Wednesday, July 20, 2011

CA&E Ticket Box

Found a new addition for the Interurbans of The Fox Valley display, an old CA&E ticket box.
Nice old wood box, with all the slots for individual tickets, and it came with a ticket punch.

One of the nicer features is that it has all the old composite "marbles"
which hold the tickets in place.

Came with a nice assortment of tickets, now I just need to understand how they would
have been laid out in the box for proper sequencing for sales.

Now we just need a ticket dater/stamper !

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

CSL Large Scale Pullman - Update

I'd been unsuccessful to date trying to determine the origins of the Chicago Surface Lines Big Pullman #250 car. It seems to me that this is an important piece of model history, sort of the "where we came from" type of thing.

Anyways, it occurred to me about a month back to hijack Ed Halstead's email list and see if the Chicagoland traction collective might have some ideas.
Nothing really came of it, and then literally out of the blue this afternoon, Ed shared the communication below from well-know, long time modeler George Kanary. (As a related aside, George wrote a wonderful 2-part article in the first two issues of The Street Railway Review back in 1973 about building the air-door Pullman cars in O scale. I built one of my first large scale models in 1:24 scale, based on scaling up his plans and tips)

George's reply to Ed is below :
In the early 1950s, possibly 1954, Carl Gustafson displayed a Big Pullman that he built while a student at Lane Tech High School in Chicago. I was told about the car by Tom Froehlich and went to see it. Unfortunately, my memory of the car is such that I don't remember if it was about 1/2" scale or larger. I do recall that it was nicely done and the car seen here, while in rough condition, is a very good representation. Looking at the windows, they are properly done, which is very important to the appearance of a Pullman model.

Carl was the author of the book, DAIRY ROUTE, the story of the Elgin & Belvidere Ry, and heads up a Florida traction group today. Rich Nielsen knows how to get in touch with him.

The alternative and a greater possibility is that it may have been built by Lou Mertel, a long ago CERA member who worked in 1/2" scale on large double truck cars and 3/4" scale on smaller single truckers. I have a CERA issue showing Mr. Mertel's cars, which were exhibited at the Fair Store department store in downtown Chicago and probably other places as well.

My filing system being what it is, it may take some time to find the pictures, but I will look. I have a CCRy single truck car built by Mr. Mertel and it is very well done, very accurate, and uses glass for the windows.
I am fortunate enough to have a 3/4" scale model of a CSL 2600 class Robertson car built by Gene Davidson, and a twin to it was built for Alan Simms. Gene owed Alan a favor and he surprisingly built the car for me just because I made the working drawings for it. This is true scratchbuilding, St. Louis 23 trucks and all.

It would be nice to see this Pullman car restored with the proper doors and whatever else is necessary.

The mystery is not quite solved, but certainly we now have a trail to follow !
My thanks to Ed and to George, and I'll be sure to let everyone know the
more I might be able to find out !

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Indiana RR High-Speed in 1:24 scale

I was asked by Jan Giradot, the list owner/moderator of the Yahoo Large Scale Trolley list to build him a large scale model of an Indiana RR high-speed car.

This is car 65, preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum, it is also the first car in the museum's collection of over 400 pieces of railroad rolling stock. This photo is of the car operating just 5 days ago as part of the annual Trolley Pageant

I had started this project a couple months ago, made a decent start, but was increasingly unhappy with the way the car was progressing. As part of cleaning up the train room/workshop last week, in disgust I tossed out the body shell and determined to start fresh.

Same basic concept, styrene construction, laminated layers of varying thicknesses to make the cutting easier, add rigidity, and get that 3 dimensionality. Laid out the sides in .020 styrene as seen below. The sides will actually be the interior window frames, all of the car sheathing will be added on to this.

 Progressed pretty quickly, it's really a simple car, at least for the sides.

 Got the rear end mocked up, this is the easier of the two ends, it's pretty much three flat wall/window sections, with steel work wrapped around to get the rounded look.

Now the front end, more of the same, three wall/window panels with the wrap around to get the rounded finish. Main difference here is the front windows are angled, so basically the end needs to be done in three parts, the lower and upper pieces which are the simple rounded end, and then the angled windows need to be added.

What you're looking at is about 4 hours of effort, it's always amazing how things can flow so fast when you're in the mood/right frame of mind, and then there's other times when it seems like you can't even figure out
which end of the X-acto knife to use !

Monday, July 4, 2011

IRM Trolley Pageant - 7/4/11

Enjoyed a pleasant afternoon at the Illinois Railway Museum with my fellow
O Scale traction co-conspirators, Jim Allen, Art Paton and Ed Pavlovic. Mike
Hirvela somehow got dragged in as well, we'll convert him yet.

We were out to enjoy the afternoon and the annual IRM Trolley Pageant.
This year was the biggest and best yet, some 40+ cars operating, that's more than
many museums even have in total !

Took photos of the afternoon's festivities, posted here on Flickr simply
because it's far easier than putting them all here. Try the slideshow option.

Hopefully the guys had a good time, we got separated just as the Trolley Parade
was getting started as I moved down the "photo line". We'll meet up next Sunday
to have a planning session for the modules.

