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Premium Member
212 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Articulated Streamline Car
While purchasing my envisioned passenger set I inadvertantly purchased three diners instead of one diner and two coaches.As I made my purchase at the ECLSTS and waited several months before assembling the train I didn't notice the problem until I felt it was too late to correct.
Recalling some pictures I had seen years ago I started a search for articulated cars that might help me make use of the extra diners I now had.As I don't follow a particular prototype my main consideration was on plausible window placement for such a build.With that in mind here is the build.
My first step after finding the pictures of SP's chair cars was to read the information on lowering Aristo Craft streamliners and altering the couplers as provided by George Schreyer at his web site:
HTTP:// www.girr.org/girr/index.html
look under his tips page for Aristo cars.I also followed his advise on multi wheel pick-up wiring.
After taking the cars apart, by removing the four screws that hold the car ends to the floor and prying the ends free of the glue Aristo uses, I disconnected the truck wires from the floor, sliding the floor back and forth to make this easier.Make a diagram of the wiring for later reassembly.I then removed the bolster near the door end,stripped out the lighting and slid the floor out. I then looked for an area just shy of half the distance of the cut out on the body for the truck at the door end that also didn't interfere with the window cut outs. This worked out to be at the edge, farthest from the door, of the first window on the left side of the body from the door end,or 5" in from the end.After carefully marking the cut line I used a fine cut hacksaw blade to make the cut.Careful as I tried, I still slipped a couple of times and have to putty the scratches I made. I cut the bodies down both sides first, then using those cuts as a guide I cut through the roof.A matching cut was made through the floor.

1st car ready to start.

Marked for cut, other side works out to get cut through post seen through window.

After cuts were made
Some light filing was necessary to clean up the cuts on both bodies.As you can see the cut out for the truck is cut a little off center, this is to allow room for the articulation.
George discribes two methods for lowering A/C passenger cars, his involves casting new bolster pads to lower the cars.The second method is just to slide the floor into the body above the track its supposed to go in and below the two tits from the name plate in the center of the car. Either method is acceptable.I decided to use the second method and therefore needed to modify one bolster pad for my use.This will be hidden from normal view, so I wasn't overly concerned with appearance.
The bolster pad was rounded off on all four corners and narrowed out a little in the center to allow the two body halves to rotate.In narrowing the bolster pad I cut far enough in to remove the end caps of the rounded bolster, these will be replaced later.

Marked and cut to show the differance. Note also the two cross marks on the top truck.
In the picture above you will note two cross marks on the upper truck. These will be different for each modeler as they are somewhat dependant on your trackage. To decide where to hinge the two halves I temperarilly replaced the floor sections back in the body shells with one truck in place on each half. Next I laid out three pieces of 10' diameter curve track (the smallest diameter curve I will use on my layout) and placed the two halves of the car and the modified truck with bolster on the track. Now eyeballing comes into play.By looking down on the car I positioned the two halves on the modified bolster so there was a visionally pleasing gap between the two body pieces on the inside of the curve as in the following picture

Looking down on car while on curve
As you can see there is not a whole lot of differance between the two sides,but in order to insure this build could be used by others I marked the joint of the body halves where they rested on the bolster pad. I then used three sections of 5' diameter curve track and got the two halves placed on the bolster as close to the marks I had made as possible. Looking down again I came up with the following view. I again marked the joint between body and bolster although with a different color after seperating the body halves by 1/8th of an inch.

On 5' diameter curve note small gap that was widened before marking
Next was to center the marks on the bolster pad.Using the outside edges of the cutouts on the pad I found center and marked a line lengthwise on the pad.Then I measured the distance between my lines where the bodies met the pad as this was only a little differant in both markings I chose to use the original set for 10' diameter curves. This measurement plus one half inch was then halved and marked on the center line measuring from the truck screw mounting out.
The floor pieces were then marked by finding the center and measuring in one half inch. Next drill a hole for a number two,three,or four screw (whichever you have on hand)at the cross marks you made on the bolster pad.Then drill corresponding holes in the floor pieces large enough for the chosen screw size to slide through. Thread two 1/2" screws into the bolster pad from the underside (you should be able to do this without tapping the holes) and use a drop of ACC to hold them in place. Test fit the body halves on the truck on track.
You should now have something that looks like the following picture. Now cut two pieces of scrap plastic to cover the ends of the bolster and glue in place. The next step is to make end caps for the body halves.This could be done by modifying the original ones,but since you'll have to cut off the end details it's easier to make new.
You can see some of the scratches I made when I slipped while cutting apart the bodies in this picture also.

