Trains.com

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Broken stirrups/steps

8279 views
16 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    February 2007
  • From: East central Missouri
  • 1,065 posts
Broken stirrups/steps
Posted by Santa Fe all the way! on Saturday, December 20, 2014 1:28 AM
I have a pet peeve. Its broken or missing stirrups on rolling stock. When looking through Ebay listings, the first thing I look for is if all the steps are intact. If the pictures don't show them all, I ask. I'm not sure most people realize how easily the steps are broken and they don't handle rolling stock correctly to prevent breakage. Oh well, a pet peeve is a small thing that bothers you way more than it should ☺ Any other pet peeves out there? Let's hear um!
Come on CMW, make a '41-'46 Chevy school bus!
  • Member since
    July 2002
  • From: Jersey City
  • 1,925 posts
Posted by steemtrayn on Saturday, December 20, 2014 1:45 AM

I hate it when someone begins a sentence with "Well, to be honest with you,..." Does this imply they are lying the rest of the time?

  • Member since
    January 2004
  • From: Canada, eh?
  • 12,766 posts
Posted by doctorwayne on Saturday, December 20, 2014 2:47 AM

Santa Fe all the way!
I have a pet peeve. Its broken or missing stirrups on rolling stock...... 
......Oh well, a pet peeve is a small thing that bothers you way more than it should.

 
Better to have a solution for the problem than let it bother you so much. Stick out tongue
 
I deliberately cut the sill steps off most of my rolling stock, and replace them with metal ones from A-Line.  They offer three different styles, and you can easily make your own for styles not offered, using Detail Associates .010"x.030" flat brass bar.
To install them, use a #75 or #76 drill bit in a pin vise to drill suitably-located holes in the bottom edge of the car's sides, securing the steps with a couple of miniscule dabs of ca.
If the car's sill is too narrow, use solvent cement to add short lengths of Evergreen .030"x.080" strip to the inner face of the sills, as shown below.  Allow the bond to fully cure before drilling the holes.  You'll also need to trim away a small portion of the car's floor to accommodate the strips.
 
 
Here's the finished car:
 
 
...and a different style step on the "B" end (right):
 
 
 
Wayne
 
 
  • Member since
    August 2011
  • From: A Comfy Cave, New Zealand
  • 5,250 posts
Posted by "JaBear" on Saturday, December 20, 2014 3:09 AM
Being a cheapskate if I have to replace stirrup steps I make most of mine out of 26/6 standard staples and install them similarly to doctorwayne.
The photo shows a kit bashed car and its donor car.

Cheers, the Bear.Smile

"One difference between pessimists and optimists is that while pessimists are more often right, optimists have far more fun."

  • Member since
    February 2007
  • From: East central Missouri
  • 1,065 posts
Posted by Santa Fe all the way! on Saturday, December 20, 2014 3:14 AM

Very nice info Wayne and Bear!! I have some of the A line parts, just would rather not need to use them. There's also the problem of match paint on the new steps. 

Come on CMW, make a '41-'46 Chevy school bus!
  • Member since
    January 2010
  • From: Chi-Town
  • 7,660 posts
Posted by zstripe on Saturday, December 20, 2014 3:20 AM

Bear,

LOL, Not being a cheapskate.......but a teenager in the 50's, I've used Your way many times. Once painted, 9 times out of 10, no one will know and they don't break off either.

Take Care! Big Smile

Frank

  • Member since
    October 2001
  • From: OH
  • 17,574 posts
Posted by BRAKIE on Saturday, December 20, 2014 4:08 AM

Santa Fe all the way!
I have a pet peeve. Its broken or missing stirrups on rolling stock. When looking through Ebay listings, the first thing I look for is if all the steps are intact. If the pictures don't show them all, I ask. I'm not sure most people realize how easily the steps are broken and they don't handle rolling stock correctly to prevent breakage. Oh well, a pet peeve is a small thing that bothers you way more than it should ☺ Any other pet peeves out there? Let's hear um!
 

