53' Spine Cars

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sushob

Entrepreneurial Teen
I've kinda had this project in the back of my mind for awhile, and I think it's time to start it. Nobody (that I am aware of) manufactures a 53' spine car set in HO, so I'm setting out to build my own (in theory anyway...we'll just have to wait and see what comes out of it...).


So here are my questions to you...

Has anyone else attacked this project yet? If so, I would greatly appreciate any info you could provide (anything from a brief description to a step-by-step is welcomed!)

Are there any drawings of the 53 footers available, and/or can anyone point me to some decent photographs?

I'm assuming (I know I know...I shouldn't do that) that the Walthers kit is the obvious starting point, but is there another kit I should know about?


I know I've heard (seen?) some of you mention these here and there, but I'm far too lazy to dig through the old threads tonight :eek: , so I'm hoping someone out there is willing to speak up :) TIA!
 

RCH

Been Nothin' Since Frisco
I can think of one reason why you shouldn't start with the Walthers 48' spine car: it's made out of metal. It would be extremely difficult to reassemble once it is cut. It's also limited in terms of what you can do with reshaping the cross section unless you have the ability to work with metal. It's a really tough metal, like the zamac stuff Athearn frames are made out of.

On the other hand, the Athearn Impack set is made out of plastic with weight inserts under th platform decks. You could easily use the articulating joints, platforms, and center spine from the Athearn model and you could easily modify it since it's made out of styrene. You could also scratchbuild new spines, too using the Athearn components.

I am not aware of drawings, but I'll do some looking into it.
 

sushob

Entrepreneurial Teen
Thanks RCH,

As far as working with the metal goes, it's not a huge problem, but it certainly would be challenging. In fact that is one of the reasons I did look for a Walthers kit. My family has a full-blown machine shop, and I like to play with the "big toys" once in a while. :D

On the other hand the Athearn's would definitely be easier to work with, and I have lots of those too. Maybe I should try a set of them first for practice (they're quite a bit less expensive than the Walthers kits anyway).

Are there any other differences between the 48' and the 53' other than basically elongating the spine? Thanks for looking for drawings...I'm a CAD oriented person, and I tend to squirm if I don't have something well-defined to work with. :eek: :rolleyes:
 

RCH

Been Nothin' Since Frisco
sushob said:
Thanks RCH,

As far as working with the metal goes, it's not a huge problem, but it certainly would be challenging. In fact that is one of the reasons I did look for a Walthers kit. My family has a full-blown machine shop, and I like to play with the "big toys" once in a while. :D
Sweet. I am officially jealous....

Are there any other differences between the 48' and the 53' other than basically elongating the spine?
This I can't say just yet, but I would bet there are differences. First thing that comes to mind is the different trucks and wheels you'd need. The spine cars are most likely going to be equipped with 33" or 36" wheels, and the Athearn prototype uses 28" wheels. It's a little difference, but it will show up in stance and coupler height. Also, the Impack car end platforms have a distinct sag in them, which I don't think I've seen on 53' cars. Drawings or good photos (which can yield working drawings if you're clever enough;)) will answer most of these questions.

Thanks for looking for drawings...I'm a CAD oriented person, and I tend to squirm if I don't have something well-defined to work with. :eek: :rolleyes:
I'm a CAD person, too. In fact, that's what I do, so if I can locate anything, particularly anything in CAD format, I'll let you know. Once this Cowboys game is over and I stop typing between plays, I can spend some time on it.:D
 

RCH

Been Nothin' Since Frisco
Okay, here's a cool site:

http://qstation.org/TTX_Spine_Cars/TTX_Spine_Car_Gallery_1.html
http://qstation.org/TTX_Spine_Cars/TTX_Spine_Car_Gallery_2.html

Here's another Q station page by Eric Goodman:

http://www.qstation.org/TTLX_Cars/TTLX_Gallery_1.html
http://www.qstation.org/TTLX_Cars/TTLX_Gallery_2.html
http://www.qstation.org/TTLX_Cars/TTLX_Hitch_Gallery.html

Check this out, too:

http://www.qstation.org/Trailer_Train_Cars/

Plans for a 48' spine car appeared in the July 1989 RMC, so those drawings could possibly be modified to represent a 53' spine car using some of the photo references to note the changes needed.

Here's the Trains.com Magazine Index search results for "spine"

http://www.index.mrmag.com/tm.exe?opt=S&cmdtext=spine&MAG=ANY
 

jbaakko

Diesel Detail Freak
Sounds AWSOME, if you figure it out, POST it here, I'd like to try out that mod, I need about fifteen 53 footers! Modern Intermodal is quite annoying. And I'd stay away from the Walthers kits, like Ryan said, they're metal, unless you have a milling machine, then of corse you could buy the Walthers kit, and mill the 53' spine, and use the parts from the Walthers kit, I think. Then to top that off, you could SELL the 53' spines to be used with the Walthers kits... People'd buy that (I'd buy that, even if it adds expence to the $35+ kits on eBay).
 

sushob

Entrepreneurial Teen
RCH said:
Okay, here's a cool site:

http://qstation.org/TTX_Spine_Cars/TTX_Spine_Car_Gallery_1.html
http://qstation.org/TTX_Spine_Cars/TTX_Spine_Car_Gallery_2.html

Here's another Q station page by Eric Goodman:

http://www.qstation.org/TTLX_Cars/TTLX_Gallery_1.html
http://www.qstation.org/TTLX_Cars/TTLX_Gallery_2.html
http://www.qstation.org/TTLX_Cars/TTLX_Hitch_Gallery.html

Check this out, too:

http://www.qstation.org/Trailer_Train_Cars/

Plans for a 48' spine car appeared in the July 1989 RMC, so those drawings could possibly be modified to represent a 53' spine car using some of the photo references to note the changes needed.