Test fit after screw placement
Using the small piece of body left over after the cut stand it on end on a piece of .080 plastic or a piece of aluminum and trace around the outside of the body.NOTE I opted to make the end cap rest on the bolster pad so I also marked where the bottom edge of the floor panel would be. This will depend on wheather you leave the floor in it's original configuration or choose to raise it. I straightened out the corrogation lines for my cut. Smooth out your cut and test fit the new end. I also opted to include the window opening in the end door on mine. If you choose to do this just measure the old end cap for placement.
In order to mount the end caps to the bodies I made a mounting strap from aluminum.Using a 1/2"strip I purchased from the hardware store I bent a "C" shaped piece in the following way.1/2" bend,1" bend,width of inside of body bend,1" bend,1/2" cut. Make two. These are slid into the body just above your floor and Epoxied or ACC'ed in place even with the end of the body or just slightly in. Hold the end cap in place and mark where the strap is located. Decide wheather you're going to tap for screws or mount nuts onto the straps. Drill according to your choice on each side of the end caps. 4 holes total and then drill corresponding holes in the straps.
If using nuts to secure the screws place a screw through the hole in the strap from the outside and thread a nut on the inside just using one thread to hold it on the screw. Pull back on the screw so the nut is seated against the back of the strap and carefully place a drop of ACC on the strap wait 10 seconds and try the screw if it doesn't turn carefully try to remove it using a pair of pliers and a screwdriver. Now give the nut an extra shot of ACC.
Measure,mark,and cut the window inserts,and white deflector board. Cut the coupler tang off the truck you're using for the center truck.If you look back at the pictures you'll see that I made this cut at the base of the triangular pieces.
At this point you again have choices. To simulate the full width diaphram for the car I used two pieces of dence(chair seat) foam rubber and cut out a door size opening in the center ofeach.These were both 1/2" thick.I dyed them with Rit fabric dye black. I'm not pleased with this so I am in the process of cutting frames to match the new end caps in size.In frames I mean as in the pictures I've seen of full size cars with full width diaphrams I will make this out of .080 plastic. I will then cut two 1/2" pieces of thin vinyl(black) and glue them in place around the the outside edges of both halves. I will also cut two shorter pieces to fit around the inside edges of the door areas. Remember you need to treat each body half as an individual car. I saw this method used on an old SP Daylight set at an ECLSTS. One of the live steam guys had the set and I think it was 1/32 scale.
You will now need to extend the wiring for the lights in a couple of spots and add plugs so you can take this car apart for transport.I soldered new lengths to the wires from the truck and from one side of the car. It doesn't matter which end. Having about 6" of wire ( I know over kill ) coming off the truck and using DB25 plugs place a male or female plug on both the red and the black lead,and solder a 4" lead off of each of these wires at about the midpoint.Also solder 6"leads onto one of the body halves wiring and place the corresponding DB25 plug on these .The DB25's can be purchased at an electronic supply like Radio Shack,but any small plug will work. We just need to separate the car once in awhile.
This wire can be fed through the window opening or you can make a small notch in each end panel for the wires to pass through.

Wire ready to be used
At this point put the floors back in the bodies and replace the lights (if you removed them) the window inserts and light defusers. now using the body half you didn't extend the wiring on set it on the modified truck. Attach this body half with a nuton the screw but leave wiggle room then place a second nut tight to the first to lock it in place.Using the 4" leads off the truck reconnect to the car body and light feed.Put the two end caps in place,and connect the plugs then set the second body half over its mounting screw. This one just rests in place.
Your car is now ready for a test. Make sure your wiring is right and all the lights come on by putting power to the differant wheel sets,then place the car on track and test again. Now add it to your consist ans take it around your layout.
Before you put it in your schedule send it to the paint shop to match your consist , then letter for your road and send it out to start bringing in that revenue like it should.

One last pic showing the screw mount inside the car

Premium Member
4,626 Posts
cool idea, I did not read everything but I can't wait to see how it turns out.

Premium Member
212 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Marty,
I approached Louis last year with the possibility of producing blank bodies so those who want to model specific cars and window paterns could do it. His response was they are aluminum and nobody could work them without a full shop. Guess I won't get this far with only hand tools.

just one (maybe stupid) question:
why do you make the grey square, where the bodies are hooked on, turn freely upon the truck?
when you back up the train, might not the square turn, so that the bodies wander out to one side each?
if you glue or screw the grey part fixed to the truck that could not happen.

Premium Member
212 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
If you look at the side on picture you'll notice that the A/C trucks have two mount points. One is alittle off center and is a normal screw through hole swivel point. Wile the one centered on the truck is a screw through slot arrangement. I tightened both screws down to stop the swivel action. I did not consider the possibility of the bolster plate turning so much that the bodies might swing out of alignment. I have not tested my arrangement in a train, I've only tested by hand movement but I didn't notice any problems with my arrangement so far. I will keep your concern in mind and let you know if I have to make any changes.
Thanks for the truck shot. Your pins go down, while mine go up. Does the Zephyr have any diaphram between bodies ? If so can you show a view of them.3/4 on would be nice
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