2011 Arizona and Pacific RR Current Projects

Arizona & Pacific RR Projects 2011

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          This page of the website follows projects taking place at the Arizona and Pacific Railroad and gives visitors a chance to see the progress that was made in 2011.



          The house was reroofed this month and a 20 foot section of the rear wall was replaced due to termites – those projects coupled with the holidays and I ran a little short on railroad time this month… but we still got a few things done.

New Roof

The superintendent's house got new shingles this month

          The Freestone Railroad sign from the original railroad at that location 20+ years ago has been mounted in the engine house near our vintage sign from the Old Tucson Railroad.

Freestone RR Sign

Vintage Freestone RR sign on display

          We mounted an Ottaway 12 inch gauge steam engine builder’s plate on our display of large scale railroad builders plates in the engine house

Ottaway Builder's Plate

Ottaway 12" builder's plate

          I purchased the wood for the ceiling in the engine house. We are going to stain and seal the wood before it gets installed, so it won’t actually start going up in the engine house until late January in the boxes to the clerestory area and the balance in February and March.

          The speeders both received tune-ups and were out running a little bit.

          I hosted our great friends Susie, Russ and Zoe Robinson of Trinity Center, CA mid-month and a group of local friends the day after Christmas for rides and everybody had fun.

The Robinsons

The Robinsons visited the A&P RR this month

          I didn’t make much progress on the G-16 this month. I got a couple of hoses installed, found the paint for the headers, acquired two grab bars for the nose and the two light shields for the cockpit and made some spacers for under the vacuum throttle canister.

G-16 Cockpit Light Sockets

Light sockets for the G-16 cockpit

G-16 Grab Bars

Grab bars for the G-16

          Some progress was made on the S-16.

          The welding and filling projects continue. I removed and modified the uncoupling lever on the pilot. An inch was taken out of each end to keep the correct proportion and the welding joints were calculated so each is inside the bracket pipe so they are not visible. It still needs primed and painted.

Bumble Bee Pilot

Modified Bumble Bee S-16 pilot and uncoupler

          The three brass bands were installed as was the sand dome.

Bumble Bee Sand Dome

One of 3 brass bands and the sand dome on the Bumble Bee S-16

          I started to assemble the false drive wheel assembly. There are literally hundreds of components in these false drive wheel assemblies. These components have come from three different trains, my shop, machine shops in three other cities and bearing and parts houses all over the country. All are being assembled here as a unit for the first time which has created a few fit challenges, but all are being overcome.

False Drive Wheels

The false drive wheel assembly on the Bumble Bee

          The new bearings, races and seals in the wheels are in place and the wheels are mounted. The chains are new and made to length and the chain tensioners are adjusted and secured. The frame arms are fabricated and in place. The two pivot arms and springs are in place. The drive rods are in place, but will still be removed to paint the inset panel. I still have several more components to add and paint, but the false drive wheel assembly is under the Bumble Bee and mounted to the frame. I should have it completed next month. I think it will help capture the look that we want for this engine.

          The builder’s plate replicas and the no. 37 plates are installed.

          Last summer we had one of the hottest summers on record here. On December 30, we had quite the opposite. It was something I had never seen here in the middle of town – it snowed for over an hour on the A & P Railroad. The ground was much too warm for it to stick, but it looked very cool wafting down. The mercury dropped to 20 degrees later that night and was still only 22 degrees at 8:00 in the morning. I know for most of you folks in the Midwest 22 degrees is no big deal, but I still have my T shirt from a few years ago when it reached 122 degrees here in June. It doesn’t matter where you live, a 100 degree spread in the temperature is going to make you feel a little uncomfortable. We are better equipped out here for the hotter weather.

22 degrees at the A&P RR

It's just 22 degrees at the A&P Railroad

118 in the Shade

Remember this?

Cold Weather at the A&P RR

The no longer brown shingles on the engine house suggest it's cold this morning...

          Happy New Year and Safe Railroading Everybody!



          The wood for the engine house ceiling was delivered to my friend’s wood shop this month. We started getting everything squared, sanded, beveled, stained and sealed. Some installation will begin in February around the openings to the clerestory area. It will take several weeks to get this project finished as we have limited room and can only finish about thirty boards at a time. We’ll try to get the boards finished at night each week and then get them installed on the weekends.

Ceiling Lumber

Lumber for the engine house ceiling

          Significant progress was made on the Bumble Bee this month. The Wisconsin engine has been installed. The fluid clutch is in place and the coupler halves are in place between the fluid clutch and transmission. It took a while to get everything shimmed and aligned just right, but it all is in place.

Installing the Engine

Preparing to install the Wisconsin engine in the Bumble Bee S-16

Installing the Engine

The Bumble Bee S-16 awaits the installation of the Wisconsin engine


The fluid clutch has been installed

          The drive lines are rebuilt and mounted. It is a bit of a pain at the time of installation, but I like to align the drive lines so that all four zerk fittings are in a line. It allows you to have access to all four later from the same side and without having to move the engine back and forth to rotate the drive shafts.

Drive Lines

One of two Bumble Bee S-16 drive lines

          The false drive wheel assembly is completed, adjusted, lubricated and now part of the Bumble Bee. That little assembly alone was an unbelievable amount of work with all the parts that had to be located, ordered or fabricated, but I think it really adds to the look.

False Drive Wheels

Completed false drive wheel assembly

          The rebuilt York air compressor is mounted and sports a brand new clutch, hoses and belt. We fabricated all the mounting hardware. The high pressure side creates air pressure for the whistle and the low pressure side creates vacuum for the brake system.


Compressor installation is complete

          We fabricated two brackets and installed the alternator. The one bracket needs shortened, cleaned and repainted, that will happen next month.


The alternator has been installed

          The battery tray had been sloppily welded into the wrong location for our application by a previous owner. I cut it out, cleaned it up and have it remounted nestled in between the compressor and alternator.


The compressor, alternator and battery tray have been installed in the Bumble Bee S-16

          I purchased a new battery that I will install in the next couple of weeks.

          We fabricated a bracket for and mounted the fuse block.

Fuse Block

The fuse block has been mounted

          We fabricated the balance of the missing whistle parts and completed installation of the whistle assembly.


Bumble Bee S-16 whistle

          Extensive metal and bondo work continues on the cab which was very rough.


Body work continues on the Bumble Bee S-16 cab

          The Bumble Bee is slowly coming together and the pile of parts in the shop is getting smaller… I am pleased on both counts!

          For the second month in a row, the G-16 didn’t get much attention, but a couple of things were accomplished. We removed the headers and painted them with high temperature header paint and got them reinstalled without nicking the paint up too badly.

Painted Headers

Freshly painted G-16 headers

          The number boards are now complete in their housings and will be mounted next month.

Number Boards

G-16 Number Boards

          We removed the old patio cover behind the superintendent’s house and removed the entire patio floor. We added two inches of elevation and then relaid all the bricks. We had a great deal of help and it was still three good days work… Sometime later this year or next, it will get a greatly expanded patio cover. You can never have enough shade here in the summer!


