Sunday 25 March 2018

Keeping your tender coupled

This seems to be a problem with my steam tenders. They pick a point and come off the rail and by the time the engineer has it re-railed the tender has uncoupled from the draw bar. Unfortunately the engineer doesn't always notice  and now we are pulling the tender and cars with the decoder wires. Even I have been guilty of this. Some of mine come off easier than others. I have wanted a fix for this for some time and could not come up with an idea that would  make it easy to uncouple the cars when you needed to. I do not uncouple them often but I  did not want to make it a chore. I tried a couple of different sizes of styrene tube but by the time I got it to fit it would not stay on very long. I was looking at a piece of wire on my bench the other day and thought maybe it would work if I stripped the insulation off. The loco I was working on required an ID of .09" to cover the pin on the tender. I came up with a 12 guage wire and stripped off a piece, expanded it with an awl and I could slide it on as a tight fit. It is cut to be about 3mm long and I coloured it black with a sharpie marker. If I need to take it off I can just pop it off  with a flat blade screwdriver. The next tender needed  something smaller so I went down to a 16 guage wire. Some things are easy once you get there.

This is before painting. There is still room for the draw bar to move up and down.

Sunday 18 March 2018

Grain Elevators part 1

On my layout I have 10 grain elevators. They are all in various levels of completion. I will make a series of posts in regards to them as I complete each one. Nine out of the ten elevators are scratch built and the only one that is completed is a Campbell's kit. The remaining are scratch built and use the same standard method for scratch built items which you can see in this post. How I build my scratch projects . They are all built based on pictures that I have taken and from my experiences in my farming background. Elevators are never built exactly the same and I have tried to incorporate different features into each one of them. There are not many decals available for my era of 1959. The only ones that are out there come from Microscale and the only ones that work are for United Grain Growers  (UGG), Parrish & Heimbecker  (P&H), and Federal. The others in the sets are too modern. Having said that we are lucky to have any of them. The decals for Searl, Saskatchewan Wheat Pool, Pioneer, National and Paterson were custom printed. As a point of interest Searl Grain is the only grain company that I am modelling that I did not actually deliver grain to while I was farming. There is an interesting article on the history of Canadian grain companies which is available on this blog This article is a time line for the Canadian grain industry Dates of Historical Interest. There is also an article that shows how an elevator works at this site .
Take note not to confuse American and Canadian elevators as they are very different. The most notable difference being the driveway into the elevator itself. The Canadian ones are almost all raised and the majority of the American ones you enter at ground level. To do a full elevator scene would require about 14'X22" so you can fit in all the details. We can do it with less suing some compression. The office, the walkway from the office to the elevator, parking at the office, the driveways going in and out, storage shed, an annex and possibly a fertilizer shed are all things to consider in your build.

The 3 in Melville have been modified to fit the space that was available. These are all scratch built, being narrower than they would normally be to fit the space at the back of the yard. They are built using the same methods as I used for the 2nd class station.

These 2 in Waldron also will have some features left out because of space restrictions. These two are also scratch build.

The 3 in Atwater also will have some features left out because of space restrictions. These three are also scratch build.

This is the elevator in Lorlie and is a Campbell's kit. It is the smallest of all the elevators and would be the oldest plan. The fertilizer shed to the left is scratch built. This elevator kit that got all the space it needed.

This elevator is in Foster and is scratch built.

Thursday 8 March 2018

CNR 4-8-4 U-2-g Northern

 At rest in the yard waiting for the next assignment.

This is a picture of my True Lines 4-8-4 U-2-g 6226 Northern. I bought this locomotive at a very reasonable price. This is a beautiful locomotive to look at, runs nice when it runs but if you have problems with it you are on your own. There are no diagrams, spare parts would be hard to find and you get next to no help from True Line. I  had to take it apart to fix a wire that had come loose, (it would make sound but would not move) and that was a very touchy process. I needed all my soldering skill to fix it. I brought in my friends Ron and Norman for backup and ideas, we went slow and took lots of pictures as we went along. I was told that if you ever had to get at the motor good luck because  you would have to break parts to get that done. This is the problem with newer products like this, once it is off warranty (1 to 2 years) you will not get much help. You can just send it back if it is on warranty, but here in Canada that will be a cost of at least 50 to 75 dollars. They have nice lights and lots of details that may or may not be best for proper operation. The days of being able to get parts for a few years seems to be gone from some manufactures.  I would sooner have my brass steam if I had a choice as you can always get them running. Just like older P2000.  I will make the suggestion that you try to get part diagrams and an electrical drawing before you buy these engines as there may be multiple boards involved and the wiring can be next to impossible to figure out with out a drawing.

This picture shows the board that is under the cab. The wire that needed to be fixed was one of the black ones as the JST plug didn't jest any more. There is also another board in the tender.

Running as extra 6226 east bound just coming up on Cana Jct.

Sunday 4 March 2018

CNR 1937 AAR Box Car Overview

10',  series 14, NSC 2 end, original paint, blt. 1943

I started this project in the 1990’s using data from Stafford Swain's articles for these boxcars. You could not complete this project without Stafford’s data sheets. His articles were in RMC Aug 1993 and were reprinted in CN Lines 3-4. The information you need to model these cars along with a table is contained in those articles. I currently have 2 cars left to finish and this project will then be complete. It has been very fulfilling and has left me with a total of 47 CNR All Steel 1937 AAR Boxcars. I now have twenty five 10' high cars, fifteen 10’6 high cars with 6' doors and seven 10'6 high cars with 8' doors. The car numbers are based on a ratio of what CN owned to my total number of cars on the layout. I will start a series of posts covering these cars starting with the 10' cars. Many of the cars required changes to be made such as ends, roofs, brake details, doors, roof walks, trucks, brake wheels and decals. In the end there are 19 variations of these cars. Some of these cars were also boxed baggage cars in passenger service. The only thing they all share is that they were painted CN #11 red and have 10 panel sides. The passenger service cars were painted in CN green #11.

CNR 10’H All Steel Boxcars All these cars have 10 riveted side panels, 6’ Youngstown 6-5-6 doors and wood roof walks. They are made up of cars from series 1 to 24. They were produced from 1937-1946. There was a total of 19,215 cars. I have tried to model all physical variations for the 10’H cars. Intermountain and Red Caboose box car kits have been used as the starting point for all these cars.

CNR 10’6”H All Steel Boxcars All cars have 10 riveted side panels, 6’ doors, metal roof walks and W corners. They are made up of cars from series 25 to 43. They were produced from 1948-1956. There was a total of 18,260 cars in this group. I have tried to model all physical variations for the 10’6”H cars except for the welded cars series 42 that were produced in 1956. Branchline and Atlas made a welded car, just not lately. Intermountain and Branchline kits were used as the starting point for these cars also. CNR 10’6”H All Steel Boxcars With 8’ Doors All cars have 10 riveted side panels, 8’ doors and metal roof walks. They are made up of series 44-49 and were produced from 1956-1957 and there was a total of 5,000 cars in this group. Intermountain, Branchline and H&D cars were used as the starting point for this grouping of cars.