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became the Canadian Car & Foundry Co. in 1909.


by Charles F. Steffes


The Hart cars were popular with Canadian railways. Railways that owned various all-wood early versions included: Canadian Pacific (3,225), Canadian Northern (3,786), Canadian Government Railways (1,230), Grand Trunk (702), Quebec Central (56), Grand Trunk Pacific (1,000), Canadian Northern Ontario (116), Temiskaming & Northern Ontario (60), Toronto Hamilton & Buffalo (56), Kettle Valley Railway (40) and British Columbia Electric (27). Later CNR acquired some 2,886 when it absorbed some of the above companies.


Charles Steffes worked as a fire- man and locomotive engineer on the Southern Pacific from 1937 until his retirement in 1976. His humor- ous and insightful autobiography brings to life a time of transition on the rails — the historic change from vintage steam power to first genera- tion diesels.


This new resin kit by ProtoWest rep- resents an early all-wood version of the Hart Convertible ballast car as built in 1909. It’s measurements were outside length 35′-10″, inside length 34′-0″, in- side height 4′-1″ and truss rods. The kit includes a one-piece resin casting for the carbody sides, floor and underframe. Cast resin parts for the end walls, two long door castings (to be used for center-dump configuration), a double-width door casting (to be used for the side-dump configuration), a casting of small parts including truck side-frames, bolsters, door ratchet, needle beam segments, a resin jig for bending door wires, four wheel sets, nylon journal bearings, plastic KC brake set, turnbuckles and queen posts, truck screws, wire, styrene strip, decal sheet, instruction sheets. Not included are couplers, coupler attachment


screws, cut levers, air


hoses and draft gear box covers. The resin body casting is well de- tailed with individual boards on sides, floor and underframe, bolt heads out- side and inside, side-door latches, train line and coupler pockets. The trucks represent 5′-3″ wheelbase arch-bar trucks.


Steffes details the glory days of this exciting era in railroading in Califor- nia — before, during and after World War II. Attempting to enlist in the Seabees, Steffes discovered that the SP had gotten him an es- sential war deferment: See what it was like during the hectic war years as traffic grew heavier, and the changes wrought by diesel locomotives.


$19.95 +s&h


To Order Call: 1-888-526-5365 (M-F; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. e.s.t.) or on-line at: www.carstensbookstore.com


PUBLICATIONS, INC. 108 Phil Hardin Rd., Newton, N.J. 07860


96


The truck parts included are unusu- al. The parts are cast in a durable resin. The modeler must remove flash and open the bearing holes to seat the nylon bearing inserts. The four wheel sets by REBOXX have a 1.066″ axle length and narrow (0.088″) width, 33″ diameter wheels. The assembled arch- bar trucks are delicate and accurate in length but are somewhat over-sized in width. The trucks are 9′-0″ from side to side whereas the prototype trucks were approximately 7′-8″ wide.


The decal sheet includes a choice of dimensional data and builder stencils. Railroad names and reporting marks are not included. The modeler is ex- pected to obtain and apply appropriate lettering for the railroad he wants to model. For modelers of the Yosemite Valley Railroad, Jack Burgess sells a “Flat car and ballast Car” decal set. The photograph of the review model has the dimensional lettering applied.


Specific railroad lettering remains to be applied.


The instruction sheet of 27 assembly steps explains how to build the model either as a bottom-dump or side-dump configuration. Two diagrams are in- cluded. A second sheet provides 11 builders photos of prototype cars and one of the underframe of a completed model. The photos are reproduced rather small so details are difficult to study. Holes must be drilled for six grab irons which must be bent to shape from straight .010″ brass wire. The car has six truss rods. The in- structions suggest forming them from supplied .010″ wire but .012″ wire would more accurately represent the prototypes 1¹/₄″ diameter rods. Six plastic turnbuckles are included. The modeler could bend each truss rod from a single piece of wire after thread- ing the wire through the turnbuckle. Alternatively, two pieces of wire could be bent and inserted into each end of the turnbuckle leaving a realistic open- ing in the center of the turnbuckle. The side doors of the prototype were operated by a latching mechanism con- sisting of a long formed bar that, when turned towards the doors, locked them closed. On the model, this latching bar is represented by seven pieces of .015″ diameter wire. A resin jig is provided to bend and cut seven pieces per side. A diagram shows the use of the jig to make the pieces.


The instructions are not very clear. First a piece of wire is cut to correct length using the jig. Then one end of the piece is pushed into a hole in the jig and the wire end bent to 45 degrees. Then the other wire end is similarly bent to 45 degrees in the same plane, resulting in a short straight piece of wire with a 45 de- gree bend at each end. A part of the jig is used to confirm that the bent wire is the correct over-all length. Then the wire is glued to the car side between adjacent side posts with its center against the bottom of the cast-on door latch and its bent ends slanting out to contact the side posts. A little experimentation is needed. A total of 14 wire pieces are formed and applied this way making this perhaps the most time-consuming task in assembly.


Coupler boxes molded on the car un- derframe readily accept Kadee cou- plers but covers and screws are not in- cluded. Holes must be drilled and taped for 2-56 screws to secure covers on the boxes. Air hoses by Hi-Tech De- tails (No. 6040) were installed on the review kit. They were not included in the kit. Uncoupling levers are not in- cluded but can be formed from .125″ di- ameter wire.


The interior can be modeled with a flat floor for side-dumping or with the longitudinal center hopper for center- dumping. If built as a side-dump,


DECEMBER 2011


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