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.


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.