The Spring Creek Railroad
G Scale Model Railway
Conductor Jerry Barnes
Engineer Jerry Barnes

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Jerry's MTH Trains,
The Stock Car, Waterfall Project
and The Trolley Project



The Challenger

Jerry always wanted a Union Pacific Challenger locomotive, it stops in Lexington
almost every year on a trip across the USA. A company 
makes one in 1/32nd scale, but it is over a thousand dollars. 
He came up with a plan to use two 1/29th scale Aristo Craft Pacific type locomotives to bash into one Challenger. The Pacific's had 3 large drivers, which would serve ashalf
of the Challenger drivers, plus they were the
 right size. He found two used ones at a good price. 
The 3977 Challenger is on display at North Platte, NE. Jerry took pictures 
of it  and put them together on the computer for photo plans to work from. 
He did the same with pix of the one that still runs. He took those on its stops
in Lexington. These were printed off in full size and taped together. 
It was decided to start with the tender, after reading many locomotive 
builders seldom get it done, if they do the locomotive first! 
He made up some bulkheads and wrapped it with 1/16" plastic. 
The  plastic was covered with embossed copper that 
he put a rivet pattern into with a pounce wheel.
The Challenger tender is called a 'Centipede' tender, because of all the wheels. This is made commercially for the 1/29th scale USA Trains Big Boy.
 Jerry obtained a set of trucks and side frames, but in while waiting for them, made his own and thought they compared well to the commercially made ones, and they cost $90, so he sent them back. 
The side view of the finished tender. He did use the front USA tender trucks. 
A top view shows the hatches and boards.
A trial fit of the Pacific pieces was done to see if it would work out 
and it looked fine.
The two pieces were bolted together with a 1/2" piece of square tubing. 
The front set of drivers pivots, so it can go around curves easily, 
the real one does the same thing. 
A Graupner u-joint from Hobby Lobby was used to allow the front
 drivers to pivot, the motor for them is mounted on the front of the rear
 set of drivers, which are fixed. 
The test run went well, so the build could continue!
Parts of the Pacific boilers were used, an 8" piece was put in the middle, attached to  the bulkheads. He used a plastic sign for the boiler piece
 and to extend the Pacific cab. 
As with the tender, the boiler/cab were covered with embossed foil. 
The two Pacific trailing trucks were joined to create the two axle 
unit a Challenger has. 
The Challenger had long side rods running from the rear drivers.
 The Pacific locomotives Jerry was using had the rods running from the
 center driver. It was hard to get them off and move them to the back, 
but he got it done. He was able to put 3/4" extensions and attach
 everything back to the bottom of the boiler. Making the rods longer 
was a delicate balance in geometry, but he got these for the rear
 drive done, good practice for the challenge that  the front 
drives would pose.
The front drive pivots under the boiler, so the valve/pistons and rod 
mechanism could not be attached to the boiler as the rear unit was. 
He used some brass pieces to attach to the motor block. One runs forward
 to provide more support to the pistons(painted black in this picture). 
The one across holds the rod mechanism with a brace forward to hold it
 steady. The valve gear has a smaller brass piece holding them. The rods seemed to come out a bit different in size
from the rear drive's rods, but they seem to work okay now.
The Challenger has steam pipes that run from the rear cylinders to the
 front cylinders. These pivot some, due to the front unit pivoting. Jerry 
decided to eliminate the attaching the pipes 
to the front cylinders and having it pivot.The pivoting could have
 caused derailments.  He used some copper tubing and fittings for the large pipes. Many small ones still to be made will be from copper wiring 
and smaller tubing.
Jerry got a newer Aristocraft smoke unit and modified it so smoke will
 come out of both  stacks on the Challenger. He used the old stack smoke
 unit from the Pacific, turning itupside down and gluing it to the newer smoke unit, with the tubes going up to vent the 
smoke up through both stacks.
Once the pipes were on he thought he'd check out the fit of everything.
He had detailed the boiler some more and was working on the smoke
 box in front, adding some copper cladding to it. More detail will be 
 added to it and the boiler, including the handrails,lights and smaller
 piping.  Lots of work to go, but he's happy with how it's going.
More testing revealed that the u-joint was not allowing enough of a pivot. 
After corresponding with another modeler who had made a Challenger
 Jerry adopted his method of using some Plastrut gears and mounting
 the motor on top of the axle block. Jerry had to notch out the bottom of 
the boiler some but it was a good solution that worked very well. The rear 
drive is fixed, so it was not necessary to change that.
The gears mounted in the locomotive. Set screws hold them to the shafts.
Once the drive problem was solved Jerry finished up some detailing
and got a coat of paint on it. He used Krylon satin black spray cans. 
He silver smokebox is a silver 'Argent' color from the Ford garage.
The Challenger is 32" long, the tender is 18" so Jerry is trying to figure 
out how to carry it around and where to store it. Looking like a new 
shelf in the train shed just for it!
Jerry still needs to do the lights and the front cow catcher and a few
 minor details. He's starting to feel sad about it nearing completion. 
It was a difficult build but the 'challenge' is what makes it all worth 
while-no pun intended!
Side view of the almost finished Challenger on a test run. It is 32" long 
and 18" for the tender. Hard to carry around!  The lights are all wired in
 and work. My lovely wife cut the vinyl lettering for me, she used to run a 
sign biz out of the house. Still has her cutter, lucky for me! I made it be 
#3988, lots of #3985's have been made, it is the one full size ne still
 running  for the UP.
The herald on the front was done on ink jet vinyl, adhered to some plastic
 and cut out. The X lettering was also done on the ink jet vinyl. Just cut it 
out, peel off the backing and stick it on!
Rear view of the tender.
Going over the metal bridge, even the Challenger's weight did not make it sag.
Jerry's MTH Trains
The Hudson
Jerry's first MTH engine was the Hudson. UP did not actually have Hudson's,
but his railroad is mostly all UP, so his wife cut him some new lettering from vinyl. 
She used to run a sign shop out of their home.
MTH's UP Challenger is also an articulated locomotive. It was made for 
freight and passenger service. The ones for passenger trains were painted gray. 
This one is preserved in a park in North Platte, NE. Jerry has a fleet of MTH 
passenger cars in UP colors to go with the engine.
Jerry's first run with the Challenger on  a snowy day.

