Thursday, March 31, 2022

SP Jawbone Branch (Part 28) - Laying Out the NG-SG Rail Transfer Pit

Flash back to April 2021...

My construction of the Jawbone Branch at Owenyo continues with the construction of the Rail Transfer Trestle at the north end.  For a full list of blog posts of this series check out the SP Jawbone Branch Index page.

Owenyo SG-NG ramp - Rich McCutchan  - owensvalleyhistory - slim rails63_sml

The SP narrow gauge (SPNG) was cut off from the shops at Moundhouse, north of Montgomery Pass in 193x.  There were no heavy engine rebuilding shops south of Montgomery Pass on the remaining section of line, so a transfer ramp was established to put NG engines up to the deck level of standard gauge flatcars.

SP SG-NG transfer ramp - Rich McCutchan - sp_narrow_g46b_sml

Here's a close-up of the SG (southwest) side of the ramp, which is actually more of a bridge that just stops.

SP 6144 & SPNG 9 on flatcar at Bakersfield - Scott Horgan Collection - Western Narrow Gauge FB

The Narrow Gauge engines, like SPNG 9 above, once loaded on a 60ft flatcar were moved down to Bakersfield shops to be worked on.  Here SPNG 9, freshly shopped and painted is photographed with the new F7ABBA set of diesels with SP 6144 on the west end.  The shop forces have all turned out for this photograph!

SPNG 9 "Movie version" on the whisker track at Bakersfield - Inad Akeb screen grab - fair use.

The SPNG 9 was later refitted with 1890s style headlight and much more colorful paint scheme for movie filming on the SPNG.  Here is a photo of here undergoing pop valve adjustments at Bakersfield, still loaded on the flatcar, before heading back to Owenyo.

PRR F30A arriving Owenyo with SPNG 1, 1954 - owensvalleyhistory,com - dennis_burke03_spng_diesel01

In 1954, the new SPNG #1 diesel was delivered on a PRR F30A class flatcar.  The shot above is a great photo showing the F30A down in the ramp to unload at Owenyo. --- Now where is my F30A flatcar?

There's one of my F30A Bowser flats... - Ok, have a new load for you when you're done with that lumber!

Building the Model

Sub-roadbed cut marks ready, March 1, 2021.

I drilled a hole big enough for my saber saw blade to be dropped into the corner of the depressed area.  Then cut the 1/4" MDF, following the lines.

My pit at the east end of Owenyo with an F-70-10 for scale.

I cut the sub-roadbed with a sabersaw and flexed it down with a piece of 0.04" stryene slipped between the top of the ramp and the underside of the main roadbed sheet to hold it temporarily.  I glued two small scrap pieces of 1/4" MDF to make a lowered shelf, gluing it to the bottom of the top sheet.  I'll be able to add shims to adjust it to the height I need once the NG trestle is built and in place.

More Info Arrives from Alden!

SP 2335 & Two water cars Excursion Oct 1954 - Alden Armstrong photo (with permission)

Notice in the Alden Armstrong photo (above) that the closest SG track is dropping almost immediately after the switch.  This is the track dropping into the NG-SG rail transfer pit.  This photo also nicely shows how much terraforming I need to do on the MDF sheet to get the pit big enough and properly shaped.

Modifications... Cut twice... cut more!

After seeing the prototype photo showing how quickly the track drops away from the 'normal grade' of the area, I went back in with the saber saw and cut several inches farther towards the frog of the switch.  Yes, this was done after the flex track and switch were spiked in place.  On the front cut I had to drill a couple more small holes and connect them, as the under module bracing crosses the pit track here.  I already pre-relieved the brace so the pit track could drop some there.  Nice to plan ahead a bit with some flexibility in the engineering!

Looking down the spur from the house track switch.

I have not fixed the dropping road bed to this brace or the L-support lip at the far end of the spur.  So there's still room to push the pit lower or have the vertical curve happen sooner, closer to the switch.

A more normal viewing angle of the east switches at Owenyo.

I'm going to hold off on actually building and installing the Narrow Gauge sections and the transfer ramp trestle until I have the SG wired and working.  Anything sticking up too much above the layout right now would be asking to be klutzed when I flip it over for the wiring.

"Well Now You Know & I Know..." Oops...

SP 2335 East Owenyo with excursion Oct, 1954 - Alden Armstrong photo.

