Archive | September 2013

Sunday Random Rail Shot

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This little critter (I believe a GE 45T) was found near Edgerton, Indiana in 2004.  It gives some evidence of the scale of the grain elevators located throughout the American Mid-West (this one actually isn’t that large).  Scenes like this would make a great prototype for a single industry shelf layout.

Custom Projects and Kitbashes

Customized Minitrix F7A 4267–

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First off let me apologize for being a little delinquent with my blogging, between an increased load at work, home repairs, and family commitments I am finding little time for non-essentials.  That said, I would like to talk about an Minitrix F9A (F7A) that I decorated up in a late B&M “blue-dip” scheme.

When I first got interested in vintage N scale I started looking into appropriate locomotives that could pull my growing collection of rolling stock.  Reviews of early N scale stuff are generally pretty harsh and my experience with much of that early equipment backs those less-than-favorable opinions completely.  One of the major exceptions is the Minitrix (Aurora) F9A dating to around 1966.  Oddly, being from 1966, this locomotive is a very early development and yet does indeed run very well, even by some 1990s standards.  This F unit is a little out scale, in most dimensions, and much of the detailing more closely resembles an F7… however for the time it was a very nice locomotive.

I have said it before so I am sure most of you know that I am not a rivet counter, I just like operating my railroad.  I wanted a locomotive to pull my vintage B&M equipment and I wanted something that would look at home doing so.  The Minitrix locomotive is already a great deal like the four EMD F7As purchased by B&M.  For instance, it has one headlight, and no steam generator, so I wouldn’t have to make the shell match those details as I did on the earlier Life-Like F7A “customization” I had attempted many years ago.  What I did have to do was settle on a paint scheme.

Most, if not all, early B&M N scale equipment is “blue-dipped” with white lettering.  I could have bucked the trend and given it a basic Minute Man scheme but that would have looked odd when matched up with a mostly blue consist.  Blue it was but only three of the four B&M F7As made it into the blue era, 4265, 4266, and 4268 ,4267 having been wrecked on the north shore of Mascoma Lake and eventually traded in when B&M acquired more modern equipment.  I am always on the look out for B&M locomotives and I couldn’t be sure if one of the major manufacturers would ever release the three survivors in their individualized “blue-dipped” schemes.  I knew however that 4267 would probably never be released as a factory model in blue paint (at least I would hope not), so in my world, on my railroad, B&M repaired 4267 and put it back into service in brand new blue paint.  The scheme I chose is sort of a combination of the blue schemes worn by the other three B&M F7As… it isn’t perfect but I think it looks appropriate.

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I haven’t decided whether I will make up some number board inserts, it still has the original Minitrix number “510”, but that can wait.  For now, I am happy with the results, it isn’t going to win any prizes for authenticity but it looks pretty good pulling a freight train around my layout. 

Again, I can’t emphasize enough just how enjoyable it is to repaint/redecorate a locomotive to be something closer to what you want.  If you have’t tried it yet I say dive in, paint is getting difficult to come by now that Testors has gutted the railroad model paint market but finding the right mix could certainly add more interest to your hobby.

Sunday Random Rail Shot

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This isn’t really a rail photo, but it is a rail-related photo.  What you see here is the Rt 4 bridge which spans the B&M Northern Line and the Mascoma River just west of Mascoma Lake.  When driving Rt 4 one tends to not notice the river, or what is now the Northern Rail Trail, from the bridge.  All you notice is a gap in the trees and a slight bump felt through the tires on either end.  Still, the bridge has been there for a very long time and a lot of people have traveled across or underneath it, it’s pretty iconic in my view.  This bridge will be replaced someday and I am sure the view from below will change; for now I am happy while it lasts to think that this is what B&M passengers, traveling on the Northern, saw when they looked out their windows.

Sunday Random Rail Shot

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These photos were taken some time ago, although I can’t really remember when, it had to be the late-1990s or very early-2000s.  I just thought a couple Morrison Knudsen GP40s, parked at Bellows Falls Vermont, were worth taking some pictures of.  Interestingly there was also an ex-Chessie System GP40 there as well, for some reason I didn’t photograph it, or perhaps I simply lost the pictures at some point.

Sunday Random Rail Shot

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If you get the chance, and you’re in central New Hampshire, head on down to the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad.  The last time I rode the train it was pulled by the awesome, historical Alco S1 #1008 (ex-Portland Terminal), the ride was pleasant, and the whole experience was well worth the ticket price of around $14.00/adult ticket ($10.00 for each of our children).

How many places can you spend an hour on a passenger train, traveling along the shore of a scenic lake, for that price?  As I recall the cars were mostly de-powered Budd RDCs but at least one caboose was in the consist for caboose rides.

Check them, and the entire Hobo Railroad, out at:

http://www.hoborr.com/