Friday, July 17, 2015

Overland Passenger Car Modifications - Part 3 | 1 Comments - Click Here :

Equalizer Bars:

Keith Hayes - While the PBL trucks result in a free-rolling passenger car, the C&S truck sideframe has a continuous piece of steel that extends from brake beam to brake beam under the lower equalizer beam. This gives the C&S cars a delicate look that the D&RGW trucks lack. Both railroads used a Master Car Builders (MCB) design, which was widely used under wood passenger cars in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

So I picked up some 1/64 x 1/16 K&S bar at Caboose  (it was the smallest they had--I got lucky as it is just right).

Cut four pieces about 7/8" long, and clean the ends up with a file. Bend one end up a bit to match the equalizer bar. Then place the brass piece on the truck and scribe a line at the opposite end where the equalizer bar turns up.

This is the bend point at the opposite end. Be sure to bend the bar perpendicular to the length. Cut the bar to match the opposite end. File the cut face flat and parallel with the bottom portion to provide a larger gluing surface. Don’t add too much bend, the bar should be just below the lower portion of the sideframe.

Measure three times and do as much test fitting as you can stand. This bar fits between the two inboard bolts holding the journal boxes in place.  There is a great image of a truck on Hayes Hendricks' C&S passenger car sit under car 70.

Mix some epoxy and place a small dab inside the cast in bolt. Then place the bar flush with the outside face of the casting and wait to dry.

Don't get too carried away with the bend or you will have a truck that looks more like a pickup for third rail power.

Got a mail car model—you can use the same PBL trucks with some modifications. The PBL trucks model a composite wood and steel MCB truck. In the early 20th century, several companies offered an all-steel version of the truck with the brake shoes suspended inside, rather that at the end beams. You can approximate the steel trucks by removing the brake beams from the PBL truck and shaving off the two pairs of bolts in te top beam of the side frame. Also, remove the hanging links between the coil springs and the spring plank. If you really strive for a closer match, use CA to glue a small piece of styrene along the bottom edge of the lower equalizer to simulate the flange on the cast part.

Thanks to Chris Walker for providing the prototype examples from the DPL Western History Collection.

Keith Hayes
Modeling Leadville in Sn3

Monday, July 13, 2015

Overland Passenger Car Modifications - Part 2 | 0 Comments - Click Here :


    Keith Hayes - Once in a while I must bow and listen to Derrell say, "I told you so!" Today is the day.

    I bought an Overland passenger car a few years back and sent it to 7th Street for a paint job. The 7th Street Super suggested I trade out the troublesome brass trucks with some from PBL. I said no, and the car came out of the shop looking good, but with finicky brass trucks and brake shoes that like to short out on the metal wheelsets..

    With all the talk of sound cars, passenger cars are a great candidate too. But, you have to get power to the car. PBL trucks have this figured out. Jim suggested I take the dive, and I got some trucks from PBL.

    Checking the height, and the PBL trucks are a very close match. The issue is the outside bearing equalizer casting, which the C&S car lacks. PBL seems to have anticipated this issue. The equalizer screws to the frame and secures the wipers. Sweet!

    Remove the screws and flip the casting over. Even better there are centering ribs to mark where to saw the casting.

Saw at the end of the ribs, file down the top some,  and clean up the works.

Screw the truck back together, and install the bolster screw, also a perfect fit!

    This is a great project that took less than 15 minutes and greatly improved the rolling quality of this car. I still need to add a brass strip under the lower equalizer bar on each side to more closely replicate the C&S truck, and they need to go to the paint shop for a coat of black paint. But, the car is now ready for a Sound Car install. Thanks Derrell and Jim!

Keith Hayes
Modeling Leadville in Sn3

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Overland Sn3 Passenger Car Modifications - Part 1 | 2 Comments - Click Here :

    Jim Courtney and Keith Hayes - The Colorado & Southern inherited most passenger cars from predecessor railroads. Passenger cars were numbered by type (baggage, combination and coach in ascending order) and age. You can find the complete roster, photographs and other resources at Hayes Hendricks’ website, Passenger Cars of the South Park: Four passenger cars (and some fragments) have survived, notably RPO 13, coaches 70 and 76 and business car 911.
    Overland Models imported Sn3 brass models of the 13, 70 and 76 a while back. Note that while 70 is representative of cars 70-73, and 76 likewise is considered typical of 74-76, there are subtle differences among the cars. For example the letter board on 70 continues level under the roof extension at the platform whereas it dips down on the other cars. These are generally fine brass models, but can use some improvements before operation. This is the first of a three part series on modifying these models for more reliable operation.


    The issue with closer coupling of the Overland C&S coaches is not so much the length of the coupler shank, as it is the draft gear box used and how it is mounted.

