Friday, November 24, 2017

Kitbashing EBT #6 -- Part 3

In the previous two posts, I described the history of the East Broad Top's third Number 6, a Baldwin  0-6-0 standard gauge switcher built in 1909.  Number 6 was equipped with dual standard gauge and narrow gauge couplers, allowing it to shift EBT and PRR hoppers in the railroad's dual gauge Mount Union Yard.  In Part 2 I detailed how I modified an AHM Roundhouse Southern Pacific switcher to create a convincing model of EBT #6.  In this post, I will go into detail on how I mounted the dual gauge couplers, created a firebox and backhead to disguise the new can motor, and converted the oil burner tender into a coal tender.

The dual couplers were the most challenging problem.  As you can see from the following photo, the 3/4 size narrow gauge coupler was located immediately below and to the side of the standard gauge coupler.

There's not a lot of clearance between the two knuckle couplers, and in the beginning I gave serious thought to using a Rio Grande type flat car with a standard gauge coupler on one end and a narrow gauge one on the other.  The breakthrough came when I realized that I didn't have to use a Kadee #5 coupler for the standard gauge coupler.  I opted to replace the Kadee #5 with a Kadee #714, which will also mate with a #5.  For the narrow gauge coupler, I chose a Kadee N gauge coupler, which will also mate with a #714.  With the 714 centered, I then used an HOn3 coupler gauge to determine the correct height and location for the narrow gauge coupler.

Since the #714 coupler did not fit the cast bushing on the tender frame, I first filed off the bushing, then drilled and tapped for a 1-72 screw and mounted the 714.  Because of the tight clearance, I had to remove one of the supports for the rear steps.  As you can see below, the removal of the support is almost completely hidden by the couplers.  The N gauge coupler was screwed to a small piece of 3/32" styrene strip.  The styrene and the under side of the tender frame were coated with Liquid PSA cement, allowing me to stick the coupler to the frame for a test fit.

Once I determined the exact location for the N gauge coupler, I cemented the styrene base to the tender frame with ACC cement.  Here is a view of the underside of the tender before painting.

And here is the top view with the tender shell removed.

After testing the couplers on a section  of dual gauge track to make sure the couplers would properly mate with both standard and narrow gauge cars, I turned to the front beam of the locomotive.  Here I am using the gauge to adjust the height and location of the narrow gauge coupler.  Again, the inside support for the near side of the front step has been removed.

And here is a view of the dual couplers mounted on the locomotive beam.

Here is the locomotive frame with the couplers mounted.  Note the screw just forward of the draw bar.  Changing from DC to DCC required a firm electrical connection to the engine frame.  I drilled and tapped a 2-56 hole for a screw to attach the red decoder lead. A similar hole was drilled and tapped in the tender floor, for electrical pickup from the fireman's side of the track.

The can motor sits on an angle to the locomotive frame.  The motor is insulated from the frame with Permatex Ultra Black Gasket Maker from my local automotive supply house.  The motor fits snugly inside the locomotive shell, with the back of the motor projecting into the cab.

In order to hide the motor, I decided to build up a dummy firebox and backhead for the locomotive.  I used a razor saw to cut a section from a spare engine shell, that would just fit over the back of the motor.  I cut the forward part of the section to fit squarely against the front of the cah.  The back of the section was cut at a slight angle, and a piece of .020 styrene was cemented to form the backhead.  I used brass parts from PSC to add interest to the backhead, including a D&RGW backhead throttle, part 3009; dual guges, part 3226; a Sargent water glass with valves, part 3019; an early steam/air brake stand, part 3094; a set of 4" valve faucet knobs, part 4884; and a clamshell fire door, part 31160.  Here is what the finished backhead looks like after painting and detailing.

There was one more glaring discrepancy in my kit bashed #6.  As you can see from the above photo, number 6 was, like all the other EBT engines, a coal burner  Problem is, the AHM Roundhouse model was of a Southern Pacific oil burner.  I carefully cut away the oil tank, leaving a rectangular opening on the top of the tender.

 In my scrap box I found a disgarded tender with a coal load.  A little cutting and pasting, and you can see the difference.  The large toolbox on the fireman's side was made from scrap styrene.  The two on the other side were commercial tool boxes.

