Great Northern railway

SF 2-10-4:

A little test run on the upper yard and I was getting a short.  Noticed sparks coming from the tender wheels.  Noticed that one side of the truck had two loose screws plus the side frame is slightly warped on one end (allowing the insulated wheel to contact it).  Was going to try to straighten the side frame but, figuring that brass casting may be brittle if force was applied to it, so I just rotated the wheel sets 180 so the insulated side is along the other side frame. 

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Drilled sound holes in the tender bottom frame and drilled out the tender backup light.

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All seems to be running well.  Presently, left the open frame motor in the boiler as the engine is running quietly. 

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Good to have a stash of metric screws!  Needed some to put the coupler on the tender.

SF 2-10-4 34


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Is this what they mean by clean coal!

My new coal loads don't have all the dust on them like the old one's have!

coal loads 01

At the last train show, someone was selling everything in a box for 2 bucks a bag.

Lots of car loads so I bought a bunch.

These resin logs make this car really heavy, now!

wood loads 01

Using my building platform to glue up a bunch of culverts for 'gons'.  Some thick CA and alignment of all the parts makes the job go pretty quickly.

First layer:

culvert loads 01

2nd layer of culverts:  just the left 2 get wood spacers as the right two will be glued to them.

culvert loads 02

Still need cables and strapping and wood side supports.

culvert loads 03

A little multi tasking and start some 50 footers.

culvert loads 04


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Another hour, and I'll turn the game on.  Should be a good one.  Not 'rooting' for either team.  It's been a pretty mild winter here in Cincinnati, Ohio.   I think we've have a couple snow falls in the 3-4" category.  A lot of the country has been getting 'hammered'.   It was pretty cold here, yesterday, 20's, but it's suppose to be 50-60's the next few days.

Turntable backup:

I purchased this turntable as a backup to my 35 year old geiger turntables, which have been out of production for some time.

turntable walthers 130 foot 01turntable walthers 130 foot 02

Northern Pacific A-5 4-8-4 northern crossing Chumstick canyon trestles.;         

D&RGW L-131 2-8-8-2 east of Seattle, Washington:;



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Engines were stopping at one location.
Found out they were shorting out.
The transition from spline roadbed to flat plywood now had a good one scale foot difference in height.
Had to stick a riser under the plywood to raise it to the spline roadbed.
Funny how things can move after only 38 years :[]


I find the thick foam packing sheets does wonders on saving the knees when kneeling on yard tracks.


A new 'chopper' just arrived.

Also, picked up some spike holding pliers.

They work a lot better than a pair of needle nose pliers.

chopper, spike pliers 01


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Great Northern railway in the cascades mountains.
Another railroader brought over his micro camera and we mounted it on a car and pushed it along my layout.

Bad news; it sure shows all your discrepancies:

The good news: at least my new trees look nice!  Laying down individual wooden ties definitely give a random tie appearance.

Don't need to watch after the camera goes into the tunnel for the last 30 seconds.;     



If you didn't think ahead 30 years, you will, eventually, need one of these!

Topside creeper.

Purchased it from micromark.  I thought it was made for modeling purposes but the manufacturer (traxion engineered products) shows it for access to your vehicle motor, etc.

The hardest part was getting the 77 lb box from outside down to the basement.

It went together quickly: probably an hour.

I can now access that track that is 5' high and 3'-4' back along the wall

The front casters has locking tabs.

The upper step section has 3 adjustment locations for tilting the upper section.

The height is also adjustable.

For storage, I had to angle, rotate the base to get through the laundry room 32" wide door.

Some release pins allow the base legs to fold up into a tidy, vertical position.

The legs tend to fall forward so I'll put a bungee cord around them.

Very well made and sturdy.

topside creeper 01topside creeper 02topside creeper 03topside creeper 04topside creeper 05topside creeper 06


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Some new heavy weight passenger cars arrived.

These are 3 pullman cars from Walthers.  There was a good sale at $34 each so I bought them (3 different types of sections).  Along with the other cars, they will be painted 'pullman' green.  The cars even come with extra decals for specific lettering: nice touch.

