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Great Northern Railway observation car circa 1924 - On Members Workbenches. - More Practical Help - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Sat Jan 23rd, 2016 08:00 am
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BCDR
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I thought I'd make a start on converting the Rivarossi heavyweight café observation lounge car to something close to what the Great Northern Railway ran in the 1930's-1950's. These cars were common from around the turn of the 20th century until the late 1930's, although I have a photograph of one in revenue service in the early 1950's. Eighty feet long, built like Dreadnoughts, 6-wheel trucks/bogies for comfort, these passenger cars really were first class travel. The Great Northern Railway Historical Society has a superb kit of the Cascadian observation car in GN green, but at $120 it's museum quality so it's the el cheapo approach as usual.

This particular example was bought for $10 at a show last year, originally lettered for the ATSF railway ("St. Crois"), and in Pullman green.



I made a start by replacing the original undersized wheels (33") with 36" wheels from Reboxx. Half insulated, as I want interior lighting. Pick-ups are already there, bearing on 2 out of the 3 axles, not bad for what is probably a 30 year-old  model. The wheels are well worth the $6.00 investment.



The previous owner had scratched out ATSF and "St. Crois" with what looks like a glass fiber pen, that will need a bit of smoothing with #1000 wet and dry emery followed by a respray in GN green. Acrylic paint is a lot more forgiving than enamels. The body work has plenty of rivet detail, and a good representation of the interior seating for the lounge, cafe/restaurant and kitchen.

The roof is a 1930's air conditioning conversion, and the roofing material seaming is over scale. The ends to the clerestory should have horizontal, not transverse seaming. Some wet and dry emery paper to remove the seaming and some coach roof seaming tape from Comet Models should make things look a lot better.



The observation end needs some work. The central door and windows need replacing with a large picture window and a door to the side. I'll remove the original, and fabricate one to fit from styrene sheet. Not sure about the candy stripes either. Drak green would be more like it. Passengers watched the scenery go by at a sedate 40-50 mph. There would have been a search light on top so the passengers could see where they had been at night. Plus 2 marker lights, one either side.





This the end as supplied.



And this is what it should look like.



I'll use the light bar as supplied, but I'll replace the missing bulb with an LED.



The Kadee coupler mountings need redoing, and the ends need some piping (air line for the brakes, secondary emergency airline and steam heat pipe) and hooks and chains. Plus a whistle for the train conductor to alert the engineer way up front.

Underbody detailing is basic but OK. The intent is to have this as a working model, not a super-detailed showcase. Always hazardous to run museum quality stock at a model train show. Turn yer back and it's gone walkies. Or hit the floor at a scale 60 mph. Some rivet detail (Archer decals) on the outside of the fish-belly framing will help. Other than that a better representation of the brake gear to show some pivot arms and rods. 



Updates as work progresses.

Nigel




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 Posted: Sun Jan 24th, 2016 05:53 am
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Marty
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Thank you Nigel, another interesting rebuild to watch. 80 feet eh? What a monster.

Marty



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 Posted: Mon Jan 25th, 2016 07:00 am
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BCDR
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Hi Marty,

Relatively easy bash (for a change).

Churchward's Dreadnought and Concertina passenger coaches came close - 70'.

Good job it's 3.5mm to the foot as opposed to 4.0mm (same length as it turns out). Needs gentle radii.

Nigel



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