NEB&W Guide to Members - Tom Amrine

From NEB&W Railroad Heritage Website
Jump to: navigation, search
Tom Amrine's Table of Contents
Community Portal Table of Contents

April, 2017

April 24

I've been doing a little work in Rutland Yard, cleaning up the new wiring for the switch machines and matrix I put in a while ago. I also replaced the Tortoise that failed at the end of the last operating session. While I'm at it I'll repair or replace the last few Rutland Yard Tortoises for the back shops area. They weren't done earlier when I did the yard ladders so I'll finish those. After that I still need to completely do the switch machines and wiring in Troy and Lake George. Troy will be a big job.
I'm also replacing the telephone signs on the fascia with a small copy of the 1939 Bell telephone sign. We have something like 15-16 telephones around the layout for use during operating sessions. The phones are connected in parallel making one big party line connected to the phone on the dispatcher's desk.


I mentioned earlier that the club is going to participate in "OP"toberfest this Fall and that I thought we might run a modified version of the standard operating session by backdating it to the early 1940's. So we've pulled out some of the old brass steam locomotives to see if it's worth trying to get any of them running again. So far it looks pretty bad for the brass, a lot of work and expense for very little gain. We should have enough steam locomotives for a 3 hour session without them though. If it goes well we may do an all steam 24 hour operating session when we get a few more locomotives and more heavyweight passenger equipment.

April 15

OOPS! We've needed some NEB&W rib-sided 2 bay hoppers on the layout for quite a while. They're meant to move coal from Alburgh to the various coaling towers on the NEB&W. We've been using the OS ilmenite hoppers during the operating sessions, which isn't correct. So I decided to take three unmodified Bowser GLa hoppers I had and do a quick paint and decal job on them for the last op. session. Well, I got 'um done (miracle), and they ran during the session. Since then I've realized that two of them are numbered incorrectly. There were only 100 Rutland cars numbered from 10000 to 10099, for some reason I thought there were more and made two of them in the 10100 range.


Fortunately I have another batch of hoppers that are being modified to match the Rutland cars. Once I finish them up I'll retire these cars to obscurity.

April 13

After taking a few days off I went back to the club and did a walk around tour of the layout. If there are problems during the operating session we often put notes at the problem area with a description. There were a lot of notes. Vergennes was especially bad. I had been working on getting the Vergennes track and turnouts back in decent shape and thought we were at least OK but three different turnouts had problems that I'm going to have to fix. It looks like there are some problems in Chateaugay and there's still work to be done in Rutland Yard and Lansingburgh. I still have the switch machines to deal with at Lake George and Troy. Those are both complete rebuild projects that I'll try to do over the summer. The layout is over 40 years old in some places and it shows, maintenance is a continuous problem.
On a different subject, we expect to be part of this year's "OP"toberfest operating weekend in the Fall. We are thinking of trying to backdate the layout slightly into the early to mid 1940's. That means an all steam session and, since the session is only about 3 hours long, I think we can just about do it with the steam locomotives we have. It will mean getting out a few 0-6-0 and 0-8-0 switchers and tuning them up for yard work, and maybe the purchase of one or two other locomotives, but it could be an interesting session. I've already pulled out a few locomotives and started working on them. We will need to build some more heavyweight passenger equipment because a lot of our passenger cars are too new. It'll be interesting to see how much we have to change to get to the pre-World War II period.

April 09

John posted this photo of one of my 1944 AAR boxcars that I rushed to get ready for the operating session. You can see that the trucks and wheels aren't painted yet, the roofwalk isn't fully installed, the end of the roof needs to be painted black and the car needs a lot of weathering. Other than that!


April 08

Today was the Spring operating session. I managed to get a few of the pieces of rolling stock done that I've been working on, but a lot of cars are still only about 75% finished. Part of the reason they didn't get done is that I had some work on the layout to finish up and there's always something that needs repair just before a session. At least most of that got taken care of and the session went pretty well, but for some reason this was the session of the failing Tortoise switch machines. I spent most of the session dealing with Tortoise problems, replacing two throw bars that failed and a Tortoise machine that died during the session. Near the end of the session another Tortoise died of the same problem, so I have another one that I have to replace, and we found another Tortoise yesterday that we think is bad but didn't have time to replace. We also had problems with a known bad turnout in Vergennes that we had already decided to replace. Lots of trackwork problems at the moment. In defense of the Tortoise switch machines I should mention that the ones that failed in Rutland Yard were installed in 1987!

