Friday, April 24, 2020

LV 640

Along with finishing up a number of freight car projects and some miscellaneous items, I've also been working on some new power for the railroad. Lehigh Valley C628 640 has been weathered and placed in service. This unit has been leased from Conrail in order to alleviate the power shortage that has resulted from the tremendous increase in demand for coal.

I purchased this unit on sale a number of years ago with the intent of repainting it for the home road. But as I was getting rid of a number of old magazines recently, I came across the two-page color photo of 633 and 628 followed by two snowbirds in the June 2002 issue of Trains magazine which is shown below. The photo was taken in March of 1976- just five months before my time period. So not only did I have a period photo for weathering, but I also had both sides of the C628's. A little additional researched showed that 640 was an ex-Monon unit that was repainted into the Cornell Red scheme in 1974. And other than the end handrails, all of the details were correct. So the back story of leasing this unit was quickly developed and I went searching for additional photos.

About this time I remembered that Mike Confalone had done a Cornell Red LV unit in one of his weathering videos. Once I found that in my library, it was off the races. I used a number of the techniques that he covered in the video and also added a few of my own.

The unit was weathered with a combination of Pan Pastels, oils, acrylics and even a lead pencil. The weathering is the combination of the various effects I found on five different photos of LV C628's.

The weathering process involved a number of different applications of Pan Pastels followed by Dullcote followed by more Pan Pastels followed by... well, you get the point.

The last step was to scrape a #2 pencil along a small section of the upper front and rear handrails. In studying the photo, you could see where the crews had worn the paint off and what was showing was bare metal. From somewhere out of the blue, it occurred to me that I could represent this with pencil lead.

This unit will be teamed up with a home road C628 and SD45 in the not too distant future.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Variations on a theme

Below is a shot of three loads that I captured at Stone Coal #2 at Summit Springs, WV. You can see three of the paint schemes that can be found on the hopper car fleet in 1976. The car on the left reflects the standard scheme introduced in 1966 for all new and shopped equipment. It features the large "CWE" herald, which also serves as the reporting marks, and the Central Belt logo on the right hand side of the car. The car on the right shows the standard scheme from 1958 until 1966. The car in the middle represents a recent rebuilt with a simplified scheme- smaller "CWE" herald and no Central Belt logo. Note also the plates that have been welded along the bottom of the car. This car was shopped in April of 1975 and the simplified scheme represents both a car whose days are numbered and the railroad's efforts to get it back into service as quickly as possible.

These variations in paints scheme are a great way to add some history to the railroad.

Friday, April 10, 2020

More Details- 1

About a month or so ago, I assembled and painted 12 of the Micro Engineering switch stands. My latest trick is to drill the stand for the target and then glue the target on using canopy glue. When, and not if, the stand gets bumped, the target will fall off the machine. In the past, I used two-part epoxy to glue the targets and when they got knocked off, the base of the target broke off. The canopy glue is weak enough that it won't stand up to a good bump, and as an added benefit, it dries clear.

So with some extra basement time these days, I decided to put together another batch. The photo below shows the stands installed at the west end of Hollister Yard. 

The next photo shows them installed on the leads to the engine service area and the coal yard. These are Details West switch stands which have a slightly smaller target. 

With the addition of these last few switch machines, all of the turnouts in Hollister Yard are now properly marked.

I had a few left over after finishing Hollister Yard so I installed them at the east end of Nelsonville, as can be seen in the photo below.

The past several times that I have staged the Laurel Ridge prep plant at Summit Springs, I have noticed that it's difficult to see where the points are for the first turnout to the mine. I started using a piece of foliage that sticks up right at the points as my "marker" for knowing when I had cleared the switch. I know that this was often done by crews on the real railroads, and there's a classic tale of an engineer shoving a cut of hopper cars off the end of a tail track because someone had cut down the large bush that he used for knowing when to stop shoving. At the Laurel Ridge plant, it occurred to me that I could install a high switch stand that would be visible above the foliage. The photo below shows the Central Valley switch stand that now marks the points.

And here's a view more typical of what the crews see when working the mine.

Hopefully, the new target will make working the prep plant just a little bit easier.