Welcome!   Use a browser to view the website's pages at right

Friday, April 26, 2024

Something Different for Alleghany Scrap

You've probably seen or heard me talk about Alleghany Scrap in St. Amour, and how there are retired locomotives towed in and set out for it by road trains.  Seldom modeled, but a regular occurrence in the Transition Era. **

In the back of my mind I'd also planned on sending freight cars to their demise as part of the process.  I sprang the first one on unsuspecting operators last week, and was surprised to receive compliments, rather than abuse for it being silly as I'd expected.  So I thought I'd share it here.

I wanted a car badly-enough compromised that it needed to be scrapped, but not to a cartoon-violence degree where it would need to be cut up on the spot.  It seemed the best way to approximate this would be with a metal car, rather than melting a plastic car into a glob.  So a while back I picked up a couple derelict remnants from the good ol' days on Ebay for cheap-ish, to eventually use for such a purpose.

All-steel cars actually have a fair amount of structure in the box, ends, and frame.  They crumple by degrees, rather than just being crushed like a beer can.  So I braced the car in the carpenter's vise a few panels back from each end, with some cradles cut from scrap wood to preserve the essential "house" structure - and began delicately beating the crap out of it, trying to mimic the damage one might expect in an accordion-style derailment.  

As I did so, the 60-year-old paint flaked merrily off at the deflection points, leaving acres of gleaming metal, sparkling in its deformity.  So I applied rust in those areas - and other areas where the structure had given way, such as the roof popping off the sides at the far end.  It's probably a little extreme, but I figure it must have rained at least once between the derailment and the salvage op, so a little orange and yellow rust on the newly exposed areas could be expected.  Beats repainting it!  

The flat car was a gift from my friend Bill Doll (Forest Park Southern), dressed up nicely with sprung metal trucks and a beautiful wood deck.  I kind of hated to cover most of that deck, but the car was handy, and not in service yet - so it's now the official conveyance of wrecks.  Not to imply any issues with the FPS's freight-handling ability or anything... 

The destroyed boxcar awaits its turn with the torches at Alleghany Scrap in St. Amour. 

During ops, I generally like to have the scrap item set out at St. Amour by a westbound overhead freight.  That gives the road crewman something to do, and, it allows the white-lined equipment to make almost a full lap of the layout before being dropped off.  Even with an old cast-boilered steam engine, I'm happy to add a helper to shove its fat ass up the westbound grade, rather than just have an eastbound drop it off immediately after departing staging.  

But, that scheme requires said equipment to actually make it around the layout.  

Disaster looms in Claymoor, W. Va., as the scrap load approaches the Cassandra Rd. bridge.

See, the SNR, in addition to its boxcar slogan "The James River Route", is known variously as 

  • "The Shoehorn Route" and 
  • "The Path of Least Clearance".    
Or, as my friend Darren Williamson (IHB) puts it, 

While not technically even exceeding Plate B, the damaged car with those jaunty crumples snagged everything on the first test run - trees, tunnel portals, fences, buildings, standpipes, bridges...  Even turning it around only solved a couple of problems - and created more.  God help me I should ever run a high-wide movement.  

That crumpled roofwalk shoved the highway bridge fully clear of its footings
and collapsed it into the cut, 
causing the further destruction of a beautiful aquamarine 1950 Buick Super,
and the profound irritation of its occupants. 

So in service, the car will have to be dropped off by an eastbound freight only - running about 20' out of Gallipolis staging - and with the big crease facing west only, so the St. Amour crewman can actually fit it into the cut tracks at Alleghany.  Period.  Ah well - it's been fun.  Guess that's why it needed its own post, so somebody could see it!

Thanks as always for reading, and let me know what you think.  Interesting, or silly?  (No need to comment on restricting Plate B movements however, thank you very much!)  


** More info/photos re: Alleghany Scrap, Inc.: