Custom Painted P-2000 units

Monday, December 22, 2014

Pipe Loads

Seasons Greetings to All!

I recently tried to build some pipe loads made from straws for several of my gondolas and flat cars. The project's inspiration came from scratch built pipe loads that  I saw on the HO scale Kings Port & Western Railroad. KP&W owner Ralph V. (also known as PC Ralph) crafted some excellent pipe loads using black plastic straws and some small hobby stick lumber pieces. With his excellent eye for detail he weathered the loads and the gondola so you would swear you were seeing them track side. In the past I had tried using regular drinking straws but had a lot of trouble with paint adhesion.

After speaking with Ralph he provided me with a tutorial and some more pictures to guide in the construction. There the project stalled as I could not locate the black straws needed for the pipes. Again Ralph stepped in and sent me a package of the required black straws. Looking back I should have just asked him to make me some pipe loads!

So I've gotten the glue off my fingers so they don't stick to the key board and here they are;

Below is a mock up of the intended pipe loads with wood bracing. I built the bracing with standard craft sticks and some CA. 

 The cross members are spaced to accommodate two rows of seven pipes each. Already I was altering the plans from the tutorial as Ralph's pipe loads were single rows of seven. Meaning his pipe loads required 28 pipes while mine required 42. UGH 

The pipe loads sitting in a Blue Box 50' gondola

Pipes in a P-2000 52'6" gondola

The pipe load on a 50' flat car. 

Pipe load in a 50' bulk head flat

Two pipe loads with banding and weathering are now ready for the layout.   

A third pipe load held together with banding and spacer blocks sits in a 52'6" gondola. The third pipe load required no glue as the banding holds it altogether. This pipe load requires 28 pipes. A better use of materials and more in line with the prototype.

Three completed pipe loads. The wood bracing has been weathered with a burnt umber and alcohol wash. The banding is thin strips of electrical tape. A liberal amount of Testors Dullcote has been applied to each load as well.

A New York Central FT with passenger cars adorns our Christmas Tree.
 Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to All!


  1. Well done on the pipe loads! I suspect one load will be delivered to Neal's Lumber and Hardware for immediate delivery to his customers.

  2. Thank you Sir Neal! With all that is going on at Neal's Lumber and Hardware this week You may need to open up at temporary storage / transfer yard!

  3. Nice pipe loads John! I owe my discovery of those thin plastic straws to my caffeine addiction. Bags of them were in hooks in my local grocer's coffee/tea aisle. Great Christmas Tree ornament!

    1. Thanks Ralph for the comments and the straws. In a twist of fate my local Kroger supermarket just expanded their coffee aisle. Was there yesterday and what did I see? Yup, bags of black straws.

  4. