Thursday, September 22, 2022

Modeling State Line Interchange Yard part 3

Engine Service facilities at State Line

The original turntable at State Line is thought to be of the "gallows" type similar to others on the Housatonic Railroad in the later 1800's. The turntable below was located at New Milford CT on the line, the one at State Line is thought to be similar but no photo of it is known to exist.

 A portion of a May 1917 New Haven Railroad validation map below indicates the location of this turntable, south of the yard tracks near the station building. This original engine service facility appears to only have had a few service tracks and sheds in conjunction with the turntable.  

The map below is shown upside-down, orientated as one would view the yard from layout operators aisle.

The complete 1917 New Haven Railroad valuation map also indicates a proposed location for a new turntable with engine house on the north side of the yard where there was more space, surely needed by this date to accommodate larger locomotives of the time and a comprehensive indoor service facility. 

Below is the newer State Line turntable with three stall engine house that was in service during 1918, this photo probably dates to shortly after the facility was completed. The turntable appears to be of the "Armstrong" type and part of the ring wall is stacked ties with dirt pit.

There was no coaling facility at State Line. NYNH&H engine service data sheets show coal was shoveled from cars to tender, the coal delivering car possibly spotted on an adjacent raised track.

Very little information for modeling is available about the turntable other that it is shown as 75' in length on engine service data sheets and the information that can be gleaned from the very few photos of the prototype that have surfaced.

Fortunately for modeling, there are a set of plans for the engine house available for purchase from the University of Connecticut Library archives at the Storrs CT. campus.

The photo below is possibly after the end of steam power in January of 1948. Visible changes show that the turntable now rotates by electric power and that there is a concrete ring wall only where the lead track and radial tracks align with the turntable bridge and operators shed. The turntable pit remains dirt and the stacked tie portion of the ring wall is no longer in place.

Modeling the Turntable

Although the turntable and engine house were in use and would still be considered signature structures during the modeled era, when the State Line portion of the layout was designed there was no room for these facilities in the prototype location therefore excluded from the track plan.

Since then an inexpensive used 90' Walthers turntable became available and was purchased. In hopes to enhance layout operation and include these signature structures a decision was made to install the turntable and engine house in a non prototypical location and orientation to fit where possible.

The turntable and engine house will be relocated directly to the south on the opposite side of the yard tracks same side as the original gallows turntable was as indicated below.

Defiantly not a prototype location, but there is room in the far corner of the yard for the turntable and engine house as indicated below.

The floor plan of the engine house with its relation to the turntable was printed in HO scale and placed in the corner of the yard as above. 

The turntable on this printout below has been increased from the 75' of the prototype to the 90' of the Walthers turntable that will be used.

With the hole cut in the base and turntable temporally set in, cork and lead track installed below. 

The orientation of the turntable and engine house is off set to the right about 45 degrees from the lead track, unfortunately that's the only way to fit this desirable facility into this space. 

The challenge next is to convert this Walthers turntable into a reasonable looking stand-in of the State Line prototype.

Cutting up perfectly good models is a personal favorite! 

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Modeling State Line Interchange Yard part 2

Flat Brook

Flat Brook, aptly named for its generally slow moving and slightly rippled flow as it meanders thru the New Haven/Boston & Albany Railroad properties of the State Line interchange yard.

The only prototype photo on hand that was captured during the era and season of the layout that includes the brook is the below Thomas J. McNamara photo from a 1952 New Haven fan trip to State Line. Although only slightly viewed in the lower right portion of the photo it represents the typical summer flow of the overall brook well and conditions observed personally during a Summer in the early 2000's. 

Collection NHRHTA Inc. Reproduced by permission.

A present day satellite image below shows the brook, also the approximate location of the long gone NH yard lead from the B&A in yellow and location in red of the station building seen above. 

Flat Brook is an essential element to be included in modeling the New Haven yard at State Line. 

A portion of the brook near the station building and the NH yard lead bridge over it will be modeled as shown in the drawing below. 

Modeling Flat Brook

The code 70 trackage of the State Line interchange yard portion of the layout was completed first and operated on for a check of reliability and operational fidelity to the prototype. Once satisfied with that, the track was removed where the bridge over the brook will be located and the remaining yard track was ballasted.

The brooks natural flow was cut into the plywood and the cut off piece was lowered to form the bed of the brook. Stone bridge abutments and basic land forms carved from foam board insulation glued in place. 

 The land forms were completed with Sculptamold.

  Followed by a heavy coat of gray paint.

A soupy mixture of Durham's Rock Hard Water Putty sealed the stream bed and banks together. Painters tape along the layout edge was good enough to keep the mixture contained until hardened, tarp below just to be sure.

A thinned coat of an earth color cover the banks and a layer of sand in the stream bed secured with Matte Medium.

