Stencil on the side of a BN caboose at East Lewiston

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Making the Grade

Happy New Year everyone!  2013 promises to be a great year...the year operations will begin on Idaho's Panhandle Railroad.  I'm currently building the transition grade from the staging loop to the visible part of the railroad at Forebay.

One concern I have is how many cars a single GP9 can handle up the grade from the staging tracks to Forebay.  

Trains 881 & 882, the local running between Lewiston to Kooskia,  regularly ran with a single unit due to a swing bridge with a light axle loading near Kamiah. 

Additionally, the line from Lewiston to Kooskia is along the Clearwater River with very little grade, so a single unit could handle a sizable.  The prototype often had close to 25 cars hauled by a single GP9.  

I need my model Kooskia to Lewiston train to be able to handle 15 cars from staging to the modeled portion of the railroad.

A single GP9 with 2oz of weight added pulls 20 cars and a caboose up the grade from staging.  My GP9's are repowered with Stewart F unit motors and trucks in a modified Proto 2000 frame.  The result is a smoother running unit but at the the expense of much of the weight in the original model.

A little extra weight makes 20 cars no problem. The BN GP9 pictured above is a model I did when my era was 1974.
I compared my GP9 with an Atlas RS3.  The RS3 weighs 
11 3/4 oz and easily handled 20 cars up the grade.  The GP9 with no weight added is 8 1/4 oz and struggles with 20 cars, but handled 17 cars with no trouble.  

I added 2 oz of weight (currently on the walkways) and 20 cars was no longer an issue.  2 oz of weight will need to be added to each GP9, which should be no issue as there is sufficient room even with a decoder and speaker.