Thursday, December 22, 2016

SP 10250-51-52 (Part 1) - Diner-Lounge 1949

As I'm working on modeling the San Joaquin Daylight as it appeared in the early 1950s.  The first kitbash involved a Southern Car & Foundry RPO-Baggage SP 5124 (Part 1).  Continuing work on this train consist means that the articulated diner offered by MTH and BLI's not entirely accurate for the 1939-built articulated dining cars regularly assigned between 1949 and 1952.  If you want to model the San Joaquin Daylight between 1952 and 1954, the kitchen is correct for the 1939-built cars. This project is to see how easy it is to backdate the 1941-built MTH models to represent the 1939-built cars before 1952 and the 1941-built cars before late 1950.

Prototype History of the 1939 Articulated Diners


In 1939 SP took delivery of two articulated diner-coffee shop cars (SP 10250-51-52 & SP 10253-54-55) and assigned them to the newly renamed Morning Daylight.

Kitchen and Dining Units of the 1941 Daylight Articulated Dining Car

The second two articulated diner-coffee shop cars (SP 10256-57-58 & SP 10259-60-61) were delivered in 1941 and upgraded the Morning Daylights, the 1939-built cars went to the Noon Daylight and the 1937-built single unit Diners and Coffee Shop-Taverns were assigned to the newly streamlined San Joaquin Daylight.

In January 1942 with the discontinuing of the Noon Daylight because of the war.  The 1939-built Triple-Unit Diners were transferred to the San Joaquin Daylight until 1946, when Noon Daylight was reinstated and the 1939-built cars returned to the Noon Daylight.

Diner-Lounges or Back in an Evening

In 1949 the Noon Daylight was discontinued and most of its equipment transferred to the Starlight.  The SP 10250-51-52 & SP 1053-54-55 were refitted with lounge seats to consolidate the services provided by the SP 10200/10201 Diner and the SP 10310/10311 Tavern-Lounges.

Interior Modifications for modeling Diner-Lounge San Joaquin Daylight service in 1949

The lounge seating replaced the 6 pairs of tables nearest the rear end of the unit, leaving 6 tables next to the kitchen-unit.  The lounge seating would be restored to dining tables during heavier traffic between Thanksgiving and New Years and during the summer rush season as well when Taverns would be added to the San Joaquin Daylights.

Continued Modifications & Retirement

The 1939 & 1941-built Triple-Unit Diners used a kitchen-unit with a centrally located loading door for the kitchen and a double high window, with opening panes to load food stuffs into the forward and rear pantry in the unit.   The 1941-built units (57-AD-2s SP 10257 & 10260) were rebuilt in 1950 with the 3 doors in the left side of the kitchen-unit, replacing the loading windows.  The MTH & BLI models therefore are not correct for modeling before 1950 when this change was made.

Penciled in changes of what 10251 and 10254's original window configuration was.

The next year (late 1951) the SP shops rebuilt the two 1939-built units starting with the SP 10254 was rebuilt in November 1951, followed in January 1952 by the 10251.  As I've done a later style Diner for service at LMRC, I'm backdating my articulated diner to be the earlier version to run with Mt's and GS's over Tehachapi.

The SP just couldn't leave well enough alone, the 1939 Triple-Unit Diners were traded out for shopping in December 1954 to become Hamburger Grill-Lounge cars.

It was determined shortly after this that only a Hamburger Grill-Lounge would not serve the passengers of the San Joaquin Daylight as well as originally planned.  Also union agreements had a problem with the combined kitchen space in the new configuration.  This is why for 1955 the San Joaquin Daylight used two separate HW Coffee Shop and Hamburger Grill cars.  Both sets sat in storage

In 1956 the 10253-54-55 set finally was pulled out of storage, the kitchen was rebuilt to provide two separate working spaces and the car was assigned as a protection car for the other two 1941 Triple-Unit Diners on the Coast Daylight and Shasta Daylights.  The 10253-54-55 set was finally retired in 1963.

The SP 10250-51-52 however remained in storage, although there's speculation that there was an accident during the rebuild, damaging the structure of this set.  There are no known photos of the set after it was put into storage.  The SPH&TS Passenger Book simply says the car was never reassembled after it was taken apart in the 1954 shopping.  However, SP records show it be held on the roster as a "relief car" until its retirement and scrapping in 1959.  There's a good chance the car was actually cut up well before that and the whole affair covered up by the shop forces after the suspected damage to the car occurred.

Modeling the 1939 Artic-Diner

The Starting Point - MTH 1941 Artic-Diner

The easiest starting point with the plastic models available today is the MTH or the BLI 1941-built articulated diner.  However

Left side of SP 10261, 70-AD-4 Coffee Shop-unit of the 1941-built set from MTH out-of-box

The Coffee Shop unit will not need any addition body work to backdate, as the 70-AD-2 and AD-4s were virtually the same.

Left side of SP 10260, 57-AD-2 Kitchen-Unit of the 1941-built set from MTH with replacement letterboard decals

The pre-1952 57-AD-1s differed from the 57-AD-2s in that they did not have the access doors on the left side to the forward and rear pantry space, but instead had an extra double hight window which could be opened to allow food stuffs to be passed into the pantries.  On the kitchen unit, this will be where most of the work will be focused.

