges, applied rivets, and finally the face.

Shaping the mounting plate.

The 'box' is built around the coupler opening, now I'm making the first two stiffening flanges on top.

Once those have dried and are trimmed, I installed the rivets, then added the center two flanges.

One of the side flanges is trimmed, the other is about to be.

Test fitting (and testing with) a coupler.

When looking at a complex shape like this, it's good to identify the individual parts that can be used to fabricate it:

The way I broke this down was the back part. The first one I did I made the curved part of the plate that attaches it to the car, but it's so small I didn't bother on the second ones. I did narrow the coupler pocket significantly and have found this does not affect operation.

So the back plate was a piece of styrene across the top, plus one on each side. I then clipped diagonal and vertical to step it in toward the coupler.

The next step was to form the box around the coupler along the edge of the coupler opening.'

The stiffening flanges are more styrene, long then cut to shape. Four on the top, then one to each side, plus the one a the bottom. Add the rivets, and then add the face. Again, I did this as a piece across the top, then trimmed an angle for the side pieces before gluing them on.

It's fiddly, but once you are able to visualize it as individual parts, not too difficult to build.

Unfortunately, either my primer or glue application was too heavy, because once primed most of the rivets aren't as noticeable.

But overall I'm very happy with my first attempt at this sort of detail, and being an old car some weathering, dirt, and rust will help make the buffer look correct anyway. I may be able to bring out the rivets a bit more in the process.

As I mentioned, I decided to make this a very well used car by heavily distressing the deck. I simply carved it up with a scalpel, and used a brass wire brush to clean out the grooves. It was fun digging some real gouges, and I also have two holes going all the way through the deck. I had to carve and try to thin the edge of these holes from the bottom, because the deck is fairly thick in the main body.

It will need a final coat of black paint for the car body, and an unpainted (and well weathered) deck. I also have to see what decals I can dig up, and also if I can find an photo with its in-service lettering instead of the MoW lettering.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Operations - Conductor's Car Reports

Despite the great amount of information in the articles and information on the IBM-Teletype system, I still have significant holes in the paperwork actually used by conductors on the road.

Conductors Car Reports

This is the title page from Form T-488, and while it was issued August 1, 1927. There are a couple of pages of instructions, and the rest of the book consists of Station Numbers, mileage, etc. 

I have two other books that mention Conductor's Passenger Train and Freight Train Reports:

Form SCS-1 Station Numbers
SCS-2 Uniform Alphabetical Reporting Car Reporting Marks
which must be used in making out Operating Department Forms

The SCS-1 book is effective October 15, 1944, and supersedes T-488 as of that date. The SCS-2 book is dated December 1, 1956. They provide the station numbers and car reporting marks to be used in Passenger and Conductor Train Reports. SCS-2 provides a larger list of forms that they apply to, and the form numbers:

  • 546    Daily Yard Check
  • 1278    Report of Cars Released Subject to Car Demurrage
  • 1289, 1290    Station Car Demurrage Record
  • 1404    Agent's Reclaim under Per Diem Rule 15
  • 1418    Report of Cars Subject to Car Demurrage Average Agreement
  • 1454    Agent's Reclaim under Per Diem Rule 14
  • 1464    Home Route Card
  • 1483, 1487, 2022    Daily Interchange Report of Cars
  • 1480    Report of Cars on Hand
  • 1581-1582    Conductors' Freight Train Report (listed as 1582-1585 in SCS-1)
  • 1591-1595    Conductors' Passenger Train Report
  • 1855    Freight Waybill
  • Teletype Outbound and Inbound Freight Consists
I have examples of several of the above forms (1464 Home Route Card, 1480 Report of Cars on Hand, 456 Daily Yard Check), but I don't have 1581/2 Conductor's Freight Train Report.

Since SCS-2 is from 1956, it's clear that the Conductor's Freight Train Report was still in use in the era of the IBM-Teletype system. I believe this is the report that the Conductor would complete and send to the Car Service Department and records all of the car movements (drops and picks) made during the run and is the same thing/evolution of the Conductor's Car Report (particularly since SCS-1 superseded T-488). 

Although I don't have further information on the Conductors' Freight Train Report, I do have information on the Passenger version from the General Manual of Instructions for Conductors and Ticket Collectors from 1960. This has the instructions for completing the reports themselves, and, perhaps more helpfully, identifies the difference between them. It appears that the forms themselves are identical, but have a different number of copies.
  • 1595-1 (5 parts) is for Boston-New York trains.
  • 1594 (4 parts) is for all local trains in and out of New York that do not run through New Haven.
  • 1593 (3 parts) is for all local trains in and out of Boston and all local trains in and out of New Haven that don't run through to New York or Boston.
  • 1592 (1 part) is for all other local trains.
Each part is on a different color paper, and is sent to a different office. I've made educated guesses as to which forms have which colors.
  • White - Auditor of Car Service Accounts (all)
  • Blue - Superintendent of Passenger Transportation (1593, 1594, 1595-1)
  • Yellow - Ass't Superintendent, Grand Central Terminal (1594, 1595-1)
  • Goldenrod - Ass't Superintendent, Boston Division (1593, 1595-1)
  • Light Green - Auditor of Passenger Receipts (1594, 1595-1)

