Large Scale Central

Bucket Coaling Station

Many years ago, when I was doing HO, I built this neat little coal and sanding station from a kit by Fine Scale Miniatures.

I’ve always wanted to do something like that in 1:20. While poking around my Model Railroader collection on CD, I found that the June 1955 issue had the plans and the prototype.

(The plans are also featured in Garden Railways magazine April 2012.) I used some 1/2" square posts for the corners and main beams then added some 1/2" x 1/4" pieces for the other horizontal beams. Not really the right size, but it should look OK. First, I built the back. I glued the pieces together and then nailed them with some 1" #18 nails. I drill holes for all the nails first, just to make sure the nails go where I want. :wink: After the back was dry, I attached the sides.

Clamps and weights help hold everything in place until dry. Once the ends are in place, I added some roof trusses and glued some floor beams in place.

Here’s how it looks with most of the framing in place.

There’s not much detail given in ANY of the drawings I have for the crane itself. It appears to be hydraulic, with a couple of gears, but I have no idea how those gears make the buckets go up and down. I suspect it doesn’t matter all that much, so I’ll just make it look like the pictures… :o

Neat prototype Bruce. Nice start on the build.

To make it look right, it has to give the OSHA inspector a heart attack.

Add some wheels and pulleys, some chains and ropes and nobody will notice whether it works are not…long as it looks nifty…:wink:

Ah ha… Am waiting to see another model buildd by the ““Master””… :slight_smile:

Ken Brunt said:
Add some wheels and pulleys, some chains and ropes and nobody will notice whether it works are not...................long as it looks nifty.......;)
My attitude as well; we're not building museum pieces, just scenery... Nice to know I'm among friends here ;)

Bruce - excellent project, very old-tyme railroady - I have a similar one in mind, based on that same prototype - N. Milwaukee yard as I recall from the old article, at some point fairly soon I expect. Yikes! I’m surprised at how BIG your model looks.

That magazine is actually on my workbench at this moment, has been for a few months now… Fools, they say, never differ…:lol:

Do you have an adhesive that you trust outdoors? I rely strictly on mechanical means - screws, nails, crimped wires, actual woodworkers’ joinery in miniature, all because I don’t trust the glues in ice and rain etc. , figure no matter what, eventually moisture will get into the wood beneath the glue & things will begin to fall apart…

Oh, yes, I’ve raised this query on other threads here; always interested in other guys’ responses… yours?

On the B&O at Vincennes In in the days of steam , the local switcher and the loco used as a helper in freights East of Vincennes , there was a coaling station there . It used the locomotives air pressure to operate with hoses the crane and bucket. And there was a 55 ton coal hopper parked behind it , and the doors were opened up and the hostler shoveled the coal from under the hopper ,and put into the big bucket on the hoist , and then into the tender . The hostler was there all night keeping the steam pressure up and the fire going , and doing minor PM on the loco for its next days duties . Then every week or two the loco would be in the train to Washington In where the division point and shops were at , and a fresh loco would be stationed at Vincennes . I sat in te cab of the locos while he worked , or just watched him , it was a slower time back then . The hoist was not in a building or covered , I know you think thats a lot of coal to shovel , but , I learned myself at the coal fired power plant where I worked , that even a really big pile of coal which seemed impossible to do , can be done if you pace yourself and you have all night . I know this does not help you build it , but the air pressure from the loco and pistons did the heavy work lifting the big filled bucket . Here I am at the coaling station next to a mike . The coal car is behind me .


John, the plans from GR seem to have slightly different dimensions than the ones from MR, but it’s still a good size building. I’m using Tite Bond III. Supposed to be waterproof. I don’t have very many wood buildings, but I don’t trust glue, so I’m also using nails. So far, just the 1" #18 for the beams. I have some tiny brass nails I plan to use for the floor and siding. Dennis, I may model an air hose as well. I’ll probably put something together based on the drawing and my old pictures of my own model. The buckets look “easier” than the crane, so I’ll start with them. The original plan suggested wrapping sheet brass around a dowel and soldering the ends together to form a cylinder. Then, cut a disc and solder it in place. Heh. Not going to happen. The GR plans want the buckets to be 3’ in diameter AND 3’ in height. That sounds too square for me. :o I found some 1 3/4" diameter tubing (30" scale diameter) AND some ends from Plastruct. The tubing is cut down to 3’ scale height.

I’ll glue the ends in place and then wrap some styrene strips around the top and bottom. I only have 8 ends, so I’ll make some other bottom pieces out of some PVC. I’ll leave these “empty”; the rest will be full of coal. I’m thinking of making one of them with the end open, as if it’s just emptied the load into the tender. We’ll see. :wink:

Now they’re starting to look more like coal buckets. :wink:

I used 1/4" wide .010 styrene to wrap around each bucket. The handle mounts are made from a piece of .040" x .125" sandwiched between some .010" x .125" styrene. Holes will need to be drilled. JB Weld was used to fill some gaps and add a bit of shoulder to the lugs. The ones with the red base will be left empty as they have a thinner bottom; the others will be filled with coal. I still have to make the handles and also represent the latching mechanism.

A bit of paint and they start to look like coal buckets. :o I added some “latch-like” mechanism with some styrene. Not very detailed, but it’ll look fine from normal viewing. Next, I formed the handles out of 1mm brass rod. I finished with a Rustoleum metallic paint.

I’ll have to chop up some coal to fill some of them.

I’ve been working on the crane lately and have most of it done. Still a pulley or two to do, as well as add the chain and maybe some more “details”.

Dang that is looking good Bruce. Is that a floor door to a coal pit in the rear corner ?

Yes indeed, very nice Bruce.

Dave Marconi said:
Dang that is looking good Bruce. Is that a floor door to a coal pit in the rear corner ?

Thanks, guys. That thing in the rear corner will just be a wall to hold back a pile of coal. I need to go chop up some more of the real stuff. The white plastic really got washed out in the flash! Here’s some pictures of it in natural light.

Bruce Chandler said:


At first I thought you were getting ready to do some serious drinking :lol: Now I see that you’re working on another fine building project :wink: Ralph

Getting there. I’m pretty much finished with the crane; it does need a chain, but the only ones I have are either too big or too small. I guess, on the average, they’re just right. :wink:

That’s coming along great! Nice work Bruce!

What’s the red, round thing on the back? Hydraulic cylinder?

Looks pretty darn nifty…:wink:

Bruce Chandler said:
..... I'm pretty much finished with the crane; it does need a chain, but the only ones I have are either too big or too small....
Bulletin... get thee to a charity shop .... costume jewellery display .... usually lots of chain there in my experience ... all sizes and colours... I like brass or steel .... I use Blacken-It from MicroMark... usual disclaimer.... over and out. :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: Looking real good, Bruce... BTW I think larger chain looks better than smaller ... more theatrical ! :rolleyes:
Ken Brunt said:
What's the red, round thing on the back? Hydraulic cylinder?

Looks pretty darn nifty…:wink:

I don’t know but that first picture in the lower right…I think he might be working on a 1:12 model of C3PO …don’t let Vic or Bart see that!