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  • Delaware & Hudson extended-vision cabooses

    BY DON CUPPOLA
    PHOTOGRAPHY BY THE AUTHOR

    Page 28: Will this Delaware & Hudson car represent one of the ultimate developments of the caboose? The extended-vision cupola caboose as well as all styles of waycar are threatened by new railroad labor work agreements permitting the gradual substitution of end-of-train warning and monitoring devices in place of the car that had become a North American railroad tradition.

    Page 29: "Delaware & Hudson caboose No. 35711, built in May 1959, served as the style and numerical prototype for the author's model. The louvered vent is apparent in this photo, while the "squarish" stack is visible just behind the cupola. No. 35798, below, is different from No. 35711 in subtle ways. Note the short pieces of skirting along the bottom of the sides, above the trucks. There are no roofwalks or ladders at the ends of this more recent car, built in October 1971.

    Page 30: Several large photos of the author's Delaware & Hudson caboose model taken from different angles display some of the detail work that went into building the replica. The side view at the top of the p age shows the roof detail, including the tall and short smoke jacks to the right of the cupola. The underside view directly above reveals the positioning of the airbrake equipment. Also note that the wheelbase has been lengthened compared to that of an out-of-the box Athearn car Finally, the end view at the right provides a full appreciation of the cupola width that gave birth to the term "extended-vision."
    Prototype Modeler - June July 1985 - Page 28 Prototype Modeler - June July 1985 - Page 29 Prototype Modeler - June July 1985 - Page 30

    Respect is hard to come by for Buffalo, N.Y. First Mother Nature randomly drops almost unfathomable amounts of snow on the city. Then professional comedians and everyday pundits regularly spew uncomplimentary metaphors concerning the city's geographic location in relation to the rest of the United States.

    But modelers and train-watchers respect Buffalo. Buffalo has provided us with a variety of interests in a growing age of commonality. No matter how much mergers consolidate our railroads, Buffalo somehow seems to replenish what was taken away. When the 1976 creation of Conrail blotted Penn Central, Erie Lackawanna and Lehigh Valley from the city's train sheets, Delaware & Hudson was allotted access to the city through a combination of track purchases and trackage rights. Now, through the 1983 purchase of D&H by Guilford Transportation Industries, an even greater variety of railroad motive power and rolling stock reaches the city (in the colors of Maine Central, Boston & Maine and even Bangor & A roostook).

    Buffalo always had our respect for its variety of diesel motive power. Alco RS11's, C424's, GE's of several types and ancestry, and a wide range of EMD's were present long after such diversity had disappeared from locomotive terminals in other cities. Much of this diversity persists today.

    But Buffalo provided more than locomotives. A visit to the D &H, which occupied what had been the former Erie Lackawanna passenger and freight yards, in the spring of 1983 introduced me to the D&H's extended vision cabooses. Before the recent developments that have probably doomed new caboose construction, railroads had been replacing their older cupola style cabooses because of a lack of visibility over modern freight cars of extra height. While some railroads turned to bay-window types, others such as the D&H opted to retain the cupola, but with added width -- hence the term "extended-vision."

    On another visit I found a caboose in a convenient place to gather some measurements and to take photos. These efforts indicated to m e that the Athearn HO model extended-vision caboose is about 18 inches too short to perfectly represent the prototype D&H caboose, which measures 30 feet, 6 inches in length. However, I was satisfied with the general configuration and impression of the Athearn model, and decided I could rearrange the placement of a few items to give the desired effect while leaving' the basic dimensions untouched, which meant I was able to avoid reworking all the side panel welds.

    The first step in the project was the removal of all grabs by carefully shaving them away with a hobby knife and replacing them with formed wire counterparts from Detail Associates. The left window at each end of the body was blanked by cementing a piece of. 020" styrene to the back side of the two windows. A second piece was cut for each of these windows, cemented in place and then filled with putty and sanded smooth (with 400 or finer wet or d ry sandpaper) once it hardened. Fascias were installed at each end of the roof. Pieces of .015" styrene were cut oversize and cemented in place. Once firmly attached, they were trimmed to size using a sharp hobby knife.

