Athearn Challenger/UP Excursion Train?

Spookshow Jun 25, 2013

  1. Spookshow

    Spookshow TrainBoard Member

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    Now that the new Challengers are shipping, I was wondering what people have planned vis'a'vis putting together UP excursion trains? Looking for some ideas to "borrow" :)

    Thanks,
    -Mark
     
  2. sumfred

    sumfred TrainBoard Member

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    Mark,
    not planning an excursion train, but something similar. (I'm still in the '50's and running steam only)
    On another matter, will you do a new test on these new Challengers?
    Fred
     
  3. robert3985

    robert3985 TrainBoard Member

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    Not me Mark. My Athearn Challengers, with the exception of 3985 (the model being converted to coal as the prototype was in the 50's), will be doing helper service on the rear of every non-Big Boy powered freight (except two daily locals) on my layout. The new ones my son and I are getting are 3700 class, oil-fired Challengers with smoke lifters, and all my old ones will be receiving their new 3700 class numbers, some of which do not have smoke lifters as per the prototype. However, the modern oil-applianced tenders will be modified to the much simpler 50's look, with one vent and one filling hatch.

    Since I run 24" minimum mainline radii (with most curves being broader), I also shorten the drawbar on all Challengers and Big Boys for a much more prototypical appearance. I haven't shortened any with the new, simpler drawbars yet, and it'll be interesting to get into it.
     
  4. WPZephyrFan

    WPZephyrFan TrainBoard Member

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    Hey, Mark!
    I'm thinking of doing a makeshift excursion train. It won't be an exact model, but a UP yellow boxcar and a few UP passenger cars. Don't know where I'm going to find a ex turbine tender for it. Maybe I'll get lucky and find some Kato UP passenger car sets at one of the upcoming train shows.
     
  5. N-Jineer

    N-Jineer TrainBoard Member

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    Interesting about you converting #3985 back to coal - I'm toying with doing exactly the same thing, seeing as my 2nd Challenger, #3964, is coal fired and didn't the scrap yard cutting torches . :crying: How are you going about doing that conversion?

    When you get around to shortening the drawbar, please post pics :cool:
     
  6. SP&S #750

    SP&S #750 TrainBoard Member

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    I'd like a challenger in the SP&S roadname, but I'm really curious to see what you guys do with your's. It'd be interesting to see a train made up of UP's merged railroads, SP, CNW, MP, WP, etc.
     
  7. jp2005

    jp2005 TrainBoard Member

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    I have a greyhound challenger that I run with a Con-Cor Veranda tender and the Kato City Streamliner A,B,C sets. I've been looking at maybe painting and decaling an express box to be a toolcar.
     
  8. river_eagle

    river_eagle TrainBoard Member

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    con cor tender, custom painted mhc
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    excursion
    [video=youtube;PaWXzFmlNIA]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PaWXzFmlNIA[/video]

    cola excursion

    [video=youtube;Ao1pXlaog0s]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ao1pXlaog0s[/video]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 26, 2013
  9. SP&S #750

    SP&S #750 TrainBoard Member

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    Didn't MTL do a car like that?
     
  10. robert3985

    robert3985 TrainBoard Member

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    Here's a couple of photos of my old 3985...actually I bought two of 'em, one of which gets converted to a 3700 class, oil-fired Challenger in the very near future, along with a Tsunami TSU4664N decoder to replace the POS MRC decoder.

    1st photo shows the difference between a standard drawbar and a shortened one. As you can also see, I started the back-to-coal conversion on the 3985 with the shortened drawbar, which is a simple matter of buying the coal load from Athearn (a Big Boy one will also work), then taking the toolbox off and sliding the oil bunker back, then lifting it out. The coal load goes in very easily. I plan on using actual scale-sized coal over the cast plastic coal for variety's sake.
    [​IMG]

    This oil bunker is way too "busy" with all the modern stuff for catching any stray droplet of oil. The prototype 50's UP bunker was a simple, riveted affair with one vent and one oil hatch, along with the hand rails. Also, to be correct, the ash pans should be removed off the model if it's oil-fired, but I haven't got around to doing that yet (but I will).

    2nd photo is an overall view of a stock Athearn 3985 modified with a coal load and shortened drawbar. IMO, shortened drawbars make a huge difference in the appearance of these models.
    [​IMG]

    I'll take some photos when I shorten the drawbar on my new Big Boy and Challenger purchase and create a new thread with instructions how to do it. It's pretty simple, with only one caution.
     
  11. WPZephyrFan

    WPZephyrFan TrainBoard Member

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    I plan on occasionally running mine with my UP/WP Heritage unit. I found a video on Youtube of 3985 and 1983 together in the Feather River Canyon, so the excuses I was telling myself for not buying either loco went out the window!
     
  12. Spookshow

    Spookshow TrainBoard Member

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    I ordered a couple of aux tenders when Con-Cor announced the new run of Gas Turbines last year. Although like everything else made in China, it's anybody's guess when/if they'll ever show up.

    -Mark
     
  13. Spookshow

    Spookshow TrainBoard Member

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    Most definitely.

    -Mark
     
  14. Spookshow

    Spookshow TrainBoard Member

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    Wow, talk about handy. I found a picture of the flyer they handed out on the 2002 run when it went through MN. Full consist info!

    [​IMG]

    -Mark
     
  15. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    Just bit the bullet and ordered one, still a pricey loco even with a discount. No UP for me instead the Clinchfield version with the single stack which will get an oil bunk in place of the coal load and SP&S decals. Should be able to get most of my cab lettering and class details off the MT GN steam decals. Strictly a freight service loco in the 1940s-50s time line.
     
  16. SP&S #750

    SP&S #750 TrainBoard Member

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    Z-6 or Z-8?
    [video=youtube;s6ipXnkX3W0]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6ipXnkX3W0&list=PLHtxVVWa1FwgH9I4GwOsG61-yaj1_RVUZ&index=4[/video]

    I hear you WP, I'm always looking for a good excuse to mix match my current stock and I found a great one thanks to my grandfather whom took this picture when he was up on stevens pass.
    Sorry SP #4450 but looks like one of my BN SD40-2's now has an excuse to lead you around.
    Gpa's train pics.jpg
     
  17. N-Jineer

    N-Jineer TrainBoard Member

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    Robert3985,

    Thanks for the info and posting those cool pics - I really like how #3985 looks with a Coal load instead of the modern oil bunker; I think I'd better get me one :cool:
     
  18. Spookshow

    Spookshow TrainBoard Member

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    I don't suppose anyone makes a decal set for all of these "name" cars?

    -Mark
     
  19. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    The only conversion kit I know of is made by GHQ and that appears to be only for a Concor version to convert to a Z-8, and I believe no longer available, and it probably would not fit the Athearn. I will stay with a Z-6 and will probably do minimal changes to get the NP/SP&S flavor. Probably the front leg of the tender and mounting the air compressors on the smokebox front. I will wait until it gets here to see rather than rely on a few model photos. Then I can pull out my encyclopedia drawings of the NP and SP&S version and do a good comparision as to what I can do.
     
  20. SP&S #750

    SP&S #750 TrainBoard Member

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    alrighty I can't wait to see it then John!
     

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