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Canadian Pacific Wood Passenger Cars, by Realworkingsailor, Scratch Built, Kit Bashed 1:87


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The CPR 1500 series wooden first class passenger cars were originally built in 1912.  The car was 80' long over the buffers and had a seating capacity of 76. It also included a smoking area. A surviving example can be found at the railway museum in Delson, Quebec. I had the opportunity to visit there back in 2009. The main hall is fairly dimly lit (as far as photography is concerned).  

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These cars lasted in service almost 50 years. Although in their later careers they were relegated to secondary and branchline service, that represents a significant lifespan, especially for wooden equipment. At some point, the cars had even been converted to electric lighting. Many other types retained the original Pintsch gas lighting.

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The primary source of inspiration for me was this CPR combine kit I recently completed. One of the primary stumbling blocks for building wooden type cars is the complexity of the windows. For anyone wanting to build a model of a steel car, there are many suppliers of almost every different type of window.  For wooden cars, there is considerable scratch building required. The combine I built showed me a viable technique that builds up the car side in multiple layers. An inner core layer to serve as a base. A second sub-side layer which will be seen only as the window sash, a third layer that has the wooden siding, and finally am outer layer consisting of the trim.

 

In my case, these side layers are all being built using styrene of varying thicknesses. The core layer will be cut from 0.040" thick styrene sheet, and the sub-sides will be cut from 0.020" plain sheet. I have already begun work on the third layer using the siding sheet.IMG_1573.thumb.JPG.451e245566379725d1234ad558982e38.JPGI had already made a few attempts starting with the sub-side layer, but I was running in to difficulties getting things to line up (between both opposing sides of the car as well as the subsequent layers. I have since decided to start with the siding layer in order to accurately establish the window pattern for each side, and then cut the thinner sub-side layer to fit. The floor of the car is basswood. The clerestory roof pieces are leftover from a couple of other kits that I've built and modified. Most of the remaining bits and pieces come from a healthy stockpile of bits and pieces I've built up over the years (despite what anyone else says, it does come in handy).  

 

Andy

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1 hour ago, popeye the sailor said:

hello  Andy.......good to see you back at the table :)   cutting out all those windows........wow!  sounds like quite a task.  look'in forward in seeing your progress.

It’s been a while, that’s for sure! Yes, the windows will be the most tedious (and repetitive) part of this build. if you notice in the prototype photo, each window has a series of three transom windows above it too. I haven’t yet started cutting (or even marking them out) yet, that will happen after I have the sub-sides sorted, so that they line up properly with the window sashes. For the record I plan on only cutting out the full transom window and re-inserting the mullions (made from styrene strip) afterwards.  

I foresee going through a good number of #11 x-acto blades on this one (I hate dull blades!).

 

Andy

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They liked to use Tiffany glass in the transoms. Those transoms disappeared by the 20s, I think.

 

There was another wood car kit line I've seen, named Westwood. They used plastic windows and doors with wood sides, built up roof clerestories of wood and plastic ribs. Some roofs were paper, others were vacuform styrene.

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Westwood... yeah that’s going back a few years! 
 

From photos, CPR kept the transom windows until the cars were scrapped, it’s likely, though, that the fancy etched glass was replaced. At Delson there’s also a restored official car that has its etched glass in place:

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Andy

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I've been slowly working my way through the various hurdles that come with trying to make a halfway accurate model while working without useable diagrams. A big help has been my brass model collection, of which I have a couple of "wooden" coaches, albeit the smaller variant of the car I'm attempting to build:IMG_1566.thumb.JPG.a003889014203fce835a7572bd562aa1.JPG

I painted and lettered the car many many years ago, and numbered the car in the 700 series, but I'm not entirely sure that's correct car number.  It's possible that this particular model was based on a couple of different prototypes. The window arrangement seems to indicate it should be one of the 1200 series cars (for which I have found a diagram in a book), but the mechanical equipment arrangement seems to follow some of the cars in the 600-700 series. More importantly for my current project, the window arrangement with respect to the smoking section (at the right end of the car in the above picture) is identical to the arrangement found in the larger car that I am building.

 

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Speaking of windows, I have finished cutting out the windows on the outer side layers (with only minimal bloodshed!). There's a very slight height discrepancy that can be corrected later on (a little fudging here and there) but overall I'm satisfied with the results. I've now moved on to making the outside ends of the car. Unlike the majority of later steel cars, the ends of these wooden cars also included large windows. 

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My first attempt didn't quite work out (somewhere a cutting and/or measuring error snuck in, and one side of the arched top is a bit lower than the other, where is meets the vertical side), but my concept seems to be sound, so onwards with another attempt! 

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Finally, I've had more success raiding my spare parts collection, namely I've scored a load of underbody details like the air and steam lines, and other assorted brake equipment details, as well as some end diaphragms. These parts are all leftover from some old(dish) Branchline car kits. 

 

After I get the ends figured out, I should be moving on to making the sub-sides. 

