Creating a Hanging MU Cable

Railroads don't always store MU cables in dummy plugs on the pilot of locomotives.

Some time ago, maybe 2015 time frame, I noticed several BNSF locomotives in Victorville CA, with MU cables hanging from the pilot handrail stanchions.  Recently I decided to model this on a locomotive I was building for a friend.

The MU hose used, is from Detail West, part MU-218 "MU Cable W/Double Ended Plugs."  You get 4 of these per package.  Each unit uses two cables, but on this model I used a dummy plugged MU cable [Details West MU-236] on the back.  In this fashion, I'll have enough for 4 units, with the two Details West products.

I began by bending the hose in a "U", then placed it around the handrail stanchion.  I used a pair of tweezers to hold it in place and gently folded the cable downward.  Once shaped, carefully remove, and place on double sided sticky tape, receptacle end down.

I painted this MU cable yellow, but some or blue, or red.  Check the prototype you're modeling for reference.

I left the receptacle end unpainted, the castings are a soft white metal, and I felt they looked enough like bare metal for this use.  You could also paint them a darker metal gray, or rust color.

Glue the hose in with CA, a small dab of Tacky Glue, or clear canopy cement.  Plastic cement will not work here.  I used a tiny dab of tacky glue, applied with a toothpick.  Tacky glue dries clear but has sufficient tack to it when wet, to hold the hose from moving until dry.

This simple, and quick little detail can add plenty of character to your locomotive fleet.

©2020, Josh Baakko,