Lodi inspected the previously leveled sand for the new brick patio


New brick patio floor

          Happy and Safe Railroading Everybody!


          Dave was on a business trip in Southeast Asia last week and wrote a spotlight article on a miniature train he stumbled across.

Click here to see the spotlight article



          I shared with you last month that I had purchased the tongue and groove wood for the ceiling in the engine house and that it had been delivered to my friend’s wood shop. Several evenings each week this month we were either squaring and sanding or sealing and staining wood. We used time on the weekends to get whatever wood we had finished that week installed. The wood isn’t perfectly milled or straight or flat. Multiple wedges and clamps are being used to keep everything straight and true. Yes, it is going rather slowly and is a royal pain in the rear. It looks pretty good though which keeps me encouraged and we keep methodically working on it.

          The ceiling is almost halfway completed if you don’t count the clerestory areas. It is complete to the north bank of overhead lights. I moved that bank of lights 5 inches to the north of its final location when we started installing the T & G. After we reached the eyehooks that support the lights, I installed additional eyehooks in the T & G in the final position of the lights. I drilled a hole in the T & G for the flex cable wiring, disconnected the wiring and moved everything back the 5 inches into its final position. It was a great deal more work than that sounds. I am hoping we have the whole project finished sometime in May (including the clerestory areas) as by June 1 it will start getting pretty hot out here.

Ceiling Lights

The ceiling work in the engine house is progressing nicely

          Right now the engine house looks like a construction zone with the portable scaffolding, ladders everywhere and tools and lumber scattered around. The sawdust on the floor brings back a few memories of the college days, but I will be very glad when we’re finished and everything can be dusted, scrubbed and mopped and things put back where they go.


Ceiling construction work is taking place in the engine house

Ceiling Lights

The clerestory openings were framed first

Ceiling Lights

The first tongue and groove wood was installed between the clerestory openings

Ceiling Lights

The wooden ceiling now surrounds the clerestory openings

Ceiling Lights

The ceiling installation progresses towards the light fixtures

Ceiling Lights

Installation continues on the engine house's tongue and groove wooden ceiling

          We ran additional conduit and wiring for the lighting around the water tank and for interior and exterior lighting at the original engine house. The interior lighting and fixtures will go up in the future.

          We spent much of the non-ceiling time this month designing and laying out hood hinges and braces for the G-16. Originally the hood could be lifted from either side and pivoted open on hood brackets or could be lifted off entirely. It worked well, but was really tough on the paint. Besides, where is the challenge in that… We have designed and built some very unique hinges and cross bracing that allows the hood to hinge on the vacuum tank bulkhead and open toward the front. We originally got the idea to hinge the hood from our friends Bob Smith and Marty Melish at the Panella Pacific Railroad who have done some amazing work on their fleet of G-16s. Their hinges are concealed and we couldn’t get a look at them so we designed our own from scratch. We had the opportunity to make several sets in our effort to get them just right. We believe we finally have it now and will see if we can get them installed next weekend.

          We also tracked down the fittings and hoses for a couple more of the fuel lines on the G-16 and custom built the battery tie down as the commercial stuff just wouldn’t work for our application.

          The ”Bumble Bee” S-16 also got some attention during the month. We drilled and threaded the bottom of the flag holders which are now held in place by a bolt from beneath.

          We modified the brackets on the air cleaner and have moved it up and toward the center to avoid conflicts with the alternator and the transmission shifter.

          We also started cutting and shaping the sheet metal that will comprise the coal bin and actually store coal in the middle of the tender. Two of the pieces are finished and the third one is still being massaged just a bit to fit a little better. We don’t have much work left to finish it; it is just a matter of finding the time with all of our other projects…


Sheet metal being fitted for the back of the tender's coal bin


More sheet metal for the tender's coal bin

          Extensive metal and bondo work continues on the cab – if that sounds like a recurring theme month after month you are getting a pretty good idea at just how rough it was…

          We got the No. 37 plates installed on the sides of the headlight. The tender backup light will get similar plates next month.


Backup light before number plates are added


No. 37 plates have been installed on the headlight

          National Railroad Day is Saturday May 7; look for activities near you.

          Happy and Safe Railroading Everybody!



          It has been two months since the last update of our projects blog and for that I apologize. With the requirements of the real job, getting my IRS tax paperwork finished and about a dozen projects getting attention here I just didn’t get one written last month. Hopefully, this one will be worth the wait as we did manage to get a few things done in the past 60 days.


          We have been working on our hood hinges for several weeks. We finally settled on a design inspired by a Ford rumble seat hinge. We made several versions and finally got a version we were happy with both functionally and aesthetically. We got the hood hinges and mounting brackets installed and got the hood mounted. It looks good and works great. We are working on two support rods and rod pockets (one on each side) that we hope to have in place in the next couple of weeks. The hood will then get removed, bead blasted, primed and reinstalled

G-16 Hood Hinges

G-16 Hood Hinges - motor side

G-16 Hood Hinges

G-16 Hood Hinges - cab side

          We made a hose and tracked down corresponding fittings for our vacuum pump and got them in place. We also acquired several more fittings for our fuel lines and got them installed.

          We welded three replacement frame ribs in place that were missing from the front and mid bulkhead. They look like they have been there since 1948.

G-16 Ribs

G-16 Frame Rib

          We mounted the front number boards and ran the wiring to each.

          Dave built custom battery cables and installed them. They look trick as they are exactly the right length for the G-16.

G-16 Battery Cables and Tie Down

G-16 Battery Cables and Tie Down

          We are only a few weeks away from turning the engine over and trying to get her started for the first time in perhaps thirty years. In preparation for that day, the transmission and fluid clutch were filled with fluids.

S-16, Bumblebee #37

          We got the choke cable and throttle cable installed. We had to build a custom mounting bracket for the throttle cable and massage the cable into place. It looks good and slides freely.

Bumble Bee S-16 Throttle Cable

Bumblebee S-16 throttle cable

          We purchased a starter solenoid as the one for this starter was missing. We got it mounted and wired.

          Dave also built custom battery cables for the Bumblebee and got them installed. We made a battery tie-down mechanism. The cables look great.

Bumblebee S-16 Battery Cables and Tie Down

Bumblebee S-16 battery cables and tie down

          The exhaust system was a royal pain in the rear. Reducers, couplers, unions, and numerous angled cuts and welds were required to get that system finalized. It looks great, but if I had made one more trip to Lowe’s buying additional 1 ¼ inch pipe nipples they may have named a checkout line after me… It wasn’t pretty getting all the angles figured out and I had a pile of pieces with the wrong angle cut on them. The final product looks like I knew what I was doing

Bumblebee S-16 Exhaust System>
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Bumblebee S-16 exhaust system

Bumblebee S-16 Exhaust System>
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New exhaust system for the S-16 Bumblebee

Bumblebee S-16 Exhaust System>
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Bumblebee S-16 exhaust components

          We finished the coal bin assembly. The filler neck extension is in place as are the three pieces of sheet metal that comprise the bin. It will get painted satin black and will eventually have several layers of real coal pilled in the bin.