March, 2017

March 26

I'm still trying to get the decals on everything in time for the operating session. At the moment that includes: 3 NEB&W hoppers, 10 NEB&W steel boxcars, 7 NEB&W RS-1 and 11 RS-3 locomotives, 3 NEB&W steam locomotives, 2 NEB&W diners and an O&LR combine. I've finished an O&LR 70 ton diesel and 3 NEB&W S-2 locomotives. I still have the seven NEB&W cabooses to finish and I have the frames of 5 RS-1 locomotives and several locomotive bodies to paint too. I think I'm running out of time!

March 15

Snow. Lots and lots of snow. I didn't go to the club yesterday and I won't go in today. There's plenty to do at home and I'll spend most of my time decaling lots of different equipment.
I was at the club for a while on Monday and added a little weathering to the new 36' boxcars. Now they look like they've been in service.

March 12

The first six new Accurail 36 ft. boxcars are on the layout. They still need individual weathering so that they don't look identical, but they're good enough to run at the operating session next month.


I'm busy decaling 10 NEB&W steel boxcars, seven Kadee PS-1 and three Branchline 1944, that have been sitting on my workbench for awhile. I should have them done for the operating session too. Tomorrow I'll paint three stock Bowser GLa 2 bay rib-sided hoppers that we'll use as temporary NEB&W hoppers until I get the heavily modified models I'm working on finished. We need a whole bunch of the rib-sided cars to move coal on the NEB&W.
I pulled out the Scalecoat NEB&W green paint tonight and painted up some locomotive and caboose parts that have been waiting for awhile. I think they are all OK. I mostly use Floquil paints, but we had a special batch of paint made by Scalecoat to match what we believe is Rutland green and we use that on our locomotives. Scalecoat is good paint but it is definitely different, you can't use it like Floquil, so I try to get a whole load of things ready for the Scalecoat paint before I pull it out. One of the big problems with Scalecoat II paint is it's extremely long drying time. I may have to wait a week or more before I can do anything with the things I painted tonight.
What happened to those NEB&W flat cars I was working on a few months ago and mentioned below? Well, they aren't needed for the next operating session and a lot of other things are, so the flat cars are sitting half done in their boxes and will wait a little longer for some attention. Priority is locomotives, cabooses, boxcars, rib-side hoppers and, if there's any time left, steel coaches. Plus a bunch of track work and tortoises on the layout.

February, 2017

February 20

The first six new Accurail 36 ft. boxcars are painted and gloss-coated, I have the first three at home for decal work. the car underframes are built and painted, ready to go. Once I get the bodies decaled and dull-coated they'll be operational. They'll need weathering though.
Still working on the "NEB&W Overview to Diesel Locomotives" page. It's getting too big and cumbersome, I'll have to break it up into multiple pages.

February 15

The work on the "NEB&W Overview to Diesel Locomotives" web page is consuming WAY too much of my time. The page is also getting WAY too big, but John directed me to Wikipedia for photographs and I found the collection of Roger Puta photographs on Wikimedia Commons. It's a real treasure trove of photos from all over North America covering 30 or 40 years. I've used a lot of his photos on the "Overview" page.
We received the new Accurail 36' boxcars last Friday and I have the first six of them under construction. It took Accurail a little longer than they expected to get the cars done but they're really nice stuff. They've improved these cars in just about every way compared to their older 40' single and double-sheathed wood boxcars. I hope to have a bunch ready for the operating session in April. I'll add a photo when the first few are done. We also just received a new supply of Rapido 33" wheelsets that will go on the Accurail cars. They're the new standard wheelsets on the NEB&W.
It's the middle of February already and that means less than two months to the next operating session. Pressure now starts to build because there are a lot of repairs to be done and paperwork to get ready.

