Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Conrail Cabooses, part 1

One of the fun reason to model early Conrail, 1978 in my case, is the variety of equipment that was in service.  This is also before the vast reduction in the number of cabooses being used, in fact Conrail actually ordered a few early on in its existence.  The good news for modelers, there are lots of options for modeling these cabooses.  I kitbashed an N8A, described earlier on my blog.  Bowser makes many of the PRR cabooses that made it into Conrail.  Proto 2000, Atlas, Intermountain, JJL Models and Wright Trak all make RTR or kits that work for Conrail as well.  I have a couple I have been working on couple of RTR models to update the details to make them more appropriate for the 1978 era. I am not looking to make perfect replica of particular car numbers, but give a good feel for the prototype.  This means removing roof walks on most models, cutting down ladders, adding kick plates to the end platforms, blanking out windows and adding vents.  Also adding additional lettering and markings as well as weathering. 

The first one I am working on is the Proto 2000 North Eastern style caboose.  This model represents a former Reading caboose and is a class N4A on Conrail. This is one of the earlier releases from the original Proto 2000 line.  The good news is the overall detail is correct, the painting and lettering is nicely done, but the logo looks to be a little long.  It comes with an interior and it is light, not sure if it will function on DCC or not.  The biggest draw back on this model is the roof walk is molded into the roof.  I decide to leave the roof walk on this as I just did not feel like filing and sanding it off and then trying to make the roof look decent after that.  The good news is it is a very fine molding, so it looks pretty good.  I am not sure if I am going to keep the plastic grabs, I will see what it looks like after I weather them.  I will paint the ones on the roof black so they showed not show up as much as the white ones.

Here is the Proto 2000 N4A straight out of the box.

This side gets one window sealed, this time using .010 styrene.

This side gets two windows sealed.

The second model I am upgrading is a Bowser N5C, a former PRR car with the distinctive porthole windows.  The Bowser RTR cabooses are really nice, and I think they are a great bargain these days. On this car I am blanking out some windows, adding a vent and adding kick plates to the end railings.  I am also removing the roof walk and the upper parts of the ladders to the roof.

Here is the Bowser N5C straight out of the box.

Here is the Bowser N5C straight out of the box.

The window on the far right had had a vent added to it, it will be sealed
by painting it over with blue paint.

I sealed the end window on the left using paint.  The kick plate in .010 styrene,
waiting to be painted blue.  I have also clipped off the upper two
grab irons on the adder.  I will also replace the couplers with Kadee 158's


Sunday, October 6, 2019

NH 44 Tonner 0811

Another project I have completed is the 44 tonner 0811.  This particular locomotive was assigned to switch Norwich for a number of years.  I have seen photos of it in the green and orange paint in several books and I have a photo of it from Bob's Photos in McGinnis paint.

0811 just south of the Norwich Passenger station in 1057

Randy Hamill has a great write up on all of the New Haven's 44 tonners on his blog: http://blog.newbritainstation.com/ .  He explains how to back date the Bachmann phase IV to Phase III, which is correct for the 0811.  It is unfortunate that the Bachmann red is so dark as it is other wise a decent model of the phase IV.  I used the information from Randy's site to model the 0811, so I will only show a few photos of my project.

Here is the cab with the open stack covers and rail gutters added

This shows the hood hatches and door handles I added.

Here is the finished model with some light weathering.

This is the factory painted model.  Not bad, but not great either.

Monday, September 30, 2019

Israel Putanm

About the Israel Putnam posted yesterday.  This is one of the many New Haven Railroad items I purchased over the years before refining my modeling period and location.  The prototype car was purchased from Pullman when it divested itself of most of its sleepers in the late 1940’s. Looking at NH Consist lists, which I have a few, but not an all-inclusive list by any means.  The earliest I have found the Israel Putnam listed is in 1942, still owned by the Pullman Company, and assigned to the Federal, train 172-173.  The train carried 6 12-1 Pullmans, all with ice a/c.  The next consist list I have is the spring of 1950 and it had moved over to the Montrealer, travelling between Penn Station and St. Albans. By 1952 it was listed as a spare with only two train carrying 12-1 Pullmans at that time, the Federal and trains 55-56, travelling from Grand Central Station and Springfield MA.  The only New Haven owned 12-1’s in regular service had mechanical a/c, cars with ice a/c were spares.