Just a great photo showing up after I put the rest of this and SP Jawbone (Part 27) - Finishing Up East Owenyo Switches was posted.  Thanks to Alden Armstrong sending me this photo, I now know that I layed out the switch headblocks for the east wye switch and house switch reversed in positions.  The wye switch should be slightly 'east' of the house switch headblock.  

Oh well,  One of the issues of compressing the layout and using tighter No.7 switch angles is that some small details like this need to be 'selectively compressed' to fit.  Also since I have already laid out the ties and spiked the switches down, I'm not about to tear it all out to fix a minor issue like this.

If I were to lay this out again, it would require moving the east wye switch headblock about half way closer to the main track switch and pushing the house track switch 'west' at least  3-4".  I don't really want to mess with the alignment of the "Pit" track or the rest of the compressed track alignments through the team-crane and loading platforms.  So this will remain the way it is.

In Closing - March 2022

I'm looking forward to building the ramp trestle after getting the rest of the construction back on track (oh, bad pun!).  I'll be posting SP Jawbone (Part 29) shortly, which is a recap and new progress on the lighting since Part 24, where I was working on the new lighting when I hurt my shoulder.  Then I'll move on to update to where the projects currently are at the end of March 2022.

Jason Hill

Related Articles:

SP Jawbone Index Page - Links to all posts in this thread

SP Jawbone (Part 24) - Let There Be Light - Starting LED Lighting Work

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

SP F-50-11,-13,-14 (Part 1) Flatcar Kitbashing

It's been a busy year 2022.  I'm sorry I've not really had much chance to write new blogs on what I've been doing.  The following post is one that I last worked on from October 2021.  Most of the content actually comes from about 2018.  I recently did a little decal applications to the F-50-11 class cars with new CAPY, LD LMT, LT WT stenciling, and tare station codes.  I'll probably put the new upgrades into F-50-11.-13.-14 Flatcars (Part 2) in the near future.

SP 50+ Foot Flatcars

This post starts a new series of posts on SP Flatcars of the Late Steam Era (approximately 1940-1955).  I've started with an overview index of the various classes of cars the SP had during that time in regular service and in large numbers, large enough to justify when building a fleet of say, 100 flatcars. 

SP 49592, kitbashed F-50-14 with scratch built heavy bridge timber load.

I've posted a blog page with the Index info for Freight Cars - SP Flatcars (Part 1) Overview of what the SP prototype fleet had, and what models we could use to model them, with and without kitbashing.

Fleet Breakdown

First, let's look at these 50ft & 52ft cars compared to the overall fleet numbers of general service cars in say, 1950.

SP Fleet Total = 5825 in 1950.

F-50-11 = 95 SP
F-50-13 = 295 SP
Totaling: 390 SP (6.7%), obviously about 1:3 ratio of -11s to -13s)

F-50-14 = 50 T&NO, 344 SP
Totaling: 50 T&NO (~0.8%), 344 SP (5.9%)

If we're assuming a 100 car fleet, then this will be:
2 SP F-50-11
5 SP F-50-13
1 T&NO F-50-14
6 SP F-50-14
Total: 14 cars

I'm rounding down the extra fractional SP F-50-13 so we can get the T&NO F-50-14.

F-50-11/13 Kitbashes - Tichy Parts

About 20 years ago I made the first conversions of these 50ft flatcars.  Originally, these two kitbashes were designed to be SPMW 1140 and 2057, both A-50-series automobiles cars that were cut down to be flatcars.

My SPMW 2057 model as it appeared in 2011. Notice the stake pockets are starting to shed.

  I built them originally using MDC 50ft single sheet boxcars as the guide.  However, over the years after I built them, the fact that both these prototype cars were rebuilt for maintenance-of-way (MW) service in 1954 has started to bother me, as I want cars in service during the 1949-1952 time frame where possible.

OwlMtModels 40ft 10in, SPMW 3605, a 1944 retired F-50-5 class car.

With OwlMtModels releasing proper models for F-50-5/8/9 and -10/12, I can now model some of the older cars which did go to SPMW service before 1952 and better fit my era.  This shifting of available prototypically correct models will allow me to move these cars back into a major hole in the revenue fleet.

First F-50-11 - SP 43131 (Ex-SPMW 2057 Model)

In 2017, I shopped the SPMW 2057 and started working on replacing the damaged stake pockets.  Funny what years of operations and knocking around in public parts of the La Mesa Club will do to a car's details.  Sadly, the separately applied stake pockets, especially with wooden stakes in them, didn't last very long.

