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Chuck

1:32 Metra Trains

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Metra...Where to start? Basically Metra is the large commuter railroad in and around the greater Chicagoland area. The history is long as there is no real start date. I will say that the idea for a regional commuter railroad was formed when the railroads dropped passenger service and Chicago scrambled to keep the commuter trains rolling.

 

Here's the Metra history with each railroad it either runs on or bought.

 

https://metrarail.com/about-metra/our-history

 

For me Metra is the Milwaukee Road West line that terminates in Elgin, IL...Or that's the line I'm familiar with.

 

Metra at one time owned somewhere near 200 EMD F40PH's in various versions. Some were bought new, some came from Amtrak and some from various rr's across North America. Infact The F40PH is pushing 50 years old and Metra has been rebuilding them. 

 

The F40PH is literally a "hot rod" 4 axle locomotive that started life as the 3,000hp GP40.

 

So I'm starting my Metra project with a sole Great Trains F40PH. 

 

Here I stretched the standard F40 by 2-7/8" and made the dynamic brake vents out of styrene. I also made the front ditchlight and marker light housings. Added a 3D printed Pyle Gyrolight housing. Metra really likes the lights! Also used cut down by at least .100" USA Trains SD40-2 roof fans. USA was out of stock with the short fans.

 

Oh I work off scale sized plans when I can find them.

 

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Shot of primer to see where all my mistakes are.

 

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Here's the real ones....

 

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On 8/6/2020 at 10:01 PM, BrianUPheritage said:

Nice build. Just curious, where do you live? I live in Elgin.

 Pingree Grove/ Hampshire :Slightly_Smiling_Face_Emoji(24x24): 

Infact this engine will be lettered #179 City Of Elgin :Thumbs_Up_Hand_Sign_Emoji_large(24x24):

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Here's a pic of the UP City of Denver arriving at Elgin in 1967 and I could have very well been on that train heading to Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Also 2 Milwaukee Road commuter "scoots" parked in the yard.

 

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What's a bit serendipitous is how I came about buying the original F40PH. It was originally listed for sale on this very forum here...

http://www.gscaletrainforum.com/index.php?/topic/1666-for-sale-union-pacific-132-scale-passenger-train-kit/

 

But I won it on eBay from a seller in Washington state.

 

A side note is that Great Trains/ American Standard/ Ralph Brown manufactured these trains about 12 - 15 miles away from me in Crystal Lake, IL.

 

So just like Metra I'm keeping with the made in Illinois theme as EMD La Grange made the originals. St Louis Car Co. made the original Bi-Level commuter cars for the C&NW back in the mid 50's. Seems I seen somewhere that St Louis Car was bought by General Steel Castings in Granite City, IL.  Then Pullman made them in Pullman, IL. and Budd also made them. The Santa Fe after seeing the original C&NW cars approached Budd to make the El Capitan fleet. 

 

Here's a C&NW commuter train being pulled by steam on the Crystal Lake Line. When it come to Chicago area pre-Metra and Metra era just about anything goes far as commuter trains.

 

IMG-20200703-WA0013.jpg.b8cefccff5ae1ed1ba66ae4f5ad2dfed.jpg

 

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Thanks for the pictures, its neat seeing that. Keep posting on your build. Have you seen this one yet? I personally have not but would like to.

Brian

 

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Hey Brian thanks for posting that! But ugh...I'm not a fan of those Winnebago F40 rebuilds...:Smirk_Face_Emoji_large(24x24):

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So I think the shell is ready for paint as I made the front air intake and rear radiator grills 3D of sorts. i couldn't stand the cast in versions.

 

I also made sand hatch fillers on nose, opened up the exhaust port and added a cut down USA SD70 grill. Made a vent for engine room, added more lagging across roof with rivets, added USA SD70 lifting lugs on rear fan hatch, added MTH F unit lifting eyes on roof top, added MTH F unit windshield wipers, filled in all oversized handrail/ grabrail holes with styrene rod, redrilled and made new grabs etc. out of .031/ 1/32 brass rod. I've contacted a few modeler supply houses about having them make 2 of the Coleman style cab roof mount AC units with not much luck. That's okay as I can always add those later. 

 

I also need to make a cab interior..

 

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Also modified a set of MTH F Unit truck frames from the dual clasp brakes to single. Need to add shocks and paint.

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And here's a 85' Bi-Level Gallery coach car kit made by The GAL Line (Great American Locomotion) in 1:32 scale. These cars aren't listed on their website but a deceased friend of mine Ray Shoop (The_Other_Ray) commissioned Gal to build the prototype.

