Latest Project - Southern Track Panel Car

Discussion in 'Scratchin' & Bashin'' started by tomd81, Aug 29, 2006.

  1. tomd81

    tomd81 New Member

    I have again started working on one lead and two drone type track cars that were built by Southern in their Coster shops to carry track panels. The first time building these cars I started with a couple of Athearn gon, but none of the ribs lined up correctly, and the side walls were not straight.

    Southern built two types of these cars, and here is a little background:

    Lead 991126 – 991127
    The lead cars are used to lower the track panels. A photo of one is at the bottom right.

    Drone 991101 - 991125
    The drone car carry the track panels, and pass them to the lead car to be placed on the ground.

    The photos and text below are from the September 1966 Ties Magazine.

    Completed track panels move three at a time on powered roller chains into a line of special cars. Each car holds nine to ten panels. Panels already loaded are hydraulically lifted to allow the next set of panels to be moved in underneath. When the end car is loaded, power roller chains in the floor of the car can be activated to move the entire load of panels into the next car. These special cars are also equipped with devices to lower the track panels into place on the ground at the installation site.

    There is a photo in the Southern Color Guide by Jim Kinkaid. From this photo it appears that this car is self propelled, with the gear and chain below the left hand side of the car. I have only seen these cars in person once in 1996 when I visited Spencer. They was a string of them in the yard, that could be seen from the train ride.


    First step, create a working drawing.


    Now for second attempt at building these cars. The plan is for a 100% scratch built car.

    Next start cutting, measuring, more cutting and gluing. The starting point is 0.020 sheet styrene.


    Many different Evergreen strips and channel.


    Seems like only one in two of the diagonal pieces that I cut fit, even with using a jig.


    So far, each side has 34 separate styrene pieces, with about 20 more to finish each side. I need six sides to finish three cars.

    I do not know how I am going to deal with all of the hydraulic lines - wire wrap wire. I may differ from the prototype, and put these lines behind a panel.

    What is left to do
    - finish the sides
    - build the bases - 0.040 styrene
    - build the ends - still looking for more photos
    - build the tops - still looking for more photos
    - paint and decal

    I am a fairly novice scratch builder, and am pleased with my progress so far.

    What do the rest of you think?
  2. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    neat project Tom looks like its going well, as for the lines get hold of some small bell type wire and strip off the inslation and use it for lines , the other option would thin styrene rods found some .025 by Evergreen you could heat and bend .
  3. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    You can make decent hydraulic lines using the leads from grain-of-wheat bulbs. Cut the leads from the bulb, then before you cut the individual "hoses", pull the stranded wire out of the insulation. I use the wire to make cable slings for my wreck trains and MoW cars. To make the hydraulic hose, cut a piece to the length needed, then insert a small piece of brass wire of a suitable diameter in either end of the insulation. Drill a properly-sized hole wherever you need to install the end of the "hose", then use ca to fasten it in place. This insulation is very flexible, so it will withstand some handling: I used it to make hydraulic lines for my Walthers Jordan spreader, which I modified to enable the spreader wings to be positionable. Sorry, but I don't have a photo available.

  4. modelsof1900

    modelsof1900 Member


    you wrote, you are a fairly novice scratch builder. I think you have started with very good looking sides and a very interesting project. All here in "Scratchin' & Bashin'" know that I preffer wood for all my modelling jobs. But this fine and accurate modelling is a good start for fine models. Congratulations!!!
    Wishing you endurance and success!!! ... and I hope to see pictuers of next steps!

  5. tomd81

    tomd81 New Member

    Thanks everyone for the comments!

    Got some more done this week.


    I am still not happy with the center diagonals, may rework them.

    Next step is the center hydraulic lifts.

    I pulled out my airbrush, been in the box for over 7 years! Have a lot to learn, but started.

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