Monday, 18 February 2013

Snapshot - Feburary 2013

Railfanning a MEC RS-11 at White River Junction
A Maine Central RS-11 and F-3 A unit lead a southbound freight over the White River bridge as it approaches White River Jct. by Don Janes

Maine Central Power Makes A Surprise Visit to Don Janes


          One of my favourite spots to railfan is near the bridge over the White River just north of White River Jct. yard.  At that location I can get great photos of the various B&M, CV and CPR engines that traverse this route.  On a beautiful sunny fall day I figured I would shoot more of the same power that regularly runs on this line.  When I heard the horn of a southbound I set up my camera and waited for the train to come out from behind the trees and start over the bridge.  As I looked through the viewfinder I couldn't believe my eyes.  There on the bridge was Maine Central RS-11 #802 leading MEC F3-A #671.  I was so surprised that I almost forgot to push the shutter release. Once I got the shot I jumped in the car and chased the train down towards the yard.  I couldn't pass up a photo op like this.

I raced to the crossing just north of the yard and caught the train popping out from behind the grocery store.  It's a good thing they had to stop and line the switch into the yard.

Once the train was yarded the engines ran to the shop and took a spin on the turntable. The RS-11 would have to be leading when the train headed back up north.  Note the two newly repainted CV cabooses in the background.

Once turned the power was spotted on the service track to be fuelled and sanded while the crew headed to the bunkhouse for their mandatory rest.  It will be dark when these engines head back out but it sure was a great day of railfanning getting shots of these rare visitors to WRJ.

Modelling a Maine Central RS-11

     ALCO RS-11's have always been one of my favourite locomotives but none of the railroads I model had them so I have never had a model of one.  A few weeks ago I was browsing E-Bay when I came  across an Atlas Classic Maine Central RS-11 with a DCC decoder in it.  I thought boy, I really don't need to start modelling another railroad but this engine would be the perfect way to get a model of an RS-11 that fits my era. I placed my bid and won the auction.  When the engine arrived I was extremely pleased with the model.  It had a beautiful paint job, separate grab irons and MU hoses and ran like a Swiss watch.  There would be a few things I would have to do to it before it went into service on the Green Mountain Division, but the model was a great starting point. 

     The Maine Central originally ordered one RS-11, #801. Portland Terminal also got a RS-11, but shortly after delivery the unit was re-lettered Maine Central and given road number #802. I am modeling no. 802.

     I decided to add a Soundtraxx Tsunami ALCO 251 V12 sound decoder and a 16mm x 35mm oval speaker.  I made a styrene speaker enclosure and mounted the speaker in the long hood facing down.  To complete the electronics part of this project I installed Sunny White LED's (from TCS) for the headlight and rear light and adjusted the various CV's for the decoder to suit my liking.

   Next I turned my attention to adding a few details that would make my model match the prototype Maine Central locomotive.  The Atlas RS-11 comes with a wide fuel tank.  After looking at prototype photos I removed this tank and scratch built a new, narrower tank from styrene adding the necessary details.  I made the fuel filler pipes by bending  finishing nails to the proper shape and gluing them into holes I drilled on each side of the tank.  The air reservoirs under the running board were fabricated from Detail Associates roof mounted air tanks for GP-7/9's. 

   Another detail I added was the hand brake chain and guides on each side near the front of the unit.   The guides are brass castings from Custom Finishes and the chain is 40 links per inch from Builders in Scale.  This detail really adds a lot in my eyes. The bell on the fireman's side of the long hood was made from a Miniatures by Eric RS-11 bell.  Another detail I added was the sanding pipes on each end of the trucks.  These were made from small wire inserted into holes in the slack adjusters on the truck frame.

    If I had one complaint about Atlas diesels it would be the grossly over sized handrails on their locomotives.  To correct this issue I cut each stanchion away from the hand rails and drill #78 holes in each stanchion to accept .015 brass wire.  Before doing this I bend new handrails from brass wire using the plastic handrails as a guide then insert this wire into the stanchions and replace them in the frame.  The result is a much more scale looking handrail assembly.  Since I didn't have any True Colour Maine Central Pine Green paint on hand I used CNW green to paint the brass wire and found it to be a close match to the green on the model.  For the end handrail brackets I used Smokey Valley brass handrail brackets and .015 brass wire.  I added drop steps that I had left over from a Proto 1000 RS-18 and installed Detail Associates MU receptacles in the brackets.  Once the detail work was done I added a light coat of weathering to the engine using my airbrush and some powdered chalks from AIM.

     By adding a few extra details and making a new fuel tank I ended up with a model that closely matches the prototype Maine Central RS-11.


  1. CN did indeed have RS-11's on the CV. In January 1965, #3609-3614 were transferred to the CV and in 1968, they were returned to the DW&P.

    1. Yes, you are correct but I model the 1950's and those DW&P units didn't arrive until the mid 1960's as you stated so in my era of modelling there were no RS-11's on the CV...Don