February 04

I've been very busy working on the "NEB&W Overview to Diesel Locomotives" web page. Still LOTS of stuff to add to it. I'm also trying to finish up the seven cabooses I've been working on. The walkways are just about done, now I have to assemble the cupolas, get things painted and re-assemble everything. I'm trying to think up a better way to attach the roofs to the bodies. I have to be able to take the roofs off to access the AA battery inside that runs the marker lights. The old method I used was OK, but fragile, I think I can come up with something better.

January, 2017

January 21

The students came back and classes started again this week. That means play time for me is ending, I have to wrap up the rolling stock projects pretty soon. With January coming to a close it also means that we're in the countdown to the Spring operating session and I have to get all those repairs done on the layout and make any necessary changes to the op. session paperwork. Always lots of thing to do before an op. session, no matter how much you've already done!

January 20

We've been short of NEB&W cabooses for quite a while. I started a new group of cabooses several years ago and I never finished them. The last three years I've been working almost entirely on the layout. Now I'm trying to finish up old projects. I've had these 7 cabooses in boxes, waiting for new roofwalks and cupolas. I've started the roofwalks and I have the parts for the cupolas. Maybe I can get them done soon.

January 14

Over the last couple of days I've spent some time working on the decal artwork for modern NEB&W diesel locomotives. My intention is to make a model of each of the NEB&W locomotives from the first Alco S-2 diesels to the last Alco C-424 diesels that the NEB&W purchased before being absorbed into CP Rail. That's meant some discussions on paint schemes and the modern locomotive roster. I have the preliminary artwork for the modern diesels just about done but it's so big that it would be too expensive to make in one big sheet. I'm going to try to break it up into decals for each individual type of locomotive and see if that works out better.
The modern cabooses are coming along. I'll probably paint the second one today.

January 11

I'm still working on rolling stock projects. I painted the Athearn NEB&W wide vision caboose yellow and started a second one that I'll paint green and yellow. We'll see which is the right paint scheme. Maybe both! I've already made a mistake on the second caboose by trimming off some tabs on the sides of the body. I looked at a photo of a D&H extended vision caboose and couldn't see these tabs on the car. After I cut them off I looked at other photos and realized that they're there, you just couldn't see them in the first photo I looked at. So I'll have to fix that. The second car is just about ready for painting and the first car needs one more coat of yellow paint. It's tough for me to paint things solid yellow, I usually need to prime them and then give them two or three coats to get a solid coat of yellow.
I've also started a second NEB&W flat car with the real wood deck for marble loads. That means I've spent a lot of time sanding the existing plastic deck off the model. It seems a little crazy to do this, it would be easier to just flip the car over and cut the whole deck off with an x-acto by following the sides of the frame. And that's one way to do it. But then you lose the mounts for the trucks and the frame gets very weak. In the past John made some NEB&W flat cars with new decks by cutting the flat car into pieces with a razor saw, removing the deck and then gluing the parts back together. I've tried that but I prefer this way. I'm still not sure if I'll only make two of these flat cars or if I need a third one. That may depend on how many we need for the operating sessions. We move a lot of marble in and out of Proctor and I'd think that there would be a bunch of these cars, loaded and unloaded, sitting in Proctor or in the yards, but we really don't know how many of these cars the Rutland had and the photos of Proctor I've seen don't show a lot of these cars waiting to be loaded. When I do projects like this I like to get all the cars we need done at the same time so I don't have to come back to them several years later when we realize we need more. I'm in that situation with the NEB&W wood cabooses. I made quite a few several years ago but we still don't have enough and now I'm in the process of making more. You have to relearn what you've already done. Or worse, you see that your first models were not quite as good as the new ones and wonder if you should scrap them! I'll try to put up photos of the flat cars and wide vision cabooses in my next post.

January 09

I received the NEB&W decals that we ordered from Rail Graphics for the new Accurail 36-foot boxcar model that's due out this month. Beautiful decals! Now we're just waiting for the boxcars. I hope I'll be able to get at least a few of the cars ready for the April operating session.