Bumblebee S-16 Filler Nozzle>
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Coal bin assembly and gas tank filler neck extension

          I added a sheet metal panel to the rear of the tender seat. It will give it more of a finished look.

Bumblebee S-16 Tender Panel>
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A sheet metal panel was added to the tender behind the seat

          The rear inner corners of the tender were reworked. Rough brackets were cut out and “cleaner” bracketry was designed and installed.

          The piston style compressor is an open system and left uncontrolled, compressor oil makes its way from the compressor to the whistle and makes quite a mess when the whistle is blown. On our S-16s, we run a filter and return line back to the fill port on the compressor that returns the oil to the compressor before it reaches the whistle. We installed the various components of this assembly this month.

          We were missing the top cap to the air cleaner; I was lucky enough to find a vintage one on Ebay.

          We are also getting close to starting No. 37 and having her run under her own power for the first time in at least twenty years. We are only a few weeks away.

Arizona and Pacific Railroad No. 2

          I have been talking for several months about fabricating a new sheet metal housing for the eight-battery battery tray. Several changes from our original mock-up include a recessed mount for the battery charger cable, repositioning of the parking brake shaft, a spring closed access door for the cable head to the battery charger cable and a new brass handle and a name plate. It would be embarrassing for me to share how many hours we have in this “little” project…

S-16 Battery Housing

New battery housing and brake handle

          We also welded closed the original bell cord hole and moved it farther to the outside of the bulkhead so that the bell cord now misses the sand dome. This bell cord hole was about an inch closer to the center of the bulkhead than any others I have seen and the bell cord rubbed the paint off the side of the sand dome.

S-16 Bell Cord

Old and new bell cord hole locations

Enginehouse Ceiling

          The Tongue and Grove ceiling and trim are now basically complete on the main ceiling level and three of the four openings to the clerestory windows are also complete. Some caulking and filling of nail holes remains to be completed both on the lower level and upstairs. The exhaust fan covers also remain to be fabricated and installed. The attic area also has some work remaining, but it is starting to get hot up there. It may not get finished until this Fall; we’ll see. I am looking forward to getting the trains and displays dusted, scrubbed and polished and getting the floor swept and mopped and getting everything back where it goes…

Engine House Ceiling

Wood work around the clerestory windows

Engine House Ceiling

The edge trim has been installed on the engine house ceiling

Engine House Ceiling Project

Sealed wood drying prior to installation in the clerestory window area


          We found an unusual variation of a Miniature Train and Railroad Company torque wrench that we hadn’t seen previously; we proudly added it to our collection and placed it on display in the engine house.

Miniature Train and RR Co. Torque Wrench

New Miniature Train and Railroad Company torque wrench added to display


          I just didn’t have enough other projects going on right now so I decided to start on the kitchen remodel that I have been putting off for 19 years… Yes, I must be crazy! The cabinets, countertops, overhead lights, ceiling, appliances, plumbing and flooring were all removed and will be replaced. The kitchen is being reconfigured and a great deal of sheetrock work as well as relocation of outlets is taking place. The dirtiest of the work (sheetrock and insulation) is complete, but the project will take several weeks as it has a long way to go and I would rather work on trains…


Two rabbits make an unannounced visit to the Arizona and Pacific Railroad


Two ducks swim in the irrigation beneath trestle #5

Easter Flowers>
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Easter time brings cactus flowers to the Arizona desert

Easter Flowers>
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Arizona cactus bloom in time for Easter

          National Railroad Day is May 7; please support a railroad group or organization in your local community.

          Happy and Safe Railroading Everybody!



          We spent a great deal of time this month on construction projects. We sank four 4 x 4 posts in preparation of adding handrails to the existing steps leading from the swimming pool patio down to the sidewalk that leads to the engine house. We added three sets of block steps from the lower level of the yard up to the railroad grade at various locations along the right of way.


Posts for the addition of handrails


Block steps were added several places throughout the yard

          We also built two sets of steps from the lower level to the working level of trestle no. 5. These steps will also have handrails when completed.


New block steps lead up to trestle #5 from both sides

          We completed the initial construction phase for the realignment of trestle no. 4, our speeder trestle. A great deal of additional work will need completed on that project this fall.

Speeder Trestle

Block work for the future realignment of the speeder trestle

          We buried 200 feet of ¾ inch PVC and added a manual valve that allowed me to install a hose bib in a metal post behind the engine house near trestle no. 1. I can use the hose on the engine house rear patio as well as watering the grapes and fruit trees without dragging 200 feet of garden hose across the back yard. I added a 32 inch square brick pad to lay the coiled garden house on and also added two additional posts to extend our grape vines in the future.

Hose Bib

New hose bib under construction

Hose Bib

Completed hose bib and pad

          We also added some underground rabbit habitat for our frequent visitors on the A & P.

          We completed constructing the shelves for the clerestory area of the engine house, but have not crawled up there to install them yet.

          We had several of our original S-16 and G-16 photographs reproduced and dry mounted for our engine house displays.

G-16 Display

G-16 display

S-16 Display

S-16 display

          We uncrated one of our two original Miniature Train Company switch stands and will be creating a platform on which to display it soon.

MTC Switch Stand

MTC switch stand

          We acquired a Skat Blast Model 950 bead blasting cabinet this month for use in the shop. We’ll now be able to beadblast a high percentage of our projects here without having to take them to an outside vendor

Skat Blast

Newly acquired bead blast cabinet

          Dave completed some additional wiring on both the G-16 and S-16 No. 37.

          We remounted the boiler on No. 37 along with the headlight, pilot braces, cylinder heads, oilers, bell cord and step plates. We also completed the last section of the exhaust that could not be assembled until the boiler was back in place.


Work continues on the Bumblebee S-16


Bumblebee S-16 Oilers

          Work continued on the sheet metal cab and it is really starting to take shape and is getting close to completion.

          Stanchion work continues on A & P No. 2, but is nearing completion.

          The floor in the A & P Superintendent’s kitchen is finally complete. The base and door casings are in place and just need some touch up paint. I would much rather play with trains…

          I visited the F & MV where Malcolm, Anna and I hosted some neighbors and had no. 1 out of the engine house and around the right of way numerous times. What a great high desert layout!

          I was in Las Vegas early this month on business. As any of you who visit this site frequently know, I was very interested in the construction of the bypass bridge at Hoover Dam. I tracked the progress of the construction in photographs over the past three years. It is now complete and a separate parking area has been constructed for people to park and walk out on a pedestrian walkway on the dam side of the bridge. I intended to walk all the way across the bridge and take photographs as I went… It was extremely windy the afternoon I was there; I saw three ball hats go over the edge. Further the bridge flexes and moves in the wind and moves considerably when large semis rumble across it. This photo is as far as I got across the bridge (not quite ½ way) before I got the heck off of there… I think I’ll leave the heights to someone else and stay on terra firma.

