Author Topic: Best Of Scratchbuild Project - Van Iron Woodchip Cars  (Read 6338 times)

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BCR 570

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Scratchbuild Project - Van Iron Woodchip Cars
« on: May 04, 2020, 02:17:04 AM »
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Introduction
With my car club meetings, symphony orchestra rehearsals and other evening activities on hold for the foreseeable future, modeling time is in good supply at present so I have decided to embark on a new scratchbuild project.  My operating sessions have brought to light an acute shortage of woodchip cars so it is time to address this need and get the fleet built.  There are very few woodchip car models available in N Scale, so hopefully this thread will of interest to those also needing such cars, or who are just interested in scratchbuiding techniques.

In my chosen era of 1977 the British Columbia Railway had a total of 1,245 woodchip cars on its roster, hauling woodchips from mills to the coast or to online pulp mills.  The first 60 cars were converted from standard 52'-6" gondolas in 1962-1964.  These were followed by the first purpose-built cars, which were built locally in 1964 and 1966 by Vancouver Iron & Engineering Works.  Subsequent orders for woodchip cars were placed with Hawker Siddeley, National Steel Car, and the railway's own Railwest Manufacturing Co.

I have built several cars from the CS Models styrene kit to represent the HSC and RMC cars:






A further nine kits are presently under construction, which will significantly boost the fleet.

However, I would very much like to have some of the older Van Iron cars to mix in with the later HSC and RMC cars.  Their different design and different paint scheme will add some variety to the fleet.  No one is ever going to offer a model of these cars, and their construction is fairly simple, so they lend themselves well to a scratchbuilding project.


The Prototypes
The first series of purpose-built woodchip cars were built for the Pacific Great Eastern Railway by Vancouver Iron & Engineering Works in 1964-1965.  They were approximately 62' long and were of all welded construction with a dump door at the 'A' end.  The 'B' end had a high mounted brake wheel.  A total of 190 cars were delivered numbered PGE 9501-9690 and they were finished in Freight Car Red with the large P.G.E. initials.  This builders photograph shows the general arrangement:




Two problems emerged with the cars during service.  The first was the failure of the three cast steel hinges for the dump door, which had to be replaced.  The second was a tendency for the cars to sag, which was remedied with reinforcement of the top chord.  This photograph of PGE 9507 in service shows the reinforced top chord, as well as the contrast between the older and newer cars:




A second order for 75 cars was placed with Vancouver Iron & Engineering Works, which arrived in 1966.  With these cars the top chord was reinforced during build including an additional 20 foot long section in the centre of the car.  These cars were also distinguished from the first series by a redesigned door with five hinges at the 'A' end, a low mounted brake wheel at the 'B' end, and grab irons in place of side ladders.  These cars were numbered PGE 9691-9765 and finished in Freight Car Red with the PGE map logogram.  Here is PGE 9702 in service:




My plan is to build four cars from the first series and two cars from the second series in styrene.  I have not scratchbuilt a set of cars concurrently before, so am hoping I am not taking on too much.      I am curious to see how a series build will go.

Time to start cutting some styrene!

Tim

« Last Edit: July 28, 2020, 08:58:07 AM by tom mann »
T. Horton
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craigolio1

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Re: Scratchbuild Project - Van Iron Woodchip Cars
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2020, 11:45:16 AM »
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I am really looking forward to following this thread.

Craig.

wazzou

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Re: Scratchbuild Project - Van Iron Woodchip Cars
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2020, 01:08:50 PM »
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Interesting to me that they were built at a relatively modern time with friction bearing trucks.
Bryan

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Missaberoad

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Re: Scratchbuild Project - Van Iron Woodchip Cars
« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2020, 01:47:22 PM »
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Interesting to me that they were built at a relatively modern time with friction bearing trucks.

I noticed that as well. My guess would be being government owned they opted for the most economical initial option, and with solid bearing trucks still being fairly common overall the extra labor v.s. roller bearings wasn't a factor yet.

Whatever the reason its definitely interesting to see.
Ryan in Alberta

BCR 570

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Re: Scratchbuild Project - Van Iron Woodchip Cars
« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2020, 03:13:30 PM »
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Quote
Interesting to me that they were built at a relatively modern time with friction bearing trucks.

Yes, and in the builders photograph the trucks have three springs.  So what would I use?

Tim
T. Horton
North Vancouver, B.C.
BCR Dawson Creek Subdivision in N Scale
www.bcrdawsonsub.ca

Missaberoad

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Re: Scratchbuild Project - Van Iron Woodchip Cars
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2020, 04:16:00 PM »
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Yes, and in the builders photograph the trucks have three springs.  So what would I use?

