Monday, June 27, 2016

A Couple of Prototype Observations

Remember sometime back when Model Railroader magazine did a series of articles on passenger trains you can model? The articles were based on prototypical short trains that would fit the average home layout. Well, we bring you a freight train that you can model. The above BNSF northbound train was captured in May of 2016 at East Dubuque, IL. Consisting of three road engines and two hopper cars, this train would fit nicely on even the smallest home layout.

While sub-lettered for the BNSF, the former Santa Fe warbonnet C44-9W is still carrying it's original lettering and number. Not bad considering the BN and the ATSF merged almost 20 years ago.

Here's the caboose for this very short train. BNSF 1528 is a GP28M and was rebuilt from a NP GP9 by the BN.

Here's something from our son. He photographed the above two ES44AC's in June of 2016 after they assisted a loaded grain over the summit at Palmer Lake, CO. Manned helpers on the Joint Line between Denver and Pueblo were once common place, but have become much less frequent since the advent of DPU's.

Here's the interesting thing though. These helpers were cut off the rear of the train... ON THE FLY! Our son couldn't believe it. Neither could his friend who is a local railfan. Quit frankly, we couldn't believe it either. But, it really happened.

As to how it happened, the boxes attached to the front handrails and plugged into the MU cable had something to do with this feat. At the time the rear helpers were cut off, the conductor was in the cab, so the couple pin was mechanically pulled by the boxes. The photos were taken with a cell phone, and it was late in the afternoon (and in the shade), so the photos aren't be best quality, but you can see device, and what looks like a FRED attached to the brake hose.

So the next time you're looking for something unique to model, give this a try. With DCC, this prototype practice could actually be done in model form.