Wednesday, March 30, 2016

E. L. Moore's Spumoni Club Coach: Lunch, ruler and wheels

E. L. Moore was best known for his HO scale model buildings; however, he did publish a small number of articles about making HO scale rolling stock [1],

with the Spumoni family in Merrie Old England; Railroad Model Craftsman, January 1956 (photos of E. L. Moore’s Rowland Emmett style rolling stock)
Photo in Stop, look and listen of E and K train where 6 of the 7 cars are scratch-built; Model Trains, January 1959
Old-Time Log Buggies; Model Trains, March 1960
Snowplow in an Evening; Model Trains, January 1961
Slim gauge carriage; Railroad Model Craftsman, September 1961
Open-air excursion coach; Model Trains, Fall 1961
The little red caboose; Model Trains, December 1961
Central Pacific snowplow; Model Trains, January 1962
A new look for the Old General; Model Trains, March 1962
Six-Ton Jimmy; Model Railroader, May 1967 (manuscript written in 1963)
An Easy Narrow Gauge Coach; Railroad Model Craftsman, March 1969 [2]

While reading through E. L. Moore’s files I came across an unpublished rolling stock manuscript called Spumoni Club Coach written in 1963 [3]. I’ve never built rolling stock before, so I thought I’d give it a try with this project. 

The notes on the manuscript indicate there were 3 accompanying photos and a sheet of drawings. The only photo I came across was the opening beauty shot. The other photos and drawing are missing. I found the text a little hard to follow without the other photos - one was probably a photo of all the parts prior to assembly laid out in kit form - and the drawing, so I’m going to intersperse my own notes, photos and drawings throughout his manuscript to aid the explanation. E. L. Moore’s manuscript is in Courier, and my notes are Arial. Here we go.

E. L. Moore

I'll admit Spumoni Club Special sounds a lot like a three decker sandwich. Fact is, back in the days when Ma Spumoni presided over the Red Eye Saloon [4], she did put out just such a sandwich. Pork, beef and chicken, with pickle, all for 15 cents. But them days are gone forever.

Hold on a minute. I can’t think of a better way to start a new project than with lunch. Debra and I discussed that sandwich at length, and being the master chef she is, as well as head-honcho here at the 30 Squares media empire, she came up with an excellent spin on the classic club sandwich a la E. L. Moore’s triple decker memory. I hand this part of the post over to her to explain how to make your own incredibly delicious 2016 Spumoni Club Special Sandwich.
2016 Spumoni Club Special Sandwich
A new twist on an American classic

Makes two generous sandwiches (one for you and one for someone you really like)

6 slices of Premiere Moisson Country Style Round Loaf Bread, toasted (Baked in Quebec with no artificial anything. Sold at Farm Boy in eastern Ontario).
6 slices of nitrate-free, Double-Smoke Bacon, pan-fried (Drug-free meats from Roadapple Ranch, Finch, Ontario. Tell Mike that Debra sent you).

100g of nitrate-free, thinly sliced chicken.

100g of Farm Boy, AAA Beef deli meat, sliced thin (roasted in the Farm Boy kitchen, no nitrates, no additives of any kind).

Your favorite mayonnaise.

1 thinly sliced, ripe tomato and romaine lettuce, preferably both organic.
1. Each sandwich uses 3 slices of bread. One slice of bread acts as the divider between the two layers of the sandwich. One layer has chicken, bacon, lettuce and tomato. The other layer has beef, bacon, lettuce, and tomato. Spread mayonnaise thinly on each internal side of the bread slices.  

2.  Serve with a pickle. It is also especially good with a pile of Red Apron sliced Bread and Butter Pickles .  You long-time readers know Red Apron from previous posts in this blog.  If you don't like pickles, it's also great with Broccoli Slaw.

My recommendation is that you stop at this point, make some sandwiches, enjoy lunch with someone close, come back in an hour or two and we’ll get started. Google willing, I’ll still be here when you return :-)
The Club Coach was really the old man’s idea -- Pa Spumoni’s. He wanted a mobile retreat where the boys could get together for a little friendly game and some celebrating now and again. The middle of Skunk Hollow Trestle seemed the ideal spot, but apparently Ma set Pistachio, Jr on their trail and dogged them down.
["The private car of the "Cirrhosis Club" of the Grasse River Railroad in upper New York State picks up the happy lumber workers and returns them to camp after the saloons close on Saturday nights. C. M. Clegg photograph." As E. L. Moore notes, this photo appears on page 298 of Lucius Beebe's Mixed Train Daily, published by Howell-North in 1947 - I have the 1961 edition.]