January 02

Happy New Year!
I had an Athearn wide vision caboose already started for the NEB&W second generation paint scheme and I pulled it out. The roofwalk was already removed and the mounting holes plugged so I filed and sanded the plugs a little and gave the caboose a coat of gray paint today in preparation for painting the caboose yellow. I've also pulled out a recently purchased undecorated Accurail 40 foot PS-1 boxcar that I bought for the second generation scheme. That'll be painted in Floquil zinc chromate primer, which we're using for PS-1 boxcars. I don't think that I'll be able to complete these cars because I don't have all the correct decals for them yet but I'll get them close to finished with what I have.

December, 2016

December 30

It seems I can't stick to one project at a time, I seem to need to be working on about 40 at once. Today's project is a modern wide vision caboose for the second generation NEB&W paint scheme. We model a very specific date, September 1950, but we also extend the NEB&W history up through it's merger into Guilford and it's final purchase by CP. Earlier in the club's history there was a second generation paint scheme and a new logo designed and several locomotives and cars were painted in the second generation scheme. I'm working on building a single example of the later diesels and rolling stock decorated in the second generation scheme. At the moment I'm thinking about the proper color and scheme for the wide vision caboose that would have been purchased in the late 1950's and run until Guilford took over. Back in the 1980's when the second generation equipment was first being designed and painted the only wide vision caboose painted in the new scheme was bright caboose red with yellow lettering. This really didn't work, even though it matched D&H cabooses of that time. At the moment we're thinking that the cabooses should be either yellow, also used by the D&H, or green, which was used by the Rutland and would match the locomotives. I'm leaning toward a yellow caboose with a black roof and black lettering. This is the 1960's 50-foot box car paint scheme. An all green caboose with yellow ends and yellow lettering would also work. I may do one of each and see which looks right but I'll start with the yellow caboose first.

December 29

In my last post of December 23rd I mentioned that I'm working on NEB&W flat cars for marble service and that Bill Gill has already done two of these cars with marble loads. If you go to Bill's blog he gives a detailed explanation of his building methods for these cars. I'm using some slightly different methods to build my cars and as I work on them I thought I'd describe my version of the car, mostly so that you can see how much better a modeler Bill is!
We both start with the same car, the Athearn 40-foot flat car, which is a reasonable match of the Rutland 40-foot flat car.
The first step is to strip the car down. Keep the flat car body, underframe, truck screws and weight, but get rid of the crazy Athearn coupler clips, the brake wheel, the couplers it comes with and the trucks. If you're using a recent Athearn flat car it may come with their new trucks and metal wheels, which are acceptable.
Let's start with the flat car body. Cut off the strange brake wheel mount so that it's even with the deck of the flat car. Cut off the stirrup steps. take an e-xacto knife with a chisel blade and remove all the grab irons. Smooth the areas where the grab irons and stirrup steps were using a fine file and , if necessary, very fine sandpaper.
Until now Bill's method and mine are pretty similar, now we start getting to the changes. I don't like the deck on the Athearn model. It's plastic and looks plastic. It isn't wide enough, the wood deck doesn't reach the sides of the car. My cars will not have loads on them so the focus of the car is the deck. It should look as if it's been used, it shouldn't be too perfect. The top and ends of some of the boards should be a little chewed up. There should be some variation in the boards. As on the real Rutland cars the boards should reach the sides of the car. So I need to replace the molded on deck with a new real wood deck.
I take a big piece of sandpaper and tape it down to a really flat, smooth surface. When I started my first car I used the top of a washing machine. Lately I'm using a table, or you could use a sheet of glass. Anything big enough, flat and really smooth that won't flex. Now the tedious task of sanding off the plastic deck down to the sides of the car. Start with a fairly rough grit paper like 200 grit to get started and as you get closer to the frame switch to 320 and 400 grit paper. This is going to take a while.
Once you get the deck removed and the top smooth you can start thinking about the replacement deck. We've had several discussions on the correct size of the wood boards used on the Rutland cars and, for now and until proved otherwise, I'm using two inch high by six inch wide boards. The Rutland marble cars have eight taller wood boards spaced across the deck to hold the marble blocks. I'm using six inch wide by ten inch high boards for those. So you'll need 64 two inch by six inch boards and eight boards six inches by ten inches, all cut to the width of the flat car frame. I'm spacing the boards, starting from the end, in groups of 2x6 boards with a 10x6 board in between them, starting with five 2x6, then seven 2x6, eight 2x6, eight 2x6, eight 2x6, eight 2x6, eight 2x6, seven 2x6, and five 2x6 at the other end. 5-7-8-8-8-8-8-7-5. I'm not adding the new deck to the flat car until I've finished detailing the car and I've painted it black. That way I won't have to play with masking off the deck for painting. We'll see if that's the right decision.
You can see in the photo below that I've already replaced the molded on plastic stirrup steps with A-Line metal stirrup steps. You could also use Detail Associates or Tichy plastic stirrup steps, which would look a little better and be more accurate, but I think the metal steps will hold up better when operating on the layout.

