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Welded Rail Train | by North American Prototype Modelers
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Welded Rail Train

North American Prototype Modelers is replacing a section of worn-out 90-pound rail near Independence with 115-pound continuous welded rail. Union Pacific Extra 4921 East is on the River Line with a load of rail for the project. The work train is powered by a pair of SD70Ms is carrying quarter-mile-long lengths of continuous welded rail on flatcars with specialized racks — the racks have rollers which will be used to unload the rail once it arrives at the work site. The welded rail is quite flexible and easily negotiates the curves encountered by the train.


The rail train belongs to NAPM member Scot Cerka. The train was detailed by ProtoLoads of Mount Pleasant, North Carolina. The locomotives are Athearn Genesis SD70M units with Tsunami sound. The flatcars are Tangent Scale Models with rail racks added by ProtoLoads. For safety, the Union Pacific uses hopper cars as buffers at each end of the train; the two buffer cars on each end of the model are Bethlehem four-bay hoppers from Tangent Scale Models and weathered by ProtoLoads. The couplers are Sergent Engineering scale couplers. The Sergent couplers reduce the unprototypical slack and produce more reliable coupling. Finally, a 10K ohm resistor was added to the trailing truck of each car to comply with NAPM's car standards to activate the club's signal system.


At the center of the train is a tie-down car. On the prototype this car locks the rail in place; on the model it is functional and serves the same purpose. At each end of the train is a tunnel car which the rail passes through. As the train negotiates curves the rail slides in an out of the tunnel cars, allowing the train to remain flexible. Between the tie-down and each tunnel car are 10 flatcars — 20 total — which support the rail on racks with rollers. The model functions just as the prototype, allowing the rail to move through the train. Each rail is a seventeen foot (a scale quarter-mile long) piece continuously modeled from gray plastic. The rail was weathered using Rust-Oleum Painters Touch Satin Espresso, Flat Red Primer and completed with Krylon Matte Finish.


Photo by NAPM member Mark Mathu.

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Taken on November 25, 2016