Saturday, March 30, 2013

A heartbreaking visit to an old friend, and the path of progress is littered with tiny parts

Greetings again from the banks of the muddy Fox River. My travels took me to the Fox River Trolley Museum to take some detail photos for my Island Model Works 4000s.
 What I found broke my heart. I used to run this car. My hiatus from modeling included 1:1 scale activities as well. The sensitive edge is missing off this door. A squirrel gave me the middle finger and ran off down the aisle laughing. All joking aside, I hope the seats taste bad.

 Is this a detail I have to include? I hope someone wins the lottery and bestows a large sum of cash on FRTM. Without that, there might not be much left of this car in 10 years. Folks, life at present leaves me no time for museum activities.... I plead for you to support rail preservation. This was the first car I rode with my kids, and I hope its around to ride with my grandkids(cringe).

 Meet Gabriel Theodore Rohling. He's 8 now, and a budding traction fan. Here we are August 2005 on 4451. God I was fat. Anyway, on to less depressing subjects.

 The ends will be trimmed. Bending 16 handrails to the same specs is a royal PITA. Stuck em to this card to be trimmed with a Xuron tool and installed when the time is right.

My poles for the Illinois Terminal lightweight were made on a Thursday in Castle Rock, WA and in my hands in Illinois today, thanks to Rich Eaton. I've mentioned Eaton Custom Engineering before. Rich's products, hand made to order are superior in quality to anything Ive used previously. Rich made the poles for AE&C 109 to order as well. Talking with Rich about the unique challenge I was facing with the IT car, he made me poles to the specs I requested, as well as pre wired roof bushings. I will rant about how awesome this guy is until the cows come home.

Here is the bushing, wired and ready right out of the package. It doesen't get any better than this!!!!

 After a bit of massaging to the roof, it dropped in. It goes clear through the carbody. Not too shabby for $1.29!
 I coated the roof around the ferrule with some black brush on electrical insulating goo type stuff. It's a good fit and not going anywhere.

 I retrieved my volt ohm meter from the saddlebag of my Harley  (yes that's where it lives).  A quick check to verify that its well insulated, and the second bushing/ ferrule assembly is ready to go.

 So far so good. Took it to the kid's 2 rail layout and stung it to the left hand rail with a piece of bell wire. The headlight glowed a beautiful golden hue, and the car crept forward. Wednesday I'll give it a good shake down run under wire, and Friday it will get thrown into revenue service. We'll see how the citizens of Olsonville like their new car.
  This will be the first this car has been under wire since 1997. This is another car I've had for a long while, probably since I was 15 or 16. This will be a proud moment, as its the last car from my original fleet to be resurrected. My traction collection, as a kid, made grown men jealous. I'm just getting started......

 Thank all of you that read this blog. Seeing hits from China, Germany, Belgium, UK, Wales, Belarus, Venezuela and Austrailia make it all worth it. Check back next week for more happenings, including pics of the IT car under wire.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

All things elevated and the odd man out

 Greetings again from the muddy banks of the Fox River. The fun with 4000s continues.
More sanding, filing, cursing and questioning what I still have left for modeling skills. These cars still need some attention paid to the ends around the train doors and windows. I ordered some windshield wipers that look right from details west. I won't know for sure if theyre any good until they're here. The wheels keep turning in my head about various details of these cars. A visit to Fox River Trolley Museum may be in order as it is close to home, and CTA 4451 lives outside.

I started drilling for jewels, class lights and headlights. Decided to bend and test fit some wire details too. All went well until I managed to snap a bit off in the end of the second car while drilling the class lights. I am drilling all holes slightly undersize, and going to apply colored jewels after paint. The holes can then be drillde correctly, thus removing any primer/paint that will keep the CA from doing its job. Any pointers from the peanut gallery?

 One of the headlight "halos" is in place, and here are the making of some grab irons out of .020 brass.

 The car on the right was the victim of the broken bit. Note the mangled hole on the upper right class light. If I can't make it to my satisfaction, ill come up with something, maybe an earlier than CTA 4000. I don't think these were built with these lights, time to consult the photo collection belonging to my good friend Jeff Obarek.


 The Third Rail Cookbood and Trolley Wire Times proudly offers to you Merchandise Despatch (correctly spelled) service via CNS&M 212. We will gladly haul whatever, wherever overhead wire and rails go for a nominal fee. The level of detail on the car along with flywheel drive and all wheels powered makes this guy a keeper.

 The package with it has headlights, marker lamps and assorted other goodies. Now to decide whether these all go on here, or perhaps one of the headlights will be appropriated for another car. Time will tell......

 Still clearing hurdles with AE&C 109, quite literally. Im in talks with Mr. Rich Eaton for a set of poles with bases that will miss the lightning arrester( I think) on the car. You should check out his products, this guy is a class act, and his products are top notch. Click here to see Rich's HO offerings. Need something? Ask. You won't be sorry. His products are on Ebay in limited quantities, this is how I found him. Backpoling is a snap with his wheel type sliders, check his stuff out, he has earned an endorsement from the Third Rail Cookbook.

And now for the odd man out........

 Let me get the 4000s done, and this big beast is next. Ine end of the car will look right, unfortunately the other will have a pole East Troy Electric style. Dream a little dream.........

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Resin, cough cough aka fun with 4000s

As highlighted in a previous post, my 4000s are here. I picked one to start on. Resin is a hairy pain in the arse. This is my first foray into resin.

 A face only its mother or a traction modeler could love, there's alot of cleanup to do on this casting.
 Filing, sanding, cutting, more filing and sanding. There is a narrow rectangular window in the motorman's compartment that the casting process accidentally plugged solid. An x-acto knife and some sanding and the problem was remedied.

 The electric class lights and headlight will get properly colored jewels. The prototupe has a "halo" over the headlight.

 Forgive the backasswards picture, our photographer will be beaten with 4/0 trolley wire.

 The " headlight halo" will see some tweaking. I hope when I finish this, you will guess it for a 4000. My first model since 1997, this could get messy!!!!!

AE&C 109 a.k.a. the Funeral Car, 4000s and dipped in paint all at once!!!!

  Im back!!!!!!!! The rigors of daily life have left me little time, but the Third Rail Cookbook's time has come..... for starters, we saw the arrival of Aurora Elgin & Chicago Funeral Car 109. Putting the FUN in Funeral will now be a service proudly offered by the Third Rail Cookbook.

 Above is the 109, brass by S.Soho. The drive needs lots of help, if it can't be remedied, I have a Bowser 1999 drive with 34" wheels on standby. For some reason I've been stockpiling these. Below is a photo of the actual 109 I found via Google. Suffice it to say some detailing is in order. Special thanks to Phil Fukuda who preserved this car in sunny California and sent it back to its home in northern Illinois.

 After 6 1/2 long weeks, my Island Model Works cars are here. CTA 4000s are in the shop as we speak for details and primer.                                                                                        

 Check out for Joe's offerings. A wide variety of commuter and rapid transit models from several major cities are for sale on this site. I also ordered a South Shore Nippon coach, I'll post pictures of that later.
  Also picked up a nice painting rig, the booth from Amazon for $80 and the Paasche airbrush and ancillaries from Chicago airbrush supply. My posts will start to contain more model building content, the more tools I have the more I can do.

 The booth and the brush are awesome, tested some reefer orange on an old diesel shell, this should be fun.

 I'll make it a point to make updates more timely kiddies, don't touch that dial!!!!!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Accidents happen......The good, the bad and the WTF???

 Generally, operators and dispatchers of interurban lines exercise careful operating practices that promote the safety and well being of the public, train crews and equipment. Today we had a couple errrr.....hiccups. Perhaps I should have stuck to FVT&L 28, the training car. Damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead, being out from under the watchful eye of the Trainmaster and Head Lineman (get well soon Bob, you are missed), I had four trains running on the interurban line and juggled a city car in the mix. I hope I get my operating rotation under control without angering the shop forces and the office too much.

 The good: Keeping four trains and a streetcar in play, executing several flying meets on the outskirts of Olsonville.

 On the outskirts of Olsonville, we have a flying meet of Electroliner 801-02 and a NSL Silverliner. Note the speed of the passing Electroliner, too fast for the shutter of the cameraman.

 The local car met the Liner first on the outskirts of town, then again in town as the Liner was loading passengers on Main St. Tight schedules are kept to ensure the comfortable and seamless transfer of riders between trains.

 The local car squeals around the girder rail curve to stop for passengers getting off the Electroliner.
 Leaving Olsonville, the Electroliner Has another perfectly timed meet with the local freight, pulled by FVT&L 34. There are a few freoght customers around Olsonville, the #1 customer being the Pillsbury plant a mere hop, skip and a jump from Olsonville Shops. The most effective way to reach the plant is a run through town rather than go against the flow of traffic on the city line.

 The freight gets stopped waiting for emergency crews to clear an accident. The city car stops at The Palace Theater. The CA&FV Bridge Car is in the foreground.

 By the time FVT&L 34 and its train are underway again, the city car has caught it and follows behind at a distance of no closer than 5 line poles and waits for it to clear the car loop switch. Safety first!!!!
   We rejoin the North Shore trains at Walt Siding, where the Silverliner grinds by as fast as it can, not wanting to delay the Electroliner's return trip to Olsonville.

 And now for the bad........The motorman of the Electroliner, upon returning again to Olsonville misses the switch lined for the local car. Notched up to about the fourth point to make the curve, the motorman goes down the diverging path,  going boldly where no Electroliner has ever gone before....

 We will not make this mistake again........

 And if you thought this was rough, now for the WTF????? of the evening....... It seems the motorman of the big Jewett car had a bit much to drink and went bombing through Walt Siding at about 70 mph, nevermind the speed restrictions on the siding....with this being the end result..

 After this was cleaned up, all trains were parked pending a safety review of the days events, a thourough A** reaming from the office, and a pending urinalysis of the dispatcher.

 And with the safe return of the re-railing crew aboard the bridge car, we bring this fun to an end. Sincere apologies to the passengers of the Liner and the big Jewett, It'll never, ever happen again....( wink wink)