The Passenger Train Reports are for recording the number of passengers at origination, termination, and certain key terminals. These are recorded per car, and also indicate the type of car. While interesting, probably not something that would be implements on a model railroad. Having said that, we did try something similar at RPI where there were cars (similar to waybills) indicating the amount of passengers and baggage picked up at each station to add something more to the process than just stopping at the station. Not necessary in my one town layout, but something to consider.  


T-488 has extensive instructions regarding the completion of these forms. The later booklets don't have detailed instructions, they may be printed on the reverse of the form itself, or in another booklet that I haven't found yet.

The forms include the date/time the train leaves and arrives, each engine including points to/from by engine if different than the entire run, all of the cars in the train as they stand, the points to/from for each car, caboose number in the space provided, numbers of stations and sidings as noted in the book (superseded by SCS-1), mileage for each car, type of car (it doesn't use AAR types such as XM, a box car is to be listed as 'B'), weight of each car, plus some special instructions.

This report is forwarded to the Superintendent of Car Service upon completion of the trip, and the Conductor must keep a copy in their train book. While it sounds like a lot of information, and a lot of handwritten work (it is), remember that the Conductor had plenty of time to complete the paperwork at the desk in the caboose while running.

Even if later versions of the form had fewer columns, the most important columns and process remains - the movement of every car must be recorded. Cars picked up were added to the list on the way, and the final destination of a car spotted at an industry was also recorded. 

The train would be recorded on the form with destinations, then any known pickups below. Train Orders could be used to provide instructions for any new pickups along the way, and the Conductor can add those to the form as well.

I don't have a New Haven Conductor's Train Book either, as referenced in the rules above, but I do have is a Reading version from 1929. The book has the full instructions on the first couple of pages. My copy is very fragile, and the cover and instructions are so worn that I can't scan them. But here's a picture of one of the pages:

I also have a booklet of Instructions Governing the Preparation of Freight Train Conductors' Wheel Reports for Pere Marquette issued September 1st, 1929. Although this specifies Wheel Reports, it is clear that the basic process for the PM, Reading and NH were very similar.


As a side note - when Chris and I were discussing paperwork, and he mentioned that somebody had pointed out that the NYS&W listed their cars on paperwork like Conductor's Reports from the caboose to the engine. The evidence presented appears to be that the first line of the form has a preprinted line for the caboose, as it is on the above report.

However, I have always "known" that the Conductor's report listed the cars starting from the engine. I can't say where I learned this, but I still felt that it was incorrect. I'm a skeptic of "known" things without supporting evidence. So what evidence is there?

Here's what it says in T-488:

The Reading book I mentioned before states this:

3. Insert carbon paper between the wide and the narrow section of your report, and after the initial and the number of the caboose, which must be inserted on the first line commence at the engine and take the initials, number, and kind of each car as it stands in the train.

If you look at the pages of the Reading book I posted above, you'll see that Line 1 is labeled Caboose (there's also a place for the caboose in the header).

My buddy Ralph just sent me a copy of a Lehigh Valley List of Station & Siding Symbols and Home Route Numbers from May 1, 1946. In the instructions it states:

9. Caboose number, or number of car used as caboose, must constitute the first car number entry, followed by other cars in the order of their appearance behind the locomotive.

In the Let's Operate a Railroad book, published in 1957, there are several comments about this and related processes. For example, a yard clerk will complete a similar report regarding what cars on are a given track, including road, number, loaded or empty, type of car, door seal numbers, etc. It notes the clerk can start at either end, and notes which end was their starting point. But it goes on to say, "When a road conductor runs over the road he keeps his stack of waybills in the exact order of the cars in the train - lined up from engine backward."

So it's interesting that the two are differentiated. Later, in a section about Home Routes, it mentions a, "line-up form," that is sent to the dispatchers office which, "...will show...a detailed breakdown of the standing of the train by groups reading from engine to caboose..."

I have seen a blank O&W form that also has caboose preprinted for Line 1, just like the NH Form 1426-1 and the NYS&W form. This doesn't surprise me, since I've seen a lot of forms that are very similar, if not identical, from other roads in the era.

I don't have documentation for NYS&W or most other roads, so a given road might have used a different process. But I think that is also unlikely.

While the rules weren't standardized in this era, they did base their rules on the rules published by the AAR, and they were very similar from road to road with some exceptions.

