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amfleet-ii-1.jpg

 

When I think of passenger trains my thoughts usually drift to American streamliners of the 1930's-1960's. As such, Amfleet never really caught my fancy, the egg shaped profile borrowed from the Metroliner (PRR/PC/Amtrak) didn't really match the prototypical passenger train in my mind. Then a few years ago one of my friends sketched up a Amfleet car in LDD. That got the gears working in my mind, culminating a little more than a year ago with my setting out to take my stab at them.

 

amfleet-ii-4.jpg

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I found this website of roster shots invaluable for my studies (all reference photos in this post are from that site). I settled on the Amfleet II. From the outside the main distinction between I & II is that Amfleet I has vestibules on both ends and Amfleet II on only one, but Amfleet II also has larger windows. While I was at it, I wanted to make a "modern" train that can still be seen running today. So I went with the current Amtrak paint scheme (Phase VI).

amfleet-ii-3.jpg

 

The most challenging aspect was to get the right shape to the sides of the cars. Not only are they rounded, but they are widest just below the windows. That took a bit of engineering to get the right shape. Meanwhile, Amtrak's blue is somewhere between regular Lego blue and dark blue, so I went with dark blue. While I could have built clear windows, they would disappear in the dark blue, so I backed the windows with tan to keep them visible in most lighting conditions. I built two coaches and one cafe. The final cars are a little wider than 6 at the widest point and they are 52 studs long.

At this point I was in deep, I needed a locomotive to pull the cars. That lead to the P42DC.

 

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With my old school bias of streamlined F-7's and E-9's I can't help but think these poor locomotives had their nose cut off. Whatever the history might be, these engines have some difficult angles. There's a bit of clip snot and a lot of black magic behind that nose.

p42-1.jpg

 

Well okay, why stop now? I went on to update my Superliner I design to Superliner II's.

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The biggest distinction being that Superliner I's did not have transition cars (they relied on the Hi-Level transition cars). Like the Amfleet, they are 6 wide and 52 studs long. All of these cars were designed to handle R40 curves, which require roller bearings to operate satisfactorily at this length. That was easy for the Amfleet design, since the trucks on the prototype cars had an internal frame, the naturally exposed wheels of the roller bearing wheel sets worked well. But for the Superliners, that was a different story. At 6 wide there isn't space to do a brick built solution. So I made up custom truck sides for the Superliners.


superliner-ii-2.jpg

 


I rounded out the set with a heritage baggage car visible in several of the shots.

 

 


Full gallery once moderated

 

 

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Nice work on the Amcans. The P42 looks a bit off to me, a bit too boxy in my opinion, but then again, this is 6-wide so not much room for SNOT for the rest of those angles on the nose there. Still, great work, easily recognizable

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Those are some nice coaches you have there. I'd been meaning to ask you if you had more photos of them after seeing some of the things you've posted lately, but seeing them in all their glory is impressive... And then your prototype photo threw me for a loop too, I instantly recognized that location, I've gotten on and off a lot of freight and Amtrak trains right there...

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Very nice trains, great accuracy compared to the real ones!

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Great job on the Amfleet II and Superliner II cars. :thumbup:  

How are the custom truck frames mounted?

 

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Thanks all for the kind words,

 

8 hours ago, High_Admiral said:

Nice work on the Amcans. The P42 looks a bit off to me, a bit too boxy in my opinion, but then again, this is 6-wide so not much room for SNOT for the rest of those angles on the nose there. Still, great work, easily recognizable

It needs beveled corners to be spot on, but that adds four more planes. It was hard enough to get three planes where the constraints of Lego dictates that there should only be one (grin). I really wanted to get the small tilt at the top of the sides, and if I didn't include power functions inside it would have been doable. But after a few dozen iterations I finally gave up on that aspect.

 

8 hours ago, SD100 said:

Those are some nice coaches you have there. I'd been meaning to ask you if you had more photos of them after seeing some of the things you've posted lately, but seeing them in all their glory is impressive...