Hoover Dam

Hoover Dam photographed from the new bypass bridge

          Happy and Safe Railroading Everybody!



          We installed the shelves in the clerestory area of the engine house. We have plenty of items to store up there in the weeks ahead.

          We added a lower shelf below the TV shelf in the corner of the engine house. At some point there will be a flat screen HD TV up in that corner and the HD cable box and AM/FM receiver will be on the lower shelf.

TV Shelf

Recently Added Lower Entertainment Shelf

          We acquired a locomotive bell from the Grand Trunk Railroad and gave much thought as to how to display the bell. I designed a pedestal for on the rear patio near our A & P Jct. sign and my friend Ruben and I spent part of two days pouring the footer and laying brick in its construction. It came out just like I had hoped. The bell looks great and everyone can enjoy the sound of an old locomotive bell when they visit.

Locomotive Bell

Grand Trunk Railroad Locomotive Bell

          We also acquired a collection of eight switch stands this month. The switch stands are full-size and from several different railroads throughout the Southwest. They are each a different style and labeled for the railroad on which they were used. They make an interesting and informative display and are near the picnic tables.

Switch Stands

Switch Stand Collection on Display

Switch Stand

Ground Throw Switch Stand

Switch Stand

Part of the New Switch Stand Collection

          The last of the hoses and fittings that were needed were obtained and installed on G-16 No. 582.

          We fabricated the air filter to carburetor tube for No. 582 and along with its two hoses got it mounted. We also fabricated the shifting rod and got it mounted.

G-16 Hoses

Carburetor intake hoses and tubing for the G-16

G-16 Shifting Rod>
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G-16 Transmission Shifting Rod

          Dave continues to complete a little more of the wiring on both No. 37 and No. 582 each week. The wiring is probably 90% complete on each.

G-16 Dash Wiring

Work Continues on the G-16 Dash Wiring

S-16 Bumblebee Dash Wiring

S-16 Bumblebee Dash Wiring

          We created a custom shelf for one of our two original Miniature Train Company switch stands. It will be on display with the crossing and block signals in the rear of the engine house as soon as I find time to get it mounted.

          Stanchion work continues on A & P No. 2, but is nearing completion.

          We are close to remounting the cab on No. 37. It still needs a bit more finish work, but that will take place later this month.

          We have started to paint a number of the individual items on No. 37 like the sand dome, bell cradle, cylinder heads etc. and she will have a very different look when we get her back together in the next few weeks.

          It’s been 115 to 118 degrees every day here the last ten days or so, it’s tough to get a great deal done even for us locals as the heat steals much of our energy…

          Happy 4th of July and Safe Railroading Everybody!



Engine House and Displays

          We mounted the custom shelf for our right hand MTC switch stand a couple of weeks ago. I liked it so much we made one for our left hand MTC switch stand and mounted it on the wall as well. The one on the left is a right hand switch stand and the one on the right is a left hand switch stand. I know that seems kind of strange to mount them that way, but they displayed best that way. There will be a plate with information screwed to the front of the display.

MTC Switch Stands

MTC switchstands on display in the enginehouse

          We made a custom mount for our MTC track gauge out of Alder and got it mounted. The mount for the handle is made out of flat plate and pins.

MTC Track Gauge

MTC track gauge display

MTC Display Wall

Miniature Train Company display wall in the A&P enginehouse

Allan Herschell S-16, Flagstaff and Middle Verde No. 37

          I had the cab of No. 37 on and just wasn’t happy with it. We cut off most of the panels and refit and remounted all of it. It is much straighter, fits better and is much easier to tilt open and tilt closed.

          We made a front number board for No. 37 this month and got it mounted, but I’m not happy with it. I calculated the scale incorrectly; it is too large. The one on the original Bumble Bee was large with respect to the front of the boiler, but this is just too much. I will be making another one slightly smaller.

Bumblebee S-16

Front number board on the bumble bee S-16

          We started playing with colors in preparation for the Bumble Bee getting painted in the months ahead. Some components are now yellow and various shade of charcoal gray and black are starting to appear on different components.

Bumblebee S-16

Bumble bee S-16 with a little color

          After mounting the cab, I wasn’t happy with the clearance for the operator’s hand when using the transmission shifter lever. If your hand wasn’t placed just right, you could pinch your small finger on the inner corner of the cab. We had to rework the lever mount and reverse the hand hold portion of the lever to fix the problem. I’m not sure any but the diehards would ever be able to notice the change from the original assembly, but it was just one of those things that was unexpected and required a great deal of time to work through and resolve.

Bumblebee S-16 transmission shifter>
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Bumble bee S-16 transmission shifter lever

          Progress on the tender continues. The tender is mechanically complete, but we continue to work on the sheet metal and improving welding joints. We still have a way to go before final painting.

Bumblebee S-16 Tender

Body work continues on the bumble bee S-16 tender

Miniature Train Co. G-16, No. 582

          Dave got the tachometer and speedometer mounted in G16 No. 582. The dash is complete except for the choke cable.

G-16 Instrument Panel

G-16 instrument panel starting to take shape

          August will be a big month for both No. 37 and No. 582 as we plan to start the Wisconsin engines and run several systems and diagnostic checks on both. Depending on what we find, they may run a little on the mainline. It has been at least twenty-five years since No. 37 ran under its own power and I suspect much longer than that for No. 582.

Allan Herschell S-16, Arizona & Pacific No. 2

          We worked on two of the staunchions on No. 2 which have never been quite right and are very close to having that problem resolved.

Construction Projects

          We are still working on the step and handrail projects we started a couple of months ago. The handrails have been welded in place, the welds have been ground smooth and they have been primed. The steps over trestle No. 5 will have wood planking that goes over the trestle itself, and that will be an August or September project. There will also be another hose bib installed near trestle No. 5 sometime this Fall.

New Handrail

Handrails for the new steps over trestle five

New Handrails

We also added handrails for the steps leading to the enginehouse

          I tracked down the correct post caps and they are now tacked on the posts near trestle No. 1.   I also laid sod in that area as I had dirt and mud everywhere from all the projects in that confined space and got tired of the dogs dragging the mud inside… The sod has filled in pretty well over the last three weeks and only a few bald spots remain. After I get the new hose bib completed near trestle No. 5, all the posts and handrails will get painted at the same time.

New Hose Bib >
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It was a little bit muddy around the new hose bib and steps

Freshly Installed SOD

Fresh sod around the new hose bib

Bumble Bee S-16

Bumble bee S-16 sits on the transfer table in front of the A&P enginehouse

          Happy and Safe Railroading Everybody!



