Wednesday, November 24, 2021

New Haven Deluxe Diner part 5

Filling in the details

The car body components of this diner kit are a blank palette, not only lacking color but the specific add on details that will help to paint an accurate model of the prototype.

There is no one particular or complete source of information available to answer all the questions about detailing a model of the New Haven deluxe diners. Collective data and photos from many sources was the guide in detailing this model. 

The two prototype photos of the same side of diner #5247 are the only era specific reference available that show proof positive details that could be added that would result in a more accurate finished model. A New Haven Railroad Deluxe Diner diagram also offers a wealth of dimensional and equipment data that helps in understanding what can be derived from the photos and fill in the voids of the unseen.

Choosing details to add

Details other than hand grabs and steps, the details chosen to add to the model are pointed out below.

If there are only prototype photos of one side of diner #5247, what is on the other side?

A total of 10 heavyweight dining cars were built by Pullman in the same lot, 8 standard 48 seat cars and 2 deluxe 36 seat cars. All car dimensions are the same except the spacing of the seating and the number of corresponding window pairs. Standard diners #5239-5246 had the same equipment in the era being modeled as #5247, so an assumption that using an era correct photo of the opposite side of a standard diner would be useful in choosing the correct details for this model. The below 1957 photo of #5244 was used in selecting what to model.

Modeling kitchen side details


Range and broiler vents - BCW.

Clerestory vents - Tom Madden. Vent style #1 are made from cutting down vent style #2

Water fills - Details West #FF-166. There are two water tanks located in the kitchen clerestory, these water fills for the tanks were no longer in use during era of model. Ladder rests for roof top service and water tank vents have been removed but fills remain, new ground service water fills are located between paired steps on kitchen end of car and tank vents now inside car.

Drip rails - brass wire

Clerestory vent block off plates - .010" styrene.

Under Body

All equipment boxes scratch built with styrene, applied handles and hinges harvested from molded styrene equipment boxes from various manufactures. These equipment boxes were the most difficult step in modeling this diner. Good close up photos of the prototype equipment for modeling were not found, these are modeled as best as could be determined from a combination of photos of several NH dining cars. Information about these modeled equipment boxes has been forwarded to BCW and may become 3D printed parts included with the production kit.

All Westinghouse brake components are from Rapido.

Car Sides
Door safety bars. These are represented by a piece of brass rod covered at the door frames with short
strips of narrow .005" styrene.

Modeling the passage aisle side details.

The sources and modeling methods of the details on this side remain the same as the kitchen side of the car with the addition of the A/C air intake that is also scratch built although this part is available from BCW.

Modeling car end details.

Hand grab rails are fabricated with .015" wire.

Brake gear and chain are harvested from a Athearn round roof coach. The brake wheel is from Kadee and flattened to take some of the dish out of the wheel, this being the closest wheel on hand to a Peacock wheel as indicated on the NH diagram. If a Peacock wheel is found it will be swapped for the Kadee. An exterior brake wheel is only used on the dining end, an interior hand brake is located in the kitchen end.

The diaphragms are from Branchline, available from BCW.

Also visible in this photo, the joining seams between the cast resin ends and the 1/4 round styrene strips added to each side in part 2 to widen the car ends has been fill with Evercoat #400 finishing putty (a catalyzed automotive product) and sanded smooth for painting.

These are the parts that are ready to be painted then begin the final assembly next time.


Saturday, November 6, 2021

New Haven Deluxe Diner part 4

Correct trucks & brake system for the era of the layout.

General Steel Casting co. 61-NO six wheel all coil spring outside swing hanger trucks and Westinghouse Air Brake co. schedule D-22P brake system were installed on NH diner #5247 during July 1948. Modeling diner #5247 during the mid 1950's will require this equipment.

Part out a perfectly good model for parts?

Rapido recently released NH 900 series stainless steel diner cars. These models have the necessary trucks and brake equipment mentioned above, in addition they also have a complete interior with tables, chairs, wall partitions and cabinets.

Although not needed for the layout, one of these stainless steel diners was purchased to support the combined effort of the New Haven Railroad Historical & Technical Association with Rapido making it possible to offer these highly desired and impressive models from the association.  