LST Meet - July 4th 2011

Once again, another July 4th has rolled around, and with it the annual two-part event
(at least for myself) at the Illinois Railway Museum.
First is the annual Trolley Pageant, the largest operating session of museum electric cars anywhere, and the Yahoo Large Scale Trolley Meet, which is hosted by Yahoo LST member, Bob Kutella.
For those that don't know, Bob is also a very long time member of the museum (I would not embarass him by saying how many years, but it's a hell of a lot). He is also the curator of the Freight Car Department, and a large scale trolley modeler.
The LST meet is a very informal affair, basically, if you're showing up for the Trolley
Pageant and feel like throwing (gently !) one of your large scale trolleys in the car
to operate, the more the merrier !
This year's event was a bit toned down from last year, and I myself am
as guilty as anyone for not participating. I'll blame the pressures of work,
and promise to get my ass back in gear for next year.
This year, the "fort" was admirably held down by Bryan Anderson (in from Iowa),
and John Nelligan & Henry Vincent, both IRM members/volunteers.
Also Cliff Burnstein made it in for the day as well.

The trolleys were a bit scarce this year, but John had his two single truck cars,
the open and closed cars, operating as usual on his loop with live overhead.
Bryan had his ISU steeplecab out and running on one of the other loops, while
Henry's diesel (shudder !) trains ran the other loop.

 Bryan's steeplecab

 John's open and closed cars

The biggest large scale car of all, Bob Kutella's pride and joy the Sand Springs Ry #68 operating in the Trolley Pageant (more of that on the next posting)

Next year, I'll be back on track (no pun intended), and hopefully the O scale guys
can be represented as well !

Monday, June 27, 2011

New Electroliner

Per the post over the weekend, I was quite happy to see the UPS package arrive at the office earlier today. Inside, the "new" Sunset/3rd Rail Models Electroliner. I'm really glad I grabbed this thing, it's much better than my original idea of converting one of the MTH 3-rail trains to 2-rail. Which, for the record, is still a very viable, and comparatively inexpensive alternative.

I'm guesstimating, but based on the purchase price of the MTH 'Liner, the new Q-Car trucks (2-power, 3 trail), versus this one, I'm guessing the difference is about $200 +/-, with the MTH option being the cheaper of the two. That of course does not take into any consideration the effort needed to make the conversion (which would have to include making bolsters which would be a bit problematic, although I still have a pair of old Locomotive Workshop bolsters which could conceivably have been molded and cast up..) Another lowering of the cost would have been the "potential" for resale of the MTH 'Liner trucks, but that's an unknown.

Anyways, I'm pretty pleased, all things being equal, a couple hundred bucks is a savings to me in not having another project on the "to-do list". About 1/2 the windows are "popped", but since I was planning on opening the car bodies to add lots more passengers and a train crew, that's not much of an issue. (Anyone know where to find O Scale sailors ??) Couple of minor detailing changes, but otherwise, I'm pretty happy. And contrary to some reports I've seen, this one ran just fine, right out of the box.

 Now of course,, to find another one numbered 803-804 !

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Update - June 2011

So, finally got a chance to post a new update (Chicago PCC's) and finally fix the format of this thing. Still not sure how the original format and template disappeared, nor how to restore it, but after screwing around with this thing for about an hour, the new look is acceptable
 I suppose. Certainly better than it was !

Looking at the posting log, I see that my efforts here have been woeful at best in the last 18 months.Part of that has been a notable decline in modeling time and activity (mostly due to work), part of that has been "expanded" posts, covering multiple weeks of activity.
In any event, clearly I need to get back in the saddle here !

Hard to beleive the East Penn meet was almost 2 months ago already...

The new version of the Chicago O Scale Traction modular group idea is very slowly but surely starting to get up and running. Besides my two original modules left over from the first try at setting up a group, there are two new modules, one each from two new members. That gives us a straight-line run of 16 feet of double track mainline for the moment. I have someone working on benchwork for two 90 degree corners and two 40 inch square return loops. We have a generalized plan to put together enough of a layout for Trainfest in Milwaukee this year. We'll be getting together next weekend at IRM for an informal gathering as part of the Large Scale Trolley Meet and the annual Trolley Pageant, and then we're likely going to meet here in Elgin the following Sunday to match up the four modules for the first time ever.

Been buying more cars and trying to define/refine the collection. Had a shot at a Sunset Models Electroliner that was too good to pass up (yes, even with the problems it's known to have). Sold off the MTH 'Liner so that conversion project won't be happening (at least by me), unless I get the bright idea that I have to have both 'Liners. Grabbed three Russ Briggs South Shore cars, the original Combine, Coach, and the Parlor/Obs cars. Be able to expand the Interubans of the Fox Valley display a bit further to it's eventual ideal, which is Interurbans of Illinois, for the time being I'll be able to expand to Interurbans of the Fox Valley presents, The Insull Interurbans. Add all the good IT and southern Illinois stuff as we go to reach our full potential.

And with that, less typing and more modeling, time to get back to work so there's something actually interesting to report on.