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Found 2 results

  1. Having built one of Caltrain's switchers, I decided to follow up with another piece of maintenance-of-way equipment. Caltrain inherited much of its equipment from Southern Pacific, and these cabooses (two total) are no exception. International Car Company (by then a subsidiary of PACCAR) built the steel-bodied C-50-9 series of cabooses for the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1980; the model number indicates they were the 9th order of the C-50 series. The two units reside in the San Francisco terminus on Caltrain. My understanding is that JPBX tacks them on to work trains and uses them around Christmas for a "Holiday Train" special service. Despite this, and despite the relatively large number of these cabooses owned by Southern Pacific, I found it hard to locate diagrams. Fortunately, the Western Pacific Railroad tacked on 6 units to the Southern Pacific order (source), and I was able to find a drawing of that to work from. Internally, this model is a riot of SNOT; there are studs pointing in every direction, including upside-down! I'm particularly proud of the technique I used for the bay windows, where 1 x 2 x 1 panels close flush with sloped tiles. 2x3 tiles made some details sturdier, but the real MVP is Brick, Modified 2 x 4 x 2 with Holes on Sides! Finally, for this model (as well as the MP15DC) I tried out a new "sticker" technique. Inspired by a frustrating experience with trying to cut and align sticker paper, I instead printed the caution stripes on regular printer paper, then attached them to the model with an ordinary glue stick. The longer "open time" allowed me to reposition the "stickers" slightly while applying them, making them easier to line up. Next step: printing up some gigantic Caltrain logos. The end! Full gallery here, pending moderation.
  2. Silicon Valley, California, is not particularly well-known for trains, nor public transit in general. Caltrain operates a commuter service along the peninsula. While most of its modern rolling stock is too large for regular track at my typical 1:48 scale, they also own and operate a pair of MP15DC switchers: EMD offered the MP15DC as a successor to the SW1500 series of switcher, the key difference being longer standard trucks and a higher top speed. Caltrain's two units (#503 and #504) were acquired from Union Pacific, which in turn acquired them from Southern Pacific. I believe the two are usually based in San Jose, though they can be seen up and down the peninsula running various maintenance-of-way jobs or "rescuing" stalled Caltrain commuter sets. This is the first "normal" diesel locomotive I've built in a long time, and the first time I've built something local. It's relatively straightforward mechanically: two 9V "mini-motors", one driving each truck, with the battery box in between them and the receiver in the cab. Pulling power is plentiful as the locomotive is reasonably heavy for its size. Pressing down on the single exposed stud on the hood powers the battery box on/off, and the power state can be checked via the small clear window on the hood. I took advantage of many recently-introduced parts on this model, such as they grey Collectible Minifig base which I used to plate over the sides and hide the works. Grey 1 x 2 x 2 windows, truncated corner tiles, and 2 x 1 wedges are relatively recent parts that help capture the shape of this locomotive. One innovation is an improvement on the technique I used for the cab windows on the TP56 locomotive. In this model, each "half" window is held captive by rotated tiles, greatly simplifying construction (a technique that @Commander Wolf absolutely loathes). The full Brickshelf gallery is here, pending moderation. I also took a number of work-in-progress screenshots in LDD, which you might find useful. Until next time, and may your commuter train never have to be rescued by one of these!