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Bill Krause Letter

February 18, 1993

Dear Al,

I guess you thought that I had forgotten all about those questions you raised in your Jan. 15th letter. Well, things have been moving along so fast since the first of the year that I'm just getting around to answering all the letters I have received since New Years.

First off, thanks for the $5 as you make our job much easier to deal with the clerical details. Unfortunately, I didn't have enough space, or time, to get into all the S Helper Service car problems in the latest newsletter. I know you have it by now. We had a big discussion of these at my house, on Jan. 23. Yes, the cars are too light but not as much as some would believe. As stated in my Jan. letter, NMRA has a recommended practice. However, as I again emphasized at the meeting at my home: Your S Helper car should weigh about the same as the other cars you have in your train--everything is relative. That's the most important thing!

Now about those Hi-rail couplers. I think you just have to decide if the knuckles themselves are dropping or not. One indication would be if the coupler shank is binding downward, or not. If they are, then you might try your hairdryer. If they are not, then I would decide how to adjust the uncoupling pad so that it clears rail tops by 1/32". That's what new NASG Hi-rail Coupler/Clearance gauge will call for. We discussed all this at the meeting at great length. Sorry you missed that one!
Some other items about S Helper cars:
1. Hi-rail, because deeper wheel flanges should track better than Scale ones even in their light weight condition. (Remember what I said above.)
2. The Hi-rail couplers are a good design, except they should have been made to clear the rail tops. Unfortunately Ron Bashista didn't appreciate this point until everybody started complaining. Here's
another letter that I should write to Ron and NASG for the good of "S" Gauge.
3. Generally, it is best to keep the kingpin of one truck fairly tight and the other a bit looser.
What you raise in your letter seems to be a good subject for a newsletter. Big problem is it all takes time. Oh yes, I agree that a lighting kit will come in the market. Dallee already has it. Problem, the spring brass wires (brushes) tend to twist the axles and truck frame a bit, thus ruining the tracking qualities.
I fully expect these cars will attract many new products on the market, just as they do in the HO market. I was ready to order Dallee lighting scheme for mine - until I saw what effect the contacts (on the axles) had on the S Helper wheels and trucks. Probably a contact device that puts equal pressure on both sides of each axle etc..
No to your question on HO trains. On second thought, realizing that you are not asking about our club, I would say maybe but at a price that is very attractive. That's the problem many of us have. It depends on how much, or how little you are willing to part with. I'm trying to dispose of all my Model Railroaders, Trains and Model Craftsman magazines. At my age, I realize I am never going to re-read them even if I am retired. I'm just too busy.
Finally, I do want sometime in the near future to receive a drawing of the North Jersey, Hudson and Hopewell RR track plan. Please note my comments in the last letter. Based on what I said, I would like to know more about where your pike travels. Does it connect with other big roads? As Hank states: Let's get a map of the USA and plot out all the mythical places our roads touch. Based on what I already know, the states of Connecticut, Mass, NY and NJ have too much "S" trackage to interchange. I still think it would be an interesting project for us to pursue sometime.
On that barrel loader, I had to refer to one of my old AF catalogs to be sure what they called it--for this last newsletter. I almost flipped when I found they were selling it for $14.95 in the late fifties. Yes, I think it is one of the best action toys. Moreover, it seems to hold up well after all these years.
Well, that's it. If there is anything that I failed to answer please feel free to call me.
P.S. On adjusting the uncoupling pads please note, in my last newsletter, that the Bristol member uses the Kadee's new tool. A needle nose plier can do about the same.