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Craftsman Extra Board - December 1973

December 1983

One Evening Project: Ice Breaker Car

A simple assembly of I-beams mounted in an open hopper clears the ice from tunnels

by Walter Olevsky/photos by New Jersey Industrial Photographers

"One Evening Projects" were designed with accomplishment in mind to encourage model railroaders to stay active with simple projects. Ignoring the old horn-hook couplers, perhaps this project could find a home on your layout today? --The Editors

The prototype for this model are a couple of Penn Central (formerly New York Central) hopper cars converted to the service of breaking off icicles from the tops of tunnels. These icicles, if allowed to grow in length and weight, could cause serious damage to locomotives or rolling stock (dome cars, tri-level autoracks, etc.).

[They were originally developed to break icicles from the tunnels along the old West Shore route between Weehawken, New Jersey, and Kingston, New York, in an effort to protect automobiles that were then shipped in tri-level autoracks that had open roofs and sides. —Ed.] The car in practice is pushed through the tunnel, snapping the icicles off at their bases. The ice then lands in the car to melt with the appearance of warmer weather.

For the model, use any type of open-top hopper car you wish. The steelwork placed inside the car used for the actual icebreaking is 10" I-beams with welded construction used throughout. The top of the prototype car is 17'-5" above the top of the rails.

I used Northwestern wood I-beams carefully cut and painted before gluing inside the car. The accompanying drawings and photos are self-explanatory. The I-beams should be weathered a rust color, the rest of the car, especially on the inside, should also show signs of weather's abuse.

This article originally appeared in the December 1973 issue.

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