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What a delightful project!

As I live near the route of the Woodstock and Sycamore Traction Company, I have a copy of this book - "The Woodstock and Sycamore Traction Company", by Wm. E. Robertson, 1985 and recommend it as quite a labor of love, covering in depth the short history of a truly benighted interurban that ran in the early part of the last century between several small rural farm towns with two (or was it three) McKeen cars.

Last edited by Doug Murphy

The Woodstock and Sycamore looks like one of those, "Everybody else is doing it, why can't we?"  roads to nowhere (one once ran behind my old house; roadbed is now a power line.).  The W&S never got to traction.  Ken Harpin just mailed me in a corrected shell for the McKeen.  THANKS!  I have already decided what I will do with the incorrect one...using one of those birney chassis from the shop in Montoursville, if l still have one, will add a bulldog Mack front and have a Mack McKeen rail bus.


@colorado hirailer: That's a neat idea with the McKeen bus, I'm happy to hear you can get some use out of the extra part. There's a photo of an actual McKeen-bodied depot hack on Page 4 of this article if you want some ideas:

The big problem with roof details is that every McKeen I've ever seen has different vents so you have to decorate to your prototypical preference! If the vents you need are hard to find, I could make up some parts for you. I'm imagining offering a McKeen "Accessory Kit" with a couple dozen vents in the $20 neighborhood.

I looked around at some of the McKeen photos I have bookmarked and tried to categorize what I saw. It appears that there's one type of vent that's kind of a dome with a slot underneath and another that's kind of a right-angled duct. I spun up some simple 3D models for you to check out. These are about 1/4" wide and 3/8" tall with the peg.

McKeen Roof Vents

After 3 weeks of nonstop printing I have filled out and shipped 5 of the initial 7 orders for McKeen cars and trailers. The remaining two orders (for @RoyBoy and @prrhorseshoecurve) are about 85% and 35% done respectively. I'm hoping to ship the remaining McKeens by the end of next week and then start taking reservations for new kit designs sometime in March.


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  • McKeen Roof Vents
McKeen Roof Vents


I think I have both types of these vents and some types yet in my traction parts bins.  White metal castings - some might be old Walthers so Scale City Design may stock them now.

Interesting article - trolley overhead pole powered McKeen car - that I had not seen before!  Does open possibilities as I have poles and trucks that I can convert for that purpose.

I finished the hardest task ..getting McKeen truck frames to fit Beep trucks (took some creative engineering!).  Next major task will be extending Beep frame/chassis to accept assembled 70' body.  So first l next need to assemble body.  What can be used to fill the body's printing swirls before body filler, or?

Filling in some widows and moving the freight doors using something the call green stuff . I comes in a roll Its a flat Blue and yellow, it mixes to a med green and I put it in place, I tackle the roof Sat.

...something they call green stuff . I comes in a roll Its a flat Blue and yellow, it mixes to a med green...

Very popular here in Michigan for lots of modelers!

You see, University of Michigan's colors are Maize (Yellow) and Blue.  Michigan State's are Green and White.

Spartans enjoy this part of modeling...kneading (with passion!) the blue/yellow and having it turn green.

Sort of like last year's football game in East Lansing.

Sooooo satisfying.

I'm thinking of something like a thicker sanding sealer that can be brushed on and is compatible with this plastic. Need to assemble body before modifying chassis.  I do plan to add one door to driver's side. Most of the photos, and that McKeen provided paper weight show a flat roof vent different from the standing ones pictured above   I will root through Walther's passenger car kits to see if they have anything similar.  Style of these vents and location seems to follow no order.

McKeen 3-2

Not using 0-rings for the porthole windows as I modeled the portholes.

This will be printed in three pieces until I own a larger printer.

Again, instead of O-rings you could ask Dave to print the porthole frames that can be slipped into the openings.. It's a simple print, I can't do that for you because i don't have Dave's model.

Adding rivets and metal folds to the roof. I will use the metal fold edges to conceal the printed pieces.