    If you are building this model, study the window configurations in the photos. Blank all unwanted windows in the same manner as was done with the end windows. Pencil the outline for new windows directly onto the sides. Then cut openings by drilling a series of holes just inside the perimeter of each new opening. Cut the remaining plastic with a knife. File the window openings to proper shape. Make sure that the new windows line up with the retained "factory" windows.

    A louvered vent is located on the side of the car with the two smaller windows. This can be fabricated from cary's L U424 set. Since this vent is installed flush with the car side on the prototype, it should be modeled in the same way, although this is something I didn't do.

    The D&H caboose has a second smoke jack, so drill a 1.6" hole (check/photos for proper location) and mount the jack so it rises only one scale foot above the roofs surface. Conveniently, Athearn supplies two smoke jacks with the kit. Drilling through the top part of each jack with a No. 75 bit adds appreciable realism. A rectangular exhaust stack is also located on the short roof section. I modeled this by using a Detail Associates No. 2402 stack mounted " upside d own." First drill out the center and then file the opening to a rectangular shape. Frame the top (old bottom) with a rectangular piece of .010" styrene (with the center removed to form the frame), beveling it downward slightly when mounting.

    Cement the cupola in position and install the grabs (Detail Associates No. 6205) at the four corners of its roof. Some of these cabooses have outside-surface-mounted sliding screen windows. No. 35798 is one example, but the screens have been removed. Note the lower window track. This is modeled by scribing a line below each side window, then fitting a piece of .015" piano wire in the "notch."

    The wheelbase of the out-of-the-box model is too short, and unless stretched, gives a "stubby" appearance. Cut the bolsters from the frame and cement them in position a scale 18 inches farther out from the c enter. Using a No. 50 bit, drill through the bolsters and the car floor (weight included) and tap to 2-56. This facilitates truck mounting. Carefully center the frame between the bolsters, so the lateral members line up with the tabs on the body. To fill the resulting gaps in the frame, cement pieces of styrene in place.

    Remove the brake components from the frame. Replace them with counterparts from an Athearn hopper car kit, cementing them in position as shown in the photos. Detail Associates grab irons No. 2202 are fitted to both sides of the end sills and Detail Associates No. 6215 cut-levers are fitted. Install K adee couplers.

    At this stage of the project, the body should be painted with Floquil caboose Red and the roof with black. Overspray the sides with Floquil Crystal Cote for a smooth surface to accept decals.

    Install the windows, then cement the body to the chassis. For added realism, windows from an Athearn RDC were cut and filed to the proper size and shape, allowing for a "snug" fit into the openings., This looks better than the recessed appearance resulting from the glass being mounted to the inside of the body. Paint the entire chassis with Floquil Grimy B lack or a concoction of your own variety. When the paint has dried, cement the body to the chassis.

    End railings were fabricated from. 015" piano wire, then cemented in place with ACC. The ladders were Detail Associates No. 6207 freight car ladders cemented in place. The railings at the top of the ladders were formed from .015" piano wire; ACC was the adhesive used.

    The "splash plates" at the ends of the platforms were cut from .010" sheet styrene. The plates attached to the backsides of the ladders should be a scale 2 feet, 6 inches by 2 feet, 8 inches; the other two 2 feet by 2 feet, 8 inches. Short s tubs of. 015" wire were utilized for the roofwalk end supports.

    The end splash plates were painted black and all railings and grabs painted yellow. Herald King decal set No. 341 was applied. Since the prototype caboose worked its service life in the Northeast, a liberal amount of weathering should be applied to represent daily use during several cold, snowy winters.

    Article Details

    • Original Author Don Cuppola
    • Source Prototype Modeler
    • Publication Date June-July 1985

    Article Album (3 photos)

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