December 23

I've been pretty lazy the past few weeks, taking it easy and trying to do little things here and there. I've pulled out some rolling stock projects that I started over the last few years that never got finished and I'm trying to get them completed. I have two more Atlas covered hoppers meant to be NEB&W hoppers that I started and some Athearn 40-foot flat cars meant for NEB&W marble service that I'll try to finish up. Bill Gill has already done two NEB&W flat cars with marble loads on them, which is what I'd originally planned, so I'm making mine without loads. They'll sit in Proctor waiting for loads or come in to Proctor on the local way freights.
We're also still adding to the locomotive fleet with new steam and diesel locomotives. A while back we received the generous contribution of a Broadway 2-8-0 locomotive from Brian Albrecht and after testing it and running it during the last operating session we thought we should get another one. So we just received the second 2-8-0 and I'm in the middle of modifying it and decaling it for the NEB&W. We're also increasing the number of sound equipped diesel locomotives with new Atlas RS-3, RS-1 and S-2 switchers being painted up as NEB&W engines. The problem with sound equipped locomotives is that once you have some running the locomotives without sound seem odd, almost like they're broken. And a mixed fleet of sound equipped and non-sound equipped locomotives makes it tougher to put together engine consists because the two have totally different starting and running characteristics. I'd like to get all the RS-1 locomotives switched over to sound, that means ten locomotives and at the moment we have only three, so there's a long way to go there. When I get them all done three out of the four NEB&W Alco S-2 switchers we have on the roster will be sound equipped, but they don't usually run consisted, so it'll be good for the yard crews but it's not as important as getting the road switchers converted to sound. It's a pretty big project that'll take a few years unless we hit the lottery and we can get them all at once.
All the new sound equipped Atlas locomotives use LocSound decoders, so I'm setting up a work station with a JMRI decoder Pro equipped computer and a LokProgrammer connected to a programming/test track so we can do a little work on the diesel decoders. Eventually I want to get a Bachrus speedometer for the work station so that we can speed match the locomotives and set a prototypical maximum speed on them.
It looks like the Accurail 36-foot wood box car is finally coming out in January and we need a bunch of them painted up for the NEB&W. I've already sent off the decal artwork to Rail Graphics so we'll have the decals here when the boxcars arrive. I hope to have most of the boxcars ready for the Spring operating session.