Now if you think this coach is a modeler’s wild dream, then just you take a gander at page 298 of MIXED TRAIN DAILY. However, the interior of Pa Spumoni’s coach is probably a bit more sumptious [sic] than that of the Grasse River club car.

When I read that paragraph I went straight to my bookshelf and opened up the copy of Mixed Train Daily Debra gave me for my last birthday, and lo and behold, there it was. You'll notice that the window height to skirting proportions on the car are a little different on the prototype and they result in larger windows. 

Photograph (A) [this photo is missing] pretty well shows the necessary parts of the coach ready for assembling. The only commercial parts used are a T-25 Central Valley old time passenger truck with an 8’ wheelbase, and one from a set Selley’s #335 work car steps. Any truck with a similar length wheelbase will do.

I'm still looking for work car steps - maybe I'll make my own from styrene - but a friend of mine gave me an HO scale passenger car truck in response to my whining that I had no such thing in my scrap box on the condition that I not mention his name in the post. Thank-you Mr. X!
It's not an old time passenger truck, it's Italian made, from a larger, more modern passenger car and probably dates from the '70s or '80s. It's 8'-6" between wheel centres, so its size is close. Besides, I spent all my money on sandwiches, so I can't look a free truck in the couplers :-) I decided to make a few repairs on this piece and go with it. 
I removed the built-in coupler and returned it to Mr. X. I then replaced the wheel sets with some 30" diameter Walthers wheels. They have much smaller flanges and turn more freely than the originals. The side frames were a little splayed, so I glued in some styrene pieces to square things up.
Some styrene shims were glued on top to provide a level surface for the car body. Once all these styrene pieces were glued on, the mounting hole was drilled into the truck centre. The original hole was off-centre, so it had to be relocated anyway.

A few scraps of balsa, about five inches of 1/16” thick commercial sheathing, and you’re in business. Instead of regular sheathing I sanded down some 1/16” corrugated wood roofing to get the effect of very narrow sheathing (I had hoped!) 

I still need to settle on what I'm going to use to build the sides. 

And then, of course the floor, a piece 1’ thick by 8’ by 19’ long. A slice from a souvenir or advertising yardstick makes ideal flooring. The roof is removable and fits down over the sides.
Turns out I do have a few old yard sticks they used to give away in hardware and paint stores, and had a broken piece so I didn't need to contemplate ruining some relic. 
I cut a 19' section from the yardstick to use as the floor. It turns out the floor thickness scales to 1'-3" instead of the 1' E. L. Moore specifies, so I'll need to make some adjustments to the side walls. The good news is the width does indeed match the 8' spec. 

Beginning with the floor, center the truck and fasten it on with a screw, then lay it aside and tackle the sides and ends.
I painted the floor bottom flat black and the top green. That isn't the screw protruding into the floor, but a wood chip left over from the pilot hole that I later cleaned away.

That's it for now. Join me again for lunch and some coach body construction!


[1] The Spumoni Club Coach is in the lineage of Slim gauge carriage, Open-air excursion coach, and An Easy Narrow Gauge Coach: easy going passenger equipment. I get the impression from these builds that they aren’t so much for getting from one place to another, but for just getting away. Getting away from it all. Freelanced and free-and-easy. Escape is the prototype.

[2] If you've read E. L. Moore's An Easy Narrow Gauge Coach that was published in the March 1969 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman you'll note that that coach is a narrow gauge variation on the Spumoni Club Coach. Mr. Moore converted an AHM N-scale mine car to an HOn2 1/2 coach. And, hold onto your hats: he notes in the article this was his first project that made use of styrene! Yes, a project predominately of styrene. He stated that since the car being converted was styrene, it made sense to use it for the modifications. He also seems to be a relatively sophisticated styrene builder at that, recommending to the reader to use a liquid cement - Testor's liquid was his choice - instead of the tube stuff.

[3] I’ve also come across another unpublished rolling stock project called Alaska Railroad Cement Mixing Car that was written in 1969. It seems to have 2 sheets of drawings, and between 3 and 6 photographs accompanying the manuscript, but they appear to be lost. As Mr. Moore states in the manuscript’s opening paragraph, “It is nothing more than a cement mixing machine mounted on the end of a flatcar, with a few conveniences built around it extemporaneuous manner." His prototype was a photograph by “John (The Beard) Henderson” sent to him by “a friendly critic up Alaska way.”

[4] Construction of Ma Spumoni’s Red Eye Saloon was presented in Civic center for Boomtown in the March ’63 issue of Model Railroader. Apparently as well as those 15 cent triple-decker sandwiches, “... a 5-cent beer entitled you to a free lunch and the atmosphere was hazy with the smoke of good 5-cent cigars. This was when sumptuous 25-cent dinners were cooked on wood-fed stoves and dinner buckets were packed to capacity....”.