This Space for Rent

May 28, 2020

Oooh, I just had an idea!

So I’m kitbashing models of CMStP&P rsc2m’s 576 & 578, and I was wondering whether to paint them in Milwaukee Road colors or PV&T colors. But if they were on the PV&T (actually on the LT&L, since the PV&T is all electric all the time) it wouldn’t make sense to buy a couple of used machines from a collapsing midwestern railroad. But I’ve got a bunch of little subsidiaries and feeders floating around, and one of them is the upstate NY mining railroad PH&W (Plaster Hills & Western; officially a common carrier but it primarily serves a gypsum mine in the Adirondacks) that was still using steam up through the 1960s.

So, if the PH&W followed every other steam holdout (the LT&L kept steam up until the early 1960s, so there was a fairly close backshop that the PH&W could send locomotives to when they needed work) into diesels at the end of the decade, it would have started leasing Alcos from the LT&L (which had spare locomotives because they’d abandoned their direct route from Quebec to Portland) they would have continued the same arrangements of having the LT&L servicing the leased units, but would have eventually wanted something more powerful than the S1s they’d been leasing, but with a similarly light footprint for their increasingly ancient route up to the mines.

So, enter the Milwaukee Road, which also had a line (the Viroqua branch) that needed light-footprinted engines, and which, by happy coincidence, was thinking about retiring their rsc2m’s. When the 576 came up for sale, the PH&W – and not PNC – purchased it and shipped it out east, and several years later when the Brillion & Forest Junction fell over dead they – and not Peter Smykla – grabbed 578 as a spare.

So, both locomotives stayed in the last Milwaukee Road paint scheme, but with PLASTER HILLS AND WESTERN patch-lettered over the previous railroad name and 578 renumbered back to 578 (from Kettle Moraine/B&FJ #5) and kept running up to at least the 2010s (or whatever date the gypsum mines ran out) before falling into the hands of a historical society that had enough secure storage to keep them in to prevent them from being vandalized and scrapped.

May 27, 2020

Compare and contrast

prototype vs model

The current state of the model 578 vs the way the 577 looked back in the early 1970s. The front hood is noticeably longer on the model than it is on the prototype (easy enough to fix, I just need to find a way to jig up the hood so it won’t slip while I’m chopping ~3mm out of it.)

May 26, 2020

Rebuilding

RSC2m (in progress)

Updating my Kato RSC2 into a RSC2m. I need to lop off the 244 stack and put in a 251 crosswise one, shorten the low short hood by 10" (scale; approximately a saw’s width), trim the battery boxes away from the fuel tank casting, and – since this will be a model of 578 – lop off the wedge shaped pilot inserts and put shovel shaped ones in as a replacement.

And paint. Milwaukee orange/black, PV&T blue & white, or early PV&T blue, white, and black? Decisions, decisions.

May 24, 2020

Maybe I need to dig out the ol' slide scanner?

Le Diapositive Est Arrivé!

The slide of 578 (and 576 – identified by the missing handrail left over from a collision a few weeks earlier – in the background) arrived yesterday, so now I need a way to scan it into the computer so I can scatter it around the net instead of leaving it rotting away on this little piece of transparent plastic.

May 22, 2020

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

A nice cup of coffee

drinking coffee & looking a photos of TCRT streetcars


About to go into the shops

Two RSC2s, ready to be rebuilt to RSC2m specs in miniature

Two RSC2’s (one Kato, one Proto 1000) that I’m going to rebuild into tiny replicas of #578 and #576; they’ve been kicking around for a while (as well as an RSD-5) but finding that slide of 578 & 576 has provoked me into looking for RS32/36 bodyshells so I can yeet their cabs/shorthoods for ones that are like what Alco put onto the prototypes during their rebuilding to RSC2m’s.

The Kato & Life-Like Walthers castings are subtly different, which is fine because by the time I made their acquaintance the prototypes were subtly different as well.

May 21, 2020

Naptime

Naptime

Thor naps while Ozy stands guard

May 18, 2020

Nostalgia (on the cheap)

One that got away

A slide (purchased for $5.50) of 578 sitting on the (now vanished) ready tracks by the (now vanished) roundhouse in North La Crosse. This is one of the locomotives that made me a lifelong Alco fan (576,577,578 with a honorable mention to 594 – the last RSC2 built.)