Once the engine is wired for DCC, the headlight will be a surface mounted LED, or SMD.  Here I am threading the LED wires through the stack.  Using a piece of shrink tubing for a guide, the wires will run back between the boiler shell and the weight.  In this photo, I am testing the LED to make sure it works.

There were one or two remaining details.  In the following photo, notice the large air tank beneath the fireman's side of the cab.  There is no tank on the other side.  I  ordered a 24" tank kit from PSC and cut it to approximately the same size as the prototype.

Also notice the unusual roof vent on the cab.  This was scratch built from styrene angle and sheet.  The decals were purchased from Friends of the East Broad Top.  Since #6 was never turned, this is the view that visitors to my layout will have of this distinctive little switcher.

All that remains is to install the Soundtraxx Econami steam decoder.  I hope you have enjoyed this series about kit bashing EBT yard goal #6.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Kitbashing EBT #6 - Part 2

As I mentioned in my previous post, the AHM Roundhouse 0-6-0 is reasonably close to the EBT's Mount Union yard goat: the drivers are the right size and the length is within a foot of the prototype.  Beyond that, however, there are some significant differences between the two.  Compare the following photo of #6 with the AHM switcher as advertised on eBay.

Note that the model places the bell between the forward sand dome and the steam dome, whereas the prototype has the bell between the forward sand dome and the stack.  A careful examination of the model will also reveal that the domes are quite different from those of the prototype.  In addition, the model has a pair of air pumps about halfway between the cab and the smoke box, passing through the left hand walkway.  EBT #6 had a single pump just forward of the cab.  The kit's cab is steel, while #6 had a wood cab.  And the headlights differ as well.

It was clear that I was faced with two choices.  I could build the kit more or less according to the plans and finesse the differences; or I could "cut and paste" the kit's boiler and cab, add brass parts from Precision Scale Company, and make a reasonably close approximation to the EBT prototype.  Being a glutton for punishment, I opted for the second choice.

The first task was to rearrange and replace the steam domes.  Since the domes are molded on to the kit's boiler, that required removing all three of them.  I considered sawing them off, but I was concerned about damage to the boiler.  Instead, I decided to drill them off.  Using a pin vice with a small bit, I drilled a hole from the underside into the center of each dome.  I enlarged the holes with increasingly large bits, until they would no longer fit in a pin vice.  Then I turned the drill bits manually, gradually scraping away the base of the domes until they were entirely removed.

While I was working on drilling out the molded on domes, I called PSC and ordered a set of two brass sand domes and a brass steam dome for a D&RGW K-37 (parts HO-3014 and HO-3016).  Careful measuring with a micrometer revealed that the 0-6-0 boiler was within a few inches of the K-37, which was, after all, originally a standard gauge engine regauged to 3 foot gauge.   Once the kit domes were removed, I test fit the replacements.  I found that the holes for the rear sand dome and the steam dome were just a tad too big.  Also the hole left from removal of the forward sand dome (where the bell would be positioned) would have to filled in. 

I used Squadron White  Putty to fill in the holes on the boiler.  To keep the filler from extending into the boiler, I wrapped the weight with plastic Cling Wrap and inserted it below the openings.  Then I used a small piece of thin styrene to smooth on a layer of white putty to fill the holes.

After the putty dried, I used fine Emory cloth to smooth off the surface.  While I was at it, I also filled in the opening for the air pumps on the left running board.  In the following photo the domes are just sitting on the boiler and have not yet been glued in place.

Once the putty was thoroughly dry, I sanded it smooth and cemented the domes in place with five minute epoxy.  In the following photo, the cab has been test fit and the visor on the headlight has been removed.

The cab presented its own challenges.  In looking through the PSC steam catalogue, I found only one cab that was a reasonably close approximation to the cab on #6.  It was a Ma & Pa cab in plastic  (part HO31691).  My original intention had been to replace the steel cab in the kit with the wooden version, but the steel cab fit the boiler better  I decided to keep the front and rear portions of the AHM cab, along with the roof for mechanical strength.  I used only the sides of the wood cab from PSC, carefully cutting out the steel cab sides and sliding in the wood sides, glueing them with Plastruct cement.

At this point most of the major alterations to the cab and boiler were done, and it was possible to assemble the engine to see how it all fit together.  Here I have added a "one lung" air pump just forward of the fireman's cab door and a brass steam generator, both parts from my scrap box.  There is still a good deal of detail work to be done, but already my model of #6 is a much more accurate representation of the Mount Union prototype.

