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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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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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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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.