Tuesday, January 21, 2020

McKeen Motor Car Arrives on the Copperopolis Road

McKeen Number 99 stops at Milton to discharge passengers for the waiting stage to Church's Mineral Springs. The Stanley Mountain Wagon is by Mokelumne River Models.
A new 55-foot McKeen motor car has been seen putting along the tracks east of Stockton. It appears that the railroad's management has seen fit to experiment with yet another motor car. It is anticipated that this car will be used in lieu of a comfortable coach pulled by a reliable steam locomotive. Time will see if the public will accept this new mode of transportation.
This view shows the boat-like design of the motor car with a sharp "bow" and rounded "stern."
 In reality, the car is an old Ken Kidder model from the '50s-'60s. I had purchased this car back in the 1990s but the motor/transmission had played out and so the car had been side-tracked  on the shelf until recently. The delay has mostly been due to getting the proper sound from the car. Nobody makes an off-the-shelf McKeen motor car sound so I had to devise one myself. The decoder used was a Loksound model modifed for the new car. I used a Galloping Goose as the basic motor sound. The whistle was recorded by me a couple of years ago in Carson City where the only running McKeen car is kept. The whistle is original as well.
The big trouble with the Goose sound is that starting of the Goose is by an electric starter where the McKeen was an air-starting engine, a completely different sound. I solved that problem by splicing out the electric starter and splicing in the air-start sound from an Alco locomotive. The same thing was done with the whistle and the bell. Learning the Loksound programming method was a project but it turns out that it is straight-forward once you learn the program's arrangement.
      Powering of the car is by a Stanton drive which is a very slick way to do the job. The unit has the motor and gearing in one unit with 4-wheel pickup. The wiring is such that the drive can be used for DC or easily rearranged for DCC. Wipers on all of the front truck wheels added to the pickup.The car was painted after the original paint scheme as reproduced by the Nevada State Railroad Museum.
     The motor vehicle shown in one of the photos is a 3D printed model of a Stanley 12-passenger Mountain
The underside of the Stanton Drive showing the electrical 
pickups and gearing. The truck sideframes are glued on
spacers attached to the drive.
Wagon of the same vintage as the McKeen. It is made by Mokelumne River Models (www.mokrivermodels.com) and is a very good reproduction. I highly recommend their products. Lastly, this style of motor car was not made until about 1910. They were used on the Stockton & Copperopolis from that time until around 1920 but, by then, the line was a part of the Southern Pacific. Why have the car on an 1895 railroad? I like McKeens and plan to have a couple or so more eventually. Model Railroading is Fun!