After I started in to the Superliners one thing that was killing me is that I thought that the Superliners and Amfleet were never mixed. There are a few shots of Superliner coaches with Amfleet cafe cars from the period when the Superliner I's were being built, but that is Phase II paint and the wrong cars. Then someone pointed out that the Pioneer often had Amfleet coaches with Superliner sleepers. Of course that only lasted into Phase III paint, but don't tell anyone that.

 

8 hours ago, SD100 said:

And then your prototype photo threw me for a loop too, I instantly recognized that location, I've gotten on and off a lot of freight and Amtrak trains right there... 

I hope you work for the railroad (grin some more). Not my photo though, the nearest Amtrak comes to me is about two hours away and does so in the middle of the night. As noted in my post, the prototype shots are from this website of roster shots, a comprehensive list of almost all active Amtrak equipment.

 

8 hours ago, M_slug357 said:

I like those bogie covers on the SuperLiners!! 

Thanks! Those are probably the one thing in this post that I worked on the most. They are now available on TrainedBricks.com, but unfortunately not cheap.

 

36 minutes ago, LegoDW said:

Those passenger car cars came out awesome.  I'm jealous.  Great job! 

Thank you. And I've been slowly working on instructions for the Superliners, so who knows, you might be able to have a set of your own someday (but definitely not before summer)

 

18 minutes ago, dr_spock said:

Great job on the Amfleet II and Superliner II cars. :thumbup:  

How are the custom truck frames mounted? 

You are too kind. The truck sides are held on with a clip and then prevented from twisting with a few plates at the bottom. Instructions for the trucks are here. The thing I like most about the truck design is that you can see through them, just like real trucks.

s946805886935089153_p97_i1_w4000.jpeg?wi

 

 

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Excellent job recreating a modern Amtrak consist. Both car designs match well, especially for working in 6 wide. The P42DC is acceptable, but something about that nose. I'm sure it's not such an issue at speed. Kudos.

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On 2/21/2021 at 11:40 AM, Brandon Pea said:

Those are amazing! Now if only Lego would do something like that. 

Thanks you, and I agree (but they are all too long for Lego standards)

 

On 2/21/2021 at 11:47 AM, Feuer Zug said:

Excellent job recreating a modern Amtrak consist. Both car designs match well, especially for working in 6 wide. The P42DC is acceptable, but something about that nose. I'm sure it's not such an issue at speed. Kudos.

With the gentle corners, that prototype is a killer (especially in 6 wide). What you don't see in the photos is the fact that I design for durability too. If I went to 7-wide I probably could have gotten the gentle taper at the top of the sides. To tell the truth, after getting the nose to work, I was hesitant to mess with it any further. I'm still amazed the nose works as well as it does.

 

On 2/21/2021 at 11:58 AM, bogieman said:

Nicely done on all. I especially like your equalizer side frames!

Dave

Coming from someone with a username like Bogieman that is quite the complement (grin)

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22 hours ago, zephyr1934 said:

With the gentle corners, that prototype is a killer (especially in 6 wide). What you don't see in the photos is the fact that I design for durability too. If I went to 7-wide I probably could have gotten the gentle taper at the top of the sides. To tell the truth, after getting the nose to work, I was hesitant to mess with it any further. I'm still amazed the nose works as well as it does.

This is something that I actually now am wondering. Why did you go with 6 wide along the entire consist when 8 wide would be more prototypical?

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2 hours ago, High_Admiral said:

This is something that I actually now am wondering. Why did you go with 6 wide along the entire consist when 8 wide would be more prototypical?

There are several reasons why I build 6 wide. All of the trains in this thread will navigate R40 track. Until this month my home layout had R40 curves. Since most of my trains are 9v I still want a 9v loop. Meanwhile my club's track is all still 9v, so I need to handle R40s. These long cars look silly enough in an R40 curve, imagine an 8 wide car if it could even handle the curve. I am also locked in to historical path dependence- almost everything else I have is 6 wide. While I am envious of the detail that can be built into 8 wide, building 6 wide probably saves more than 33% on cost. On the flip side, whatever size layout I might be running on, I can fit 25% more cars in the same space, so for the same unit distance of Lego track the trains have a larger number of cars and a longer scale length (N vs. HO).