Demand for sleeping car accommodations changed after WWII, the demand for open sections dropped rapidly, single bedroom became much more popular, giving much more privacy.  The NH’s 14-4 Pullmans filled tis gap, 10-6 cars from the PRR and other railroads seemed to become much more the standard layout for new cars being constructed in the post war era.  The only thing that really kept any demand for the open sections was that for many government workers, that is all the government would cover for travel. This is the reason that the NH bought new cars with open sections in 1955, the 11 Beach series cars with 6 open sections.  The purchase of the NH’s 27 14-4 Point series cars pretty much doomed the 12-1 cars from most services. 

By the 1955 consist list, all the 12-1 ice a/c cars were set aside at Boston.  Only three mechanical a/c cars were in service, and only as spares. The 1957 list shows the same.  By 1962 consist list has zero heavyweight cars listed and 18 out of the 42 lightweight sleepers as spare.  This shows how much the demand had dropped.  This is the time frame that picture of NH cars show up on railroads such as the Rio Grande, trying to find a way to earn their keep.  By the end of the NH, many cars were leased to the LIRR for use as private room cars for day time service from NYC to the east end of Long Island.

So this long diatribe about post war sleepers on the NH.  My 1958 layout really has no need for the Israel Putnam.  I am not even sure if they are set aside, if they can be used on camp or troop movements.  The same with holiday movements were additional cars may be needed.  I car was pained in PRR colors along with a couple of other NH sleepers to match the PRR cars, this car lasted at least until 1955 in that paint scheme.  I am sure once I am finally operating the layout, the car will show up on the occasional extra camp train.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Low Hanging Fruit

As you can tell, I have been doing work on my layout room.  I have been making good time with it and have been happy with the progress.  The room has not only to hold my layout, it is also my model workshop, regular tool storage and also rehearsal space for multiple small bands.  Both of my sons are musicians and are in different bands that rehears here.  I am also working on being able to record them as well.  One is a drummer, so it always is easier to have rehearsals here, the other is a trombone player.  Both also play around with other instruments as well.

Work on the basement came to a halt this week as my new home heating supplier informed me my oil line from the oil tank to the furnace is not up to code and they will not deliver until it is replaced.  The current line is bare copper, not the plastic coated copper and the ends are not flared at the joints.  So the good news is it is not a huge expense as it is not a great distance, but I have to move all the crap stuff that is stored over and near where the line runs.  So all the stuff has been moved out of that section of that basement, into the nice clean and refinished section.  Fortuitously this will only happen for a couple of weeks until they come and fix it.  In the mean time I have been looking throw some old unfinished projects and have been able to finish them up.

New Haven Railroad 44 Tonner 0811 s it appeared in 1958.  I finally gave it a
light amount of weather it it, as well as the box car behind it using Pan Pastels.

12-1 Pullman Israel Putnam.  This Branchline kit was about 2/3 complete
 sitting in a box. I do still need to add window shades and some light
weathering, particularly on the underframe.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Wauregan, CT

Wauregan, CT is a section of Plainfield CT.  It is also a location of three major customers on the line, American Standard, who built a brand new plant there in 1957/1958, a large gravel pit and Wauregan Grain.  The gravel pit has been replaced by a company that make cast concrete pipe.  The American Standard building is now a large warehouse for a few companies including Staples, but with not rail service.  At least the spur is still in place for potential future use.  Wauregan Grain is still in business and has been expanding as other regional dealers close.  Below are photos I took on September 7, 2019.

Former gravel bit north of the crossing.

North end of the grain dealer.

The former American Standard Plant, this is the north wall.