Sunday, January 26, 2014

C&S Refrigerator Cars - Part Two | 2 Comments - Click Here :

Photos of early SUF are not common and most are unidentifiable. The second car behind engine 66 is an SUF reefer. The photo was probably taken in the late fall of 1910. This was cropped from a larger photo of brand new boxcar 8324, which rolled off the end of a spur track near Blackhawk.

Modeling pre-1919 Colorado & Southern Refrigerator Cars
Part 2
    Derrell Poole - Most of the Narrow Gauge cars were either scrapped or modified in the late teens to comply with the United States Safety Appliances act of 1911. We are very use to how the cars looked after about 1919 and Reefers in particular from the 1930s onward. Part of my theory that reefers are not “seen” much prior to about 1933 is that they may have been painted ordinary Freight Car Red – with black lettering - in the interim between 1919 and about that time. I’m not sold on this but it is a possibility and there seems to be some suggestion from a few photos. At any rate when one goes to build cars from kits the SUF reefers require a lot of “adjusting”. The Floor issue should apply across the board so that even if you build a stock kit you should plug up the frames. But if you are backdating your model everything else is a dated feature.

    The photos show what I did. The changes included non-framed side ladders (no ladders on the ends) with only 4 irons per “ladder” – not 5. These are 21” irons btw – most untypical for post 1919 cars. In all there were just 14 grab irons per house car not counting the sill steps. In contrast there were something like 32 grab irons on post 1919 house cars.

   Another important and perhaps miss represented detail were the brake staff and pertinent hardware. The Reefer staffs were 10’ 8” in length on the original cars but they were enhanced with some interesting details gone after 1919. But they show up in original drawings and they show up on similar cars (boxcars). I model these with the addition of brass tubing to the 0.020" brass wire I use (the staffs were 1 1/4" in diameter and the .020" wire is within a few .001" of that size in S scale). I also had to modify the bracket parts to fit the mounting of the staffs. You will notice both the grab iron and coupler lift bar are located between the staff and the car. The irons stood 2.75” off the siding so the lower bracket had to be “built up" to capture the end of the staff.

    Under the frame I built one car using the Delrin brake lever assembly as it came out of the box. That was a pain in the ass so on the remaining cars I trimmed off the hangers and used brass wire instead. I also modified the chain rod so that it didn't splay out to the side of the car where the non-existent chain roller would have been located on a post 1919 car.

    I also used the kit Brake Cylinder but decided I didn't like it either. One nice thing about the OMI kit is that the airline to the brake cylinder is cast in Delrin. I get pretty aggravated with the styrene versions of this part because they are so delicate. Well in neither case did the stock cylinder or  Berlyn castings I used really fit the airline well and the union on the cylinder disappeared under the No. 76 drill needed for the pipe to fit into. Grrrr…

    Another thing about this cylinder is that there isn't an actual feature for the valve that was used to open the tank in the air reservoir (at least not what seems to be present on the early versions - and it appears this valve may have been moved to the top of the tank on later versions. I’ll admit I’m kinda guessing at this “valve” but at least there is something there for those levers to "open". Someone with a Master Mechanics book might be able to research this. To me it’s a small thing and I've addressed it well enough for this scale.

    A bigger issue is the modern style side doors, which I decided were not worth the trouble I went to on Car 500 (built several years ago from a PBL kit - see photos A & B of part 1 of this series). You can see I’m not worried about that either. (I know what is wrong with these cars and it is my choice to live with that as opposed to just being dumb!)

    I really went back and forth on the ice hatches. The drawings show no tails on the hatches. But I could not find clear photos to convince me that was how they were built. Well, I finally did find one that strongly suggested they were built like the drawings showed and then looking at less definitive photos I came to the conclusion that, as built, the hatches had no tails. Also I reluctantly came to accept that one cannot use the nice 3 board roof walks included in the kit so I made up my own walks with (4) 5.25” boards (Evergreen part no. 114). Another kinda bugger in the mix is that roof grab iron. Not a lot of room to shoehorn it into place between the hatch and the edge of the roof – at an angle! Push the hatches toward the roof walk as much as the little placement nibs will allow!)

The car on top was started first and I used the stock Cylinder and brake rigging castings. But I didn’t like the stock cylinder and I hate those Delrin brake hangers so I changed what I did on the 4 remaining cars. This is how a pre 1919 frame should look (as detail and scale permit).

This is what you see on all SUF kit built cars. In this case I got the car already built and in fact it was lettered RGS. I corrected the paint but did nothing to fix the frame details. This happens to be a boxcar so it would not have the sub flooring. Still you can get an idea of how the reefer frames differed.

