DCC and a paint scheme for the Burro

Brass Burro photo Burro-01.jpg

I had to disassemble my recently-acquired River Raisin Models Burro crane to prepare it for painting, so I’ve taken a couple of photos that will help others looking to install DCC in their models.

The motor for the crane is mounted vertically in the ring that allows the crane to rotate around its base. A wire comes up through the ring to connect one motor terminal to the pickup wiper on the insulated side of the model, while the other wire is simply soldered to the brass ring. I’ve unsoldered these two wires from the motor terminals and added the connector that came with my Lenz Gold JST DCC decoder:
Burro with DCC plug photo Burro-02.jpg

I slipped a piece of heat shrink insulation around the four wires to help protect them as they pass through a slot I cut in the base of the cab. This slot allows me to install the decoder and its associated Power-1 module inside the cab – but outside the brass enclosure that surrounds the motor:
Burro wire run photo Burro-03.jpg

In addition to the slot in the base, it’s also necessary to extend the slot up the adjacent wall of the motor enclosure. The slot in the base allows one to slide the wires into position: When the crane is assembled, the wires pass through the hole in the enclosure itself.

I made several passes with a cut-off disc in a Dremel Tool to create this slot and hole. I then cleaned up the hole with another Dremel bit (a metal ball cutter) and filed the slot to make sure there were no burrs. The heat shrink helps protect the wires here too.

My friend Pierre Oliver suggested that for my mid-1950s era, an all-black paint scheme is the way to go, so I’ve sprayed the Burro with CN Warm Black – a custom colour offered by the Canadian National Railways Historical Association. It now looks like Darth Vader’s crane: it will need lots of weathering to bring out the detail.

No photos yet: Stay tuned…

5 thoughts on “DCC and a paint scheme for the Burro

  1. The Burro cranes were a peculiar device. One feature of them is that they will not foul an adjoining main track even when the boom is swung away from it. The CN Burro cranes that I’ve been around had a “Sharon” coupler, apparently a common device on narrow-gauge equipment.

    • Interesting info, Steve. Thanks!

      Do you know when CN acquired its Burro cranes? I’m guessing 1960s, which is later than I model (but this is my only choice for a small crane in S scale, and as the saying goes, “beggars can’t be choosers”).

      As I noted in my previous post about the Burro, I can always use the crane to model the crew tearing up the track when CN abandoned the branch!

  2. A 1953 CN crane roster courtesy of Stafford Swain shows the GTW having four Burro cranes rated at 7.5 tons–50095/50096 built 1945, 50099 built 1946, 50196 built 1943, and 50374 built 1953 by Cullen-Friestadt.

    The closest CN Burro crane to your era is CN 50352 rated 12 tons, built 1959. CN also had Burro cranes numbered 50350/50351/50357/50358/50379/50383/50390/50405/50412, all rated at 12 tons. These are listed in a CN crane roster dated February, 1976, again from Stafford Swain.

    There are photos of 50408 built 1963, and 50411 built 1967 in John Riddell’s CN Color Guide Vol. 1.

    Here are some CN Burro Model 40 build dates from a 1987 Canadian Trackside Guide–50379 s/n 40132, 1954—50383, 1955—50390, 1956—50398, 1957.

    CN seemed to go for these cranes a lot later than the US roads did. I think that CN had a large number of serviceable steam cranes (many inherited from its predecessors) that had to work out their lives before new cranes were purchased. That 1953 roster still cites a number of cranes in the 15- through 25-ton range that were assigned to the Central Region.

    • Fantastic information, Steve. Thanks!

      I’m still looking for photos of an early Burro, so I can figure out appropriate lettering. I assume it would be similar to other all-black cranes in John Riddell‘s colour guide (eg: initials and road number)…

  3. I OPERATES BURRO CRANE GTW 50374 IN THE 70’S AND IT WAS PAINTED OMAHA ORANGE FOR MAINT. OF WAY DEPT..THEY LATTER PAINTED IT, IN THE 90’S THE SAME COLOR AS THE FRONT OF THE ENGINES..IT HAD A 453 GM DIE FOR POWER . AFTER THE GAS WAS REPLACED..

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