As for being prototypical, I am not attempting to build to minifig scale. So that removes the biggest constraint on scale. All of the cars are scaled proportionately for 6 wide. The one major dimensional constraint is that the height of the Lego train wheels is way out of proportion for 6 wide.

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Nice models. Not personally a fan of the genesis (IRL - not yours) - it was ugly when it first showed up, and hasn't aged particularly well. The charger is a slight improvement, but not an enormous one. Why we can't build pretty cab units anymore is just beyond me.

Edited by SteamSewnEmpire

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23 hours ago, High_Admiral said:

Fair enough, still looks freaking great!

I thought a bit more about this, I guess my sensibilities were shaped under 9v era constraints. With the wide radius curves of ME and then BT et al. I started building longer trains in terms of the number of cars rather than longer cars. On R104's without roller bearings my double stack train hit its limit below 17 wells (some of the cars would pull themselves apart if was not careful about which unit I put first). Now with roller bearings life is completely different, e.g., I can toss in 5 autoracks with the 17 wells and no car starts to fracture. But I've only started to explore the freedom of roller bearings.

 

4 hours ago, SteamSewnEmpire said:

Nice models. Not personally a fan of the genesis (IRL - not yours) - it was ugly when it first showed up, and hasn't aged particularly well. The charger is a slight improvement, but not an enormous one. Why we can't build pretty cab units anymore is just beyond me.

Totally, when I run the Genesis + Amfleet I can't help thinking to myself that I've just modeled one of the ugliest trains in the world (grin). Actually though, when they are not mixed in with normal cars I'm starting to warm up to the Amfleet.

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5 hours ago, SteamSewnEmpire said:

Nice models. Not personally a fan of the genesis (IRL - not yours) - it was ugly when it first showed up, and hasn't aged particularly well. The charger is a slight improvement, but not an enormous one. Why we can't build pretty cab units anymore is just beyond me.

True - I don't understand why they don't produce something that looks like an F7 but with modern technology inside. It could bring at least a little of the glamour back to passenger service.

Anyway, these are really nice models, @zephyr1934! The curved car bodies are just brilliant.

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3 minutes ago, zephyr1934 said:

I thought a bit more about this, I guess my sensibilities were shaped under 9v era constraints. With the wide radius curves of ME and then BT et al. I started building longer trains in terms of the number of cars rather than longer cars. On R104's without roller bearings my double stack train hit its limit below 17 wells (some of the cars would pull themselves apart if was not careful about which unit I put first). Now with roller bearings life is completely different, e.g., I can toss in 5 autoracks with the 17 wells and no car starts to fracture. But I've only started to explore the freedom of roller bearings.

It's understandable. Roller Bearings did have a profound impact on the hobby in my opinion, but not everyone uses them or perhaps even know that they exist. I for one am still hoping for some enterprising people to come up with roller bearings for the Technic Axles(or third party parts to meet the need) so we can have even less rolling resistance on steamers and other builds that use them. Having people who stick to the "old ways" so to speak is a good thing I feel as it helps continue an era which has taken the back seat to the PF and PU era designs.

9 minutes ago, Pdaitabird said:

True - I don't understand why they don't produce something that looks like an F7 but with modern technology inside. It could bring at least a little of the glamour back to passenger service.

Anyway, these are really nice models, @zephyr1934! The curved car bodies are just brilliant.

One word: Safety. The E/F units are probably not as safe as the Chargers or the P42s

 

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Looks really nice, especially the coaches. I like the P42 as well but two things make it a bit odd. The roof is flatter than it supposed to be. I think the roof you used on the coaches would look better. The other thing is that the sides are totally flat, but the real one is tapered in the window level. Maybe making that section 5 wide instead of 6 would give this effect. I think the nose/front section is spot on. 