Small rocks are secured to the stream bed and a wash of gray air brushed over the entire bed. The stream banks are covered with basic foliage before pouring the brooks "water".

A product named MAGIC WATER will be used to simulate the brooks "water". Styrene sheet secured to the layout edge by screws with a thin layer of sealant between will contain the MAGIC WATER until cured. Again tarp below as a precaution.

The MAGIC WATER cured overnight to a slight rippled surface that was hoped for. Thankfully, no leaks throughout the curing process!

Monday, February 21, 2022

Modeling The New Haven RR State Line Interchange Yard part 1

 Brief history

The State Line interchange yard was located in the town of West Stockbridge Massachusetts at the border line with New York State. This yard was an integral part of the first all rail route between Bridgeport Connecticut and Albany New York that was desired by business firms of Bridgeport Connecticut during the 1830's. 

The Housatonic Rail Road Company began railroad construction at Bridgeport in 1837 completing the Connecticut portion of the route to the border with Massachusetts during 1842. The Berkshire Railroad of Massachusetts continued this railroad construction northward from the state border with Connecticut reaching the town center of West Stockbridge during 1843.

The Housatonic Rail Road Company leased the Berkshire Railroad in 1844 and constructed 2.25 additional miles from West Stockbridge center to a junction point at the New York/Massachusetts border line with the existing Western Railroad completing the rail route from Bridgeport to Albany in 1845.

The map below shows the original alignment of the Housatonic Rail Road Company in RED and the Western Railroad in BLUE.

The Housatonic Rail Road Company was leased in 1892 by and eventually owned by the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad. The Western Railroad would become the Boston & Albany Railroad. 

At a point just south of Housatonic Massachusetts the original railroad alignment was joined by a separate northward alignment that was completed to Pittsfield Massachusetts during 1850. The junction point of the two alignments was known as Dalys (later Rising). See map below.

Some time later the alignment to Pittsfield would become the main route and the original State Line interchange yard to Dalys alignment became a 9.66 mile branch line as indicated in a 1930's New Haven employees timetable below.

Movement of interchange traffic at State Line during the era of modeling on the layout

The NH State Line yard in the mid 1950's was still an important freight interchange point between the New Haven RR and the Boston and Albany RR; during August of 1957 the weekly average number of interchanged cars was 364. 

To faciliate this interchange traffic with the B&A two New Haven symbol freight trains were scheduled 6 days a week. Danbury CT (R) to State Line (I) train RI-2 and conversely State Line to Danbury IR-1.


Useful information for modeling these operations are gained from the mid 1950's New Haven RR schedule for symbol freight train RI-2 below.

The make up of train RI-2 at Danbury consists of cars from connecting through symbol freight trains from the Maybrook NY interchange yard (O), Boston (B), Cedar Hill classification yard in New Haven CT (N) and Harlem River/Oak Point yards/car floats in New York City (H), New Haven Division local extras (NX) terminating at Danbury.

Also, the blocking of cars at Danbury and stations for set off and pickup in route to State Line.


The above schedule also indicates the connecting interchange Boston & Albany train BC-1 a westbound Boston to Collinwood Ohio through freight train with connections at Collinwood for forwarding to Cincinnati, Columbus, Indianapolis, St Louis, Chicago and beyond.  


The schedule for symbol train IR-1 below offers the same useful operating information.

The make up of train IR-1 at State Line with interchange traffic from the B&A connecting eastbound train NH-4 from the Selkirk NY yard to North Adams MA. Train NH-4 is not listed in the New York Central Through Freight Schedules like above BC-1, my understanding this train is considered a "traveling switcher listed in superintendent notices" which may be the equivalent of an "extra" on the New Haven.

Again car blocking at State Line and stations in route for set offs and pickups and connecting trains at Danbury. 

By agreements between both railroads at State Line, west bound interchange cars from the New Haven were picked up by the B&A backing onto the New Haven yard property and pulling the cars to the B&A main for departure. East bound interchange cars from the B&A were spotted on the B&A yard property west of the junction, the New Haven pulled the cars from there into the NH yard for blocking and inspection before departure.

Infrastructure at State Line

The New Haven RR infrastructure at State Line in the mid 1950's consisted of 4 yard tracks, a caboose track, turntable lead track with ash pit track, 75' turntable & 3 stall engine house, bridge #10.33 over the Flat Brook and a crew bunk house not indicated on the map below. The wood frame station building was Boston & Albany property but believed to be shared with the New Haven in this era.

Copyright NHRHTA Inc. Reproduced by permission

In the 1940's photo below are the turntable, engine house, and bunk house. Note that there is no direct alignment from the lead track into the engine house without moving the turntable.

The photo below offers a useful glimpse for modeling of bridge #10.33 over Flat Brook and a look at the roof of the B&A station. Water tank and other structure gone in era of layout.

Another partial view of the B&A station building can be seen in the 1950's photo below along with a trio of Alco RS-3's that are the usual power of the era for symbol freight trains RI-2 and IR-1.

