I started with a standard Atlas 40' box, and using a design I picked up from Steve Russell at the Delmarva Model Railroad Club, added a weighted masonite pad to help with track cleaning chores. The tool car is based on prototype cars that were converted in the Hagerstown Shops. Many had doors installed in the ends as well as the windows. I've added these features, as well as a step below the sliding door. The end doors are from a discarded Life Like FB-2 shell.
The pad "floats" below the floor, but keeps pressure on the rail with the aid of the weight above it.
Two small screws run through holes in the floor and into the pad, and the pad weight is installed with CA Super Glue applied to the heads of the screws. I filed the screw head flat so there would be more surface contact for the bond. The weights on the ends are attached directly to the floor of the car, also with CA. You may recognize them as having come from two defunct Life Like GP-38's. Never Throw Anything Away!!
At right you see the bottom view of the masonite pad. The texture on the bottom provides just enough abrasion to pick up gunk without scratching the railhead.
With all the tunnels along the railroad between Hagerstown and Cumberland, and Cumberland and Connellsville, the Western Maryland needed a specially designed car to run during the winter to knock down the huge icicles that would sometimes form inside them. Spring water would run down the walls in warmer weather, but when it froze up, it became a serious hazard to both crews and equipment. Also, freight, such as automobiles on open racks, could also be damaged. So WM's crack team of handymen at the Hagerstown shop came up with this unique car, the Icicle Breaker.
Work trains had a variety of fuel needs. Propane or oil for car heaters, coal for steam driven cranes, diesel oil for other track equipment. To make sure work didn't get held up, tenders were sent along to provide a ready source of fuel. The WM employed several different kinds. This tank is representative of the diesel fuel tenders. It's an old Postage Stamp tank car, with the only modification being the paint job and trucks.
The other thing you need to clear a wreck or take care of a washout is people. Crews would be called out to work long shifts to get the railroad running again, and Camp Cars became their home away from home.
Many of the WM's passenger cars were pressed into camp car service once they were no longer needed after 1958. The WM had also purchased a large number of Pullman Troop Sleepers and Kitchen Cars after World War II, originally to supplement the caboose fleet. These cars were ideally suited for camp service since they were already built to handle large groups of people, but with a minimum of frills.
Micro Trains introduced their excellent models of a Pullman Troop Sleeper and a Kitchen Car in 2003, and in their second run produced the cars you see at right. Finally, I could put the decal sets away! The scheme that MT produced, though, was one of many used by the MOW department.
The most recent addition to the fleet is a "Washroom Lobby Car" converted from a troop sleeper. The WM identified cars in washroom service with a grey paint scheme. These were outfitted with chemical lavatories for use by work crews at a wreck or MOW site. The model started with a MT troop sleeper, with detail parts from BLMA. The lettering is a combination of Microscale WM Diesel and Caboose lettering.
Diesel Crane 1674
For this project, I started with a Bachmann steam crane. The only major modifications were to remove the smoke stack (the WM converted their steam cranes to diesel in the early 1960's) and to replace the trucks with MT 1173 Buckeye Trucks with medium extension draft gear.
I plan to include some MOW movements to my operating schematic to add some interest and complexity to a session. Like most railroads, the Western Maryland maintained a fleet of unusual and utilitarian cars to use for taking care of the right of way, clearing wrecks, and taking care of bridge and signal maintenance.
Using Jack Brown's excellent book Color Guide to Western Maryland Freight and Passenger Equipment as a primary reference, along with old issues of the WMRHS Blue Mountain Express quarterly, I set about to begin building my own WM MOW fleet.
Here's what we've got so far...
The number's not right, and the door isn't either, but I'm not splitting hairs at this point.
I also beveled the ends of the pad to make sure it wouldn't get hung up on switch points or bridge guard rails. I usually soak the pad with a track cleaning solution before sending it on its way. As you can see, it really picks up the goop.
In the perfect world, you would have two of these cars running in tandem. I installed Atlas low profile metal wheel sets to allow for lower friction. The added weight helps the car track better, too.
I started with a Model Power 40' boxcar, using the floor and ends only. The sides are scratch built from Evergreen styrene sheet stock, and the breaker is built up from several profiles of Evergreen strip. The ladders and grabs are by BLMA, while the drop steps are home made from brass rod. The lettering comes from a combination of Microscale and NorthEast caboose sets, and a Microscale WM boxcar set provided the reporting marks.
Per the prototype, the car will be loaded with stone ballast, which will add to it's weight. Like all the other MOW cars, it is equipped with Atlas metal wheels.
At left is a relic of the steam era, still serving a useful purpose carrying coal and water for use by the MOW crews. Several steam tenders were preserved this way on the WM. This is a Bachmann short tender, with the draw bar removed and replaced with an MT 1015 coupler.
I used an old set of Northeast Decals WM Caboose lettering to detail the model. I have to have custom lettering done to apply the words "Diesel Crane" in speedlettering between the logo and the number on each side, and the prototype manufacturer's logo on the boom.
The Bachmann tender car is way off, so it went into the parts bin. Flatcar 2432 is standing in for a WM tender car, still under construction.