Tuscarora Railroad

The Tuscarora Railroad is a 1:20.3 garden railroad located in suburban Denver, Colorado. The railroad is based on the East Broad Top RR which still operates today as a tourist line in Orbisonia, PA (south-central PA). Be sure to check out Garden Railway Basics , Kevin's book on building and maintaining garden railroads for information on how the TRR was built.

Location: Denver, CO

Saturday, August 20, 2011

EBT #12 arrives on the Tuscarora RR

The Prototype

East Broad Top #12, built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in December, 1911. Delivered to the railroad in January, where despite derailing on its maiden trip, became one of the favorite locomotives on the railroad. It ran until 2000 when mechanical issues sidelined it. It sits quietly in the Rockhill Furnace roundhouse for some glorious day when the funds are available to begin its restoration.

The prototype has 48" drivers, and developed 22,000 pounds tractive effort. It's a bit smaller than a K-27, though the boiler sits higher due to the larger diameter drivers. As seen in the photograph here, the locomotive was delivered to the railroad in Baldwin's "standard" olive green paint (reportedly a very dark green that only looked green in bright sunlight), plannished iron boiler jacket, and "chrome yellow (orange)" lettering. (Chrome yellow was a color that could vary from yellow to a very deep red-orange.)

The locomotive was an outgrowth of EBT #11, a 2-6-2, and the first EBT locomotive to sport a trailing truck. This advancement allowed for a much wider firebox, thus more efficient steaming. Number 12 proved so successful that it spawned 5 additional mikados on the EBT. Numbers 14 and 15 were a little bit larger with a higher capacity tender, and numbers 16 - 18 were larger still, with superheaters and piston-valve cylinders--every bit as modern as their standard-gauge contemporaries.

The Model

Accucraft's long-awaited live steam EBT mikado finally arrived here in Colorado last week, after over 4 years of waiting from when it was first announced. When it arrived, I was very impressed with it. Compared to published drawings, the locomotive was very close to the prototype (within 1" on most dimensions) and it just captured the look of an EBT mikado very well. (And it ran well to boot!) Accucraft decided to offer the model in the "tourist" paint used by the EBT, resplendent with brass boiler bands, white trim, and red cab roof. While certainly attractive, and easily argued that it's the paint worn by the locomotive for over half its life (from 1960 to present), it's not accurate for the time period I model--the early 1910s. So, after I finished shooting all the photos and video for its review in Garden Railways, it was straight to the paint shop for a proper dose of "reality."

A few issues popped up that needed to be addressed. First, if I were to take the locomotive all the way back to its "as built" appearance, I'd have to remove the generator and one air pump, which would mean doing a bit of re-plumbing with regard to the air lines. Certainly nothing I couldn't do, but did I really want to? Second, I'd want to use the dark green paint I've been using on my other EBT locos of that time period to match Baldwin's olive green. That would mean repainting the loco pretty much from head to toe. Again, I could do it, but then I'd have to re-letter the loco. Now, foreseeing this issue a few years ago, I had some custom dry transfers made up for a bunch of EBT locos. Unfortunately, I made the "12" on the side of the cab the same size as the numbers on the cabs of the other EBT mikados, which it is not. It's smaller. So if I were to re-letter the loco, the numbers would be wrong, and that bugged me. Also, I like working headlights on locomotives, and the only way to get power to the headlight to this locomotive is to run a wire outside the boiler to it. So a visible electrical conduit would be necessary. If I backdated the loco all the way back to 1911, the conduit would not be prototypical. However, if I modeled the loco as she looked in the 1920s, then I could use the conduit that's on the prototype to run power to the headlight. So, 1920s it was, then. While I have no historical proof, I'm making the presumption that in the 1920s, the loco very likely still had its planinished iron boiler jacket, and that the dark green paint would either have weathered to a black with 10 years of coal dust, etc., or would have been repainted black by the shop crews as part of their routine maintenance. That allowed me to keep the factory finish on the cab and tender.

After two evenings of work, #12 emerged looking quite a bit "younger," if looking older at the same time.

If there was one "novel" technique I used on this loco, it was my technique for doing the plannished iron jacket. I usually use one of two methods for simulating this material; either blackened brass sheet or Testors' "Model Masters" buffable Gunmetal paint. Both give a very close impression of what a true plannished iron boiler jacket would look like. The problem on this locomotive was that for me to do either of those techniques, I'd have to strip a bunch of stuff off the boiler, and I wasn't about to do that. So, I experimented with powdered graphite; the stuff that comes in small tubes for lock lubricant. I'd used this before for smokeboxes on my live steamers with fairly good results. I swabbed the graphite on the boiler, then rubbed it in with a paper to even the finish out a bit. Then I painted over it with a clear acrylic to seal it in place. The result is very convincing. It's a bit darker than the gunmetal paint, but still has that nice reflective quality to it.

The smokebox got painted black. I started with a coat of Badger's "ModelFlex" Gloss black. This is really good paint, if you've never used it. It's designed to be airbrush-ready, but brushes on very well, often covering in one coat and leaving no brush strokes. It sticks to the factory paint very well, though I did have to scuff up the white trim with some steel wool so the paint would stick to that. Once that was dry, I weathered it with flat black paint. (The Folk-Art brand flat acrylics I use didn't stick to the factory paint worth a darn, but stuck to the gloss black paint very well.)

I also used the same paint on the rims of the wheels. This is always a bugger to get paint to stick to, because the ballast reaches up and scratches the paint no matter what. But this stuff sticks very well. It also sticks well to the valve gear, which got painted black to match the prototype.

Some other views of the loco:

I can't take credit for any real cosmetic work on this model. Accucraft did such a good job with it, there was really very little for me to do in terms of actual "modeling." I added some details, but that was about it.

First, there was the extension rods to reach the injectors. Many locos have the injectors inside the cab where the engineer and fireman can physically reach them. The EBT ran control rods to them.

I also added sanding levers to each of the two sand domes. These were on the engineer's side only.

I replaced the couplers with Accucraft's 1:32 couplers, since they scale out spot on for the 3/4-sized couplers used by the EBT. For the front, I just cut off the shank, drilled a hole, and stuck it in. There's not a lot of room for side-to-side swing in that front pocket anyway, so I figured I wasn't losing much if anything. It's really no more rigid than the stock coupler. On the rear, I modified the stock draft gear to fit the coupler pocket, so I have more swing on the tender.

The ModelFlex paint is very thin, so when I painted the plates on the front of the two airpumps, it settled down into the valleys, leaving the raised parts to be easily read (with a magnifying glass). It really helps those plates blend into the rest of the model.

And finally, some shots of #12 with a proper train behind her. (I must confess, I didn't actually steam the loco for these photos.)

Westbound on the north leg of the Neelyton wye

Coming into Blacklog

And eastbound again, headed back to Neelyton

Next is to install the R/C for the throttle and direction, and to wire the headlight and possibly the class lamps. That'll probably be a fall/winter project. For now, the locomotive has that "workhorse" look I was after, capturing the essence of the EBT mikados in regular service.