Edited by Pendra37

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2 hours ago, High_Admiral said:

One word: Safety. The E/F units are probably not as safe as the Chargers or the P42s

 

True, but as my one-handed grandfather used to say, safety is overrated! :devil_laugh:

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On 2/25/2021 at 10:22 AM, Pdaitabird said:

Anyway, these are really nice models, @zephyr1934! The curved car bodies are just brilliant.

Thank you

 

On 2/25/2021 at 10:22 AM, Pdaitabird said:

True - I don't understand why they don't produce something that looks like an F7 but with modern technology inside. It could bring at least a little of the glamour back to passenger service.

 

23 hours ago, High_Admiral said:

One word: Safety. The E/F units are probably not as safe as the Chargers or the P42s

As I said, the P42 looks like someone cut off its nose. I would love to see a return to the rounded curves of the E's and F's, but I would imagine those were stupid expensive to build, e.g., the roofs on GP and SD went from curved to bent in the 1960's and that was only 1 degree of freedom. However, the E's and F's were solid, that is something like 1/2 in steel on the nose. The modern locomotives are safer, but that is for the same reason why modern cars are safer- advances in safety technology. That same technology could be built into an E or F derivative. Interestingly, when going from the shovel nosed diesels of the early Zephyrs to the FT, the cab was moved back from the nose to protect the crew in the event of a head-on collision (I believe in response to a shovel nose colliding with a fuel truck that killed the crew). The chargers and P42 undo that margin of safety. I suppose they deliberately moved away from something that looked like an F40 since the modern safety cab on freight locomotives are derived from the F40 and similar, and they wanted these locomotives to say "passenger".

 

23 hours ago, High_Admiral said:

I for one am still hoping for some enterprising people to come up with roller bearings for the Technic Axles(or third party parts to meet the need) so we can have even less rolling resistance on steamers and other builds that use them.

I second that. I think Andy from OKBrickworks has a 1x2 brick mount to hold a bearing that fits a technic axle. I can't find the link now, but he posted here about it several years ago and I think it is/was on shapeways.

 

23 hours ago, Pendra37 said:

Looks really nice, especially the coaches. I like the P42 as well but two things make it a bit odd. The roof is flatter than it supposed to be. I think the roof you used on the coaches would look better. The other thing is that the sides are totally flat, but the real one is tapered in the window level. Maybe making that section 5 wide instead of 6 would give this effect. I think the nose/front section is spot on. 

Thanks for the kind words. Yes, the P42 isn't perfect, as noted above I got 4 of the 7 planes in there. If I went to 7 wide for the body I probably could get the taper in at the top of the side, e.g., borrowing ideas from dtomsen.

 

22 hours ago, Brickwolf said:

Great builds, especially the Amfleet cars! 

You are very kind

 

20 hours ago, Pdaitabird said:

True, but as my one-handed grandfather used to say, safety is overrated! :devil_laugh:

In the 1880's you could tell the new brakemen by the fact they still had 10 fingers.

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On 2/25/2021 at 7:22 AM, Pdaitabird said:

True - I don't understand why they don't produce something that looks like an F7 but with modern technology inside. It could bring at least a little of the glamour back to passenger service.

Anyway, these are really nice models, @zephyr1934! The curved car bodies are just brilliant.

I've never gotten that, either. I cannot believe it's a safety issue - most modern passenger locomotives have far less of a "nose" to crumple than E/F-units.

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On 2/25/2021 at 10:22 AM, Pdaitabird said:

True - I don't understand why they don't produce something that looks like an F7 but with modern technology inside. It could bring at least a little of the glamour back to passenger service.

It's all about manufacturing cost. The amount of labor in nose of the E/F units was too much to absorb. They were made from many small pieces welded together, then ground to a rough shape and finished with plastic filler and sanding. The purchasers of the locomotives could demand those shapes if they are willing to pay but none are, regardless of what railfans desire.

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