Spring Cleaning

Time to clean!
Time to clean!

It is spring here at my El Paso home in the Chihuahuan Desert. Spring in the desert means windy days and wind kicks up the dust in extraordinary amounts. The HVAC was recently serviced with a good scrubbing of the A/C coils and a new filter installed. Dust gets into everything here, even into closed cupboards. The Wheeling Freight Terminal had a coat of dust accumulation from the last couple of years. With an operating session set for this week, it was time to take action.

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Upgrading Plastic – MTH USRA hoppers

A transformed HO scale MTH USRA hopper.
A transformed HO scale MTH USRA hopper.

Dave Parker returns with his techniques to upgrade the MTH HO scale USRA hoppers.

About three years ago, I purchased an MTH ready-to-run USRA twin hopper with the intention of kit-bashing it into a Boston & Maine car. The B&M bought 100 used twins from the C&O in late 1934 but, after squinting at several photos, I decided it was a no-go. The C&O cars were USRA-like, but had noticeable differences in overall structure and in the details. The MTH car came lettered for the Erie, and can be seen in the 1920s plastic freight car summary, but it is a foobie – the Erie never owned any USRA twins.

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Prototype Data Sheets – 2

Orange, NJ, freight house circa 1920. Photo from the Steamtown NPS archives.
Orange, NJ, freight house circa 1920. Photo from the Steamtown NPS archives.

Ray Breyer has completed a another prototype review for the upcoming Accurail HO scale 36-foot box car model. Four variations of the model are planned. Initial paint and lettering schemes were announced a couple of months ago. Ray’s latest summary covers prototype cars for each of the introductory models that will have straight center sills and steel ends. This is another solid resource for modelers to understand the similarities between the model and prototype. The initial PDF data sheet is posted on a special blog page, Accurail Prototype Data.

Two additional data sheets are in the works to cover the prototypes Accurail has announced for the other 36-foot box car versions. These will appear over the next few months as the release date for these new models approaches. It’s great to see such a wide variety of prototype box cars that can be represented by these new models.

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Layout Visits

Mountain railroading on Paul Backenstose's HO scale layout.
Mountain railroading on Paul Backenstose’s HO scale layout.

I recently returned from a couple weeks of travel back in the Mid-Atlantic Region. As mentioned here a couple posts ago, I attended the RPM Valley Forge event. After things closed up, several home layouts were open for a self-guided tour. I stopped by to visit a couple of layouts on my way out of town.

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