    Overland has drilled and tapped 3 holes on the coupler pad below each platform.  You used the two paired holes to mount the standard Kadee draft gear box, the one with two little "ears" with holes.  Unfortunately Anjin located these pretty far out, next to the end beam.  The result is that the end of the draft gear box protrudes well out beyond the end beam.  No matter what shank length is used, close coupling isn't likely.

    In a fit of inspiration, I decided to try the "Darwin" universal coupler pocket, marketed by The Coach Yard at $4.95 per package of six boxes (enough for 3 cars).  The Darwin is an adjustable gear box, designed for HO passenger cars with such Kadee mounting screws.  Instead of 2 fixed "ears" there are two open slots, to allow the mounted coupler to be adjusted closer or further away from the end beam.

    Didn't work, foiled again by Anjin!  The two tapped mounting holes are to allow for small diameter screws (? 0/80).  The holes in the Kadee "ears" are much larger in diameter.  Thus, Anjin spaced the holes a bit further apart, to allow the heads of the screw to trap the outside edge of the Kadee "ears" to secure the box to the car.  The "Darwin" boxes have slots that are closer together, thus the holes on the Overland cars won't accept the "Darwin" adjustable feature.

But wait, there's more!  

    By chance, the third hole in the Overland mounting pad is perfectly located so if you mount the "Darwin" box using its center hole, the box mounts way back under the platform.  A standard shank length Kadee "whisker" coupler (either standard or "scale" head) seems to mount perfectly with the back edge of the coupler head as close to the coach end beam as possible.  In the photos, these are HO "scale head" couplers--I still think they look a bit small:

    Note that the two Overland mounting holes are hidden under the top edge of the slot flange, as it rejoins the draft gear box.  The Darwin box is also thinner than the Kadee draft gear, so the coupler is mounted at the correct height relative to the rail, not too low.  As a result, this is the closest coupling I can come up with for the Overland cars, 19 to 23 scale inches between the outside faces of the end beams, depending on the car.  

    I have tested the coupled cars on 28" radius curves, both pushed and pulled, and they do not derail coupled this closely.  The use of the PBL plastic trucks also prevents the possibility of shorts between the brass cars with this tight of coupling, as the car bodies are insulated from the rails.  I don't know whether the couplers will center adequately on this tight of a curve to allow switching of the cars on a curve.  In my operational plans, the cars will stay coupled in their respective passenger trains (the Leadville passenger and the Fish Train) anyway, so it is not an issue. I will leave the Kadee pins on to allow magnetic uncoupling in my staging yard's tracks.

    Also, note that I have removed the brass Overland air and signal hoses, as I'm pretty sure that they will foul on curves with the cars coupled this close together.  After painting and finishing the cars, I plan to install Jimmy Booth's Sn3 rubber air hoses for flexibility.  I have also removed the stock Overland safety hooks and chain and will replace them with chain of longer links and use Precision "small hooks", a brass casting.

Anyways, that's how I did it.

Monday, July 6, 2015

1880 and 1881 Kansas Central Railway Passes | 1 Comments - Click Here :

    Robert Stears - The Kansas Central Railway Company was incorporated under the law of the State of Kansas on June 1, 1871, to build a railroad and telegraph line from Leavenworth to the western Kansas boundary. It was constructed and opened for operation to Holton, Ks. in 1872, a distance of 55.3 miles, and on to Onaga in December of 1877, a distance of 27 miles. In 1881, the track reached Clay Center and in 1882, it was completed to the Miltonvale terminal.

    It was built as a narrow gauge railroad because the owner thought the issue would pass easier if the cost per mile was less. Hard times and strikes were common and on April 15, 1879, all of the property, rights, and franchises of this company were sold under foreclosure by P. G. Lowe, Sheriff of Leavenworth County, to C. K. Garrrison and L. T. Smith. They immediately transferred all of the property to the Kansas Central Railroad Company. In 1890, this railroad converted to standard gauge rails.

    After standard gauging of the line, narrow gauge equipment was transferred to other Union Pacific affiliates. The UPD&G received box cars from the Kansas Pacific. These boxcars can be identified because their door runners are mounted below the side fascia boards. Inherited boxcars from other Union Pacific affiliates apparently had the side door runners placed superiorly into the side fascia board.

Respectfully submitted,
Robert Stears

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Ten Years Ago... | 17 Comments - Click Here :

    Derrell Poole - Remembering the good ol days this holiday; it was July 4th weekend 10 years ago that Darel hooked up his fifth wheel camper, and Joe Crea and I joined him for a fabulous getaway to the west side of Alpine tunnel.

    You may or may not recognize the characters in the above view, but if you are a South Park fan you will quickly recognize the old rock and realize they are perched on the DSP&P grade above Quartz Valley near the Palisades. 
    We lit out of Denver Saturday morning, the 2nd, and it was a fine bright morning. Our discussions ranged from various railroad topics to personal and second hand accounts of various haunted buildings in downtown Denver. I had no personal experience to share but there were some hair raising stories.
    I believe we stopped a Johnson's Village just south of Buena Vista and had breakfast... or maybe we just snagged a few calories in the way of Ho-Hos and Ding-Dings; that quick stuff you buy when you are in a hurry, (I don't recall). It was early after noon when we approached Parlins, turned off of Highway 50 and headed up the County Road 67 toward Pitkin. Of course we were all craning to see any traces of grade; DSP&P or that "other" railroad. So it was perhaps 2pm when we made our first stop at Ohio City.

