Saturday, March 26, 2011

A Railroad is Born

Today, something called the West Central Minnesota Railroad became a reality. The WCMR patched their first car, a 54' covered hopper formerly leased to the Honeymead Company of Mankato, MN. The railroad envisions a fleet of covered hoppers that will be used to provide dependable service to a number of on-line customers.

To celebrate this occasion, WCMR 902 was set out at the end of the yard (between BNSF trains, of course) and many photos were taken. The mechanical department understands that these "patch" jobs will get easier with time, but they are justifiably proud of the work done on this first car.

If things go as planned, the WCMR will end up with a colorful fleet, as many of the second hand cars they intend to acquire were nicely decorated by their previous owner or lessor. The caveat about plans being made so as to be broken applies, however.

As information for other aspiring short-line railroad owners or folks looking to make a fortune in car-hire fees, WCMR mechanical would like to offer some tips. First, prior patching attempts using white decal film and an inkjet printer were not successful. The acquisition of a laser printer was instrumental to the success of this venture. Second, when you get your laser printer, don't use the "transparency" setting. Use the "plain paper" setting. As soon as the decals have printed, a good coat of clear gloss spray paint, along with a second coat 10 or 15 minutes later, make all the difference in decal durability. Once the clear gloss has dried, treat them like any other decal, with the exception that you need to be very careful with the solvaset or whatever decal setting solution you use. As in, don't even open the bottle. Take our word for it.

To answer anticipated questions about why the car is numbered 902, rather than 900 or 901, the CEO released the following statement: "902 is a lucky number, or hopefully will be some day. I've been playing the lottery using some combination of these numbers for years, and expect a big payday any day now. Numbering our first car 902 can only improve those odds!"

We look forward to seeing other attempts at "patching" equipment from various operators. The future is bright-make sure you have enough equipment to serve your customers!

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