The 27

This steeple cab is a kit made by Ray Webster.  It's one of a limited number of "originals." Oregon Electric Railway had a trio of these: 960, 961 and 962. They were built by ALCO in 1912, were 37' 7" long, weighed in at around 125,000 pounds and were equipped with four GE 212A motors. British Columbia Electric Railway bought two of them in 1946. More recent pictures below were included in a CD that Ray sent with the kit.

The kit itself consists of the floor, cab, hoods, truck frames and a copious amount of underbody detail parts. The roof was the only missing ingredient. (Not to mention trucks, pilots, poles!!) This page will detail construction, so I apologize in advance to those of you with slow connections.

The truck frames were made for a USAT 44-tonner. I've chosen to use Aristo bricks which match what's under the 54, plus the stubby centercab (an RS-1.5?) they sell. I had to chop about 11/16 out of the frames, giving this result.

Ozark makes really nifty looking spoked wheels that are the same diameter. LGB, too, but there's have a plastic center.  Do I want to get a set to see how hard it would be to change out the OEM wheels? Maybe later, probably not!!

The only criticism of the kit, and it's a small one, was with some deforming of the area above the cab windows. A little application of the hair dryer cured that, but I added some brass channel above the windows (note left side) to add strength in that area.

Based on an inspection of the steeple cab fleet at IRM, I thought it appropriate to add a cage to the inside of the cab. On the prototypes, this seems to have been the normal place for air compressors and miscellaneous electrical gear, although in many cases the pumps were put in the hoods or under the car body. The cage in this case helps to hide the business ends of the toggle switches that will control the battery power for lighting.  

Cab and hoods assembled and sitting on frame. Safety chains for trucks have been secured to underside of frame rails. Wish I could afford some Magic Carpet drives!

Looking through motorman's window. I've added a couple of snap switches for the 600 volt lighting and heater circuits, and the canopy switch. Light for motorman goes in the little green "cup" that is above window.

The project is slowing down. It's the end of February, I'm suffering from cabin fever and the project is getting down to the tedious work -- wiring for lights, furnishing the cab interior, etc. It's not the kind of work I want to do after 8 hours at the office. Maybe I need a second hobby -- like demolition or something where I'm able to work out the kinks and stress from the day. Work really does get in the way of leisure time!
Awwwright, already, enough whining! The engineer, whoops, motorman, (I guess we'll call him Art, short for Aristocraft.) is ensconced, the controller and air brake at the ready. Those were from MTS in England. Neat stuff. Karl at Light Rail Products has neat stuff, too!!

This is the tedious work. I notched the tops of the ceiling beams so I can run wiring for the LEDs (2 headlights, 2 marker lights and a pair of cab lights) and have it more or less out of sight. A common ground links them. The final wiring will have to wait until the chassis and frame are mated. I don't want to do that until the underbody work is done. Also need to add some weight - probably split shot under the hoods. Thinking about something to retrieve the trolley rope to keep it taught. Need to look at the Rube Goldberg book for some ideas.

Used Bachmann pilots. Cut slot for coupler, added "Dutchman" across tops for height. Used ACC to glue, then drilled pilot hole from bottom, put in brass brad and pressed snug with heat from soldering gun.  Magnet for signals hidden behind B end pilot. #1 end pilot is open. #2 end was sheathed with .020 styrene to form more of a plow. 

Cutouts look like they might be good for catch basin guards??


MU connector is the little brass sleeve to right of coupler.

Underframe prior to painting. Some wiring run through "conduits". Right side slide switch is for battery power to lights, controlled by two smaller switches (day/night) (forward/reverse) which hide in the cab so that just the handles are under the car. Slide switch on left is to change from rail to overhead power.

Scrap of brass strip cut as power collector/base for trolley poles. Rethreaded screw in pole to accept brass nut from stock, soldered to underside of strip. (Didn't have any brass nuts that were the right size!)

Supplied screw is steel, so could use it as a pin when soldering brass nut to brass strip.

Center brass rod will serve two functions. It takes power from poles to mode switch under the car floor, and is used to secure body to floor. Rod is 3/32" and will run through roof, through cab, through floor of car. Nut and couple of washers will keep it all in place. Did I mention Bachmann poles are standard, due to cost more than esthetics.

Trolley catcher once held a name badge. Heavy cord was removed and replaced with elastic.

Various scrap --Kindorf channel, 1/2" steel rod and fishing weights have been epoxied under booth hoods.

 The roof was constructed of .10 sheet styrene, laminated in 3 layers. 400 grit emery paper used as the "canavas" roofing. Extenders hold the trolley pole hooks -- keeps the poles from touching the adjacent boxcar when shoving!

Detail of handrails at left. Made from 3/32 Plastruct fittings, except for ends, center, which are 12 gauge copper wire. Brushed some "blacken-it" on so it took the paint better. At right is final arrangement.