No, not that kind. I'm talking about hardshell surgery. Yesterday, four of the new Exactrail P-S 7315 waffle side boxcars arrived- two decorated for the NW and two undecorated kits that will be painted and lettered for the home road. These cars will make a great addition to the auto parts trains on the railroad. The two NW cars are shown in the picture below.
Just after I ordered them, I wondered if they were going to be able to negotiate some of the tight clearances on the layout. There is one tunnel portal in particular that has caused problems with oversized equipment in the past. The intermodal flat in the photo above wouldn't get through it, and I began to think that the new boxcars wouldn't make it either.
Sure enough- the new cars hit the inside of the tunnel roof at the east end of Nelsonville. The portal is on a curve and it wasn't elevated enough to provide clearance for extra height cars when it was first installed. The problem is on the inside of the curve at the back of the portal where the arched roof interferes with any excess height cars. The photo below is looking east along the main line at the portal.
I had looked at ways to modify this in the past, and there just didn't seem to be any good options. Leaning over the layout with a small saw and reaching into an area I couldn't see wasn't going to work. And going in through the large foam panel that is to the right of the portal would require the removal of a large patch of trees and even then wouldn't provide a good angle to get at the back of the tunnel roof.
Then last night it hit me- do a little targeted surgery! The offending corner is just under the hardshell right inside the tunnel. If I removed a couple of trees, I could probably make a small hole that would be large enough to remove the corner of the tunnel liner. The picture below shows the incision, so to speak.
And in the photo below, you can see where the corner of the tunnel roof has been cut back.
The hole has already been covered with a couple of pieces of plaster cloth and I'll apply a coat of Structo-Lite tomorrow. After a little green paint, I'll reinstall the trees and viola- the new boxcars- and the intermodal flat that wouldn't clear the tunnel liner- will be ready to move freight!