 

Laser cut out of 2mm styrene car will be like 32" long. I'll use MTH passenger car trucks under it. 

 

I only have one of these kits as wanted to see what I'm getting myself into before I order more. :Slightly_Smiling_Face_Emoji(24x24):

 

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The _other _Ray ..I have his USA Hudson..I miss the bugger ..

He would of loved the great work you doing ..

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On 9/11/2020 at 3:54 AM, Sean said:

The _other _Ray ..I have his USA Hudson..I miss the bugger ..

He would of loved the great work you doing ..

Yes Shawn, I miss him too...:(

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On 9/11/2020 at 8:21 AM, rbrown7713 said:

Excellent work Chuck. Bob.

Thanks Bob!

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Got a little paint shot in the last few days as weather has been nice.

Still have to paint the roof orange, side window frames and headlight housing in nose silver...sand hatch covers on nose blue...and lots of touchup with a small brush.

 

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Roof painted...

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I was really surprised that I didn't get any "blowout" with the orange paint in the grill area as the Tamiya masking tape wasn't sticking very well to the brass screens on the rear. Infact not really any blowout or bleed thru at all which is a real testament to Tru-Color paint as it sprays like a lacquer. I usually have to mix in some retarder so I can stay ahead of the dry film while spraying.

 

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Ralph Brown/ Great Trains/ American Standard did make a few of the correct length F40PH but they're very rare...I've only seen maybe 1 or 2 for sale...

 

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Started decaling :Slightly_Smiling_Face_Emoji(24x24):

 

This is the first time I've ever used Circus City decals and I love them! I believe that they're made using a laser printer with a white toner cartridge but whatever as these things are great! No muss no fuss to use. No decal film edge curling, silvering , tearing etc. The big Metra decal on the side is over 6" long and in this pic it's settling into crevices and over rivets on it's own with no prodding or poking needed. Later I'll brush on some Walthers Solvaset to help it along.

 

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Here's the picture of real one I'm using for a decal placement "guide"...

 

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Hood side...

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Last Saturday the weather gave me about a 1 hour window to spray some clearcoat as sun poked out of the clouds and that was enough to drive the humidity down to sprayable conditions. Since Saturday it's been cloudy, rainy with temps in the low 60's...and 50's.

 

Nice thing about the Circus City Decals is they can be clear coated with about anything. Alps decals are really picky as they like to wrinkle with say a lacquer type of paint. So I went back to using Dupli-Color Matte Clear that I buy in the quart can. I used to order it from Summit Racing but now I see it's available at my local O'Reilly's Auto Parts for the same price or less of say $29 per quart. I reduce it say around 40% with either Acetone or Lacquer thinner. Don't let the Lacquer labelling fool you as it's not the old nitrocellulose lacquer but some kinda new synthetic stuff as the colored paint of theirs will shine when dry.

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Well think I'm done with body shell for now as clearcoated then roof fans, grabs, windows and wipers installed.

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Finished up the truck frames by priming, painting black, clearcoating then adding USA Trains SD70 shocks. Expensive little buggers at like $6 each but way easier than trying to make them.

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Now back to work on chassis as had to "lower" it on the trucks...or another way to put it is "raise" the bolsters.

Air tanks are from a USA Trains GP9 that have been shortened. I need to make 2 air driers that go between the air tanks and fuel tank then add some piping. Also think I'll make the lifting lugs that go on each corner. Also need to blank/ cover the top 2 rear steps as Metra has then unusable...probably because they remove the rear handrails that go across the rear deck.

 

Oh also need to install the fuel fillers, prime, paint both blue & black, decal and clear. And install front & rear pilots the Kadee couplers.

 

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Finally starting to see the end of this project. Put it back together to test fit chassis and make sure no interference anywhere before I paint it. 

 

I was starting to freak out a week or so ago as the red orange roof sprayed the right color but then after a few days it turned red. Was thinking that's gonna be a real bitch to re-paint but then after clear coating it turned back to the correct color...go figure??

 

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Here's some Metra action taken from the Canal Street crossing. Upper and lower tracks are very busy during rush hour. This would be on Chicago Union Stations North End. South side tracks would be just as busy and most of those videos are shot from the Roosevelt Road bridge. Should mention that the Ogilvie Center Station that replaced the C&NW LaSalle Street Station is also Metra and very busy...just a few blocks away. 

 

The Amtrak train is a Chicago to Milwaukee Hiawatha commuter scoot with w F40PH cabbage unit on trailing end that is used for cab controls and baggage...no power. In the steam days the famed Milwaukee Road Atlantics and Hudsons pulled those trains and speed limits was 100+ mph.

 

 

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