That makes a respectable 11 car train.  Also, bought some walther's heavy weight diaphragms .

walthers heavt weight pullman 01walthers heavt weight pullman 02walthers heavt weight pullman 03gn heavy weight train 01

walthers heavt weight pullman 04


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I would love to be able to have a layout like that but in large scale and set in the late 80's era of the BN.   The two GP10's on the short line here when I was a teenager were ex GN units that the BN rebuilt into GP10's.   I have one of the number glasses and the huge Prime digital flasher beacon off one of the units.  Some of the GN paint was still visable when we sanded the unit down to repaint into the shortline's colors from BN Cascade green/black.   Mike

Silly NT's...I have Asperger's Syndrome! 

New arrival to the GNRW:

Pennsylvania J-1 2-10-4 texan by Westside.

Being in Ohio, I need a few engines for my local fellow railroaders (that's my story and I'm sticking with it!).   Besides, it was only $213.  In 1977 they listed for $230 so, after 40 years and inflation, I figured it was a good buy

pennsy J-1 2-10-4 02

This is another engine that's never been run or, maybe, just test run a few feet.   I think the pictures of it scared off a lot of bidders due to foam damage.   I've never seen foam this decomposed.


pennsy J-1 2-10-4 03pennsy J-1 2-10-4 04pennsy J-1 2-10-4 05pennsy J-1 2-10-4 06

A little lacquer thinner in a ultra sonic cleaner (although it could also be done by hand).   A brass brush was used on the hard spots.  The foam doesn't attack the brass as it is smooth with no deterioration so no marks will show when it is painted.  The brass only shows a patina.


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A deck plate will be added.

pennsy J-1 2-10-4 12pennsy J-1 2-10-4 13pennsy J-1 2-10-4 14pennsy J-1 2-10-4 15

One step was broken while I disassembled it.  I like the new solder/paste combo that I just obtained as a little paste on the two surfaces, clamp and resistance solder and it's done, quick and easy.

pennsy J-1 2-10-4 20pennsy J-1 2-10-4 21

Never seen attachment like this for the cab.  It slides on rails for removal, the hand rails hold it on.  Now I can, easily, add cab detail.

pennsy J-1 2-10-4 22

Drivers show no wear.  The coupler was never added.

pennsy J-1 2-10-4 23

For a few months, Pennsy borrowed some SF 2-10-4's for use in Ohio so here's a comparison.  The SF texan is about 3' longer, both engine and tender.

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New foam cut for the box.

pennsy J-1 2-10-4 19

Tender/engine headlights plus marker lights will be added along with a lighted cab.

The boiler will also get the dark green and the tender a red deck.

For those who claim that all early brass steam is noisy and the open frame motor and gear has to be replaced:;  


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New arrival on the GNRW.

N&W Class A 2-6-6-4 by United.

This is definitely one of my older engines as it was made in 1962.  I picked it up for a very reasonable price of $296 (including mailing) as the drivers were binding.

Original box and how they packed them back then: no foam.

N&W Class A 2-6-6-4 united 01N&W Class A 2-6-6-4 united 02

I figured I could fix the problem.

One of the back drivers was very loose on the axle.  I used some dikes and knurled the end of the axle and then used an NWSL quartering jig to re-mount the driver onto the axle. 

N&W Class A 2-6-6-4 united 03N&W Class A 2-6-6-4 united 04N&W Class A 2-6-6-4 united 05

Tender trucks were, not only backward for the hot side but they were too far in on the tender.  The mounting hole on each truck is offset so a 180 rotation plus swapping trucks to the other end of the tender fixed that.

N&W Class A 2-6-6-4 united 08

Who ever painted the engine, did a nice job on the paint.  They tried to add the decals over a dull surface so the decals are too shiny.  I'll have to use some solvaset to seal them and apply a sealer over the engine.

The engine ran pretty quietly without the boiler but is noisy with the boiler.  Will need to, next, diagnose that: but at least she now runs

Back then, they really put large lead weights in the boiler as this engine weighs a 'ton'.

One of the reasons I bought the engine as I'd like to collect some the iconic engines of the past that, in my mind, were memorable steam engines.  IE, N&W J and Y-6B, B&O EM-1, Pennsy S-2, Q-1, T-1, etc.

N&W Class A 2-6-6-4 united 06

You don't see couplers like this very often!  I think it is called a baker coupler.

The engine has very little run time on it.

N&W Class A 2-6-6-4 united 09


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