Jerry had problems with the tender for the Challenger he made.
He had heard of MTH trains but had not seen any.
They are noted for their digital control
system/effects/great smoke/sound.
They are 1/32nd scale, often called Gauge 1.
He had the chance to buy a MTH Hudson a friend had.


You can see the great smoke the Hudson has and the sound that all 
MTH engines come with.. The smoke puffs aresynced to the sound.

This really made him want a Challenger by MTH. He really liked the 
Hudson, then had a chance to buy a MTH Challenger. It was able 
to handle Jerry's curves and ran/sounded great.

The long passenger consist is easily pulled by the Challenger. It has two 
motors, each driving 3 axles. Union Pacific painted some of the Challengers 
gray that pulled passenger trains. This one is on display at the museum in 
Cody Park in North Platte, NE. Note the smoke and how the frot drive follows 
the track as it goes around the curve, having the boiler hang out.

Union Pacific's Big Boy

Union Pacific needed to carry more water for it's steam program, since the water towers were all gone. They took some old tenders that were for their failed gas turbine engines. They hold the extra water needed for longer runs before refilling.
 Jerry's finished tender behind his MTH Challenger. He will also use it with his Big Boy engines and locomotive 844 that he made.   Tender was totally made by him except for the metal wheels.

The tender is all done. Here you can see the details better. Jerry made the trucks from plastic and some solder wire. The axle ends are some castings he had from another project. Side pieces are some Great Trains brake castings he had. Ladders are made
from hardware cloth of 1/2" spacing for the steps.  Red lines are vinyl tape. 
Decals Jerry made and had printed on laser decal paper locally.
The Big Boys were made for freight service and often pulled 100 cars 
from Cheyenne west across Wyoming. Jerry will be adding more cars in 
the future. The engine and tender are 53" long and weight 20 lbs.
The front drive of the Big Boy is articulated, so it follows the track and 
can go around tighter curves like the real one did. Note the boiler is off 
center as the drive and front steps move to follow the track.

