That loud boom you heard this afternoon was the sound of my head exploding after reading John Grams answer to a CTT reader about replacing light bulbs in Lionel "Baby Madison" or 9500 Series passenger cars.
Rather than approaching the project with trepidation, removing the roof of a 9500-Series cars is without a doubt one of the easiest things you will ever learn to do in this or any hobby.
And no tools are required.
Step One: grasp the car from underneath on one end squeezing the fifth window on one side and the corresponding third window on the opposite side between your thumb and middle finger. Push so that the molded wedges clear the window frames.
Step Two: grasp the clerestory area of the roof between the thumb and fingers of your other hand. Lift.
Step Three: Repeat on the other end.
And THAT'S IT. No knife, no screwdriver, no muss, no fuss. Why this process remains a mystery to so many, remains a mystery to me. But I can do it blindfolded in the dark during a blackout whilst standing on my head.
In about 8 seconds...
You speak the truth. The window count will vary slightly depending on the configuration of the car(coach/diner/baggage/combine, etc.).
Only on the very earliest cars from 1973 must you perform one extra step - from the bottom of the car, with a box cutter or suitable knife/tool, cut the tabs off the part of the roof casting that extend below the floor of the car.
And on the Polar Express observation car, remove the screws that go up into the overhang.
It's easy to quote the Lionel instructions for these cars, but try that on the 2400 series cars, it's not nearly so easy. That's what Lionel tells you to do, but there's a bunch of us, including me, that discovered it's not that easy.
2400 Series cars are a totally different animal. No window wedges! On the Post War 2400's, you had roof finials to remove. On modern 2400's, there are a bunch of screws that need to be removed from underneath.
But 9500's are Easy-Capeeze! (Not counting the 1973 Milwaukee cars mentioned above)
The windows are the same piece as the roof and it can be hard to get them removed the first time, but it comes much easier with practice.
The secret to getting these apart is to squeeze the windows in from the bottom or sides instead of trying to reach over the top... hold the car in front of you with the side windows facing to your left & right between your hands.Press in on the notched/raised rear windows with both index fingers using a pushing up motion at the same time to "unlock" the raised tabs from the windows. Switch to the front windows and do the same. Repeat on back windows again... usually by this time you have opened up the roof enough to get a grip on the roof panel and raise it straight up & out of the car.
Don't mar the finish by using wedges or screwdrivers to pry the roof up or the window frames out - it just isn't necessary.
All the 9500 roof removal instructions (including the Milwaukee cars from 1973) are posted in the files section of the MPC yahoo group for ready reference.
The modern era (post '70) 2400 type roof removal is there as well.
One exception to the 2400 type cars is the TCA set from '75/76, as these cars were built the same as
the PW 2400 cars (last issued in '66).
The 9500 series cars are fun to collect, and were one of the many contributions made to the hobby
from the development office in Mt. Clemmens.
When CTT ran it's first "Sleepers and Duds" story, the 9500 cars made the sleeper list.
When all else fails try this:
"You can’t study the darkness by flooding it with light." - Edward Abbey -
You can't pry and yank. Once removal is started you just gently work them up and off.
"IT's GOOD TO BE THE KING",by Mel Brooks
Charter Member- Tardis Train Crew (TTC) TCA Detroit3railers
Clerestory windows are the row of small windows that rise above the main roofline. See link, which is a house but the same principle applies to older passenger cars, especially "heavyweights." Their appearance is frequently only hinted at in toy train models.
The definitive 'how to' on that subject for sure.
I don't have any baby madisons (yet), but now I'm prepared.
Now how about a tutorial on cleaning and lubing a 736 or similar loco?
Buckeye Riveter............. OTTS Charter Member and Roseyville Raider
A date that will live in CTT Forum infamy: July 7 2011, The Chief admits to being a YANKEES FAN.
Please visit my website: Trains-Big and Small TCA 09-64284