CN 3737 – Cab back and railings

CNR 3737 - Al Paterson prototype photo - left side.
(Click on the image to filter this blog for all posts about this project)

Last Friday, Andy Malette and I held another joint work session on our CNR 2-8-2 projects. This time, work continued on the cab.

The first order of business was to finish the cab back. In a previous session, we’d squared off the rear of the roof – something the CNR did to make it easier to hang curtains to protect the crew in cold weather. This time, we added a back wall to the cab roof:

CNR 3737 - cab back

The wall is simply a piece of brass sheet, cut to match the curve of the roof and with two windows added according to prototype photos. Some of these cabs had the back wall flush, while others – like CNR 3737 – had a lip. Two small lengths brass were added under the side roof extensions, next to the back wall, and then trimmed and filed to length to complete the major modifications. This work required one to get in and out quickly with the resistance soldering probe, so as to not unsolder the roof extensions. I was really pleased that I was able to do this with no rework required.

As the above photo shows, we also added stanchions and railings to the cab roof. This was a relatively simple operation: mark and drill the holes, tin the stanchions, string them on a wire to keep them all properly aligned, then add lots of flux and hit them with the heat.

CNR 3737 - cab roof rails

We left the wires long to the rear of the stanchions, then trimmed them after soldering. At the front, the handrail loops 180 degrees then bends parallel to the front cab wall, so we did that too:

CNR 3737 - cab roof rails

The cab still needs an armrest under each window, but we’ll add that after painting. I think it’s pretty much done, and can be set aside while we start on the next phase. I’m not sure what that is, but I’ll find out at our next work session. I’m looking forward to it!

If you ever get a chance to learn from someone who knows their way around a brass engine… do it! (Thanks for teaching me, Andy…)

4 thoughts on “CN 3737 – Cab back and railings

  1. Great stuff! I have always had difficulty in bending a proper curvature at the sides of a brass roof so that the eves curved portion has a smooth curve, as on steeple cab electric locos. Any suggestions?

    • Hi William:
      That’s a good question. I have no idea. I was fortunate in that I didn’t have to re-bend the roof.
      I suppose the extreme option would be rolling bars. These seem much more common in the UK than in North America, since they’re used for rolling boilers from flat sheet.
      I don’t have any direct experience with them since I don’t own one, so I don’t know if they’d work on that final curl on the cab.
      Also, I don’t know much about the vendors, other than that GW Models makes a couple of sizes. I have a GW Models rivet making tool and it’s a quality piece of kit, so I assume the rolling bars are equally good investments. You might want to ask on a UK-focused forum like RMWeb. (Here’s an endorsement from someone on RM Web who has the GW Models rolling bars.)

      • The GW Models rolling bars are well made and very suitable for rolling boilers and other tubular shapes as well as rail – they have special notches to roll rail to the correct radius before laying.

        I suspect that they would not be very successful for rolling a tight radius (*) on the edge of a sheet.

        (*) this is an assumption – it would be handy to know what the shape actually is for us non-steeplecab fanatics.

        I would suggest the use of bending bars or using on block of hard wood to bend the sheet over another hard wood former – note by hard wood I do mean a wood material that is resistant to indentation which includes MDF which would be my personal first choice of former and bender.


    • The Athabasca Shops kit for an HO scale CPR vestibule cab recommends using a BIC lighter as a form and gently bending by hand. I was happy with the results, your mileage may vary.

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