          August was a significant month for both No. 37 and No. 582 as we started the Wisconsin engines and ran several systems and diagnostic checks on both. It had been at least twenty-five years since No. 37 ran under its own power and I suspect much longer than that for No. 582.

Bumble Bee S-16 before

Bumble Bee S-16 in storage awating restoration, May 1996

G-16 before restoration

G-16 582 circa 1997

          I have been working on MTC and Allan Herschell trains for close to twenty years now and we had a pretty good idea what to expect once we got the Wisconsin engines running. Both of the Wisconsin engines had been rebuilt (2002 for one and 2003 for the other) by a friend here in Phoenix that specializes in those engines and is arguably the best at what he does. I was certain they were in great shape right after they were rebuilt, but it was a concern that both engines then sat in storage for roughly nine years without being started.

Morrison Ledford

Morrison Ledford

Allan Herschell S-16, Flagstaff and Middle Verde No. 37

          We had a number of things to get done the week before we were ready to turn over the Wisconsin engine. The new Interstate battery was still wrapped in plastic and needed secured by the tie downs and the battery cables needed secured.

          I placed about a gallon of fuel in the gas tank which is in the tender and found two small leaks. One was a hose and clamp issue on the tender; the other required a bit more work and was a hairline crack in a solder joint under the cab. After all the leaks were fixed, I mixed up ten gallons of gasoline, Stabil and Mystery Oil. Our trains seem to run well with our special mixture which was recommended years ago by the gentleman that rebuilt these and two other Wisconsin engines for us.

Marvel Mystery Oil

Marvel Mystery Oil

          We double and triple checked the wiring and doubled checked all the nuts to make sure everything was tight.

          No. 37 has a Wisconsin VF4 with a mechanical fuel pump and I wasn’t sure how it was going to perform after being dry for so long. My fears were put to rest after the first crank when the fuel bowl filled with gasoline. It only took about three cranks and she was running – a little rough at first until we got the choke, throttle and idle RPMs set, but running. Once she was running we could start checking out the other systems.

          The York compressor was a rebuilt unit that had sat on my parts shelf for more than 15 years. It was supposed to be in great shape – not so much… We were getting about half the vacuum I needed to safely operate the brake system and very little air pressure from the discharge side with which to operate the whistle. I changed out the O rings in the hoses and that helped somewhat with the suction side, but pressure side just wasn’t working properly.

          The following week, I removed the compressor and replaced it with a new one.

New Compressor

New Compressor for the Bumble Bee S-16

          The compressor wasn’t the only issue with the brake side of the system. The brake hand valve was plumbed incorrectly, non-compatible fittings were used on the vacuum applied and vacuum in tank gauges on the instrument panel and we had a massive leak when the brakes were applied and left applied for a few seconds. The first two items were relatively easy to resolve AFTER we figured out what the problem was… The leak in the system after the brakes are applied meant a problem with a hose, line, solder joint or a vacuum canister on the vacuum applied side of the vacuum tank.

          There are sixteen vacuum canisters, dozens of fittings and joints and more than 50 feet of tubing and much of it difficult to access with the train on the track. As a result of the size of the leak, I suspected at least one vacuum canister was malfunctioning. All sixteen vacuum canisters had been rebuilt a few years ago, but the leather cups inside are notorious for taking a “set” if they aren’t used regularly and kept moist with a light layer of oil. I eventually figured out which three were acting up and removed, rebuilt and replaced them.

          On the pressure side of the system, we had some problems too. The pressure check valve was malfunctioning, the valve body for the whistle was leaking, the 75 psi pop off valve was working intermittently, the pressure gauge sender unit was shorted internally and the air pressure gauge wiring was incorrect.

          We had close to 30 hours invested in all the trouble shooting and repairs by the time we had all of the problems resolved. We had run No. 37 back and forth on the straight track in and out of the engine house numerous times during the month as we searched for and resolved the various leaks and issues, but she had not been on the mainline. Last weekend, I declared it was time for her first run on the A & P main.

Bumble Bee S-16 First Run>
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Bumble Bee S-16's first run 8/28/2011

          She is a very smooth running engine and the new exhaust system which is slightly oversized when compared with the original worked great. All appeared great – briefly. The transmission had always been noisy – even when being pushed or just run back and forth. As I went through the first curve it seemed like it was getting noisier – maybe it was my imagination… As it was under a bit of load in the second curve I knew it was getting louder and I didn’t make it to the third curve before I heard a loud pop from inside the tranny and we were dead in the water.

          The tranny was supposed to be in great shape too…

          It is a huge job to pull the tranny - close to twenty man hours. I’ll keep you posted this month as I swap out the transmission and then determine what failed in this one.

          It’s all part of the process in bringing these old girls back to life.

Miniature Train Co. G-16, No. 582

          No. 582 has a Wisconsin VH4 engine with an internal alternator and an electric fuel pump. We started her on the rack in the shop. It only took three or four cranks to get her running. Gosh that Wisconsin sounds good running through those headers!

G-16 Headers

G-16 headers

          We had the usual assortment of issues with her as well. We had a vacuum leak coming out of the vacuum pump, the vacuum transmission shifter was leaking and wasn’t working, I hadn’t placed a vacuum check valve in the intake manifold side and was bleeding vacuum into the intake manifold and both hand valves (brake and throttle) were leaking badly and will need rebuilt. We also had a fuel leak, a sticky carburetor needle valve and a couple of minor wiring issues.

          We resolved the leaks, fixed the wiring, rebuilt the carburetor, and rebuilt the vacuum transmission shifter.

          We sent the brake and throttle hand valves out to CA to be rebuilt and hope to have them back by the end of September. After they return, we will be able to check out the “brakes applied” system for leaks and later see how No. 582 performs on her first lap on the A & P.

          I bead blasted the cowl panel and we made some decisions on the hood rods and where they will be mounted, but it will be another month or so before we get back to the hood rods with everything else that is going on here.

Engine House and Displays

          We fabricated a mounting bracket with a swivel for a large fan mounted above door no. 2 in the front of the engine house. It is still warm air, but the air movement makes a big difference!


Fan mounted above door 2 in the engine house

          We did not get the new display shelves mounted on the MTC wall – maybe next month…

          We did touch up the crossing signal and block displays in the engine house and painted the bolt heads, nuts etc. the appropriate colors.

          We have the original Allan Herschell shipping labels (April 1960) for the two switch stands that we have on display on the MTC wall. This month we purchased and modified acrylic display blocks for the labels. Next month they’ll be mounted below the switch stands.

Shipping Label>
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Original Allan Herschell shipping labels for our switch stands

          I have seen several types of vent covers for our engine house exhaust fans, but I really want something that is low profile, clean and functional. I purchased a few things through the internet and wasn’t pleased with the products when they arrived. So if you can’t find what you want in the store or on the internet, you design and build it yourself. Two of the four are finished and the other two are works in progress. After all four are completed they will be powder coated.

