jeudi 30 novembre 2017

Buiding a fleet...Part 2

Continuing my quest of a small fleet for my modest empire, I've modified and wheathered an SHS Milwaukee Road USRA Outside brace XM boxcar for that purpose. I'am not sure of the complete accuracy of the beast though. I've worked from photos, but these showed some differences from the USRA pattern. I've bought this model twenty years ago and it endured many faces. The last one showed here with details added and some modifications made to get closer to the prototype (doors, ladders, etc...). The first phase of wheathering was done with a first coat of flat varnish with some 5% boxcar red added and airbrushed over the original SHS livery. Then some boards were highlighted with some pastel pens (gray, red, etc...). The roof was wheathered with oil paints following a technique popularized by Charlie Duckworth. That's all for tonight.
See ya'

mardi 21 novembre 2017

Building a fleet...Part 1

ATSF 36 ft Boxcar class Bx 5/14.

Typical Santa Fe Boxcars are a rarity in S scale apart from the old Kinsman Fe-P (a decent basic model even today). But that's all on hand...Curiously for a road with the third largest fleet of all US roads in the 50's, and many typical signature cars, those were completely overlooked. That's it, and probably not close to change. So what to do when you want something and it doesn't exist: Do it yourself! I've planned to do 3 major boxcar type that lasted into the late 40's /early 50's : the 36 ft Bx 5 and 14 double sheated (and a War Emergency Caboose made on the basis of a Bx 5), a 40 ft Bx 3/6 double sheated panel side, and the ubiquitous single sheated ARA inspired 40' Bx 11/12/13 with raised roof.
So let's begins with a Bx 5, a modernised version of a Bx-O, typical of early twenty century practices. Based on drawings in Ellington's book Caboose car of the Santa Fe Railway and John C.Dobyne Santa Fe Boxcars 1869-1953, I've drawed a kit for this car and the War Emergency Caboose which is derived from it.The parts were laser cutted in 2 mm acrylic for the core and in Lazerboard type material for the exterior. The inverted Murphy ends are resin cast. The bogie bolsters are from Ye Old Huff 'n'Puff and the trucks are a pair of SHS Andrews type. Those will be modified to ressemble the type 551 used. Couplers will be Sergent. There's some minor errors with the side grab placement but I'll probably not modify it. Here's what the project look like today. Quite a lot of work to do but I hope to have it finished by the end of december. See ya'

vendredi 17 novembre 2017

Track trials

I've made during these last few yars some track trials to test the different techniques and effects to depict a lightly used brancline tracks of the Santa Fe Los Angeles Division. I've gathered a lot of photos to sustain my efforts. At first, I planned to use wood ties, tie plates and spikes and dirt ballast from a german brand called ASOA ( But after some attempts (one is shown below-2013/2014), I've tried anything for the spikes from staples cut in half (even some old Kadee ones), micro engineering spikes and Proto 87 spikes. All were to big except for a code 83 track except the Proto 87 but those were a pain to use and  too slim. I don't obtained the effect needed with the ties, and last but not least, the ASOA dirt used (or was it the matte medium to glue everything in place?) made a messy result like a kind of gravy sauce. I was really disappointed and everything went to the trash bin! No wood ties for me...

The last attempt (2015) made was more encouraging, at least to me, even if these two years old photos below helped me realize that I still have to improve the whole. But I'am on the way to what I want to obtain. So I've  settled on Tomalco track code 83 wheathered flextrack (and code 70 for some sidings). The ties were painted with a Warm Grey acrylic paint and stained with Walnut and Sepia acrylic inks. The rails were treated mainly with MIG Productions P 411 Standard Rust Effects but also with AK 083 Track Wash. The "ballast" is a mix between a few of ASOA Mineralbeton 1209 and Monster Modelworks Diorama Dirt glued with another brand of matte medium (Liquitex) diluted with burning alcohol (no water in the mix).

Luckily, I've even found that Grandt Line dummy On3 spikes were a near perfect match to those on the Tomalco track and I could use them on my homemade ATSF standard turnouts.What else!?
See ya'

jeudi 16 novembre 2017

ATSF 3 D printed parts

Having done some S scale parts classification, I finally boxed a batch of  3 D printed parts for my S scale 3129 class mikado project completing those I already have and the standard cab in brass I conceived. Not to be seen on the benchwork tomorrow but..Plus some chimney and vents for various projects. As example, the short chimneys belong to a war emergency caboose I'am working on. See ya'