Item 1; I replaced the crappy Delrin hangers with Brass. Item 2; I also pinned this lever to its pad for more security. Item 3; I added a casting to represent the Drain Valve in the air resv. This seems to show up if you look at earlier photos. Item 4; this is a Berlyn casting. I thought it would work with the delrin air pipe casting better than the stock casting but not so.

Item 1; Like the airline casting to the brake Cyl. I get really bent when my glad hands break off. This is a PCS brass casting soldered to a tube and then ACC’d to the main airline. Item 2; Modified chain rod and bottom staff bracket. Look close and you will see I built up the bracket to accommodate the brake staff. Photos suggest this was sort what the prototype looked like.

Item 1; a different angle on the lower Bracket. Item 2; the upper bracket was modified too. Note the tubing on the staff – top and bottom – to reflect the 1909 version.
Item 3; backdated Coupler lift bars – note the grab iron and bar are behind the brake staff. Also note where the Retainer valve is in relationship to the staff.

Item 1; sill step replaced modern casting (used the upper parts of the casting). Item 2; No 5 rung ladders. (4) 21” Grab Irons. Item 3; No Chain roller either. Item 4; the doors on the modern kits are probably not correct but the hassle of changing them isn’t worth the trouble – to me at least.

Item 1; no tails on the hatches. I doubt if the hinges are correct but I will accept these. Item 2; (4) 5.25” x 1” walk boards. Item 3; that confounded angled grab iron one must shoehorn between the roof edge and hatch!
These were fun cars to build and building them in mass seems to have an advantage. I still have 5 more to build – and I need to paint these cars. That will be covered in part three.

Keep the Faith – Model Sn3!
Derrell Poole

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Colorado Reefers - Part One | 7 Comments - Click Here :

    Oops, I meant to title this "Colorado & Southern Refrigerator Cars". If you've arrived here thinking it was about something else found in Colorado, my apologies!
    This month marks two years of writing this blog (thank you to all who have taken the time to read it!). I started the blog as a means to motivate myself and record my progress building a small exhibition layout (written as an "here's what I did" as opposed to a "how to do it"). My progress has been slow, thus having new material to blog about is hard to come up with. But I try my best to keep it current and up to date, unlike many other blogs on the internet (I also limit my recommended blog list to those which are updated regularly within the last six months).
    The guest editorial below was submitted by my good friend and renowned C&S expert Derrell Poole (my other brother). This will be a three-part series. I'm excited to share it with you, and I look forward to many more. I also welcome guest editorials from other C&S Sn3 modelers (a forum for C&Sn3 modeling if you will?). Drop me a line if you're interested. However, brother d understands that this is a non-profit organization!
All for the good of Sn3. Enjoy!

500 was built several years ago from a PBL kit. The rest are 5 of the OMI kits I've finished so far.

Modeling pre-1919 Colorado & Southern Refrigerator Cars
Part 1

    I've been working on a set of 10 OMI C&Sng steel under-frame (SUF) refrigerators that represent how the cars appeared in 1910. The target period is actually late 1910 (Fall) so by this point the cars were about 18 months old. Still new and still in their original glory (with 500 series numbers to boot).

    A long time ago John Maxwell sent me copies of his field notes on RGS 2101c was Ex-C&S 1116 (516) and in the notes he described sub flooring. We corresponded quite a bit about C&S reefers in general and he made it clear that reefers had insulated floor. He also provided the erecting drawings of both the SUF and the un-built 1908 (type II) cars and in those drawings are described the sub flooring as ordinary (T&G) car siding between the sills (along with various insulating material).

End view including the “customized” siding of 502.

    It makes sense that every plane of an iced car should be insulated. Ice melts and icing cars was a costly venture both in labor and facilities (and the hassle of collecting ice). Every effort was made to make the ice do as much work as possible which means ALL TRUE REFRIGERATORS were equipped with insulated floors – or at least this is what we should expect. Yet not one commercial kit of ANY of the C&S cars offers this feature. And I’ll venture very few if any scratch built cars has the insulated floors. Including mine!

    So I decided the OMI cars I have would address this omission. Certain Sn3 kit makers seem to have the same basic strategy for SUF cars. The objective was to put weight in the cars without using the top of the floor as the location for the weight. I assume this was to aide in weighting open top cars. To do this the wood frames were modified to accept a steel plate and add about 2 oz to the cars for a total of 4oz. Yuk!

    But the provision for that weight turns out to be perfect for the sub flooring which would have been recessed from the bottom face of the stringers by enough to allow the attachment of keeper strips at the joints of the stringers and flooring. And that is what I did.