Vent Covers

Custom built vent covers for engine house exhaust fans

Construction Projects

          There will also be another hose bib installed near trestle No. 5 and an additional set of steps near trestle No. 2 sometime this Fall. I have them laid out in my mind and with ground marking paint, but have been way too busy to start on them.

Future Site of New Hose Bib

Future site of new hose bib

Future Site of New Steps

Future site of new steps


          I purchased a new battery for the locomotive rack winch in the garage so that we can get No. 582 easily up and down over the next few weeks as we fine tune her operation.

New Battery for the Rack's Winch

New battery for the locomotive rack's winch

          It was a crazy busy, but productive month of August out here in Peoria. I hope all of you are having a great Summer. To the readers who sent notes this month, thank you. I always appreciate knowing that there really are folks out there that read this stuff and have an interest in what we are doing.

          Happy and Safe Railroading Everybody!



          It was another very busy month out here on the Arizona & Pacific Railroad with most of my free time devoted to railroad related projects.

Construction Projects

          As I shared last month, I had plans in my head for a hose bib near trestle No. 5 and a set of steps near trestle No. 2. The Bermuda grass out here in Arizona typically goes dormant in November so I needed to get the trench dug for the waterline to the hose bib soon to have any chance of the grass growing back in before Winter. Otherwise I would have a dirt area and mud for the dogs to drag in all Winter. We got the trench dug and the waterline is in and the hose bib is fully functional. The cap still needs tacked in place and the post needs painted, but the grass is filling in and I don’t have to drag 200 feet of hose to get water out there.

Hose Bib

New hose bib under construction

Hose Bib

Working hose bib

Hose Bib Trench

Trench for new hose bib plumbing

          We also started on the steps and a sitting/visiting area out there. The steps are complete; the sitting area is about 60% finished. The posts for the handrail are in and I will finish the pillars and handrail in November. The posts and handrail will then get painted and signs added. As part of this project, the loading area platform will be extended by seven feet so it will line up with the new set of steps.

Sitting Area

New sitting area and steps under construction

Sitting Area

Progress continues on the new sitting area

          We also completed the new wooden walkway over trestle No. 5, which was a great deal more work than it appears. The planks are a full 2 inches by 3 ½ inches and are cut down from 4 x 6s. The 12 lb rail is two inches high so a standard 2 x 4 which is only 1 ½ inches high just doesn’t work for the planks. Several pieces of flat bar were welded in place to keep the track gauge correct and the planks were planed, sanded, drilled, sealed and installed.

Trestle walkway

New walkway over trestle #5

          We dug out and removed two trees from the backyard, one for expansion and one that was twenty years old and died over the Summer. I had forgotten how much fun that can be…

Engine House and Displays

          We finally got our three additional corner shelves mounted in the engine house; I will have to find some cool Miniature Train Company or Allan Herschell items to display up there.

New Shelves

New display shelves

          We also added a couple more vintage signs to the engine house. We now have a “ticket window”. Not really, but I thought the idea was clever…

Ticket Window

Ticket window at the A&P RR

          I also added a small intermediate tool box in the engine house that only holds tools that have been made or collected and their exclusive use is on these trains. Those tools used to be scattered throughout several locations and it is nice to have them in one place…

Tool Box

New intermediate tool box in the engine house

Allan Herschell S-16, Flagstaff and Middle Verde No. 37

S-16 Bumble Bee

Flagstaff and Middle Verde #37

          We are still working a few bugs out of number 37, but are close to having her the way she should be. We rebuilt the whistle valve. She went from having a weak hardly audible whistle to one that will knock your hat off if you aren’t expecting it. We also replaced the carburetor seat and needle valve and moved the throttle cable location between the tender and engine closer to the center of the frame to eliminate a problem on the tight curves of the A & P.

          The mechanical fuel pump that I was initially concerned about as it sat unused for so many years, but appeared to work just fine the first two weeks of operation – failed. I replaced it with another mechanical pump and a fuel regulator.

S-16 Bumble Bee

Taking the Flagstaff and Middle Verde #37 for a run

          We replaced the transmission with another one so we can continue to operate and break in the engine. The original transmission had two bad gears that we are replacing and will replace all the seals and O rings while it is out and accessible. The original one will go back in next month or in December. She made about twenty laps on the A & P last weekend and we made the last several laps with a gon and some weight and she handled it beautifully.

Miniature Train Co. G-16, No. 582

          As I shared last month, I sent our two Bendix vacuum valves out to California to be rebuilt. I had UPS pack and ship them for me. Somewhere in route to California, they were lost… I insured them for shipment, but have been in discussions with UPS for more than a month – hopefully they will do the right thing. If you know the location of any of the original style Bendix vacuum valves used on G16s please get in touch with us.

          We are still working on leak issues with No. 582 and are resolving them one by one. We thought we had all the issues resolved with the transmission shifter, but that wasn’t the case. It was leak free in reverse, but leaked in forward position. We had to remove it again and made and replaced all the seals and seats – now she is leak free. We also had to rebuild the throttle control vacuum canister. A new leather boot, both felt rings and spring and she is working great. Two minor leaks at the vacuum gauges were also resolved.

          We obtained a used, but in great condition gas tank for our B unit. We still are looking for one more gas tank for the other side.


          Several years ago, I purchased a commercial Robinair vacuum pump that mostly sits around and collects dust. However, it is invaluable when we are working with these trains looking for vacuum leaks. It allows me to complete specific system diagnostics without having to have the engine running. It eliminates noise, fumes and heat. If any of you guys do much of this stuff – it would be a great addition to your shop.

Vacuum Pump

Vacuum pump used to test our train vacuum systems

          We located and fixed a nagging vacuum leak at a cracked fitting in A & P No. 1 that I had put off locating and fixing.

Vacuum Pump

Testing the vacuum lines on G-16 #582

          It is a long story that I won’t go into, but the backyard of the A & P Superintendent was selected to be the scene of a music video for an up and coming musical group. The signs and engine house will be visible, but no trains. It took almost eight hours of filming for a song that is 2 minutes and 50 seconds long … There were 45 people back there doing the filming. The set up occurred during the day, but the filming took place at night – almost all night. It really was interesting watching how the video process works and I now watch music videos with a new appreciation of just how much work goes into the finished product.

Music Video

A music video being filmed at the A&P RR

Music Video

If you try hard enough you can see eventually the A&P Junction sign

Music Video

Just another typical evening at the A&P RR

          Yes, there were bikini clad girls lounging by the pool and dancing in the video. Before they got into their bikinis for the video and were just standing around, I talked a couple of them into being photographed in one of the A & P gons…


Music video models pose on A&P RR train #2


Music video models at the A&P

          Like most members of the large-scale park train community, I am very concerned with safety not just at the A & P but at park train operations nationwide. As we have seen again and again, if one irresponsible knucklehead hurts or kills someone with their negligence it impacts all of us. “Safety first” is the way to operate a railroad not “speed first”. Accidents can happen at any speed, but to hear of park train operators traveling through curves at 20+ mph is appalling and to then deny responsibility is an affront to all of us…

          I wanted to test the exact speeds at which we run on the A & P. We obtained the appropriate measuring equipment and without passengers set about determining our average running speed and the fastest speed at which I will run over the A & P. Bear in mind that I am pretty fanatical about rail and tie maintenance. We average 3.4 miles per hour. On the straight sections we reached a maximum of 6.1 mph and average 2.6 mph in the curves.