There were also undoubtedly companies that specialized in printing forms for the railroads, and many of those forms were somewhat "standardized" simply because it made printing them easier and cheaper. Something the railroads always appreciated. In other words, the forms were the similar or the same because the general processes were.

I'm comfortable in saying that the NH recorded the train from the engine back, along with the Reading and LV,  and that seems to have been the general standard as reported in the book Let's Operate a Railraod which was also published during the era in question. I believe the process would be the same for any road unless there are instructions/rules that state otherwise.

As always, YMMV.

Monday, April 19, 2021

New Britain Passenger Trains - Heavyweights

For 1950 and later, I knew what I'd need for cars, even if it's not simple to model them yet. But in the many Cochrane photos in the 1948 and earlier periods, it was clear that the commuter trains were primarily composed of heavyweight cars. The question is, what cars would I need?

Deciphering the Heavyweight Cars

Trying to determine which heavyweight cars I would need was a challenge. As I noted, I have a number of consist books, but they don't list the commuter trains. I was also thrown off by what seemed to be a discrepancy between the photos and the documentation I had.

Looking at photos, it was clear that the windows on many of the cars were taller than what is on the Atlas (ex-Branchline) model. In the 30's the New Haven rebuilt much of their heavyweight fleet and in that process installed a taller nameboard, making the windows shorter and more square.

In addition, none of the photos are clear enough to have road numbers visible and worse, they are typically extreme 3/4 views so identification of the cars is even harder.

Consist Books

This seemed like the best place to start, at least to glean as much information as I could. The April 1950 and later ones were helpful in that they not only list (almost) all of the passenger equipment at the start, but it also notes the trains the equipment is assigned. So it's not the full consist information, but I can at least identify the types of cars that make up the consist.

Unfortunately, by that date, the Highland Line trains were only assigned Pullman-Bradley lightweights, with the exception of 600-series coaches being assigned in the September 1951 book. They are still assigned in the 1952 book, but with a notation that they will be replaced with RDCs when received. More on the 600-series cars in a moment.

Disposition Lists

I also have other resources like Summaries of Equipment, ORPE (the passenger equivalent of the ORER), and disposition lists that record cars that have been converted, condemned, destroyed, purchased or sold. So I could compile a spreadsheet to help determine what cars were still in service at the time.

But without specific documentation on the trains, I was stuck. So maybe I could start with the cars I could easily model.


So the next place I looked were equipment diagrams. Heavyweight cars with the taller windows (not rebuilt) were some cars in the 6700-6725 series of smokers, some coaches in the 7800-7950 series that weren't rebuilt, plus 7951-7976 series, the 7984-8014, 8016-8079, and 8081-8085 series, along with 8015, and 8086-8095 series.

Back to the Photos

Clearly some of the taller window cars were on these trains, so I had to determine a way to identify which classes. The answer is to look for additional features that are visible in most of the photos: The window spacing for the far left and far right windows, clerestory vents, whether they rode on 4- or 6-wheel trucks.


  • 7 Ward Vents
  • Wide spaced window at 'A' end only (both sides)
  • 6-wheel trucks

7800-7950 Not Rebuilt

  • 7 Ward Vents
  • Wide spaced window at both ends
  • 6-wheel trucks (with some exceptions)


  • 7 Ward vents
  • Wide spaced window at left end (both sides)
  • 4-wheel trucks

7984-8014, 8015, 8016-8079, 8081-8085, 8086-8095

  • 10 Ward vents (with some exceptions)
  • Wide spaced window at left end (both sides)
  • 4-wheel trucks

Here are some examples, crops from some Kent Cochrane photos:

May 24, 1947 at New Britain Station

This one is nice because you can clearly see the rivet patterns on the car, with a splice plate (two rows of rivets), then a single row before another splice place. So the windows are in groups of two between the splice plates.

Both cars have 7 Ward vents. The first car has 6-wheel trucks, the rear 4-wheel trucks. The first car has wide-spaced windows at both ends of the sides, but the second car only at the left end.

So the first car is from the 7800-7950 series, not rebuilt (since these both have the tall windows). The second car is from the 7951-7976 series.

East of Elm St, New Britain, date unknown (c1946-7)

This one is a little tougher. It's 7 Ward vents and 6-wheel trucks. What's hard to tell is whether the end window on the right side is wider spaced. If yes (and I think it is) then it's a 7800-7950-series, not rebuilt. If not, then it's one of the 6700-series Standard Smokers. I've been having difficulty identifying thus train, The car just to the left of it is the ex-Besler coach. Behind the coaches are two baggage cars. If it is 136, then it should have an RPO, in which case this is probably a smoker. Otherwise I think this is a coach. Initially I thought it might be Train No. 472, which picks up the baggage car of storage mail bound for Hartford at New Britain station each day, but that's scheduled at 8.33 PM or 9.24 pm depending on the year/time of year.  