This concludes the second installment of how I kit bashed an AHM Roundhouse 0-6-0 into the EBT's #6 standard gauge switcher.  In the next post I will discuss installation of the new can motor and how I constructed a styrene firebox and backhead to disguise it.  Also covered will be the installation of dual couplers on the front engine beam and the rear tender beam.

Kitbashing EBT's Third #6

When the East Broad Top ceased operatons in 1956, its locomotives were put in storage at the Rockhill shops -- all but two, that is. Two standard gauge 0-6-0 Baldwins remained at Mount Union, stored in the two stall engine house.  The standard gauge engines were used in the dual gauge yards to shift both EBT 3 foot gauge hopper cars and PRR standard gauge hoppers.  Coal was transferred from the narrow gauge hoppers to a coal cleaning and sorting facility, then deposited in the Pennsy hoppers for shipment.  Each of the two switchers was the third to carry that number.  Third number 3, purchased from Baldwin in March of 1923, still sits in the engine house, stored inoperable.  Third number 6, built by Baldwin in 1907 (c.n. 30046) was sold in 1975 to the Whitewater Valley Railroad, a museum line in Indiana.  Number 6 served tourist operations for a number of years, and is currently stored inoperable.

In an earlier post I described how I modified a Mantua 0-6-0 to resemble EBT #3.  Number 3 was a thoroughly modern locomotive for the time, with 21x26 cylinders, 175 pounds of boiler pressure, and a tractive effort of 33,500 pounds.  Number 6, on the other hand, was built in 1907 and had a design that was very much pre-1900.  It has been speculated that the engine was built for stock by Baldwin, and the EBT, shopping for a readily available engine, took what was on the lot.  The following is a photo taken soon after #6 was placed in service.  Note that she had a long link indicating that the narrow gauge was still using link and pin couplers.

Number 6 had a long narrow boiler, a single air pump, and a wooden cab.  At 84,200 pounds over the drivers, she was considerably out-weighed by #3, which weighed 137,000 pounds.  Number 6 had 48 inch drivers, 17x24 cylinders, and only 160 pounds of boiler pressure.  It comes as no surprise, therefore, that for most of its life, #6 was stored as a back-up for #3, emerging for a couple of weeks in the summer when #3 was down for repairs and maintenance.  Here is a photo from the 1950's with Number 6 posed at the Mount Union water tank.

Below is a photo from the same era with #6 working the yard one summer while #3 was in the shop.  This is the side that one would see on my layout.  Since there was no dual gauge wye to turn standard gauge locomotives, both #3 and #6 always faced the same way, toward the engine house.

Then several years ago, I ran across an article that first appeared in the December 1990 Railroad Model Craftsman magazine: Modeling EBT N0. 6 by Dean Mellander.  The author started with the MDC Roundhouse 0-6-0 kit, patterned after a Southern Pacific prototype.  The model had the correct size drivers, and the wheelbase was less than a foot too long.  I filed the article away and more or less forgot about the project ... until the 2014 NMRA North East Region Convention in Palmer, Mass.  While shopping for bargains at the dealer tables, I came across the very same MDC kit.  I also picked up an upgrade for the engine that included a new frame and a can motor!  That led to the decision to build and kitbash EBT #6 as part of the requirements for the AP certificate in motive power.

In the next installment of this series, I will explain how I modified the Roundhouse 0-6-0 to create a working model of EBT #6.  The project required extensive modifications of the boiler and cab.  I also had to find a way to mount both standard and narrow gauge couplers on the engine and tender, as found on the prototype. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

The 2017 EBT Reunion

It had been two years since my last trip to the East Broad Top Railroad Fall Reunion.  I arrived on the Friday of the Columbus Day weekend, after a nine hour drive from Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  Once again, as in 2015, I stayed at "Pogue Station", a century old farmhouse just south of the well known Pogue Trestle.   The farmhouse has been connected with the same family for over a hundred years.  The current owner, Brian Hoffman, has worked to restore the structure as it might have appeared in the days when the EBT was in commercial service.

