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GN Empire Builder passenger car questions

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  • Member since
    March, 2018
  • 530 posts
GN Empire Builder passenger car questions
Posted by BNSF UP and others modeler on Friday, March 08, 2019 12:59 PM

I have 3 questions as I try to upgrade my budget empire builder train with concor passenger cars and Athean f7 shells on kato/stewart chassi. First, what is the correct scale distance between empire builder passenger cars in HO scale? Second, did these cars have diaphragms? And third, did the locomotives pulling the consist have diaphragms? Thanks for any help!

BNSF: Big and Noisy but Surely Fascinating!

  • Member since
    August, 2003
  • From: Collinwood, Ohio, USA
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Posted by gmpullman on Friday, March 08, 2019 1:44 PM

As delivered the cars had full-width diaphragms:

 Lot 3447052 by John W. Barriger III National Railroad Library, on Flickr

 Lot 3447041 by John W. Barriger III National Railroad Library, on Flickr

 Lot 3447048 by John W. Barriger III National Railroad Library, on Flickr

 

These full-width diaphragms became a maintenance headache and were later modified to a more conventional type. The early "streamliners" the designers were looking for unity in the outer appearance. Many were painted to match the outside striping of the cars.

Coupling distance? Bolster to pulling face of the coupler was 12' 9" for most Pullman and A.C.F. cars but that varied by car type. So you had 25' 6" from car bolster to car bolster which is 3.51 inches in HO.

I'll defer the locomotive diaphragm question to others more familiar with GN diesels. Most of the F3 and F7s I'm familiar with were delivered with diaphragms and were subsequently removed as the locomotevs aged and went through various shoppings.

Good Luck, Ed

  • Member since
    March, 2018
  • 530 posts
Posted by BNSF UP and others modeler on Friday, March 08, 2019 1:55 PM

Thanks for the information! On my concor cars, the bolster is a square with a raised circular opening for the truck pin. Would I measure from the middle of that circular opening, the outside edge of the square, or the edge of the square closest to the coupler?

BNSF: Big and Noisy but Surely Fascinating!

  • Member since
    February, 2002
  • From: Mpls/St.Paul
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Posted by wjstix on Friday, March 08, 2019 2:14 PM

I don't think the distance between cars on the Builder would be anything unique to that train or to the GN. I believe it would be fairly standardized?

Unless your layout has prototype-equivalent curves, like 60-80" radius in HO, it usually is better to figure out what distance works best with the curves on your layout, rather than trying to recreate exactly what the prototype did.

AFAIK the GN passenger F's all had diaphrams to allow the crew to go from one unit to the next in like an A-B-A consist. I believe at St.Paul Union Depot, which is located on one leg of a wye, engineers would go to the rear unit and back the engines down to the Builder or Western Star (which would have been brought from Chicago by CB&Q) so they could better see where they were going, then would walk to the front unit to run the train from there on it's way west.

Stix

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