          Will the MTC/AH equipment go faster than that – sure it will. Will my car go faster than 75 mph – sure it will. A train isn’t intended to be a thrill ride… safe operation is the key and it is all about the operator.

          If you want wind blowing through your hair, buy a convertible or go ride a rollercoaster.

          Happy and Safe Railroading Everybody!


Two rabbits inspect the hose bib's filled trench


Add squirrels to the list of wildlife that's visited the A&P RR


A squirrel shades itself on the Superintendent's roof



          We continue to make some progress out here on the Arizona & Pacific Railroad; some months are more productive than others, but we always manage to move something closer to completion.

Construction Projects

          We made another change to trestle No. 5 this month that will make it easier to access and operate our harp switch stand that is mounted on the trestle. We added additional 4 x 4s in between the original 4 x 4s on the switchstand side of the trestle. We added them from the recently completed walkway over the trestle to just beyond the switchstand. The steel infrastructure was drilled and tapped and the ties are bolted in place. The addition will not only make reaching the switchstand easier, but operating it without concern for stepping “through” the trestle will be an improvement.

Switch Platform

Switch Stand Platform

Switch Platform

Newly Completed Platform

          We still have block work and additional planking to finish on the new area we are constructing between trestle No. 5 and trestle No. 2, but we did get the handrail roughed together for the east side of the platform. It still needs welded to the posts, but we got the railing itself welded together, ground, filled and primed. It’s not finished, but we made progress.


New Hand Rail


Walkway Over Trestle #5

Engine House and Displays

          We added a couple of industrial shelves in the corner near our tool box for brass cleaner, Windex, Stabil, Marvel Mystery Oil and other products that we utilize in the engine house on a regular basis. A third shelf has been ordered. We also added three custom mounting brackets for brooms, dusters, dust pans, brushes etc.


New Shelves


Mounting Brackets

          A friend of ours used his brake to bend our fourth ceiling vent cover to the same configuration as our ceiling. I have a little more finish work and then will need to decide if I polish the stainless steel and powdercoat the steel or powdercoat all of it. I hope to get them mounted in the next month or so.

Vent Covers

Custom Vent Covers

          We added a little display of the most commonly used rail for park gauge trains, 8, 12 and 16 pound rail. It includes a thin slice display of eight different sizes of rail used on industrial railroads up to 136 lb rail.

Track Sizes

Track Size Display

Allan Herschell S-16, Flagstaff and Middle Verde No. 37

          We finished rebuilding the transmission that will be the permanent one in No. 37. We replaced the two bad gears. While it was out and accessible, we replaced all the seals and “O” rings, added backup “O” rings, machined the case around the shifter shaft so that we could use a seal instead of an “O” ring at that location which is always prone to leaking around the “O” ring and machined the case to recess the bolt heads which will aid in installation and removal in the future.

          We also tracked down a correct size spanner wrench via the internet which made it much easier to adjust the travel to full gear engagement for forward and reverse and locate neutral in the optimum location

          We’ll swap out the transmissions next month.

          We built a coupler bar for the rear of the tender on No. 37 that will allow us to pull A & P rolling stock while No. 37 is here visiting.

Coupler Bar

New Coupler Bar for #37

Miniature Train Co. G-16, No. 582

          As I shared last month, I sent our two Bendix vacuum valves out to California to be rebuilt. I had UPS pack and ship them for me. Somewhere enroute to California, they were lost… UPS reached a fair settlement with me this month and we move on.

          Needless to say, the loss of the two vacuum valves with which you control the brakes and the throttle was a bit of a setback…

          My search for two replacement hand-operated valves became a national one. I located one of the original style Bendix vacuum valves in Texas, and pieces elsewhere in Texas, in New York and in Ohio. We came up with the pieces we needed to complete a second operating valve and got it assembled, operating and painted. Dave got it mounted in No. 582 earlier today.

G-16 Valves

G-16 Throttle and Brake Valves


          Nos. 37 and 582 do not have electronic fuel gauges like A & P No. 1. We created two low-tech measuring devices to keep track of the fuel level in the tank; no electronics or mechanical components to wear out. The tanks of the S-16 and G-16 are different sizes and configurations thus two different measuring dowels color coded to keep it simple. We made the dowels from Madrone which is a wood from the Pacific Northwest.

Fuel Dowel

Non-Electronic Fuel Gauges

          We have always had four large pads of grass in the front yard; two on each side of the A & P tracks as they work their way across the front yard. The average annual rainfall here is about eight inches; this year we had less than three inches and the projections for the next couple of years are equally bleak. I made the decision to remove the grass in the front yard and replace it with low water usage plants and gravel. This is the desert after all.

Grass Removal

Removing the Front Grass

Grass Removal

Xeriscape Replacing the Grass

          I wanted to freshen up the balance of the front yard and make sure that all the gravel matched so over two weeks I had 51 tons of Madison Gold granite delivered. Yes, it is all shovel and wheelbarrow work as there just isn’t room or access even for a Bobcat without tearing things up. Thank goodness I had two much younger men working with me on this project. It still isn’t finished, but we should have it finished next month.


New Gravel Arrives

More Gravel

Even More Gravel

          The Flagstaff and Middle Verde ballast car is here on loan and has been placed in service moving gravel to where it was needed beside the Rock Creek Trestle.

Ballast Car

F&MV Ballast Car on Loan

          I had one business trip to Albuquerque this month and two trips to Las Vegas. On one of the Las Vegas trips, the wind was unusually calm at the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge. More typically, 30 -50 mph winds and gusts buffet the bridge which at 890 feet is the second highest bridge in the U.S. and the 14th highest in the world. I took another shot at walking across the bypass bridge and getting some photos. It is still a long way down, but on a calm day without the bridge flexing and moving in the wind gusts, I made it all the way across and took several photographs.

Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge

On the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge

Hoover Dam

Hoover Dam

          On Oct. 29, Dave and I attended a workday on the Flagstaff and Middle Verde Railroad. It was a small, but dedicated group. We planted trees, pruned, weeded, trimmed etc. It was a beautiful day in the Verde Valley.

          October 30 and November 5 were track work days on the A & P. We reset and replaced ties, tightened and replaced lag screws, tightened splice bars, made sure our rail gauge measurements were still correct for our 16 inch gauge and added ballast where needed. It isn’t the most glamorous activity on the railroad, but necessary. We have at least two more days of work on the track before having it all ready for the Winter run season.