The Milwaukee Road retired all of their Alcos in the mid-to-late 1970s, but 578 and 594 escaped the breakers then and ended up in, respectively, the hands of a collector and the Mid-Continent Railway Museum. Sadly, 35 or so years after it escaped the breakers, the 578 was cut up after it was vandalised in the early 2010s, so my lottery dreams of buying it, shipping it to Portland, and seeing if I could convince one of the local shortlines or Class 2 railroads to operate it will never happen. But I’ll have this slide, and it will encourage me to kitbash one of the RSC2 models I’ve got into its first-and-a-half generation guise as a RSC2m (or RSC2 u, or RSC2.5, depending on which railfan you talk to) so I can have it kicking around with my various PV&T electrics as I slide inevitably into old age.

May 17, 2020

Wichita Park(ing)

Wichita Parking

Stopping briefly at Wichita Park while coming back from Henry Higgins on Foster. This is, of course, the short way back (the long way is via Carver, but that’s got a bunch of climbing if I take Sunnyside out to 170th, and I’m maybe a bit too out of shape this year to attempt that on the sweet fixie) so it only took about a hour r/t from home to bagels & back.

May 15, 2020

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

Two projects, one mite

Busy at work on a much cleaner workbench

May 13, 2020

crossing repair

crossing repair, #2

East Portland Traction (aka the Oregon Pacific) is taking advantage of the City of Milwaukie running a new sewer main down McBrod Ave and replacing the old and not in terrifically good shape crossing up by the EPT shops.

May 11, 2020

Shopping

NDS bagels

I really need to sew up a new big rando bag for the disco travel bike; my historical reenactment porteur/randonneur bag crowds my hands like you wouldn’t believe on these 42mm rando bars. I have some nice blue/purple xpac, some fire engine red xpac, and some green, so folks have options here, at least as soon as I can figure out how I’m going to clip the new bag to the rack.

May 09, 2020

Locomotive photo of the day

EPT 100 sits on the Americold/OLCC siding just east of McBrod Ave

EPT 100 sits on the Americold siding just east of McBrod Ave

May 08, 2020

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

A cup of mite

Chock Full o'Mite


Floof

Thor lurks on the arm of a chair, waiting for the pizza to be left unguarded

Thor lurks on the chair arm, waiting for us to forget about the stack of pizzas that are sitting on the table. Sadly, we took them all away and went down to my parent’s to eat them, leaving the cats neglected and alone.

May 07, 2020

rackbuilding

mated rack + fork, #2

A matched 10×8" rack & low trail fork for an old Bridgestone, destined for NYC after I paint & test ride it.

May 06, 2020

Frame (re)building

breakaway joint, #1

Part 2 of my putting couplers into an old steel frame. The downtube has a S&S coupling that I salvaged from a Travellers Check donor frame, but since the Travellers Check uses 2×OS tubing the only coupler I could use was the top tube one (which migrated down to the downtube) and that left me with needing to find a coupling for the top tube.

So, a Ritchey-style breakaway joint, which is only moderately weird compared to a S&S coupler. And with the downtube being held together with the S&S coupler, the rest of the front triangle is nice and stiff when both clamps are clamped onto the seatpost.

I still need to finish the joint; I have to lap the faces so they won’t gape open when the thing is coupled together, I have to finish the lugs so they don’t bulge out at the coupling, plus I need to build up the top half of the joint to make up for a place where I cut the lug short. But before I do that I have an appointment with a couple of seatstays, a disk brake mount, and some cable guides & taillight mounts.

May 05, 2020

Shopping

Picking up a bottle of air

I’d run out of oxygen (on thursday, but then something came up with the carer for my now-bedridden father) and finally got enough time to go over to airgas and pick up a replacement bottle. (And then I could braze the next round of bits onto the frame & rack that I’d left setting in garage shop when the oxygen ran out.)


microraptor

A suspicious Stellar Jay

A Stellar Jay alights, but is concerned that the blue brick yonder primate is holding may be dangerous.

May 01, 2020

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

Peanut butter & dust mite

A little evening snack


At least social distancing seems to be working.

Covid-19 deaths in the USA, via jhu & plotly

From an untrained eye it looked like it changed from a quadratic to a linear increase around the middle of april? Still gruesome, but not overwhelm the hospitals gruesome.

Holding my breath waiting for a vaccine. I suspect it might be endemic in the USA by now, which would be a tremendous pain in the ass, but if the west coast states can get test & trace working (the federal government has flipped over the edge and is now a well armed band of outlaws) maybe we can get back to something reasembling what it was in the before times, though with a better disaster management system and working healthcare.

—30—

Obéir c'est trahir, Désobéir c'est servir
orc@pell.portland.or.us

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