“When I first started my layout, before I had made my design decisions, I saw this combination passenger/baggage car at a train show. For the exorbitant price of $5.00US I thought it might be useful.
When I got it home and put it on my layout, a few problems came evident.
First off, it had a tendency to derail on anything that wasn’t straight track.
Second, it had a light inside that was so bright it made the top and sides of the car glow. The pickups for the light were putting enough drag on the wheelsets that the car barely rolled if I pushed it down the track.
Fixing it wasn’t hard. First, I took out the light and the pickup wipers entirely. T
Then I removed, disassembled and cleaned the trucks.
Finally, I readjusted the wheelsets so they were in scale. Now the car rolled properly and I was left to decide what to do with it. Since by this time I had determined that I wasn’t going to be running passenger service, the car sat on my bookshelf.
Now skip ahead about 4 months and I needed a restaurant for the town. None of the kits I saw were quite right for what I wanted for the locale I was modeling. Then my eye caught the combine on the shelf and I thought it might make a fine diner. So, I pulled it apart again, painted it, installed a couple of low power LEDs in the roof (with enough resistance in the line to make them pretty dim), and reassembled it leaving off the trucks and couplers.
Addition of steps and a handicap ramp, some ground cover, bushes, trees, a picnic bench, a sign on top (it’s named for a very special lady in my life) and we have a diner in town.
There are other pieces of rolling stock that can easily be repurposed: cabooses make good yard boss offices, old box cars make industrial storage sheds, a flat car makes a stage for performances in a park. The only limit is your imagination. Go wild and have fun.
A huge thanks to Dale – a wonderful example of being creative and using what you already have.
Hope you can see why I love seeing what’s in my inbox each morning.
That’s all today folks.
And if you like this post, don’t forget there are lots more tips and tricks in the Beginner’s Guide is here.
Please do keep ’em coming.