 

Andy

 

 

Edited by realworkingsailor
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A small update. Work has progressed on the ends of the car, and I now have two that are a reasonable match. There's a bit of a preview as to what is to come with the sides, as I went ahead and added the window frames, as well as the doors (and the door window frames as well. IMG_1579.thumb.JPG.a287086e0b4a69be17c1634d5142b604.JPG

One of the tricky bits was getting the top curve to match the curve of the roof end pieces. It's not quite correct, but I've left myself a decent margin for error there, so when the time comes for assembling the car, the arch can be sanded to fit nicely. There's still another layer to be added above the windows, but there again, that will have to wait until assembly. The ends are slightly over width as well, but again, that can easily be corrected at a later point in time.IMG_1580.thumb.JPG.20702b39fc761f9c0babe2bf0f91c474.JPG

As I mentioned earlier, the ends provide a nice preview of things to come. Next up will be the creation of the sub-side layers. Above is an earlier attempt that is destined only for the scrap pile, but it does nicely illustrate all the cutting that lies ahead. For the sub-side, the transom window openings are a bit more generalized, and the exact openings are still yet to be cut out on the outer side layers. The trick is that the transom windows need to be the same width as the frames of the windows, as cut out on the sub side, so in order to be as accurate as possible, they cannot be cut out until the subside layers have been made and glued in place (fingers crossed that all foes well).

 

Andy

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Time for another "small" update. Work has progressed on the corridor side of the car. The sub-side layer has been completed. A tedious process of measuring, marking, remeasuring, checking, remarking, remeasuring, rechecking and finally cutting out each window one at a time.  I was pleased with the results, so I've now started to finally glue things together. After the sub-side layer was glued to the scribed outer side layer, the transom windows were then cut out. This process went rather faster than I anticipated (a small mercy). After then windows were cut out, the core layer was also cut and added on. Both the sub-side and core layers are shorter than the outer side layer by almost a scale 12", this now provides a substantial, inverted "L" shaped glueing surface when the time comes to start assembling the car.fullsizeoutput_d26.thumb.jpeg.464da55421f593f5b08d15dd9b7cd7ec.jpeg

I've now begun adding the trim layers. Above the windows, the letterboard has been added and below the windows, the belt rail as been started (this will be finished with a final trim piece later). Starting from the left hand side of the car side, I've also now begun adding the vertical trim. After trimming the windows, the mullions will be added to the transom windows and that should just about finish this car side.

 

Andy

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5 minutes ago, Old Collingwood said:

Great subject Andy,     I once painted  (by hand)  a full size passenger sleeper carriage  including brushing on Bituminous paint using a  broom on the roof.

 

OC.

Thanks OC!

Painting that roof must have been a “fun” job! It definitely gives a good appreciation of what the railroads had to do to keep their “varnish” in top condition for the clientele.

 

Andy

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5 minutes ago, realworkingsailor said:

Thanks OC!

Painting that roof must have been a “fun” job! It definitely gives a good appreciation of what the railroads had to do to keep their “varnish” in top condition for the clientele.

 

Andy

Yep certainly was, I used to work looking after the grounds for someone with more money than sense - he brought a railroad carriage  to do up  (me do up)   over a  period of  hot weeks in the summer I worked on it.

 

oc.

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Hello all, thanks for the comments and likes.

 

Time for another small update.

 

As mentioned in a previous post, I have largely been unable to locate a proper drawing for this particular car, but I do have a drawing of the smaller version in a book:fullsizeoutput_d27.thumb.jpeg.656aeeac1a6637e863e7dd20ee8eefce.jpeg

This was just a quick photograph of the folio drawing. The book, "From Abbey to Zorra via Bagdad" by Dale Wilson, is a based on a copy of the 1955 CPR passenger timetable, and includes many images of some of the passenger rolling stock used by the CPR, as well as copies of the 1949 and 1960 passenger equipment registers. Although the above drawing is of the smaller car, the interior layout is generally the same as the car I am attempting to build.

 

Moving along with the build, I've finished the trim on the corridor side of the car, there is only a few remaining pieces of 1/4 round that will frame the doors (that will have to wait until the car sides and ends are assembled), as well as the mullions for the transom windows. I've also begun work on the smoking room side of the car, cutting out the windows on the sub-side layer. IMG_1587.thumb.JPG.7550e90726851a131c76f29a73e2d2b8.JPG

This tedious task has now been completed (thankfully)IMG_1590.thumb.JPG.89d278b4a5e5c6bec8b36ca04fdc5daf.JPG

The two layers have now been glued up. After the glue has had a chance to set, the next step will involve cutting out the transoms on the outer layer, as was done on the corridor side. Although tedious and repetitive, things are still moving forward at a fairly steady pace, assembly is starting to look like a looming possibility.

 

Andy

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1 hour ago, realworkingsailor said:

As mentioned in a previous post, I have largely been unable to locate a proper drawing for this particular car, .....

Will this help?

 

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It's only part of the drawing, but it's all I can find at the moment.... Wood Canadian Pacific Buffet Car...