Tim

These are close.
http://www.spookshow.net/trucks/t91.html

Or these (BLI 70t Symington)
http://www.spookshow.net/trucks/blisym70.jpg

The Atlas National C1 trucks are in the same ballpark...
http://www.spookshow.net/trucks/atlasc1.jpg


Ryan in Alberta

ksmiley

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Re: Scratchbuild Project - Van Iron Woodchip Cars
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2020, 10:02:04 PM »
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These are fairly straightforward scratch build using sheet styrene, strips, and some parts like ladders, grab irons and a handbrake wheel. The part you have to spend time on is getting the side strips straight and even. Building 6, I would make all 12 sides all at once laying strips across the sides all at once. I'm sure you've thought through it though, love to see your results.
 

nkalanaga

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Re: Scratchbuild Project - Van Iron Woodchip Cars
« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2020, 12:22:42 AM »
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What I notice on the CS Models kits years ago, and now on the prototype photos, is the odd ladder arrangement.  These are the only North American standard gauge cars I can remember seeing that don't have a ladder on the right end of the right side.  Anybody know why?  Even US-built chip cars had ladders on the right ends of both sides.
N Kalanaga
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BCR 570

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Re: Scratchbuild Project - Van Iron Woodchip Cars
« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2020, 01:37:32 AM »
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Correct; the later chip cars did not have side ladders up to he top; just a high ladder on he 'B" end for getting inside the car.

Tim
T. Horton
North Vancouver, B.C.
BCR Dawson Creek Subdivision in N Scale
www.bcrdawsonsub.ca

BCR 570

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Re: Scratchbuild Project - Van Iron Woodchip Cars
« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2020, 01:55:40 AM »
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Glad to see there is some interest in this project; lets start cutting some styrene!

Sides (Part 1)
I decided on .020" sheet styrene for the side sheets.  To cut the styrene, I clamp the sheet onto the workbench, place a set square against the edge, and a steel rule against the square.  I then use a micrometer to measure for the correct cut.  I check the dimension to be cut at each end and in the middle:




For cutting through .020" sheet styrene, I hold the steel rule in place with one hand and cut with the other hand holding the knife.  The best way to cut through the sheet is to make several light passes with the knife; if you press too hard the risk of having he knife or the ruler wander is increased:




After cutting, I ended up with sides which were the correct height, but too long due to the width of the sheet.  Here are four pairs of sides after cutting:




I then go to work cleaning up the top edge of each side using the True Sander:




I then switch to the Chopper to cut off a portion of the side on the left end:




The end just cut is then cleaned up on the True Sander, resulting in our first square corner:




The top left corner is checked against a square to ensure that I do indeed have a square corner:




I then draw a check mark in the top left corner to indicate that this corner is indeed square:




The next step will be to cut the sides to their correct length and square up the other corners.

Tim

« Last Edit: May 05, 2020, 01:57:20 AM by BCR 570 »
T. Horton
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BCR Dawson Creek Subdivision in N Scale
www.bcrdawsonsub.ca

nkalanaga

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Re: Scratchbuild Project - Van Iron Woodchip Cars
« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2020, 02:35:42 AM »
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Tim:  What I was referring to is that they didn't have ladders on that corner at all, just a pair of grabs, like most cars of the time had on the left end of the sides.  Most cars built in the late 60s still had short ladders on the right ends.
N Kalanaga
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BCR 570

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Re: Scratchbuild Project - Van Iron Woodchip Cars
« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2020, 12:15:58 PM »
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I wonder if it was an attempt to minimize damage?  I have seen numerous photos of chip cars with sideswipe damage and the ladders are mangled; grab irons would be less susceptible to this type of damage and cheaper to replace.  Just a thought.

Tim
T. Horton
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BCR Dawson Creek Subdivision in N Scale
www.bcrdawsonsub.ca

nkalanaga

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Re: Scratchbuild Project - Van Iron Woodchip Cars
« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2020, 01:50:32 PM »
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That's possible, and an idea I hadn't thought of.  Also, if these stayed on home rails, they wouldn't have to have "standard" ladders, or a full set of grabs in place of a ladder, like interchange cars do.  It's just that it always looked odd to me.
N Kalanaga
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ksmiley

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Re: Scratchbuild Project - Van Iron Woodchip Cars
« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2020, 05:31:59 PM »
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Tim, I just noticed your name, Tim Horton.

Thanks for posting your technique for squaring up and cutting styrene sheet and also then cleaning up the edges.

The basics of this hobby are well worth being repeated on occasion.

Kent.

nkalanaga

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Re: Scratchbuild Project - Van Iron Woodchip Cars
« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2020, 12:17:23 AM »
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And, for Tim, and very off-topic:  Are you related to the Tim Horton who sells donuts and coffee?  Or is the name just a coincidence?
N Kalanaga
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