November, 2016

November 18

We had our usual Fall operating session a couple of weeks ago and it went fairly well. A big turnout, even with a number of members unable to participate due to other commitments and my sleeping through the start of the session for the first time ever. Fortunately Chris Vigorito, the club president, Greg Whittle and others stepped in to get the session off and running.
We had a group of club alumni visit during this session including Bill Chapin, Don Oltmann, Geoff Hubbs, Vic Grappone and Scott Wertans. They were all good friends of Kevin Endriss and came back together to pay tribute to him and run some of Kevin's equipment for the last time.
We produced a new club T-Shirt in time for the session and 32 of them were picked up by members and guests. Far more than I thought we'd sell. We could have used more shirts but there were people who got back to me a little too late and missed out on this batch of T-Shirts.
As usual I had a long list of repairs and improvement that I wanted to get done before the session, and, as usual, I only managed to finish a small portion of them. Some of the work wasn't planned but appeared in the weeks just before the session. We've had a continuing problem with a section of track in Vergennes that I tried to fix by replacing rail and aligning and gauging the track. That led to the repair of a couple of the Tortoise machines. Which led to working on all the Vergennes Tortoise machines. Which led to a wholesale rewiring of the Vergennes switch machine wiring. Which led to the replacement of 8 feet of Vergennes fascia. What started out as a minor track repair turned into about a week of work.
Before I got involved in Vergennes I'd ripped up the track, Tortoises, matrix and wiring to the north end of Rutland Yard and Lansingburgh. So I had to get back to repairing that. While preparing to get that put back together we started to look at the problems with the Tortoises in the south end of Rutland Yard. As we looked at them it was evident that immediate major repairs were needed there. So we started on fixing the south end Tortoises of Rutland Yard. A new matrix was built, the main switch machine power bus was ripped out, most of the Tortoises were taken out, cleaned up and checked, capacitors added, mountings realigned, new throw rods and tubes used and adjusted and all the switch machine wiring replaced. Greg and I finally got the switch machines correctly wired to the new matrix at about 5 AM on the morning of the op. session. Needless to say, the south end repairs were almost completely abandoned. Kevin Surman installed two new turnouts on the mainline and crossover in Lansingburgh but I was busy with the south end of the yard and was unable to get them wired up and working. Greg stepped in and managed to get a couple of turnouts in the north end yard lead working in the hour or two before the session and Bill Schneider and Melanie Sembrat managed to work Rutland Yard during the session without a lot of the north end tortoises functioning. I still have to go back and finish both the north and south end of Rutland Yard. So two big projects, Vergennes and Rutland Yard, that I had planned to do over the summer, ended up as emergency repairs before the op. session.
Another thing I tore apart before the op. session was the dispatchers speaker system. It had originally been hooked into the phone network and powered by a single power amp. I thought that it should be separated from the phone network and re-powered with multiple amps so that we could adjust each speaker independently. That would cut out unnecessary phone network noise and keep some of the speakers from being over-driven by the single amp. I was swamped with work in Rutland Yard so Aaron helped wire up the new system and Matthew and Chris finished it and adjusted it. Another project finished about a day before the op. session. Gotta stop doing that.
Since the end of the op. session I've been doing another complete inventory of the motive power and rolling stock on the railroad, including the old, worn out, retired or displayed equipment. That's been taking awhile. I think we'll easily end up with over 1000 pieces of rolling stock.
We're also back working on the passenger equipment for the op. sessions, trying to get the passenger train consists more prototypically correct.
I did a quick batch of laser cut windows for a building in Proctor that John is working on. He's trying to get a lot of the Proctor buildings done. A while ago I cut the skylights for the locomotive shop in Rutland Yard and now I have to build the framing for them and get that finished up. Lots to do.

January, 2016

January 18

I looked through a lot of my boxes and found the six NEB&W steel coaches I started years ago. I washed the dust off them and start to assemble them last night. They were actually quite close to finished when I set them aside, so it shouldn't take too long to get them together. I still have to decal them and dullcoat them, which will take a few days.

January 17

Just about finished building the three Branchline coaches and five Branchline Pullman sleepers that I've been working on. I have another five Pullman sleepers started that I hope will be done soon. I'm about done with the complete NEB&W diesel locomotive roster. It'll list all the diesels purchased by the NEB&W until it's takeover by CP. I just have to assign numbers and class designations to the engines. I've been having fun modeling again but we have a small operating session scheduled for early February and I have a list of repairs that need to be done, so it's back to crawling under the layout. Most of the work is Tortoise switch machine repair or replacement, but also some track work and fascia work. I'm sure the list will grow as we get closer to the operating session. During this session I'm going to try to use a modified form of ticketing for the passenger trains that we tried once before. It was much too cumbersome and complex the last time we tried using real tickets but I've streamlined it a bit and it might work now.

December, 2015

September, 2014

August, 2014

July, 2014

June, 2014

May, 2014

April, 2014

March, 2014

February, 2014

January, 2014

December, 2013

November, 2013

October, 2013

September, 2013

August, 2013

July, 2013

June, 2013

May, 2013

April, 2013

March, 2013

February, 2013

January, 2013

December, 2012