The house was purchased by Judson Rutter in 1906, and passed through his widow, Martha, to Brian's family early in the 20th century.  The house still sits on the EBT right-of-way, at the end of one of the longest sidings on the railroad, just south of Pogue Trestle.

When Rutter bought the house, it was already on the EBT timetable as "Pogue Station".  Rutter added a post office and a general store to the structure.  According to Brian Hoffman's father, Dave, who grew up in the house, miners would board the "miners' train" early in the morning for the trip south to the Broad Top coal mines, and would return in the evening.  The elder Mr. Hoffman recounted tales of miners arriving at Pogue on the downhill stretch to Orbisonia, throwing their metal lunch pails off the train and jumping after them, as the train slowed but did not stop at the little station.   In later years, it was listed in EBT time tables as a flag stop, but continued as a station into the 1950s when the railroad closed down.

The EBT Fall Reunion included a full schedule of presentations, tours, and clinics.  On Friday night, Lee Rainey, president of the Friends of the East Broad Top (FEBT) gave an informative talk on the evolution of the 2-8-2 mikado in narrow gauge railroading, with special emphasis on the classic EBT engines still stored in the roundhouse.  The Company Store had a wide range of books, models, clothing and modeling supplies relating to the EBT.  The annual modeling and photography contest had plenty of entries, including a new category: models of structures and cars that have been the focus of FEBT restoration efforts. 

On Saturday, Lee Rainey and members of the restoration committee led a walking tour of the latest restoration projects, beginning with the freight station next to the Trolley Museum on the EBT wye.  I was personally surprised to learn about the freight house and its adjoining buildings, having never noticed them on previous visits. 

This portion of the tour was led by Jim Bacon, who explain how the freight station walls were so deteriorated that the entire building was in danger of immanent collapse.  At the request of the EBT's owner, the restoration team sprang into action.  Rails were pushed under the joists supporting the floor, and jacked up to restore the building to its original height.

In the process of jacking up the floor, FEBT crews discovered that there were virtually no support posts behind the walls.  The roof had been held up almost entirely by the boards making up the walls.  Another discovery:  When the building was opened up, a number of crates were found inside containing grave stones!  Jim Bacon suggested that they might have been replacement stones for damaged grave markers in local cemeteries.  When the railroad closed down in 1956, they were forgotten until restoration work began some 60 years later.  Now there's a story waiting to be told!

From the freight station the restoration tour proceeded to the recently refurbished blacksmith shop.  Like the freight station, the walls of the blacksmith shop had deteriorated to the point where the entire building was listing to one side like a ship about to capsize.  FEBT crews had stabilized the walls and installed new concrete footers for the rotting support beams.  The entire building has been restored as it appeared when it was still in use, including an enormous steam hammer powered by steam from the adjacent boiler house.  Several smaller forges have been restored as well, and the sand floor has been cleared of half a century of junk. 

From the blacksmith shop the tour crossed to the foundry.  Here an enormous furnace and jib crane were the first things that stood out.  Iron and steel were melted down and poured into sand molds to form castings for virtually anything the railroad needed.  Here, for example, is a picture of a firebox grate made from a sand casting.  The iron grate is in front.  Behind is a wooden form for the grate.  The form was pushed into the sand and baked to harden the sand.  Then it was removed and molten iron poured into the mold.

Here are some photos of the furnace, the jib beam and some of the ladles used to pour molten metal into the sand molds.

Another activity on Saturday was totally unexpected!  Each registrant received a ticked for a speeder ride.  But this was not the usual excursion south of Orbisonia a mile or so to the end of the yard.  Instead, the speeders headed north some five miles to Colgate Grove and the wye where tourists trains were turned in the tourist era.  Speeder rides were scheduled throughout the day, so everyone in attendance had the opportunity to ride.  A rag-tag collection of speeders and the EBT's well known Nash track gang car, the M-3, lined up for registrants to climb on for the open air excursion.

The track, which had not been maintained since steam trains were discontinued in 2014, was more than a little rough, and the little track cars had no springs!  In addition, weeds and bushes have begun to grow up between the rails, so riders had to be careful not to get "whacked" along the way.  But the sun was out, the temperature was in the 70s, and the view of the early autumn foliage was glorious! 

At Colgate Grove, the M-3 was turned on the wye, as it doesn't run well in reverse.  The track speeders, which run equally well (or equally rough) in either direction, sat at the end of track, while riders got to watch the turning maneuver.  After some minor mechanical problems, the entire procession headed back south to Orbisonia station.

