Thursday, February 20, 2020

TOFC - Things On Flat Cars in HO Scale

Modellers love flat car loads. Often, the creative process follows a defined, if somewhat illogical, process: 
  • Hey, this looks neat! 
  • Let's plunk it on a flat car! 
  • Let's hook a bunch of loaded flat cars together and run them in a train! 
Well, I'll go along as far as the first step. Especially if the modeller has spent time detailing the load, of course it rates showing off on the layout. Bearing in mind prototypical appearance and correct blocking and strapping. Speaking of prototype, coupling a bunch of disparate loads together is seldom seen. Such loads are usually singles and don't travel in packs!
Some modellers actually attach the load to the flat car. Others model two cars of the same number - one loaded and one empty, then switch a load for an empty at an industry or yard as appropriate. I'm too cheap for that, and would end up with double the number of cars. As a result, my flat car loads are removable. Up-close photos reveal my lack of realistic blocking and strapping. But read on...
The two top photos show flat car loads I recently assembled from bits n' pieces. Two industries on my Hanley Spur layout generate such loads - the Canadian Locomotive Company (CLC) and the Kingston Shipyards, both of which were located on Kingston's waterfront. The loads bear signs regarding humping, who produced the load and ride on my Union Pacific depressed-centre flat car.  I worked a little harder at these two, adding some Testor's black striping tape and non-scale lumber blocking. But the loads are still removable. My CN depressed-centre (above) carries a transformer made from styrene.
Three cardboard rings from a window-shade set were too good to recycle. So I reused them. Painted as rusted steel and glued to a piece of styrene to fit in my Athearn blue box gondola (above). Another gondola load - pieces of a steam locomotive, possibly for export?
A turbine, perhaps, again made from bits n' pieces and blocked for shipment:
CLC produced lots of tank locomotives - this one is just placed on a depressed-centre flat car. These cars have a short move on my layout - to interchange. The locomotive is second-hand and inoperable. The smokebox was partly missing therefore rebuilt with part of a tank car:
Another 'CLC product' actually a Tyco switcher painted grey with signage, blocked and strapped. My CN flat car needs a brake wheel! Oh, the benefits of up-close model photography!
These loads were made years ago to simulate aluminum ingots shipped on DWC/CN bulkhead flat cars. They also fit in some gondola cars if needed:
Another CLC product:
These two will definitely get the most 'reaction'. A CF-101 Voodoo fuselage:
And a NASA rocket!? I haven't actually operated these and I'm posting them just to see if Trackside Treasure readers are awake!
Strips of wood with thread - instant Roundhouse CP bulkhead flat car load:
Pieces of a train-show-bargain-bridge-deck end up in my Algoma Central gondola:
As does the gon's intended lading - pulpwood. Twigs glued to a balsa-wood base. Multiple loaded pulpwood cars and would actually be seen together on the ACR, lifted from load-out sidings.
Cash-register paper spools with test-tube caps added and blocked, riding on this another train show purchase - a nicely-detailed CP Rail flatcar complete with hand grabs:
Another oldie-but-goodie. New Holland balers (made with the flexible part of a flexible drinking straw!) on a styrene base:
As seen on the layout, this flat car crane was made from Majorette loader tracks and crane bits n' pieces:
Underframes from unsuccessful past projects end up in a weathered Athearn blue box UP gondola:
And more computer-label spools, glued together and painted make a final gon load, seen here at Kingston's Presland Iron and Metal which is now gon!

Running extra...

A two-week blockage (not a blockade!) on CN's Kingston Sub, originating 35 miles west of here, has not only stopped CN and VIA Rail traffic, it has started a new round of nonsensical troll comments. We need not brow-beat teenagers about internet-based shaming, bullying and harassing when adults are doing it much more frequently and just as jarringly. Suggestions of violence run counter to contemporary Canadian values shared by indigenous and all others alike. A VIA/Amtrak status map shows the total dearth of VIA trains in this area.

As a rail enthusiast, I've found the blockage other-worldly. Normally, with a few minutes to spare while out and about, there are a number of convenient vantage points to await the next train. What's the point now? Instead, I found myself spending a spare half-hour at a local marketplace. Now that's dangerous, as I might be tempted to pick up a few things I really don't need. But I did make use of my purchases!
The station will be a window-donor. The brewery will be handy for kitbashing. The two kits have already donated parts to my National Grocers building (below) and all the hoppers - except for the Virginian silver one for which I couldn't find a prototype and has been painted-over -  and the vintage Varney gon with sprung trucks have been weathered and are in service. Minimal coupler changeovers! 


Canadian Train Geek said...

That first photo really sparked my interest! I strapped in to spool through the post, and it just kept picking up steam [engines] and rocketed through to an enjoyable end!

Eric said...

Thanks for adding a new dimension(al) to my post, Steve. That lading of references filled my mind with a cargo-load of how much you enjoyed it, and in receiving your comment, it did not fall flat, and now it's gon to this comment section.

I appreciate you manufacturing it and shipping it my way!

Unknown said...


have enjoy reading your blog along with Mr. Boyko blogs the last little while, have gone back to 2017 on your blogs, find the blogs interesting, still see the odd ACI label car going along the tracks between Brighton and Trenton, Also point out that I enjoy the history aspect of the blogs in the Belleville Kingston areas as well. being I lived near the train station in Napanee in my youth and sat there watching the trains go by

Eric said...

Great to hear from you, Doug. I am proud to have Steve as a blog partner, as I too enjoy keeping track of his posts and those of my other blog partners.

I enjoy finding those little mysteries like ACI labels and other little-known niche topics, as well as railfanning and modelling. Just search 'Napanee' or any other locations you're interested in, in the search box at top left of my blog to find other relevant posts that you may find interesting.

You'll see my Model & Railfan Local 2020 graphic at the top of the sidebar, and that's what I'll be doing more of in this coming year.

Thanks for your comment,