Passenger Service To Commence Shortly

First Class Coach #4 and Combine #1

Passenger service on the PVCRR is now ready to begin (unless you need tracks to do that, in which case, they may still need to wait a bit.) The PVCRR had the following passenger equipment -

Nos. 1 - 3 - Combine
Nos. 4 - 7 - First Class Coach
Nos. 8 - 9 - Second Class Coach

Nine is a reasonable amount of cars to model over time. For starters, I thought it'd be fun to create some variety, so I went with a First Class coach and a Combination car. I've found a few pictures of the coaches, as well as plans in an issue of Narrow Gauge & Short Line Gazette for both the First and Second Class cars. Below I will share some of the methods I used to kitbash a few $5 swap meet finds into one-of-a-kind prototype models.

Before: Bachmann Old Timer Coach and Combine

Combine #1

A passenger train stopped at the Spreckels Sugar Refinery

I used the above prototype picture to guide the modeling of the combine car. There are two major differences between the Bachmann model and the prototype - the roof ends and number of windows (7 vs. 9). These were both easy fixes.

Additional windows in place

After debating a number of difficult ways to add more windows to the car, I settled on the simplest method - removing a pair of windows from a donor coach, and cutting a hole for them in the new car. The window trim details help to hide the cutting marks, and once painted, they are barely noticeable.

Replacement roof ends in place

I found an old Bachmann heavyweight passenger car with the roof I needed, and was able to remove the rounded roof ends for use on this project. This took a bit of cutting, sanding, smoothing, filing, to get right. After some time, I was able to get the ends to line up. I applied rivet decals to try to blend the new construction into the stock model. The different rivet sizes really stand out. I may change this in the future, or try something different on the next model.

Complete Combine #1

Coach #4

First class coach at Spreckels.

The coach required a lot more work. The base model had the same number of windows, but they needed to be altered to include the rounded upper portion, and additional trim shown in the prototype. The windows were rounded with a round file that happened to be the size I needed. The trim is all strip styrene.

Altered windows, new trim, new roof

The distinctive roof ends were modeled with styrene sheet, and finished with Archer rivet decals.

Bad picture of the replacement roof sections

I modeled the hand rails, grab irons, and window bars on each car with bronze wire. I used the same wire for the tension rods.


This looks much better from further away. Scratch built end rails, hand rails, and window bars. The brake wheel is from Fine N Scale 

I removed the molded on tension rods, and used stripwood and wire to create new underbody details. The trucks are stock, with the Rapido couplers removed.

I included an interior in each car. I can't remember where the seats came from, I had them sitting around from a project long ago. The interior partitions are styrene, and the stove is from the spare parts bin. I based its central placement on the smoke stacks in the prototype pictures.

The interiors include a stove, seats, passengers, and partitions (partially janky in the picture above). 

The arched windows, as well as the windows in the clerestory, were frosted, so I used white acrylic paint to replicate this. The window glass was created using Testor's Clear Parts Cement and Window Maker, and the window shades are tan paper cut to size.

Another interesting detail I wanted to model was the three light fixtures on the roof of the coach. The tips of which are partially visible in the prototype photographs. I modeled these with the tops of white metal lamp posts (Woodland Scenics I think). I also included wood decking on the ends of the car, and wood ceilings above the platforms.

I had to guess as to the color scheme, and went with a simple two tone. The letters are from Microscale's Railroad Roman set 70002. I finished the model off with Tru-Scale couplers from Micro Trains.

These cars took a bit of work, but I'm pleased with the results. To add to it, the coach took home a Merit Award at a local NMRA meet recently. 


Completed Coach #4

Products used:
Bachmann - Old Time Coach and Combine
Micro-Trains Line - True Scale Couplers
Microscale - Railroad Roman, No.70002
Archer Transfers - Rivet Decals, No. AR88128
Bronze wire - .080"
Evergreen Scale Models - Part No. 100 - .010" x .020" Strips
Fine N Scale - Brake wheels (from their 36' Truss Rod Box Car kit)
Misc. scrap parts and figures

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