    Someone may know the significance of this particular building. Joe probably told us but I don't recall. It was and is an interesting structure with its embossed appliqué . And it apparently had "his" and "hers" outhouses - or maybe it just had a lot of traffic.

    This little way station like structure was actually the bunk house at Ohio City. If I recall correctly it had been the depot at Sherrod Loop at the TOC but had been moved to Ohio City shortly after.

    There is something about all of my cameras that, often, just can't handle color very well - especially when there is something nostalgic in the view. If I desaturate the pictures they likely become more clear. So you'll just have to excuse any of the artsy pi'chers that turn up. Don't get excited about it...

    I believe this is the southerly face of the C&S Section House at Ohio City. I'm standing on the RR ROW and to my right was where the water tank had been located - just this side of a small bridge over Gold Creek (both structures now gone).

    We continued on, rambled past the Roosevelt Tunnel and stopped at the local cemetery just west of Pitkin. It was a quiet investigation... 

    At Pitkin we poked around and we may have eaten at the little restaurant that sells excellent burgers. Lots of great photos on the wall. The structure above was - well, I don't remember. It has been offered as a kit some years ago, perhaps as the Town Hall. And it has been modeled several times in various scales.

    I'm sure someone will feel it important enough to identify whether it was the school house, court house, or whatever. It is a very interesting building and perhaps the most striking in Pitkin these days. I remember Joe and I discussing the virtues of modeling sheds at about this point. It was an interesting discussion obviously inspired by all the fabulous sheds in the area... but I don't remember his particular points.

    Of course, every decent South Park town has its holy shrine and the depot is it in Pitkin. At that time it was nicely painted - but grossly unprototypical! 

    That evening we camped (as it were - remember we are in a 20(?) foot camper trailer) at a location a mile or two east of Pitkin. Perhaps it was the Quartz Creek Camp ground. I don't recall what we cooked over the "open" Coalman stove, but I'm sure it was delicious. As the sun sat and twilight fell our good friend Yukon Jack came by. He stayed for an hour or so and did his honorable best to help us enjoy the company of friends and surroundings. By the time Yukon retired we were all pretty enlightened and perhaps a bit noisy (there were other campers - already quiet and settled-like - nearby). Joe reminded us we needed to be less enthused - himself just as "guilty". But no one complained.

    The next morning we got up and had a good breakfast that included some venison sausage, eggs and what ever else. We were wide eyed and bushy-tailed and ready to get up even higher. We left our camper and rounded the loop at Quartz where the old roadbed got a little more serious about climbing. Its quite a little jaunt between our camp site and this fabulous location. We passed thru Quartz, passed the Midway Tank, and passed what was left of the Valley Tank. We continued passed Woodstock, around the Loop and up, up, up... 

Oh My!

    Of course this is the Palisades from above. Beyond is Brittle Silver Basin, and below is the South Park ROW and Quartz Creek.

    See what I mean about color? Anyone who doesn't think this is the most beautiful spot in the world needs a long, long discussion with Yukon...

    It was a beautiful mornin' at the ruins...

    The camera really got crazy at Alpine Station...

    Finally we reached the top of our journey - in none to much of a hurry, I might add. Early July and no shocker there was still snow at the west portal.

    There was a story as to why this monument is broken that Darel or Joe related, but I don't remember the details.

    We poked around for a while investigating artifacts like the turntable and other notables. I took a little time to do some painting and we all just absorbed the atmosphere. We discussed the controversy over whether there was a turntable in the engine house - which was rather mute since we stood over the pit while we talked. Imagine such frivolity... Finally we headed back down. 

    Of course we had to stop at Woodstock where water was still running out of the pipe which once fed the tank. We hiked up the hill a bit to find the source. In the above view one of us stood on the old town sight and took in the moment.

    This quiet little scene is more significant than it might seem. This was the two track Woodstock siding. I believe it is looking more or less southeast which means the mainline was up the hill to the left.

    We did stop at the Valley tank which was in very poor shape. But this is the Midway tank several miles down grade.

    At Quartz we investigated the siding and figured out that the County had been building up the road around the loop so that we really couldn't gauge where the station actually was. We did feel comfortable with what we believed was the location of the stock pen.

    We stayed the night once again but I don't remember if enough of Jack was still around to entertain us. The next morning we picked up the camper and headed down the Valley. We stopped to poke around Ohio City once more and I made a quick oil sketch of the Bunk House.

    And that's the way it was July 4th ten years ago - best as I recollect.

Derrell Poole