Left side of the repatched SP 43131. 2018

Most of this rebuilding will simply consist of getting the new stake pockets welded to the body without any old paint between them.  Retouching the paint, which before was basically only reporting marks for SPMW service.  Now that OwlMtModels has the #1210 SP and Era D decal set for their F-50-series flatcars, while it's not for the F-50-11/13/14, but at least it's close to the right capacity weights, etc. it's a better starting point than anything else I know of at this point.  I'll probably cut up the "F-50-10" and some fragments of "F-50-4" or "F-50-12" to make up the "F-50-11" and "F-50-14" lettering that I need.  The length lettering might be a bit harder to scavenge, but I'll think of something.

Right side of the redecalled SP 43131. 2018

Unfortunately, one problem in using the Tichy sides is, it's not going to be easy to move the stake pockets over the trucks out to the correct spacing.  So these will at best be stand-in models for the F-50-11 and -13 class cars.

Second F-50-11 - SP 43114 (Ex-SPMW 1140 Model)

The second F-50-11, is the near twin of the SPMW 2057, the SPMW 1140 - ex-A-50-series auto-car, which underwent the same process of being built for SPMW, but then in 2017 being returned to be upgraded as a revenue car again and put back into service as an F-50-11 flatcar.

SPMW 1140 working as a boom tender for SPMW 4049 25-ton crane in 2011.

Left side of SP 43114 being redecaled and rebuilt in 2018.

As with the SP 43131, the 43114 has had a number of its stake pockets knocked off over the last 15 years of service.  Replacement Tichy parts will be applied after I scrape away the old glue and paint.

Right side of SP 43114 being patched, rebuilt, and redecaled in 2018.

New decals from OwlMtModels 1210 & Era-D decals set are going to be used to replace the patched reporting marks and capacity data to more closely match the prototype photos.

F-50-14 Tichy Kitbashes

First SP F-50-14 Kitbash

One car that I built specifically to be a revenue service flatcar is the SP 49592, which started life as SP 80247, which is actually an F-70-5 number, which is best modeled with an SP Models (SPHTS F-70-6/7, with thinner endsills).  The kitbashed F-50-14 was corrected in 2015 by renumbering the car SP 49592, as seen in the patched decal below, which has not been re-weathered yet.  The car still needs length and class stencils, but those are not offered commercially as of 2022 in any set I know of.

SP 49592, F-50-14 kitbashed from Tichy 40ft parts.

Proto 2000 trucks were used on this model.  The load of treated bridge timbers is hand made for this car, and has the car number listed on the bottom of the load.  The load is removable.

SP 49592 with a heavy bridge timber load

As you can see below, the car is packed with weight, so it can operate in large trains without the load and not have any problems derailing.

Underside of Tichy kitbashed F-50-14, originally SP 80247, which was not the correct number for this class.

The car uses kitbashed AB brake parts and uses Tichy parts for the four cross stringers.

Second F-50-14 - SP 49488

In 2017 I stared building another proper 52ft long F-50-14 from Tichy parts.

SP 49488, an F-50-14 also being built from Tichy parts.

The SP 49488 has no more than maybe two 2-3 hour days of light kitbashing assembly work into it in the above photo.  A new fabricated underframe will have to be designed and built up for this model along with a couple of NP 52ft flatcar kitbashes I'm working on as well.

Additional Honorable Kitbash Mentions

SPMW 5879 - Ex-F-50-14

The SPMW 5879 and Burro Crane SPO-257 was kitbashed to match a photo in Bruce Petty's Southern Pacific Maintenance of Way book.  I believe this exact configuration was from about 1957, but it's such a cool car I decided in about 1998 to kitbash one.

The SPMW 5879 was kitbashed to match a photo in Bruce Petty's SP Maintenance of Way book

The flatcar was again kitbashed from about 1.2 Tichy flatcar kits and the Burro's a Custom Finishing kit with a cheap toy crane boom replacing the finely etched, but incorrect (for the SPO-257) boom.

The rails on the deck are from the Walthers car float model, with wheel stops hand cut from sheet styrene, and the two large I-beam bulkheads added at the end of the car are Evergreen structural shapes.  I believe the tool box is from the Tichy Boom Tender kit.

Well, that wraps it up for F-50-11, -13, -14 Flatcars (Part 1).  We'll be coming back next time with more flatcar blog-posts soon!

Jason Hill

Related Articles:

Freight Cars - SP Flatcars Index Overview Page

Modeling SPMW Supply Train (Part 1) - Overview

Modleing SPMW Supply Train (Part 2) - Caboose