Idler Car

An idler car is used when working the boat to keep the engine’s weight off of the incline apron as it connects to the boat.  The Mount Vernon Car Company built two for the M-I in September 1926.  One was used at Thomure (#1600) and the other at the Kellogg, Illinois incline (#1601).

Since this car has never been manufactured and I did not have drawings for the car, I relied upon 3 photographs.  Two images were corrected for perspective using Adobe Lightroom Classic.  The only standard sized items in the image were the wheels. Assuming these measured 33″ in diameter, I calculated all measurements from this standard. The car length is approximately 34′-2″.  The model was built over the course of 2 weeks using Evergreen styrene and detail parts from Tichy, PSC and Protocraft.

This car will see lots of action in Thomure at the incline shoving and pulling cuts of cars.

The idler car sitting beside the engine house at Thomure.
Perspective corrected version of the above photo.
The cabin sides of #1600 are symmetrical as seen in this image. Interestingly, the two pictures differ in terms of the waist height railing nearest the cabin. The entire side is protected by the railing at this point in the car’s history.
This color photo shows the idler car in operation at Thomure. Another difference from the above photos is a simplification of the reporting marks to “M.I.” rather than “Missouri – Illinois”. Dennis Faircloth collection.
The floor is rather simple as I tend to be more interested in operations than details.
.040″ sheet styrene was scribed to simulate wooden planks and .100″ Z-channels added for bracing.
Once the ends and sides of the cabin were built, Tichy doors were placed and the assembly was attached to the floor.
The open end was built with a variety of Evergreen styrene shapes.
Ready for operations testing on the layout.
Fresh out of the paint shop with color coat and decals.