          Happy and Safe Railroading Everybody!



          This is the time of year when it becomes pretty clear that we are on the opposite program from most of the rest of the country. Most of our railroad friends in places other than Florida, Texas and Southern California have their trains in storage and secured for the winter. With a few exceptions, this is the time of year when the Arizona & Pacific Railroad can operate almost every weekend in beautiful weather. We also seem to attract a number of visitors from the Midwest this time of year.

Construction Projects

          We continue to work on the new landing and gathering spot between trestle No. 5 and trestle No. 2 that I intend to call Verde Junction. We expanded and finished the lower level block work which is now 20 feet long and varies in width up to nine feet. This area is nestled between the trestles and among several trees that provide afternoon shade most of the year and provides for some great viewing when the trains are operating.

Verde Junction

Verde Junction

          We also extended the loading platform on the mainline by seven feet; it is now 52 feet long and can accommodate the engine, tender and three cars. Yes, we currently only have two cars that we use behind the S-16s, but I do have some future plans for additional rolling stock. It will also accommodate the G-16 and three cars.

Loading Platform

Extended Loading Platform

          The reason I extended the loading platform at this time is to incorporate it into the walkway leading to and from Verde Junction. We also finished the handrail leading from trestle No. 2 to the lower level.

          We welded flat bar under the rail that will allow us to place planks across our siding and the lead to trestle No. 2. The planks will allow easy access from the loading platform to Verde Junction. I hope to get the planks cut and in place before the end of the year.

Gauge Bars

Welded bars will hold gauge and allow planking between rails

Engine House and Displays

          We added another 60 gallon wood barrel behind the engine house. I think it adds to the ambience without making it look too cluttered.


New Barrel Behind the Engine House

          We got a fresh coat of stain on the exterior benches to the rear of the engine house and on our original wood barrel back there. The climate is pretty tough on wood here and every couple of years a fresh coat is needed to protect the wood and keep it looking well-maintained.


Freshly Stained Bench

          We added a third storage shelf in the corner of the engine house.


Newly Added 3rd Storage Shelf

          I modified the exhaust fan housings to accommodate the ceiling vents that I fabricated. I still plan to get them powder coated and mounted in the next few weeks. It seems like there is just never enough time to finish everything that I hope to get accomplished each month…

Allan Herschell S-16, Flagstaff and Middle Verde No. 37

          We swapped out the transmission in No. 37 for the one that will be the permanent one in that unit. It gets easier each time, but is way too much work to be fun.

          Just in case any of you are wondering, there are three distinctly different transmissions and cases on MTC/Allan Herschell engines. There is the original MTC transmission that says Miniature Train Company on the case and was originally used in the G-16 model. There is the Allan Herschell transmission designed for use in the later G-16s and the Allan Herschell transmission designed for the S-16. There are lots of similarities, but some very specific differences.

          Note: The Allan Herschell G-16 transmission will not fit in the S-16 model as a result of the width of the transmission case. The S-16 transmission is geared lower for slower speed operation with the carnival cars which had a higher center of gravity than the G-16 cars. Originally, Allan Herschell painted the S-16 transmissions red and the G-16 transmissions black. Over the years they have been painted over many times and the color can no longer be counted on to determine which is which, but the lower portion of the case is the determining factor. If you need to know the specific details for a restoration you are working on, shoot me an email.

          We modified the lower front window frames on the Bumble Bee trying for more of a door look, I’m not sure if I am 100% happy with that yet. We are limited by the boiler and the available space, but I would like it to have the feel of the original Bumble Bee engine if possible.


Bumble Bee Front Windows

          We had new side windows laser cut that are thinner so they can slide back and forth – the original ones that were fabricated were too thick to allow that to happen. We had to go with stainless steel to get material that was thin enough to slide, but strong enough to hold its shape.


New Window Frames on the Bumble Bee

Miniature Train Co. G-16, No. 582

          Our friend Jerry Graves designed and fabricated a parking brake for No. 582 that we will install in the next month or so. It is a very clever design and uses the standard pivot points on the G-16 truck and the existing brake rigging and brake shoes. No additional holes are required in the truck, just the hole in the sheet metal floor pan for cable access. We’ll keep you posted as we further develop this safety feature.

Parking Brake

G-16 Parking Brake


          The Flagstaff and Middle Verde ballast car is still here on loan and has been placed in service moving several tons of gravel from the large pile where the dump truck piled it in the front yard to several locations along the right of way in the back yard.

Ballast Car

F&MV Ballast Car

          Where we trenched last year for the conduit that reaches our lights and light poles, the dirt and ballast was not compacted as well as we would have liked and moved a bit over the past few months. We moved and tamped ballast, leveled track and replaced and repositioned several ties this month. I am far happier with it now and it is set for the long-term. There were several other locations in the back that also received additional ballast and tamping.

          The F & MV ballast car has also been placed in less conventional service during its stay here. I had to move six pallets of block for future A & P projects from the driveway to a good storage location in the back yard. I placed a sheet of plywood over the top of the car and stacked the blocks on top. It took several trips, but was much easier than trying to push a wheel barrow through gravel and over several sets of train tracks.

Ballast Car

F&MV Ballast Car Moving Block

          The diminutive car was also used to move a 24 inch box (read very heavy) Eldarica pine tree from the driveway to its new home just off the right of way in the east section of the front yard.

Ballast Car

Eldarica Pine tree loaded on the F&MV Ballast Car

Ballast Car

F&MV Ballast Car Moving a Tree

          We provided train rides for several of our friends, their children and grandchildren on November 25. While many were shopping on Black Friday, we carried perhaps our youngest passenger over the years at just under 4 months old. The first time I used the whistle he wasn’t sure how he felt about it, but after that he grinned and giggled all afternoon. I think we have another train fan…

          We got a fresh coat of stain and sealer on our water tank – this is much more work than it may sound as a result of the bands and other attachments.

Water Tank

Freshly Stained Water Tank

          On Nov. 12, I attended another workday on the Flagstaff and Middle Verde Railroad. We performed additional pruning, weeding, trimming and mowing. We also readied the F & MV for the winter in the Verde Valley which at 3000 feet higher elevation than Phoenix can get well-below freezing on some occasions.

          We rebuilt a switch stand on one of the seldom used A & P spurs. The stand was rusted in place and I really can’t remember when it was last lined. We had to remove it, use copious quantities of WD-40, new hardware and some gentle persuasion before having her “happy” and back in place.

          We continue to work on re-landscaping the front yard. We are close to finishing the fourth of the four ex-grass pads with xeriscape plants and ground cover. I would much rather work with trains than sprinkler drip systems…

          Some of the 51 tons of Madison Gold granite delivered last month remains in a pile in the front yard. We continue to nibble at it and hope that someday we have it all moved…


Madison Gold Ballast

          Happy and Safe Railroading Everybody!

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