Various ATSF standard boxes, hose reel boxes, sand boxes, backup lights, tender ladder, caboose chimneys in two heights, drain plates, double water hatches, front headlight support with numbers (3129 class engines 3154 and 3158, two San Jac regulars), front round numbers (for 1950 class engines 1965 and 1987). Printing by Shapeways.

mercredi 15 novembre 2017

A cracker box affair

(date and photographer unknown-All right reserved)

Some of my eventual, but higly estimate, readers may thought 'what the heck of a choice!?' in seeing this beautiful building that lasted till 1947 not chosen for this project. I've also had some drawings in Gustafson and Serpico's book, 'Coast Line depots, Los Angeles Division' I owned for twenty years now and where I discovered the San Jacinto station. Some originals seems to even exist in the Western Archives files of the Santa Fe Railway Historical and Modelling Society. So why?
I must admit that I've always love this building 'of questionnable architectural merit' (in a caption in that same book).  And love it at first glance. Like the one in Midland or in Hemosa Beach two other examples of ' questionnable architectural merit'! That's it maybe...
Or is it a question of  easing the process of building the depot? No, having the drawings of this depot will made the kit fairly straightforward and after it's just a matter of time the laser machine spend on cutting it. I've lost quite some time on the recent version just to adjust the height of the building, the doors openings, to understand from photos how the windows arrangement was, and so on...So speaking of an easy process...No I just love it as I have said previously! 
And it will fit perfectly in the time frame set for my layout. I really love steam engines but I love early diesels too. I must have mixed trains also. In a corner of my brain, there may have been the dubious idea of having some late 50's/early 60's operating sessions...And in S scale, the choice of quality vehicles is quite scarce and thinking of early 40's ones is just a mere dream. So, for all these reasons and probaly a lot more I've chosen to model the 'Cracker box' that 'most rail historians feel it will be no loss' (in Hanson and Jennings, The San Jacinto Valley Railway althought a highly valuable booklet for the modeller) during it's early career between 1948 and 1952. And despite I've never seen this humble building, I miss it.
See ya'

mardi 14 novembre 2017

Cracker box challenges...

I've just receive the parts I've conceived for the San Jacinto "Cracker box". Quick assembly of the main parts revealed no flaws. Everything seems to have been fixed. A small box, yes but with many challenges...
Despite the boxy appearance of the 1948 station building, it was not an easy task to conceive it and you could see in one of the shots how many mock up were neccessary to obtain what I want.
I was unable to find a drawing of the "new" building (if it exists) and all my parts were done using those of the original California Southern station and photos of the modernized structure. It is known that the 1948 rebuilding was done around this venerable structure partially using a central section of the walls, doors and windows openings (at least, the freight part of the building even retains the original doors as example). But even with this set of drawings, many things don't fit and I was obliged to make some arrangements to have a visually satisfying result (at least to me...) like changing the height and widths of the freight doors, add some millimeters to the building heights, etc....  Presently, the balance fit the bill. The kit seen in the photo at the bottom of this post is the latest version (and I hope the last) and was laser cutted in 2 mm MDF and Laserboard on a friend machine from a Draftsight drawing I've made. We'll see the result painted, decalled and very slightly weathered when I'll find time to do so.
See ya'

The above three photos are of the last mockup made.

The mockup in place on the layout.

Trial and error process!

The latest version, and I hope the last...

lundi 13 novembre 2017

What's remains in San Jacinto

As you could see in the following photos taken during my trips there in april 2014 and 2015, the remnants are scarce. But seeing the place in person helps when you want to model it. Particularly, I realize how small  the station grounds are and have a modelisable size albeit selective compressions are neccessary. Visualising the surroundings, Mount San Jacinto and especially what's there behind the stock pen and Shell dealer, was of great help to plan the backdrop. All in all, despite an awful wheather in 2015 and the scarcity of the traces, I've feel the place and it consolidate my choice. Not bad!
See ya'
7 th street crossing. The station sat at right between the two poles, the main track goes straight, two spurs curved sharply at  right after the station building. At left was the Shell dealer with a small corrugated warehouse and a single tank. The stockyard was just out of sight at extreme right some distance before the crossing. At one time on this siding there was also a "National Ice" Ice house close to the stock yard.
The station entrance turnouts leadding to three tracks in front of the station.

Looking south toward Hemet. A lot less vegetation now and much more buildings everywhere...

Maybe the footings of the San Jacinto Packing warehouse.

This pole roughly marks the begining of the curved San Jacinto Packing corrugated warehouse.

Those tanks were never rail connected and don't exist in the 50's.

Failled track improvement?

The station approach just south of the 7 th street crossing. The turnouts layout is different from those on the track charts I own and could have been modified during trackworks in the late 1960's?