When deciding to build the heavy weight diner a second stainless diner with a different car name and number was purchased also from the association for all the well detailed parts that could be transferred to diner #5247. These parts are not available separately from Rapido. The remainder of the Rapido diner is not a write off though, the car body of these diners are so easily removed/replaced that it can be swapped occasionally with the first stainless diner body with a different name making two diners out of one further justifying this purchase.

Mounting the trucks

A comparison photo between an unaltered factory molded Branchline chassis top and the blind end chassis from BCW below shows the modification needed to the bolster area and notches in the center beams to mount and clear the side-to-side swing of the Rapido trucks. The mounting holes closest to the car ends will be used to screw the trucks to the chassis. These truck centers are one scale foot short of the 59' 6" prototype dimension, this will aid the trucks clearing the pair of steps on the kitchen end of the car (see prototype photo).

The trucks mounted on the chassis. The notches in the center beams will be trued up before painting.


Sunday, October 31, 2021

New Haven Deluxe Diner part 3

Mounting the car sides to the chassis

All Branchline Trains passenger cars that I have assembled the base chassis has an end-to-end warp out of the box. Snapping the Branchline car sides onto the chassis by placing the car side locating pins into the corresponding holes in the chassis will straighten out the chassis warp and properly locate the sides to the chassis. The BCW diner car sides are flat on the interior side therefore lacking a method to locate the sides to the chassis and straighten out the end-to-end chassis warp. The following method worked well to locate the car side height in relation to the chassis and straighten out the warp.

First step is to locate the car side height in relation to the chassis by gluing a styrene strip to the interior of the car side extending from end-to-end to fit between the mounting locations for the vestibule bulkhead supports on the Branchline chassis. The bottom edge of these styrene strips will rest against the top edge of the Branchline chassis fixing the height of the car sides in relation to the chassis. 

A dimension of .290" between the bottom of the car side and the bottom edge of the styrene strip worked well for this kit. Three jigs equal to the .290" dimension were made, placing the bottom edge of the car side and the jigs against a straight edge use the opposite edge of the jigs to locate and glue the styrene strips in place.

Next step is to attach two styrene blocks to each interior end of the of the car sides. These two blocks will pinch the chassis ends between them and acting in conjunction with the styrene strip attached in the first step will nearly allow the car sides snap onto the chassis depending on how tight the pinch between the two blocks is.

The larger block is glued even with the car end and will aid later as a gluing surface when attaching the car ends. The smaller block at the bottom is cut to a length shorter than the width of the place where the vestibule steps of an original Branchline kit would have been attached. This block is glued in the center of the place for the steps, because this block is shorter than the opening this will allow for some minor side-to-side adjustment of the car sides in relation to the chassis during final assembly if needed.

The combination of these blocks and styrene strip also completely eliminate the chassis warp.

Sunday, October 24, 2021

New Haven Heavyweight Deluxe Diner part 2

Fitting the parts together to form the basic exterior body shell

The basic exterior body shell components of the Bethlehem Car Works (BCW) NH deluxe diner are the 3D printed sides from BCW, a cast resin roof and car ends from Tom Madden, also an injected molded styrene Pullman body for Pullman cars w/blind ends, which is a modified Branchline Trains part, (I will refer to this part as the "chassis" going forward).

Fitting the components I received of the pre-production BCW NH diner to form the exterior body shell assembly has minor challenges as one may expect with parts from three different sources and types of manufacture. Below is how I easily overcame challenges fitting these basic components to each other.

The Branchline Trains styrene Pullman chassis is the foundation of the NH diner body shell that the sides, ends and roof must attach to complete the assembly. This chassis has a width of 1.205" that was originally designed to mate with the Branchline Pullman sleeper kit body shell components. An original Branchline roof has a width of 1.380".

The Tom Madden resin roof is wider at 1.420" than an original 1.380" Branchline roof. The width of the cast Madden roof is a fixed dimension that can not be altered therefore dictates the final width of the NH diner body shell after assembly. The .040" width discrepancy of the Madden roof will necessitate widening the Branchline chassis by .040" to 1.245". This is easily done by gluing .020" thick styrene strips to the sides of the chassis as below. If the chassis is not widened the body shell would form an isosceles trapezoid in cross section being wider at the top.