That and "NIB Athearn SW1500"..Missing handrails.

To my feebie mind NIB means its a new engine and ought to have all the handrails and  details.

 

Larry

Conductor.

Summerset Ry.


"Stay Alert, Don't get hurt  Safety First!"

  • Member since
    December 2011
  • From: Northern Minnesota
  • 2,774 posts
Posted by NP2626 on Saturday, December 20, 2014 6:14 AM

BRAKIE
 
Santa Fe all the way!
I have a pet peeve. Its broken or missing stirrups on rolling stock. When looking through Ebay listings, the first thing I look for is if all the steps are intact. If the pictures don't show them all, I ask. I'm not sure most people realize how easily the steps are broken and they don't handle rolling stock correctly to prevent breakage. Oh well, a pet peeve is a small thing that bothers you way more than it should ☺ Any other pet peeves out there? Let's hear um!
  

That and "NIB Athearn SW1500"..Missing handrails.

To my feebie mind NIB means its a new engine and ought to have all the handrails and  details. 

 

There is so much stuff for sale on Ebay and so many less than honest people selling the stuff, that the above should be taken as a hint that the seller is not being up-front about the item's condition.  Your and my Feeble Minds need all the help we can get and there is a little help for us! 

NP 2626 "Northern Pacific, really terrific"

Northern Pacific Railway Historical Association:  http://www.nprha.org/

  • Member since
    July 2004
  • From: Weymouth, Ma.
  • 5,199 posts
Posted by bogp40 on Saturday, December 20, 2014 7:49 AM

I used to just glue them back w/ a small piece of bronze or brass wire as a drilled dowel or reinforcement. Not a very good solution, have used staples and now will do as drwayne,  fix it right.

Modeling B&O- Chessie  Bob K.  www.ssmrc.org

  • Member since
    October 2001
  • From: OH
  • 17,574 posts
Posted by BRAKIE on Saturday, December 20, 2014 8:11 AM

NP2626
There is so much stuff for sale on Ebay and so many less than honest people selling the stuff, that the above should be taken as a hint that the seller is not being up-front about the item's condition.

And there there are these famous words.

"These was my Dad's and I don't know anything about them".

Really? Hello red flag. I avoid such sales.

 

Larry

Conductor.

Summerset Ry.


"Stay Alert, Don't get hurt  Safety First!"

  • Member since
    April 2011
  • 649 posts
Posted by LensCapOn on Saturday, December 20, 2014 4:03 PM

doctorwayne

 

 

 

 Better to have a solution for the problem than let it bother you so much. 
 
I deliberately cut the sill steps off most of my rolling stock, and replace them with metal ones from A-Line.
 
Here's the finished car:
 
 
 
Wayne
 
 
 

No fair showing a real car as the model.

 

(As if someone could produce that fine of a model......)

 

 

 

snark/on

  • Member since
    March 2002
  • From: Milwaukee WI (Fox Point)
  • 11,145 posts
Posted by dknelson on Saturday, December 20, 2014 4:10 PM

Way back Walthers used to offer a bag of replacement stirrup steps which were nothing more than metal staples of various sizes.  You'd split one off the block of staples with your fingernail or a fine knife blade.  At the time we thought they were pretty wonderful, even if they look crude (if still finer than the plastic stirrup on some older models).  Nobody dreamed back then of commercial aftermarket stirrup steps, grab irons, running boards, and ladders such as as we enjoy today.  

Dave Nelson

  • Member since
    April 2013
  • 917 posts
Posted by Southgate on Saturday, December 20, 2014 4:35 PM

 

 
 

 

 

[/quote]

BRAKIE
 
NP2626
There is so much stuff for sale on Ebay and so many less than honest people selling the stuff, that the above should be taken as a hint that the seller is not being up-front about the item's condition.

 

And there there are these famous words.

"These was my Dad's and I don't know anything about them".