The Stock Car

Wanting a stock car to match the size of the MDC cars that he likes to pull with his LS Mikado, Jerry found some plans on the internet and altered them to match the size of the MDC cars, which are roughly 1/32nd in size.
He used the classic modeling technique of building over the plans,
using pins to hold the coffee stir sticks in place. 
He bought a boxfull of them for a few dollars!
The frame was made of clear pine, ripped to size, it was floored with the
sticks also. The brake detail was added from castings.
The ends were thin plywood with the sticks glued on. 
The cast hay door came from a modeling friend.
With the ends on, the car was starting to take shape. Some beams were
added near the doors to support the walls and roof.
The wood was stained with a mix of india ink/alcohol to gray it, 
some Union Pacific yellow was used for the color.
 Some cows were obtained for the car and glued in with hot glue.
The roof was made of balsa with craft foil laid over it, after being embossed with some roof seams. It was spray painted with a red primer to simulate rust. The roof walks were made of pine that had been scraped with a hobby saw 
and weathered with  the ink mixture. Some Bragdon chalks were used also.
The finished car, with it's #820 KD couplers and USA trucks
that have 1/32nd Gary Raymond wheels.
A MDC car is shown with the stock car to compare sizes. 
Jerry had a lot of fun making the car, maybe he'll do another next winter.

Waterfall Project

Jerry's old waterfall was leaking and the tunnel under it was collapsing, so it was time for a rebuild, which he didn't mind too much, since he could put in a new tunnel that would have two tracks going through it instead of one, like the old tunnel. This would give him an inner and outer loop to run two trains at the same time.

The waterfall developed a leak and over time it ruined the wooden tunnel that went under it. Jerry was pretty happy about this, since the one track tunnel was a big bottle neck to him being able to have two separate loops in his railroad.
The tunnel was made with pressure treated lumber for the sides
and aluminum signboard for the top and bottom. 
The white areas are plastic brick molding he cut up for the shapes you see.
It was set in and leveled and covered with some pond rubber scraps.
The pond rubber was draped over a frame of 2x6's, then the flagstones were dry stacked on top of the rubber covered boards. This way, the only rocks actually in the water are the spillway rocks, all the rest set above the water,
reducing the leakage problem the old waterfall had.
Overall view of the finished waterfall. 
The filter on top still needs to be screened by some plants/rocks.
 A closer view

The Trolley Project

Jerry had been wanting a trolley but did not care for the ones that were offered by Bachman or Accucraft. In correspondence with Bob Thon-of Robert's Lines that made Jerry's Pioneer Zephyer, he discovered that Bob used to offer metal trolleys and he had a primered body left. He sent a picture of it and of the trolleys as he sold them.
 The body is metal, you can see how colorful the trolleys were.
 Jerry wanted to break up the windows some, so he added the brass strips.
 The light was just a bulb screwed into the socket, so Jerry used some brass grommets to create a brass shell for it. He did the same for the back. 
 A cream and maroon paint scheme was selected. The trolley body did not come with a motor. Jerry molded/cast the side frames from an old Bachman Christmas Trolley that he had (piece of junk!).
He used a new USA motor block to drive the trolley with.
 Trolleys had fancy wood interiors, since the trolley was assembled, with welded in seats, Jerry came up with the idea to print the interior on paper, laminate them and slide them in. He found some wood panel pictures on the internet and laid them into a tracing that he did of the windows and scanned in. He used the Color It art program on his Mac to get it sized properly.
 Here you can see the interior installed by the seats. He used double stick carpet tape to adhere the laminated paper to the wall. Note the one metal
seat, he was trying out a plan to do the same with the seats to give 
them the wood slat 'look'
 The finished interior, thin plastic was glued in for the window glass.
The rear wall was also paneled. The round windows also had brass 
grommets put in them to simulate brass window frames.
A top view of the finished interior. Lights were also put in to illuminate 
the interior at night. The front and rear lights work also.
After some research on the internet, looking at trolley lettering Jerry 
contacted Stan Cedarleaf and they worked out a design based on his research. 
Stan made the decals, using gold for the lettering color. After putting them on, they were clear coated the next day to seal them up. The figures are 
Bachman Trolleymen. Soon passengers will be added. Note the brass 
frames around the rear windows.
The night shots show the lights inside and out. A 9.6 battery pack controlled 
by a simple on/off switch is how it is powered. No remote control or track power, this is Jerry's favorite way of running, very simple!


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