The BCW 3D printed sides have the same thickness as the original Branchline sides and the resin cast Madden roof will snap together where they meet as well as the original Branchline injected styrene parts so there is no issue with the sides and roof fitting together.

The Madden pedimented car ends fit well where they meet the roof but are too narrow to fit the now widened chassis. Adding a .030" quarter-round styrene strip to both sides of the car ends will increase the width to 1.410" to fit both the sides and roof well, see below.

In the below photo the sides and ends are taped to the chassis and roof snapped into sides, all body shell components now fit well together.

Next, a system to permanently mount the sides to the chassis.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

New Haven Heavyweight Deluxe Diner

New Haven Deluxe Diner Dreadnought

New Haven diner Dreadnought was one of two "Deluxe" diners built in 1930 by the Pullman Standard Car & Manufacturing Company for the New Haven's luxury extra fare all parlor car New York/Boston train the "Yankee Clipper". All cars assigned to the Yankee Clipper were named for 19th century clipper ships, clipper Dreadnought was launched in 1853 for the Red Cross Line of New York. The "Deluxe" designation stipulates a more roomy seating capacity of 36 compared to the eight 48 seat standard diners built for the New Haven at the same time by Pullman for use on other trains.

There are only two photos known to me of the Dreadnought as of this post. Below the kitchen side as it appeared in 1949, at the time likely painted in its original livery of Hunter green with the car name below the belt rail.

The Dreadnought was listed as a "spare" in the 1952 New Haven passenger train consists book, no longer assigned to the Yankee Clipper having been replaced by one of the new electro-mechanical air conditioned diners of New Haven's all stainless steel fleet of post war cars. The 1952 photo below again of the kitchen side, the diner has been repainted Pullman green and car name has been replaced by only the road number, 5247.

Modeling the Dreadnought #5247

During the era of this layout, diner #5247 was part of the consist of Berkshire trains #144 - #147 as indicated by the excerpt below from the 4/1957 NH passenger train consists book. To complete a prototypical consist for those trains an era correct model of #5247 is a must have.

A model of #5247 was on the verge of being scratch built when I became aware of a kit for this car was going to be released in the future by Bethlehem Car Works. With a call to the company it was revealed the 3D printed sides for this car had already been made and would fit their #40003 Pullman Body with blind ends. Company owner John Greene graciously agreed to sell me the parts available at that time and I would report my experience assembling the car and the details I would add during the assembly.

The photo below are the parts I received minus the #40003 Pullman body that I did receive but did not include in this photo, this is not the complete kit that will be offered in the future and is to be considered only as a pre-production gathering of the essential components.

The roof and ends are nicely cast resin parts and the 3D printed diner sides are very well detailed. This will assemble into a really nice finished model.

  Will start assembly next post. 

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Scenery for Berkshire Junction part 7

The scenery at Berkshire Junction is finished for now, there is always room for improvement and more scenery and details may be added as time passes. Stepping back now operating trains thru the diorama things that could improve the scene will be added as they come to light. It is a pleasure to have the plywood finally covered and seeing the landscape below when first walking into the layout room.

Looking railroad east.

Signal Station 199 structures west side.

Signal Station 199 east side.

Overview of the junction. 

Double track Maybrook freight main in the rear. 

The crossover from the east bound Maybrook to the west bound Maybrook used by Berkshire bound trains is in front of SS-199.

Switch from the west bound Maybrook, this is the beginning of the Berkshire line to Pittsfield Mass and the Lakeville Conn and State Line Mass branches followed by the switch for west end of Stearns siding.

Switch for west end of Stearns siding.

View of entire diorama looking west. An important junction, but in the middle of nowhere.

Freight cars on Stearns siding awaiting pickup by west bound freight NO-6 to Maybrook NY interchange yard.

The Berkshire Junction diorama is one of six prototype locations modeled on the layout its location is underlined in BLUE below.