Mechanical Department Blog

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As evidenced by the many articles I have written about Pennsy TrucTrain service and its successor, Trailer Train Corp. (now TTX), I've always been a fan of intermodal. Many don't realize that the Pennsylvania Railroad was the primary party behind the formation of Trailer Train.

During my stint in N scale, I worked with Alan Curtis Models to develop the F30D flat car kit. This was the initial flat car used for TOFC service on the Pennsy, in 1954. Alan retired, but the kits are still available through N Scale Kits and the decals from MicroScale.

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The American Viscose Company, at Lewistown on my PRR Middle Division, was a manufacturer of rayon. It once employed over 3,000 people and eventually closed when Hurricane Agnes flooded the plant in 1972.

One of the raw materials for the manufacture of rayon is sodium hydroxide, more commonly known as "caustic soda". To prepare waybills, I used the Waybill and IndMan (free) applications from Shenware and the industry database (also free) from the OpSIG, I got a list of providers of caustic soda. One was Hooker Chemicals in Wilmington, CA.

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Today the missing link -- the scale track at Lewistown -- was installed.

This short piece of track, including two gauntlet turnouts and a gauntlet track, were built on the workbench due to its location on the model railroad. It was part of my presentation for my Model Railroad Engineer - Civil AP from the NMRA.

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Six Sinclair Refining Company tank cars came through Lewistown yesterday. As of 1950, Sinclair maintained the fourth largest roster of tank cars in North America (Interchange: Ownership of Tank Cars in 1950). They frequented Pennsy rails and Sinclair had a facility in Altoona, Pa.

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The Middle Division received four EMD F units yesterday. Though ordered only two years ago, I've been waiting for these spotting feature combinations for years! Thanks to Broadway Limited Imports, two vacancies in my motive power roster have now been filled.

The Pennsylvania Midland's shops at Everett Terminal have completed painting of three Alco S2 switchers and four cabeese; the first to wear the new paint scheme of the railroad.

The Alco's -- numbers 50, 51, and 54 -- are the oldest diesels on the bridge line's roster. After applying the new scheme to #50, it was decided to move the road name lower and the cab number higher. However, management did not have the first unit relettered at this time.

The Mechanical Department of the Middle Division has implemented new painting and lettering equipment and has had much success. An HP Color LaserJet MFP M281fdw provides the base, augmented by Ghost White Toner and MicroScale decal paper.

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The PRR-Pro group, its 32nd project, is building N8 cabin cars. The project began on January 1, 2019.

I am modifying and detailing six Bowser N8 kits. The models feature American Model Builder window glazing, Cal Scale trainphone supports, Precision Scale #31001 generators, xxxx markers, Tichy eye bolts, phosphor bronze wire, Kadee couplers, InterMountain wheel sets, and Mount Vernon Shops decals (of which I facilitated production).

References: 

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Like many modelers, I have a huge collection of unbuilt freight car kits -- about 200. They get backburnered to building the layout, scenery, and preparing for operations.

So when I recently scheduled surgery to repair my left anterior talofibular ligament and my doctor told me I would have to keep my foot elevated for several weeks, it didn't take long to come up with busy work. I pulled out a stock of plastic kits and all of the tools required for assembly.

Seventeen days after surgery I can call the project complete, with 35 cars having been added to the roster.