BNSF Dash 9 modeling help

Note, this article is not for the non-rivet counters among us. It picks apart BNSF Dash 9's so that you can identify what you need to make it look "correct".

For those of you who are not familiar with BNSF Dash 9's, and the idiosyncrasies of "rivet counting", check this out for a demonstration.

Phases of Union Pacific AC4400/C44AC-CTEs.

Telling the difference between UP AC4400's (AC4400CW), from SP, CNW & UP, plus UP C44AC-CTE's (AC4400CW-CTE), in short.

Again, in the quest to find myself a UP unit to model, this time a AC4400CW, I've started mapping out the differences and "phases" of UP AC4400CW's and C44AC-CTE's.  This list may be incomplete, please excuse me if something is missing or wrong. I hope to get some input to make the list way more specific.

Prototypes for ExactRail Depressed Center Flats

HO Scale VS. Prototype comparison

Exactrail recently (Feb 8th 2011) released a depressed center flat in HO scale.  This car is not a model of any specific prototype, however it is based upon, and very close to the Conrail FE42A.

Here's ExactRail's listing for the car.  They provide a history of the GSI depressed center flats.

The Conrail Historical Society has one photo online of the FE42A class:

EMD SD70 Series Water Sight Glass

EMD fitted a few SD70 series locomotives with a water sight glass.

From the Dash 2 series locomotives up until the SD70 series, EMD was fitting all hood units with a water sight glass, on one of the radiator doors.  This is a key identifying feature of Dash 2 locomotives.  The SD50 and SD60 series seemed to have been the last units to do so, but I discovered a UP SD70M with a water sight glass.

Phases of Union Pacific SD70Ms

Telling the difference between UP SD70M phases, in short.

In the quest to find myself a UP SD70M to model, I've started mapping out the differences and "phases" of UP SD70M's. This list will be fairly incomplete & quite simple for now. I hope to get some input to make the list way more specific.

MET RP20BD drawing

HO scale drawing of an MET RP20BD

This drawing is not fully accurate, as it is missing a few small details.  However it does give you a 90% complete plan for modeling the two Modesto & Empire Traction RailPower build RP20BD's.

Modeling 1990's - 2000's Era Amtrak Southwest Chief

A typical Modern era consist for Amtrak's Southwest Chief

For those who choose to model the Southwest Chief in the 90's of 00's, have the option to complete a full train easily in HO scale.

The prototype:
A typical train, for the 00's is pulled by 2 or 3 P42DC (AMD-103 Genesis) locomotives, and pulls one, or two baggage cars, followed by a Superliner "transition sleeper" which transfers the the end door & diaphragm height to match that of a single level car.

The train that follows is commonly 100% Superliner in make up, and consists of two sleepers, a diner, lounge, and lastly 3 coach cars.

Current paint is phase V for the P42DC's, Phase III or IVa for the baggage cars, and phase IVa or Phase IVb for the Superliners.  The further you go back the more variance the will have.

Copper Range Diesels

Trying to collect as much info as I can into one place.  Copper Range Diesel Prototype & modeling info.

Being as I grew up in Michigan, where railroads such as Mineral Range, Copper Range, Quincy & Torch Lake, DSS&A, LS&I, and later Soo Line & Wisconsin Central ran (now Canadian National), I figured I'd do some articles on them.

Photographer unknown, slide © Josh Baakko collection

Carbon Black Cars

Just thought I'd throw this article up to resource some Carbon Black cars...

What is Carbon black?  Well Carbon black is a left over material from industrial burning, that is basically pure carbon.  It's used in tires, plastics, and much more.

Carbon black cars are fairly easy to distinguish from other covered hoppers.  They generally have black paint, and usually 3 bays.  The outlets are fairly distinctive, round hatches on a cone shaped bay.

Calculate Motive Power Needed

Simple calculations to determine the number of locomotives needed to power a train.

Basic Calculations:

Tractive Effort:
(Horsepower x 308)
Miles Per Hour
Tonnage Rating:
Tractive Effort total from above
(2000 x % of grade)1
Locomotive Total:
Train tonnage
Tonnage Rating from above