Here's the Trains.com Magazine Index search results for "spine"

http://www.index.mrmag.com/tm.exe?opt=S&cmdtext=spine&MAG=ANY
Wow! Thanks for all the links! Now if only I was intelligent enough to tell the 53 footers apart from 48 footers when there aren't any trailers or reporting marks visable...

jbaakko said:
And I'd stay away from the Walthers kits, like Ryan said, they're metal, unless you have a milling machine, then of corse you could buy the Walthers kit, and mill the 53' spine, and use the parts from the Walthers kit, I think. Then to top that off, you could SELL the 53' spines to be used with the Walthers kits... People'd buy that (I'd buy that, even if it adds expence to the $35+ kits on eBay).
We have two mills actually :D A couple of surface grinders, two sinker EDMs, a wire EDM, a verticle CNC, a metal lathe, a couple of comparators, several welders, a couple of sand-blasters, a steel tube bender, air compressors, mobile overhead crane, parts cleaner, lots of computers, and a plastic-injection molding machine to top it all off. :D Okay okay, I'll shut up now...

Some kind of conversion kit would be really cool to produce...

Hmm...this could be a really cool project. Now if only I could convince my teachers to lay off the homework a bit...
 

RCH

Been Nothin' Since Frisco
Here's the text from the ACM homepage:

HO scale NTTX container-only 5-unit Spine Car in etched brass and cast pewter - etches are being made, also patterns for castings are nearing completion.
TTAX 53ft 5-unit Spine Car and TTRX 3-unit 3-57/6-28 Spine Car to follow.
More information as these progress.

Looks like the wait may be over!
 

JBL

New Member
sushob said:
and a plastic-injection molding machine to top it all off.
WOOT! I wish I ever can get one for my personel use.

Personally, I find that scratchbuilding often is much faster than kitbashing. Especially when doing intermodal cars, because these are mostly straightforward to build. Below there is an image of a recent project. I made 25 of them in total.

One of my next years projects will be scratchbuilding ATSFs Fuel Foiler 10 Packs. I f there is an interest I will show the making here.



Greetings from germany,
Jens
 

sushob

Entrepreneurial Teen
JBL said:
WOOT! I wish I ever can get one for my personel use.

Personally, I find that scratchbuilding often is much faster than kitbashing. Especially when doing intermodal cars, because these are mostly straightforward to build. Below there is an image of a recent project. I made 25 of them in total.

One of my next years projects will be scratchbuilding ATSFs Fuel Foiler 10 Packs. I f there is an interest I will show the making here.



Greetings from germany,
Jens
Well it's not really for my personal use, as our machine shop does injection mold building and injection molding for customers.

Your scratch building skills are awesome! Thanks for sharing! I'd love to see the Fuel Foilers when you build them too :)
 

sushob

Entrepreneurial Teen
I knew that box of old magazines would come in handy some day!!

I found two articles in the Aug/Sept and Oct/Nov 1999 issues of Model Railroading that cover the construction of Trinity 53' All-Purpose Spine Cars based on the Walthers 48' kit :D :D

How convenient! Drawings, instructions, photos, etc. I should be set now!
 

RCH

Been Nothin' Since Frisco
JBL said:
WOOT! I wish I ever can get one for my personel use.

Personally, I find that scratchbuilding often is much faster than kitbashing. Especially when doing intermodal cars, because these are mostly straightforward to build. Below there is an image of a recent project. I made 25 of them in total.

One of my next years projects will be scratchbuilding ATSFs Fuel Foiler 10 Packs. I f there is an interest I will show the making here.



Greetings from germany,
Jens
Jens, those models are unbelieveable! Have you thought of building one of them in subassemblies and casting it to make several more? I can think of one person off the top of my head who would be interested in buying one...;)
 

sushob

Entrepreneurial Teen
jbaakko said:
Maybe you can just mill the drawbars for Longrunners... (*hint hint*)
Hmmm....here's an idea! Maybe I could just mill the drawbars for Longrunners! :rolleyes:

Seriously though, what do they look like? (on paper that is, since they're obviously not tangible at the moment...)
 

jbaakko

Diesel Detail Freak
basicaly, take 2 kadee couplers, hack off the kuckle, and a MM or 2 and nicely taper the corners off, and you'd have a good looking drawbar, better then the stupid plastic crap thats available!
 

ssw9662

Member
Yeah, you could simply modify a regular Kadee coupler. Just keep in mind that the prototypes have air hoses connecting them as well, so you'd need to keep them.
 

jbaakko

Diesel Detail Freak
ssw9662 said:
Yeah, you could simply modify a regular Kadee coupler. Just keep in mind that the prototypes have air hoses connecting them as well, so you'd need to keep them.
Yeah I was thinking of just using stripped out plastic casing from a wire, the kadee's modded work, but could end up being weak and breaking.
 

sushob

Entrepreneurial Teen
uspscsx said:
If we're still on the subject of spine cars...

Try contacting eBay's cspredator: http://feedback.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewFeedback&userid=cspredator

He's done a couple 53 footers and put them on eBay. Maybe he could be some help. He used the Walthers model.
Not a bad idea. I've seen his spine cars on eBay before. However he also offered an auction for the conversion work, so I'm not sure he'll really want to share his methods. Don't know until you ask though I suppose...

For now, however, I think I'm going to try using the MRG article, with a few modifications. They used two kits; one as a base model and one as a doner. Seeing how the kits cost upwards of $35-$45 each on eBay, I think I may invest in some styrene and a tub of RTV silicone...I'd like to see if I can cast my own extention pieces instead of cutting them off of other units...
 




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