Really? Hello red flag. I avoid such sales.

 

 

Actually, I've gotten some whoppin' good deals simply becuse they "didn't know anything about them"...and I DID!  Ya gotta know what you're looking at though.

My eBay pet peeve: "Reserve not met"      Either start at your reserve, or don't have one.  I don't waste my time on those.

 

  • Member since
    February 2004
  • From: Knoxville, TN
  • 2,055 posts
Posted by farrellaa on Saturday, December 20, 2014 8:44 PM

Santa Fe all the way!
There's also the problem of match paint on the new steps.

I use the A-Line metal steps and then paint them with some acrylic craft paints from Walmart or Hobby Lobby. There is a large color selection and I can always find something close and then tint a little with whatever color is lacking; you'd be surprised how close you can get it. Also, with such a small area to paint/match it is generally close enough especially after I weather the steps and lower body.

   -Bob

Life is what happens while you are making other plans!

  • Member since
    January 2008
  • From: Tampa, Florida
  • 1,481 posts
Posted by cedarwoodron on Saturday, December 20, 2014 9:19 PM

I put a small piece of styrene behind where there is space below the car floor, to reinforce the plastic lip area before drilling at each corner. After the cement has set (I use Model Master styrene glue), I hand paint the added piece. Then, when I drill small holes to mount the DIY steps, there is just that bit of extra material there to prevent drilling thru the car side. I use either .020 or .025 steel or phosphor bronze wire, appropriately bent, then CA-ed in place, then painted. Using the 3 foot rule (or even the 1 foot rule! Smile), the result is not too bad.

Cedarwoodron

  • Member since
    December 2003
  • From: Good ol' USA
  • 9,536 posts
Posted by AntonioFP45 on Sunday, December 21, 2014 11:21 AM

Similar issue with passenger car modelers.  Although a big step above the old 1980s-90s Rivarossi units, the Walthers varnish are more fragile, in comparison, and should be handled with gentle hands.  I have quite a few stirrups that are either cracked, bent, or are barely hanging on at an angle. What adds to the dilemma with passenger car stirrups is that on a number of cars the stirrups hang ahead of the car end, making them even more vulnerable to accidental breakage.

If no one produces metal stirrups for Budds, I'll have to look into forming replacements out of brass wire.

A compliment to Rapido in that the stirrups on their streamlined passenger cars are stronger and not so easily broken inspite of being the correct size as on this unit here:

 

 

"I like my Pullman Standards & Budds in Stainless Steel flavors, thank you!"

 


  • Member since
    January 2004
  • From: Canada, eh?
  • 12,766 posts
Posted by doctorwayne on Sunday, December 21, 2014 1:14 PM

Santa Fe all the way!
....There's also the problem of match paint on the new steps.

Actually, since stirrup steps (and grabirons) are considered to be "safety appliances", they are required to be in good repair.  That means that if a car is received by a railroad, and has a safety appliance damaged, it must be repaired by that road before being sent on.  The railroad does the necessary work (including painting the repaired area with whatever paint they might use for such work on their own rolling stock), and then bills the owning road for the labour and materials.  That's part of the agreements covering interchange, and all common carrier roads are participants.  So when you can't exactly match the car's original colour, it still would be quite prototypical.  Besides that, a little weathering will help it to blend in with the original - the lower extremities of a car are most prone to weathering anyway.

As for sill steps on passenger cars, it's easy to make your own using Detail Associates .010"x.030" flat brass bar:

There's info on that procedure (and a number of other things - you'll need to scroll down a bit to get to the passenger car steps) here:

http://bigbluetrains.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=2545


Another thing to remember is that rolling stock did get damaged and repaired on a continuing basis, so it wouldn't be all that unusual to have a boxcar or hopper with a side panel or two repaired or replaced, and then painted with a non-matching colour.  It gives your cars a bit of implied history, and should be considered an integral part of the weathering process.

Wayne

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Users Online

Search the Community

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!