Hi all. Thank you for your comments and interest in my cable car build so far. Another update, longer since the last one than I would have liked.
After the trellis saga, I got the assembly fitted to the car body and rear structure. I won't be exercising the trellis extension/compression for the reasons given earlier, but it does swing freely and it's in this state I'll leave it for now.
These are the three main control levers (and pedal) used by the grip-man in the front of the cable car. They'll be painted correctly according to the instructions and reference pictures; the black is some primer. Below my photo is a reference shot of the grip-man's controls.
The long one on the far left is the grip lever. This is what enables the grip-man to engage or release the underground cable that runs under the road and tracks. The cable runs at 9.5 MPH, but the cable car can run faster when free-wheeling downhill without the cable engaged.
The second lever is the emergency brake lever, hence it is will is to be painted red. Application of the emergency brake lever forces forces an 18-inch steel wedge into the steel slot between the tracks, stopping the car immediately. The force of this is so great that sometimes it takes a cutting torch to get the wedge out of the slot!
The pedal is the normal brake control. Each wheel has a soft steel shoe that can be pulled tight against the wheel to stop the car. These are crew-activated by foot pedals on both ends of the California cars, and on the front end of the Powell cars. A conductor’s lever on the rear platform activates rear track brakes on Powell cars (as Rick kindly explained earlier). The wheel brakes are crew-activated by foot pedals on both ends of the California cars, and on the front end of the Powell cars. More on the wheel brakes at assembly time.
The final item on the far right is the track-brake lever. Track brakes are simply pieces of wood located between the wheel sets on the cars. There are four for each car, two feet long each, made of soft Monterey Fir. When the grip-man activates the track-brake lever, the blocks press against the tracks to help stop the car. Check the reference photo below. I'll be creating brake blocks later.
Left to Right: Emergency brake, Grip lever, Track brake lever, Wheel brake pedal on floor
Reference photo showing the track brake blocks in various states of wear.
Time to skip ahead while paint is drying. It's time to construct the front and rear chassis assemblies. There are some differences to the front and rear chassis, I'll point these out as we go. But essentially construction is the same. Here are our main components for the front chassis. I've already attached the rings and screws that will hold the wheels at the correct spacing on the axles. For this chassis I followed the instructions. For the second, rear chassis, I deviated and developed my own method which I found to be easier.
One side is connected to the front and rear frame. Long bolts are used with nuts to secure them, which is a very fiddly process which takes many hours. It's just as hard on the eyes and patience as it is on the fingers and tools. Not for beginners! At the end most of the bolts are trimmed down with cutters.
Here the wheel axles are slotted in. And a problem is discovered. This is part of the reason why I did things slightly differently on the second chassis.
This is the gap caused by the excess length of the axles:
Using the approximate excess difference, I taped one end of each of the axles. And hack-sawed through the hard steel. I like hack-saws. A lot. Is that normal?
Success and the basic chassis structure is created. The underside piece was a real pain to assemble after everything is in place. I did this at an earlier stage for the rear chassis.
Note most bolts have been trimmed down. The two extending out from the front are for a board which will be attached after painting white. Then those bolts too will be trimmed. I secured all these with a drop of CA glue to help ensure nothing comes undone over time...
This was the next hurdle, as demanded by the instructions. I also elected to connect this piece at an earlier stage of the rear chassis construction. It's just too difficult to get the bolts through between the other bits and pieces, and to secure them while the nuts are tightened.
This piece, apart from the protruding bolts that will hold the front board, is what differentiates the front from rear chassis. Through this rectangular gap, the grip-lever end protrudes below the level of the cable car, under the road and tracks to connect with the the underground cable. This piece is CA glued into place. I am using gel-type medium CA for most of my build. I love it. I use thin CA for helping to secure the nuts and bolts, along with CA accelerator spray to aid the bonding.
The knob on top of the chassis rotates. This gives the truck (chassis) freedom to move when installed under the cable car body.
Here are the two assembled chassis next to each other, after hours of lessons learned, blurred eyesight and lots of swearing.
Time to make some track brake blocks. Refer to the earlier post about these blocks, usually made of Monterey Fir.
We start by trimming the 28 mm lengths of the appropriate wood type.
They will each need to be sanded down to the corrected width to fit into their track-brake slots under the suspension bogeys, and then shaped. 80-grit to get the width, 180-grit to shape, 240-grit to finish them.
These are not secured in at this stage, as the entire metalwork needs to be painted gun metal grey. I would point out the instructions indicated every single metal chassis part should be painted prior to construction. As paint doesn't stick that well, particularly to cast metal, when scraped, bashed and sanded, I decided on my course of action which was to assemble them completely and then prime/paint.
Repeat the brake block process four times for this:
I've now removed the brake blocks and set them aside for later installation.
The chassis will both be primed, and then sprayed in gunmetal grey. The cabin side boards from earlier will be completed with regards to paint, and attached. The front board that attaches to the front chassis will be painted white and secured, the bolts trimmed. The front and rear chassis will then be secured to the cable car body. Then we will move on to some decal application, before beginning the final main stages of the cable car.
I'm also planning a display base for the cable car. It won't sit nicely on any flat surface, because the cable grip will hang below the bottom line of the wheels. I have a cunning scheme which will solve that.
Stay tuned, keep safe everyone, and I thank you all for looking in and any comments you leave. I'll be back in a few days.
Interesting update. The bogey design is relatively crude compared to railway construction, showing the age of cable car design. It reflects contemporary narrow gauge railways of the late Victorian age. Are there brake rods etc to add? I can’t work out how the wheel brakes are activated. Never come across track brakes before though, that’s a new one to me. All in all great stuff!