Left side of SP 10259, 70-AD-3 Diner-Unit of the 1941-built set from MTH out-of-box

The Dining-Units, like the Coffee Shop-Units were virtually identical between the 1939 and 1941-built units.  Modeling the San Joaquin Daylight during the "off-season" when it didn't have a Tavern car (79-T-1 or 77-T-1) in the consist means that the rear portion of the Dining-Unit would have swapped out the rear 12 tables for lounge seating.

Left Side of SP 10315, 79-T-1, Tavern 1939-built from MTH out-of-box

This seasonal "conversion" of the real car would have taken an only a few hours during the consist's layover to have the tables and dining chairs pulled out of storage and moved into the car and the lounge chairs put into storage, or visa versa.

Right side of SP 10250 starting to be converted to Diner-Lounge configuration on MTH model.

As such, this is more of an option to choose which season of train service I want to model with this car.

Planning the Modifications

My usual modifications to the MTH models are done as shown in my MTH Daylight Cars blog page.  This includes rebuilding the trucks, reapplying the window shades with the correct silver reflective side showing to the exterior, Full-Width Diaphragms dressed with a diamond file, and the correcting of the lettering on the letterboards of the cars for post-1946 lettering.

Back-Dating to the Kitchen-Unit (57-AD-1) to Pre-1952 Appearance

I am starting this kitbash by attacking the major work first on the Kitchen Unit, future posts will show the continuing work on the Kitchen and Dining Units, followed by the paint touch up and redecalling of the articulated set.

MTH SP 10260 Kitchen-unit with penciled in backed windows over end access doors.

I started by taking the kitchen-unit and looking at photos sketch with a pencil the window modifications I plan to do.  I will need to find two nearly full height sections of blank carside to make the replacement door plugs for and then cut the new windows in the kitchen wall.

The Kitchen's large water tank will provide a good view block and mass to hide a track cleaning pad under.

I also plan to modify the kitchen-unit with a track cleaning slider pad where the water tank is.  This actually is a good place to hide a cleaning pad because of the skirts and the size of the water tank to begin with.

Water Tank removed and rough cut Masonite pad before mounting.

To start the work on the Kitchen Unit, I removed the water tank to which will allow me the access into the underside of the floor, where I can start pondering the installation of the slider cleaning pad after the body work is done on the unit.

Plugging the Forward and Rear Pantry Doors

Rear Pantry Door marked for cutting.

The first step is to scribe a line around the door frame and then slowly start to deepen it with repeated cuts with a sharp No.11 Xacto blade.  I removed the glass from the interior of the left side of the car body at this point to protect it and make it easier to cut the car side.

Cuts starting to sink into the carside outside the door frame. 

I decided I might want to reuse the doors on some other kitbash, and as I have enough material from the sacrifice SP 3003 Parlor body, I made my cuts outside of the door frame and kept the door in one piece.  If this is not a concern, then I would start "nibbling away" at the door starting from the window hole, or even using a Dremal cutting tool to quickly cut out the majority of the door to within about 0.03" of the desired edge.

SP 10251 on the left, and the sacrifice SP 3003 body on the right with saw cuts.

The SP 3003 Parlor car body is not needed for my modeling of the San Joaquin Daylight, so is being used as a source for the complex fluting of the car sides and hopefully will also require very little touch up of paint and stripping decals.  Some plugs I plan to remove from the Parlor car sides will also go to my SP 3301 combine model.

Finally the Xacto is breaking through.

The trucks were also removed from the kitchen unit to protect them as I removed and installed the floor and interior several times to provide support to the car side while cutting.

Scribing with the Xacto blade from the inside of the shell was also done to create a failure line to "pop" the door out from the car side.  This inside scribing is made easier with an LED flashlight shining through from the outside of the shell, creating a "high lighted" line around where the cut is working in from the outside.

Here the scribed interior cuts allow the door to fold inward.

I also removed the steps from the skirting before I started cutting with the Xacto blade.  I saved the steps in case I need them in the future for any reason.

Door cut about 98% of the way through, as the top edge fatigues and breaks free.

Carefully the door is cut free and some basic filing is done around the opening to square it up somewhat.

Here the plug cut from the Parlor body is trued up and is about 1/16" longer than needed.

Next will come the slightly longer process of carefully filing down the plug to exactly fit in the old door opening.  This will also include some filing of the opening to mate well before gluing in place.

A view of the plug laid over the opening of the rear pantry doorway.

That will do it for Part 1 of modifying the SP 10251 Kitchen Unit.  In the next blog post about the SP 10250-51-52 (Part 2) - Diner-Lounge 1949 Conversion, I will be finishing the rear pantry plug installation and working on the next steps.

Jason Hill

Related Links and Pages: (Note some pages and blogs aren't posted yet)
MTH Daylight Cars - Mechanical & Detailing
Modeling the San Joaquin Daylight (Nos.51 & 52)
Modeling the Sacramento Daylight (Nos.53 & 54)
Modeling San Joaquin Daylight RPOs (Part 1) - SP 5124
SP 2436 (Part 1) Upgrading an Athearn-Genesis 77-C-3 Chair Car
Index of SP Lightweight Passenger Car Models
Index of SP Heavyweight Passenger Car Models
Index of SP & Pullman Lightweight Passenger Car Models
Index of Pullman Heavyweight Passenger Car Models

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