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I've seen that in my searches. I think that's part of a mechanical department drawing, and is crazy full of details and references (and very cluttered to be honest). At the scale I'm building, it's the folio drawings that are more useful (basic dimensions and the like). Although if there was a mechanical department drawing of the layout of the undersides (brake lines and reservoirs, steam and signal pipes, battery boxes and other electrical components) that part could prove useful.

 

I fear many of these drawings have been lost in the dustbin of history. Based on reports from a friend of mine who had a chance to visit part of the CPR operations out west, certain recent corporate overlords at CP couldn't see any "cost benefit" of maintaining these old archives and a large portion has been lost wholesale.

 

Andy

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2 minutes ago, realworkingsailor said:

is crazy full of details and references (and very cluttered to be honest).

I can clean it up and remove all the call-out numbers, from there it can be scaled and reference sizes taken.... There really isn't much available it's sad to say and if the loss was intentional, then those stuffed shirts without brains that did it really shouldn't be in charge... The history of what came before is as important as the vision for the future....

 

Sad...

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On 4/2/2020 at 5:01 PM, realworkingsailor said:

Thank you so much for the offer, but you don’t need to go to all that trouble. 
 

From what my friend told me, a shop employee stumbled across a dumpster full of old drawings and documents, he saved as much as he could.

 

Andy

It's already about half done Andy, it doesn't take long, I regularly clean up and correct BoGP's for my private collection.... It's really not that difficult... (a bit tedious but easy)

 

And I'm glad that someone understands the importance of archives of design references, if anything the museums could use the help....

 

When I get it done, I'll post the finished work a second time in case anyone else is interested....

Edited by Egilman
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Nice clean work, Andy!

 

Don't get me started on thrown out archives. I once worked for a Toronto company - no longer in existence - whose library was assembled in the 1900-1930's time period. There were art books galore (it was an advertising company) and mementos of folk who once worked there. Canadian readers will recognise The Group of Seven, many of whom had been employed as illustrators there. All were thrown in a dumpster in the mid 1980's....

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In The recently published biography of Norman Ough, the author writes of Ough’s frustration of the wholesale destruction in the 1950s by the British Admiralty of a huge amount of pre WWII Royal Navy design documents.

 

The Company that I used to work for (Dravo Corporation) operated a large shipyard on the Ohio River near Pittsburgh, Pa where they built barges and river towboats.  They were also the “lead yard” for the WWII LST construction program. They operated another yard during WWII at Wilmington, DE where they built Destroyer Escorts and PC patrol craft.  All of the design drawings were stored in an inactive salt mine.  Both yards have long since closed and the Company no longer exists.

Somewhere there is a treasure trove of drawings, but completely inaccessible.

 

Roger

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Thanks everyone for the comments and likes! 

 

EG, that's some brilliant work with that diagram!

 

Time for a big update!

 

Window cutting has been completed on the smoking room side of the car (YAY!)IMG_1592.thumb.JPG.fee109620c75af11060d27a7bd94aeac.JPG

The core layer was made and subsequently glued in place, and the trim pieces put on

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I did a bit of a rework on the floor of the car, mostly because I found a few more detail parts. The holes have been drilled to accommodate the truck king-posts, which I fabricated using some different sized pieces of styrene tube. The truck is supported by a bolster made of a larger piece of tube that slips around the king post,. I've used this method before, to good effect, with Walthers passenger car trucks. Apparently, the particular version I'm using are discontinued... lucky I bought them when I did... (however many years ago that was...).

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The corners of the floor have been notched out to accommodate the entry steps, which will be added later in the build. Also in the photo are the vestibule bulkheads. These will be relatively unseen after construction, so they only need to be family simple in construction. 

 

Finally, some assembly!

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The car sides and vestibule bulkheads have been assembled to the floor. Things went together fairly quickly, and for the most part, everything lined up nicely (and squarely too!) The car is sitting temporarily on it's wheels so I can get a preliminary look at how things are proportioned. Also this is the time to begin verifying and correcting the car height (by adjusting the truck bolsters), and eventually the coupler height as well. There's no diagram for this, it all has to be done by measurement and comparison with other model passenger cars, as well as a couple height gauge (more on that part later).

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I've also been busy working on the ends of the car, and getting them finished, trimmed and attached. One down, one more to go. And just for those keeping track at home, Sticking a scale ruler against the car as it stands, it comes to 79' 9", once I add the diaphragms (the bellows that go around the end doors that allow passengers to pass between cars in a train), it should be pretty close to the prototype 80' 3".... not bad for having no diagram to work from!

 

Andy

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21 minutes ago, Canute said:

Andy, you've got a gem there. You doing up the full interior? I've seen some items for walls and flooring. Paper rugs, etc.  And 3D printed overhead racks, too.


I am definitely planning on a basic interior (bulkheads/partitions and seats). I hadn’t given much thought on how far I really might take this.... now you’ve gone and given me something to think about! 
 

Andy

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