The station building was located roughly between the two poles. The house track was approximately where the truck's traces are.

Station grounds -Main track go straightin the center, two spurs goes right and one ended where is the alley ending on N Dillon Avenue. There was two customer here San Jacinto Packing Company (Agri Empire later) and San Jacinto Milling Company. The big warehouse at left sit some yards north of where was the Shell Oil dealer.

The San Jacinto wye near North State Street looking south toward Hemet. This wye have seen apart of the regular 280 and 282, one 482, GP 7 and 9, RSD 5, and even some Warbonnet F 7!

An appearance in the grass, a short lenght ot the south leg of the San Jacinto wye-complete!

Detail of the wye track, there's some tie plate and only two spikes per plates.

dimanche 12 novembre 2017

A bit of history

(ATSF LA Division ETT-09/1953-My collection)
The San Jacinto Valley railway was born between 1886 and 1888 with the construction of a 20 miles line from Perris, on the then mainline of the California Southern between San Bernardino and San Diego through Temecula canyon, to Hemet and San Jacinto. From 1890 until the 1920's the railroad was the main transportation artery in the valley and most of the freight to and from the communities settled there used it. In it's heyday it was no less than two regular trains that plied the rails daily : one passenger train that  combined to and from San Bernardino at Perris and a mixed collecting merchandises along the line. 
All the stations, including San Jacinto, were built from standard plans of the California Southern, the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe railway umbrella in Southern California. The Santa Fe owned a web of  lines through many company in Socal to hide their presence from their Southern Pacific competitor. But the ATSF leased all of their California properties in 1904 and absorded them in 1906 and the masquerade was over. The line became known as the San Jacinto district of the Los Angeles  Division. Sometimes in the twenties, the passenger trains ceased operations due to automobile competition and only the mixed remains until april 26, 1952 when the # 505 & 506 were discontinued. The operations went freight only for some more decades. The station in San Jacinto was "modernized" in 1948 into the boxy structure dubbed by some as a "cracker box" and closed as an agency in 1978.In 1969, the track was upgraded with heavier rail and ballasting in an effort to reduce maintenance costs and raise the speed limit up to 40 mph. The district known amongst railroaders as the "San Jac" became a subdivision in the 1985 reorganization but the Santa Fe, probably, already had plans to sell the line or closed it as traffic have sharply declined over the years. In 1990, only 88 cars were shipped from Agri-Empire the major shippers in San Jacinto. The line was bought in 1992/1993 by the Riverside County Transportation Commission (RCTC) for a planned commuter line up the valley but the occasionnal freight trains were still operated by the Santa Fe and after the 1995 merger by the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF). The trains runs on later years on an "as needed" basis, mostly seasonal potatoe traffic in summer, and it seems that those stopped running around the end of the last century. The San Jacinto Station was demolished by Agri-Empire, the major potatoes shipper in the valley and owner of the station ground, to make way for truck parking in 2002. However, the line still exist dormant between Perris and San Jacinto.The passenger trains re-entered the valley in june 6, 2016 when the Metrolink 91/Perris Valley line commuter trains began running to South Perris. An 2005 study of the RCTC stated that extending the line would be feasible up to San Jacinto.  So perhaps all is not lost for this little line.Time will tell...
We'll see later some more historical informations about the station, traffic, what kind of engines were used, this little blog grow up, so stay tuned.
See ya'

(Photographer and date unknown. All rights reserved )

(Photographer and date unknown. All rights reserved )

(Photographer and date unknown.All rights reserved )

(Photographer not known exactly. May be Jack Whitemeyer. But the original seemed to be black and White. 1947. All rights reserved)

(This photo is a scan from Mc Call book "Coach, Cabbage and Caboose", Kachina Press showing the last mixed train 505/506 in San Jacinto, 4/26/1952. Chard L.Walker photo. All rights reserved).


samedi 11 novembre 2017

More old modelling

Digging through my computer, I've found some other photos of my "test" module made with the remnants of Lakeside. The S Helper NW 2 was at that time completely in it's "as delivered" state. Since then, I've blacken the overall tone of this switcher. The original tone was much more Grimy Black/grayish than black. All the photos I've seen of the ATSF switcher/road switcher shows that the livery was a plain black, and none turned gray. But otherwise a terrific model like all the SHS offering. The demise of this firm was THE great loss for S scale.

This is one of the few photos of  this scene in place on what was my first layout attempt in my present train room. Maybe circa 2012, early 2013. This module is now history finishing in the trash bin.

OK, that's all for now and time to close the chapter of relics.
See ya'