July 29, 2009

Working Brakes

In developing this large scale layout I wondered if I could develop a method of adding working handbrakes to the freight cars. Even though my trains will be short, roughly 8 to 12 cars, I will probably need two man crews as the link and pin couplers require the brake men to use two hands to couple. Adding working brakes would add additional work for the brakeman and would also be realistic.

Cars in this era had brakes only on one truck. Thus the linkage is pretty simple. Using some brass 1/16th inch rod and 1/32inch phosphor bronze rod I made a brake linkage based on drawings from White's book on early freight cars.

This video demonstrates the holding action and release of the brakes. Since it looks like they work, the question is, do I want to add working brakes to the whole fleet? It adds about one and half hours to the construction time.


  1. Hello, nice modeling that works, is the boxcar and trucks scrach built by you?, and will they be availble to purchace?. Gary

  2. I am thinking about offering these as kits if there is enough demand. Thanks,

  3. Now that you've proven you can do it, I think you pretty much have to.