The Roster

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Montana Rail Link Bonanza!

In my previous post, I was showing off the new American Models SD-60 I purchased. Right on the heels of that, the same seller made me an offer I couldn't refuse - four (4) S gauge 50 foot boxcars for a very reasonable price. All four boxcars are in the blue and white livery of - you guessed it - the Montana Rail Link railroad.

The boxes cars are a mix of American Models (3) and Pacific Rail Shops (1) 50 foot boxcars. Apparently the PRS car is something of a rarity.

The original PRS box

 From the limited information I received, I don't think PRS produced a kit of the MRL boxcars, but then my Google-fu is weak as I can't find a comprehensive list of PRS cars on the web. I think its a re-painted kit as the blue is a little off from the pictures of the real MRL stuff I've seen (and a little lighter than the American Models color as well.

The Pacific Rail Shops 50' car

About the only other thing I can find that is 'off' about it is that I think the decals and lettering are reversed. The plans I have of the prototype show that the logo and name should switched (the American Models car has it correct). I do like it as it has the "W" logo with the moutain lion head embelishment - something the American Models stuff lacks (but which is still correct).

Good comparison of the PRS car (on left) with an American Models car

But the real treat was also unexpected. The seller included a unique American Models bay window caboose that is ALSO painted up for the Montana Rail Link. Its another custom paint job that is a little freelanced. Part of the problem is that I can't find a reference to the MRL using bay window caboosees, But still its a great addition to the collection.

You can see how it scales next to the American Models boxcar on the right. Plus its a nice shot of the brakeman standing on the back of the caboose.

This is a really great addition to my collection. The MRL are one of the few railroads to continue to use the caboose into the modern era of "Fred and Wilma" modern sensors and controls. No one makes a MRL caboose ready to roll in S. I was resigned to doing a quick paint job to renumber a Burlington Northern caboose to the MRL roster (there's a photograph of the prototype out there!)

Close up of the back of the caboose. Unlike a new American models kit, this one has no window glazing or internal lights....for now!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Another SD-60!

Yes, another SD-60. I had the opportunity to acquire another American Models SD-60 locomotive from a sale on the Yahoo groups. These are getting hard to find and are almost out of stock at American Models. But this one is even more unique...its painted in the livery of the Montana Rail Link railroad.

MRL 3201 takes the track on Ray's home layout

Okay so the MRL does not (and likely has never) used the SD-60 in operations, but this was a rare opportunity to acquire and MRL locomotive in S Gauge.

Its nicely painted in the colors of the MRL with great looking decals and even a decal celebrating Montana's recent centennial.

The centennial decal

The only quibble I might have is that the locomotive number is located too high on the body. All the MRL pictures I have show the numbers in the blue paint below the black vents and exhaust area. But its a little thing.

I'm going to enjoy matching this up with a consist of MRL and Burlington Northern rolling stock. I'm very happy with the locomotive!

The wreck train is..."unwrecked"

You may have read my prior post regarding the New York Central wreck train.

This pretty little train suffered and electrical failure when it derailed. It took a couple of months and an appeal for assistance to Ron Bashita of American Models, but the problem has been identified and fixed!

When the locomotive derailed, it apparently shorted one of the electrical pickup wires in a truck.

You can see the melted end of the wire just to the left of the upper wheel.

The short overloaded the tiny little phosphor bronze wire and half if it disappeared. As a result, the electrical power was not being picked up by all the wheels and the locomotive would  just stop - especially on a curve, but really most any time it would just stop.

So after getting the requisite replacement parts from American Models, I grabbed the flashlight, the screwdriver and the tiny modelling pliers and tackled the job. Its really a case of pulling two screws, separating the bottom of the truck case and unscrewing the retaining screw for the pick up wire. Took me maybe 30 minutes and most of that was either trying to figure out how the truck separated or struggling to get the wire in the right position.

But now the locomotive runs....just in time for the upcoming spring train show season!