A personal interest with photos like the one above is to try and interpreted what was going on when it was taken in conjunction with known facts then attempt to reenact this moment in time through modeling on the layout. Although unknown for sure, below is my take from this photo.

The shadows appear to be mid day. The absence of cars in the yard behind the RS-3's would indicate that B&A through freight BC-1 has pulled the interchange cars from the NH yard that arrived at 5:45 in the morning on symbol freight train RI-2.

The presence of agent George Ford Sr.'s 52/53 Plymouth sedan at the station indicates he is on duty and would have gone to the B&A interchange tracks earlier in the morning to record the car numbers and seal numbers from the interchange cars that had arrived on the prior days B&A train NH-4. He would have also bled the air from the majority of the cars for switching later when in the NH yard.

The RS-3's will soon pull a caboose from the caboose track (out of picture to the right) and leave it on one of the yard tracks near the station, then go to the B&A yard and pull the interchange cars to the opposite end of the NH yard for blocking to make up train IR-1. 

The blocked train would be inspected then pushed back to the station to pin to the caboose. The conductor would get the train orders and clear block from agent Ford and train IR-1 would depart for Danbury at 6:00pm.

Going forward with modeling State Line to any degree of accuracy would be impossible for me without prototype information gleaned from George Ford, Tom Curtin, Bill Chapin, Randy Hammill and the NHRHTA Inc; I thank all. 

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

New Haven Deluxe Diner part 6 - finishing up

Diner seating

The table and seat parts are sourced from the same Rapido stainless steel diner as the trucks and Westinghouse brake components. These tables are nicely detailed with a table cloth and place settings for each seat plus a separate water pitcher that may be glued to the tabletop if desired, all these tables have seating and place settings for four. The NH deluxe diners have a seating capacity of 36, seating for four on one side of the car and seating for two on the kitchen side of the car. Six of the tables and chairs were cut down with a razor saw to seat only two as seen below.

The tables had to be notched to clear the styrene strip glued to the interior of the car side in part 3 allowing the tables to be located as close to the windows as possible. This strip could offer a shelf to hold up one end of a scratch built table if not using the Rapido tables.

Interior colors

Interior colors for this diner are listed on a New Haven Railroad Historical & Technical Association drawing from the 1970's as light green walls with tan and blue carpets but no indication as to what color the seating was. A query was posted on the NHRHTA forum about the seating color but there was no replies. Remembering an article about the layout of respected master New Haven Modeler Bill Aldrich in a 2001 Model Railroader there is an interior color photo of a diner model he built that shows the seats as dark brown, following Bill's lead the seats were painted a dark brown.  

Exterior colors

The car sides and ends are painted NH Pullman green and lettered/numbered for the era of the layout to remain consistent with other models on the layout of the same color, Badger Model flex #16-180 was applied.

The roof, undercarriage and trucks are a 50/50 mix of grimy black (dark gray) and black, again remaining consistent with other finished models.

The letter board and number decals are from Microscale #87-884.


The photo below was taken when the sides and roof are temporally snapped onto the chassis to double check the positioning of the tables in relation to the windows before final assembly. Note that in addition to paint and decaling the hand grabs, steps, window glazing with shades and passageway hand rail have all be installed while sides were still a separate part, I believe this method to be easier than after the car body and chassis are assembled together. 

The final car body assembly is started by gluing one side to the completed chassis. It is critical to get the sides square at 90 degrees to the chassis first so the remaining ends and roof will fit properly when completing the assembly. 

In the photo below the the trucks are removed and the chassis is sitting level on two equal height heads from combination squares on a flat glass surface. The first side is held square in respect to the chassis during gluing by a square sitting on the work surface and against the car side, simultaneously both chassis and side are held flush with each other at one car end against a flat surface.

The second side is glued in place by the same method again using the same car end. Any discrepancy in the length of the chassis in respect to the car sides would be remedied on the opposite car end by adding or subtracting material to/from the chassis, there was none in this case.

The car floor with tables and chairs attached was glued in place next followed by the car ends. With the car sides and ends all assembled square to the chassis, the roof will snap on or off as well as one on a styrene passenger car with a removable roof. 

Photos of the completed model

This is the kitchen side. Note that all end details are from Branchline Pullman kits, diaphragms, steam lines, air hoses, coupler lift levers and coupler yokes and may be available from BCW.


The passageway aisle side.

The two heavyweight deluxe 36 seat diners DREADNOUGHT  #5247 and JOHN BERTRAM  #5248 had several decorative and equipment variations during their service life and should appeal to modelers of many different eras of the New Haven Railroad.

This Bethlehem Car Works diner fills a void in the passenger train consists during the era that I model New Haven Berkshire Line. I am very pleased to finally have a model of car #5247 in service on the layout.  

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.