For modeling purposes, even if this is Train 136 and that's a 6700-series Smoker, the consist books always list a Deluxe Smoker and this would be unusual. So I'm going to assume this is a 7800-7950-series rebuilt coach.

Waterbury, June 1947

This could be a Naugatuck line train, but it looks appropriate for the Highland. We can't see the trucks, but you can clearly see the difference between the shorter windows of a rebuilt car and the taller windows on the second car. I'll address the first car when I cover the shorter window cars, but the second one is relatively easy to pick out because it has 10 Ward vents. So it's from the 7984-series and the many smaller groups of cars that look identical.

To the best of my knowledge, the only train on the Highland with a heavyweight Smoker is 131/136. So I think that I can skip the 6700-series Standard Smoker. Otherwise it appears that I could reasonably expect to use some of the other three classes of cars that have taller windows. 

Fortunately, modeling them isn't impossible. Nickel Plate Products imported brass heavyweights identified as O&W coaches (also available paired with a combine). These are a close match to the 7951- and 7984-series cars. They don't have any clerestory vents installed at all, which is great since I won't have to remove any. I'm hoping to build at least three cars within these series.

Being brass models, they are very basic shells. There's very little underbody detail, no interior, no window glazing, etc. So I'm hoping that I can modify the car sides to move the far right window further to the right to cover the not-rebuilt 7800-7950 series cars. Two or more of them would be great, but I'd settle for one. 

An alternative would be to create new sides for the Atlas/ex-Branchline cars. These would be much better detailed (and I will see if I can fit the underframe into the brass model). I have a plan to try that as well, which involves a lot of pieces of styrene and many Archer rivets, or convincing a modeling buddy to 3D print them. But for now I think the brass ones are the quickest option.

Friday, April 16, 2021

Modifying the Tichy Flat Car Part V

In the first post I showed how I modified the deck and assembled the basic kit.

The second post covered scratchbuilding side sills and measuring and installing stake pockets. The third post covered how I was handling the rivets with an addendum from my buddy Bill Gill here. The fourth covered some additional prototypes.

The impetus for this particular project was a photo of a T&P flat car which also includes prototype information for that and similar cars.

I figured I would probably build an MoW flat car at some point, but it wasn't a high priority. But when I learned that the CT Trolley Museum had one of the cars, I decided I really wanted to model it.

Underframe for the NH Car

I went up a couple of times to take some detail photos and measurements and one of the first things I noticed that was quite different from the Tichy model was the underframe so I'll go over how I modeled that in this post.

Unlike the Tichy model, the crossbearers go through the center sill, instead of reaching all the way to the bottom of it. It's also not nearly as deep a fishbelly as the kit. I wasn't surprised to see that it still had KC brakes, simply because they were all retired from revenue service prior to K-brakes being outlawed in 1953.

I started looking at options and found that the underframe for the then-new Accurail 36' Double-Sheathed box car was a very good match for this one.

This is what it will look like assembled. This is being test fit on one of the lengthened cars (note the white styrene spacers), because I wanted to assemble it prior to cutting it shorter to fit the NH car.

This photo is a view of the Tichy underframe as designed to compare with its deeper center sill and more substantial crossbearers.

While the Accurail center sill and crossbearers looked good, I felt the crossties weren't. They were all tapered instead of straight across, and were very narrow where they met the side sill. So I modified some of the Tichy ones to fit instead. These set the two sills wider apart, so I had to file the slot for the crossbearers to be a little wider as well.

Because the underframe fits on the stringers differently, I had to file the slots in the Accurail crossbearers deeper so everything would fit properly.

This shows the modifications I made to the Tichy crossties. The one on the left is unmodified. I first cut off the top flange, and then filed it down until it fit properly without showing below the side sills.

The center sill is too long, so I made sure I cut off equal amounts from each end. I chose to use the Accurail brake system since it looks nice, and the levers and rods are a single piece that's easy to work with. This does mean, however, that the brake cylinder/reservoir sits too close to the B-end of the car. On the NH car this is centered. Moving it would have required cutting a new slot and moving the lever and I didn't think it was worth the effort for this project. Likewise, it wouldn't be that difficult to scratchbuild the underframe entirely to the proper dimensions. I also didn't add a train line.

Getting ahead of myself, but part of the design of the Tichy underframe is there is a weight that fits between the center sills with notches in appropriate places to fit around the other parts. Obviously that wouldn't work here. Instead, this is the first model that I decided to try Liquid Gravity. I believe this product is basically tungsten shot, or something very similar.

I flooded it with CA and it seems to be holding well. I considered gluing strip styrene as a 'cover' to hold the shot in, but for now it seems fine without it. It weighs 3/4 oz with trucks, wheelsets, and couplers, which is about 1/8 oz more than the kit as designed. Obviously it's very light, but I haven't had any issues running empty Kadee hoppers so we'll see how it does.