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  • McKeen 3-2
Last edited by AlanRail

I'm finally starting to assemble my own 70-ft McKeen car this weekend. I started with a motley assortment of repaired and extra parts. I had a perfect set of prototype parts but whenever one of my customer's sets had a misprint I would swap in one of mine. I was able to make up a full set just from repairing some "factory seconds".


After a little filing down I brought the parts in the garage and sprayed them all with 2 full coats of Rustoleum 2x. I'm going with a red and gold Cuyamaca scheme since that's what I decorated my McKeen mail trailer for last year.


Here's the result of the painting process. Once the paint is fully set I will apply some homemade decals to finish it up. A good coat of Rustoleum Matte Clear should cut down the glossiness and smooth the surface for the final look.


Now that I'm caught up on orders I'm finally working on new projects. I want to make a 55ft McKeen to accompany the 70ft one. I have this K-Line Budd car that I picked up last month that I thought would make a suitable chassis.

Innards of KLine Budd Car

The 55ft model prints in only 2 pieces with about 40 hours of total printer time. I realized immediate after printing the set (40 hours in) that I had forgotten to model the headlight. D'oh! I might experiment with putting the headlight on the roof like this UP McKeen had.

Test fitting 55ft McKeen to Budd chassis

The K-Line Budd doesn't have as many usable mounting holes as the Railking Doodlebug but there's enough to do the job. I added little tabs that touch the frame on the inside to provide extra points of contact.

Screw hole alignment of 55ft McKeen

Here's what the 55ft design looks like right now with the headlight and driver's door where they should be.

55ft McKeen Car from KLine Budd v48

Hope everyone's having a nice weekend!


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  • IMG_20220310_122830412
  • IMG_20220311_173147448
  • IMG_20220312_095132353
  • Innards of KLine Budd Car
  • Test fitting 55ft McKeen to Budd chassis
  • Screw hole alignment of 55ft McKeen
  • 55ft McKeen Car from KLine Budd v48

I'm very excited to announce that my personal McKeen Car is finally finished!

Ready to Roll

While I was waiting for the paint on the body to dry I put together the electronics on the Doodlebug chassis. For this build I added TMCC and sounds with an ERR Cruise Commander board and a Gas-Electric Railsounds board. This was my first installation of an ERR sound board in one of my projects. I was able to reuse the old Protosound 1 speaker since it's the same resistance and power rating as the ERR one. The installation was pretty simple with just one LED headlight and I got the chassis running satisfactorily by itself.

Cruise Commander with Railsounds

My homemade decals don't photograph well but you can just about see the text on the nose of my McKeen. The whole reason why I went with Cuyamaca is because their McKeens served an area called "Narragansett". I went to college near the "original" Narragansett in Rhode Island so the thought of another one amuses me!

Bow Section Decals

Last night I sprayed the body with a thin coat of Rustoleum Matte Clear and it was dry enough to handle by the morning. 3D printed trains look a lot better with glass inside so I cut up a plastic food carton and filled in the windows. This time I used HVAC foil tape to hold the strips of plastic in place. It's very sticky and grabs well onto the ABS so the windows should stay in place. I'm going to use this for all of my future builds instead of rubber cement and packing tape.

Inserting windows

I put the McKeen together with the matching mail trailer and started walking it through the paces. Through the track switches, up the gradient and into the downtown circle on my layout!

McKeen on upper loop

For those of you who are curious, the 70ft McKeen does have quite a bit of overhang on O31. The Doodlebug chassis handles the curves well but like most O Scale trains, it looks better on wider radii. I'm hoping that the 55ft McKeen that's under development will have a bit less overhang.

Overhang on O31

Here's the obligatory video for you. Volume warning ahead-- that horn is piercingly loud!


Images (6)
  • Ready to Roll
  • Cruise Commander with Railsounds
  • Bow Section Decals
  • Inserting windows
  • McKeen on upper loop
  • Overhang on O31

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