While waiting for my turn on the speeders, I chatted with a group of FEBT volunteers, who have given countless hours of hard labor preserving the shops and cars in this living museum. 

In the course of the conversation, I noticed the speeders were parked directly in front of the air brake and electrical shop building, which I have scratch built and placed on my own HOn3 layout. 

This particular shop building was a bit of a mystery to me.  I had heard that the building housed the electrical shop, while a small lean-to on the opposite side held the air brake shop.  Currently, the shed houses the M-3 track car when not in use.

When I shared what I knew of the building, Larry Biemiller, one of the crew laughed and informed me that I was completely wrong!  The left end of the building (viewed from the tracks) was the air brake shop and the right end was the electrical shop.  The shed on the back had been used to house the M-3 for years.  Then Larry produced a set of keys and asked if I would like to see the inside!

It was amazing!  The interior of the building was filled with cobwebs and dust.  As in other shop buildings, nothing had been disturbed since the railroad shut down in 1956.   Larry pointed out the air brake test stand covered with a sheet of plastic, sitting on the work bench where a worker left it more than half a century ago.

The rest of the room was filled with hoses and parts for air brakes, and a large air tank and compressor to provide the pressurized air for the test bench.

We then proceeded next door to the electrical shop.  As I had suspected, most of the equipment and parts were Western Electric.  This had been a repair facility for the railroad's extensive telephone system.  Hanging on the wall was a list of telephone numbers from Mount Union to Robertsdale and Wood.  Next to each station was a series of dots and dashes indicating what the ring signal was for that particular number.

 The room was filled with shelves full of parts that would never be needed in this digital age.  The light bulbs hanging from the ceiling looked like something out of Edison's workshop.  The walls were decorated with calendars from the 40's and 50's, including a few pin-up calendars from long ago.

One thing has always puzzled me about the electrical and air brake shop.  There is a series of small windows just belong the roof line, which  one might assume were to admit more light to the shops.  But Larry pointed out that the ceilings were far too low for these windows.  That suggested there might be an attic above the shops.  Sure enough, in a side room off the electrical shop we found a staircase leading to an attic.

Not wanting to disturb the spiders and wasps who lived upstairs, I decided to let the mystery remain for the time being. 

The activities at Orbisonia and Rock Hill Furnace ended Saturday night with a turkey dinner at the nearby Rockhill Trolley Museum.  Awards were presented to contest winners and FEBT members who have given extraordinary service to the organization were honored.  One of the awards given out was the "Rivet Counter" award for modeling those structures or cars that have been restored through the efforts of the FEBT.  I was pleased to have three of my models singled out: The blacksmith shop, the sandhouse and tower, and the paint shop.

On Sunday we were free to visit some of the museums and exhibits dealing with the railroad and coal mining.  I spent considerable time at the Coal Miner's Museum in Robertsdale.  Here is a photo of the coal cars that carried the coal to the surface and dumped them into waiting hopper cars at the tipple.

The museum was filled with photos and memorabilia of life on the Broad Top in the days when coal was king.  One could easily spend a whole day there learning about community life in the towns that drew their life from mining: Broad Top City, Dudley, Robertsdale, Woodvale, and the rest.  After exploring some of the past at the museum, I drove to Woodvale, which was the end of the line for the EBT.  The only traces of what was once a busy mining operation were some derelict buildings and eqjuipment around mine number 9.

I knew that strip mining continued on the Broad Top even after the railroad shut down, and some mining is still going on today.  I found a gravel road following where the tracks used to run, and after a brief drive encountered what appeared to be a heavy truck scale, suggesting that some mining was still active.

Continuing on up the mountain, I rounded a curve and encountered my first strip mine.  It wasn't all that big, but clearly someone was still making a profit from Broad Top coal.

Sadly, this is all that remains of what was once a lively railroad and mining operation.  Another, slightly larger strip mine was another half mine down the road, but at that point I turned back and headed home.  I did make a brief stop at the first surface mine to pick up a chunk of genuine Broad Top smokeless coal, not to burn but to occupy a place in the room where my East Broad Top Railroad still chugs up the mountain and returns filled with hoppers of coal for the homes and factories of America.