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
2 Comments - Click Here :
  1. Derrell, very nice work and thanks for posting. I wonder about the side door hardware, is correct or more correct hardware available? Certainly it would be a good deal,of work to remove the cast on details with the wood siding. Would backdating these and other boxcars be easier if one started with a laser cut core covered laser scribed siding in your opinion? I played around with making D&RGW 3000 series boxcars this way a few years ago. It was relatively easy to do but I put it aside at the time as not really an advantage over the straight PBL kit. But I was not thinking backdating the cars to an earlier era at that time.

    Todd Ferguson
    Harrisburg, NC

  2. Todd, in accord with the erection drawings of the cars in 1909 it appears the hardware on the doors is correct. What isn't correct - so far as I can tell - is the sheathing on the doors. In the case of 500 I discarded the sides and made new ones with what I believe to be correct sheathing. But since there is no correct latch mechanism available in any scale I had to make a mold of the original hardware from the kit's side pieces. Rather than go thru that trouble again I decided to live with the doors as they appear in the kit. Plenty of other details that set them well apart from a 1930's car.

    If you were to pursue a laser cut siding you would still be faced with this issue. The hinges are avaiable but none of the other door details.

    Back dated 3000 series and even 4000 series D&RG box cars would be great. I don't ever plan on needing any but I know modelers of the D&RG would love them!

    Maybe I'll see if Darel would want to post photos of backdated C&S box cars.