Shawmut scale test car

Several months ago, Perry Squier shared photos of a scale test car he was building for his Shawmut layout. He shared photos and notes of the finished HO scale model recently. It is frequently used in his operating sessions. Here’s Perry with the details.

I model the Pittsburg, Shawmut & Northern RR (the Shawmut) in 1923. The railroad at that time had three scale track locations: St. Marys Yard, Prosser at the junction of the Olean Branch, and Moraine at the junction of the Wayland branch. All of these locations are included on my layout but I never modeled the weigh scales.

Recently Ray Breyer posted a couple of photos of a scale test car owned by the Pittsburg & Shawmut Railroad, the southern sister line which broke away from the Shawmut in 1918. The prototype scale test car was built by AC&F in 1920.

Since the Shawmut never owned a scale test car, I assumed they leased this one from the P&S in order to test and certify their scales.

I found an old out of production bobber caboose truck by Walthers in my collection that I felt looked close enough to the prototype to use as a basis for modeling the car.

I started the model using a piece of 0.080-inch thick styrene for the floor and attached the two bobber caboose truck side frames. I was careful to keep the journals lined up, ensuring free rolling wheels. I added coupler pockets and trim parts to match the prototype.

The two weight bins were fabricated from 0.020-inch thick styrene. I cut 0.010-inch thick styrene for the hatches and styrene angle for the raised ribs.

The rivets on the prototype were very pronounced so I chose to use MicroMark rivets on the model.

I painted the model with Scalecoat detail black.

Eric Hansmann connected me with Dave Campbell who produced the one-off decals I needed. I was impressed with the decal work and they slid right into place.

Before I permanently glue the bins to the floor, I still need to add a couple of details and lightly weather the model.

Believe it or not, the prototype scale test car still existed in the 1990’s. I found this Alan Gaines image on RRPictureArchivesNET. It was photographed in Brockway, Pennsylvania.

Eric attended one of my recent operating sessions and was the first to run a train with the scale test car at the end. I snapped this shot of it on the tail and as it heads back to the P&S.

Thank you, Perry, for sharing your work on this unique model. A scale test car is a neat model to build. While small in size, it can provide another prototype element in an operating session. I look forward to seeing it action again during a Shawmut session.

If the Shawmut piques your interest, why not join the Pittsburg Shawmut & Northern Historical Society? Members share lots of information on the railroad and the region it served.

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4 thoughts on “Shawmut scale test car”

  1. I have a project for a DT&I scale test car a friend wants built. Standard Walthers kit but I have no decals even close to what I need. Does Dave Campbell do decals for things like this and any idea what he would charge?

  2. Scale test cars had no train brakes and would be placed ahead of the caboose.

      1. I think scale test car placement depends upon the railroad practices and if it has air brakes. Some of these cars do have air brakes. – Eric H.

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