Traction Action: Revisiting the Coal Hopper Motor: Part 1

Traction Action: Revisiting the Coal Hopper Motor: Part 1

OST 2023-02by Martin Brechbiel/photos by the author

Having wrapped up that hopper car, I was put in mind to continue this theme. This was particularly prompted by a visit to the stack of projects upon which was perched a long-neglected, elderly scratchbuilt shell of a coal motor. Some years ago, I was rewarded with this item for services rendered and had good intentions of running home and putting it all to rights. I got distracted.

Still, I managed to identify the prototype for this car shell. It’s even pictured in the CERA Bulletin No. 129 on page 47.1 This book is really good for those interested in traction freight operations and equipment. So, now we loop back to 2015 and revisit coal motors with a restoration, rebuilding, and finishing of motor No. 653 (my choice) from Androscoggin & Kennebec Railway. That ash motor I had threatened to pursue will just have to wait its turn in the project queue of the ages.

Hopper Car

Looking at this shell reveals that I have a lot of work to do here, and there is probably some guesswork measured into this project. The basic body is in reasonably good condition and close in appearance to the prototype. The buffer ends are not correct and what is there will have to be pried off carefully to get the nails backed out. I’ll have to fashion more appropriate ends and fabricate some sort of poling pockets to apply to the corners. The doors are missing.

While it is not a problem to make new doors, I think that the depth of the cab and hence width of the doors might be slightly compressed. This will make the doors rather narrow so the motormen operating this car will have to be placed on a strict diet. There is, however, a controller stand in each cab so that space is not devoid of detail. I’m not entirely sure if I can add more controller details in there or not; we’ll see how that works out as things progress…

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This article was posted on: March 2, 2023