Order of progression 1-4 on building the sub floor and frame.

The major parts for the sub floor and frame.

The sub floor fits between the stringers. 
0.03” plain plastic under .020” thick siding works perfect.

Sub flooring completed. 

    In the next part of this series, I will describe the general building of these cars and all of the little details I ran into.

Keep the Faith – Model Sn3!
Derrell Poole
Hamilton, MT

Saturday, January 11, 2014

A Small Cabin | 2 Comments - Click Here :

    I've been following Trevor Marshall's latest entries on his Port Rowan in S scale blog, about building a house for St. Williams. His posts inspired me to get off my butt and build a structure. All of the other structures for the layout need to be scratch-built (not including the water closets). But as no photos of this particular cabin exist, I was free to build it as I desired.
    On the 1918 valuation map of Dickey, is a structure labeled "Cabin". Judging by its location, I am presuming this to be privately owned by one or more railroad men. There are 5 more of these cabins within close proximity of the railroad (Dickey was not a town, but an important junction and servicing facility). The Bunk House next door was just that - beds for a large force of men (track gangs in the summer, and "snowbirds" in the winter). The Section (eating) House across the tracks had a kitchen and dinning hall on the lower level to feed the men, and living quarters above for the caretakers.  

  There are a couple of good laser kits available in S scale. I chose the Miners Cabin from Banta Modelworks because it reminds me of some of the cabins that were in nearby Kokomo. I built it right out of the box (attacking the siding aggressively with my hobby knife to give it a weathered appearance), but I used tar paper roofing from Builders In Scale. I also added a chair (Banta) and a modified trophy elk from Musket Miniatures (obviously placed there by a proud trainman who's wife rejected it back at home).
    Thanks to a great little kit from Banta, this was a quick and fun project which only took a few evenings to complete. Many thanks also to Trevor for getting me back to the workbench!

~Cowboy Up!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Additional Wreck Photograph | 2 Comments - Click Here :

    One of the most rewarding things about having a blog, is the ability to share information. Many visitors post comments (which can be done at the bottom of each blog entry), while the majority of them email back-channel. Thank you to all for sharing your wealth of information!
    The following email is from my longtime friend Derrell Poole, which I have posted below with his permission. Derrell sent me a photo, which after close observation is of the same wreck from my previous post on 12/31/2013. I've included the un-cropped photo from that post as well for comparison. 
    Yes Brother d, these are photos of the same wreck on the same day. I think its safe to say that is Conductor Miller, Dr. Condon and the No. #47. Awesome stuff! Thanks!
    "Darel, this article seems to describe a photo I have which I am forwarding to you by email that was labeled Illinois Gulch 12-31-02 – photo labels being what they are. Pittsburg Spur, according to C&S Timetable No. 9 (Oct. 1902) was located at MP 105.3, which puts it at just under 5 miles from Breckenridge in the upper reaches of Illinois Gulch (Bakers Tank was at MP 102 and Washington Spur was at MP 105.9).
    The 2 photos the locomotive is in the same position both with the plow in the same busted position. Both are B class Cooke built 2-8-0s. In my photo there are two (of the 3?) wrecked cars both being Tiffany Reefers of 26 and 27 foot varieties and neither have yet been rebuilt according the 1902 AFE, This AFE would remove their Tiffany appliances. In my article on the C&S Tiffany Reefers (Colorado Narrow Gauge Quarterly, 1st Quarter 2008 page 18) I list what I’m “guessing” to be the numbers of the two cars. But according to the official records car 586 (27’) was scrapped in May of 1903 so obviously it could not have been the car on the right. The mysteries continue…
    Every time I’ve looked at this photo I’ve wondered which engine that was. I’m not 100% sure these are of the same wreck but there is a lot of close correlation. Still I believe pretty strongly that this is indeed No. 47. Very sad that Engineer Williams was killed in this wreck."

Derrell Poole

Maureen Nicholls

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Sunday Drive | 10 Comments - Click Here :

Well it was Tuesday, but it felt like a Sunday. It was a beautiful day for a drive up the Canon.

    I wanted to get some confirmation as to how the cab curtains may have been hung. The following photos are of what was found on the #60. Note the engineer's side hung between the firebox and cab door, having previously been located to the outside. Also the remains of one of the tie straps used to hang the curtain along the rear of the roof.

What is the purpose of this fireman's device below? It looks like it may have had many functions.

I think Casper could get used to these kind of trips. Roper is still pissed at me for not bringing him along!