My very good friend Bill Nesbitt works Saturdays at the local train shop (Credit Valley Railway Company).  On occasion he runs trains of his on the impressive store layout.  One such day in September 2015 saw his MTH 20th Century Limited seven-car set headed by Dreyfuss J3a Hudson 5446 making the large circuit.  At some point in time a derailment went unnoticed and when discovered the Dining Car 680 suffered damage.  Bill brought the car along to an operating session here at Fillmore and when he left, he left the car sitting on my work bench.  It sat forlornly for a couple of weeks before I had the nerve to study the damage in detail.  I offered to try to repair the car, although I wasn’t 100% sure how it would turn out.  This is how it went….

Damage assessment:  Truck was totally destroyed and body was badly damaged.  Right above where the melted plastic body damage is, there are the track power pick-ups for the interior lighting.  This must have very quickly heated up upon derailing.



Since an MTH replacement truck costs ~$50.00 CDN; we opted to replace with them with much less-expensive Walthers Six-Wheel Lightweight “Super Chief” trucks, although not prototypically correct.  Floor was badly warped locally due to heat.


Bad floor section cut out with heated old No 11 blade; opening edges are smoothed flat.


The car centre frame was removed at coupler ends to make room for new mountings for trucks (Walthers truck has offset hole, so we could not use the existing mount).  The existing mounting holes were cut down.


Because I’m clumsy, a styrene guard was added to protect delicate boarding ladder.



A patch sheet was made to cover the cut away hole (.010” black styrene) and glued in place.


Now for the body damage while we waited for the Walthers trucks to arrive: the high spots lowered with a file – Tamiya tape protects window striping.


Then the damage was notched to accept a patch panel…


…a patch panel of .060″ styrene was installed….


…then smoothed…


….Tamiya putty applied…


…and sanded, ready for primer.


At this point I decided to prepare the truck mounts from a junked Walthers Heavyweight Pullman 12-1 Sleeper.  They were removed from the car and filed to the shape below.


Then the truck mounts were fitted – they still needed to be adjusted for car ride height (trim or shim).


When trucks arrived, the truck mounts were shimmed (.030” one end, .020” the other) & held in place with blue-tack inside of mount and compared with two other cars to obtain the correct ride height.  When this was achieved they were glued in place.

The toughest part of this was to try to color-match the existing paint scheme.  I’m not good with color, but my guess of adding some Roof Brown to Reefer Grey got me zeroed in fairly quickly.  The brown tint produced a warm grey that looked like the original color applied.  I adjusted the mix and tested on some scrap plastic sheet.  When I felt ok about it, I shot some primer onto the repaired area.  I did need to spend more time taking out some imperfections though.  Note liberal use of Tamiya tape.  We were fortunate that the damage was confined below the Opex Blue lower window stripe.  This was masked easily.


One dilemma was the car number: do I just locally paint the area and feather it out before it gets too close to the car number, or do I paint the whole lower panel?  My preference was to paint the whole panel as I was not confident in matching the paint as accurately as it needed to be.  To protect the car numbers, I placed very tiny dots of blue-tack with a tooth pick on them, just enough to cover each character.


Final Primer coat applied….


…aluminum paint applied for lower stripe…


…when dry, masking for stripe applied – Jammy Dog tape .75mm wide (.030”)…


The special mix of Polly Scale Reefer Grey, Grimy Black & Roof Brown was applied and masks removed…


Tamiya Flat TS-80 lacquer spray was applied with a final coat of Tamiya Semi-Gloss TS-79 spray.  Definitely not as nice as a factory paint job, but better than the twisted mess it arrived in.


ALCo 600 hp switcher was sent over to the Pullman Company Car Shop in East Buffalo to retrieve NYC 680.  It will be deadheaded to Chicago on No 43 South Shore Express at 1:15PM for arrival in Chicago at 12:30AM the following day, where it will be prepped to rejoin the 20th Century Limited the coming afternoon.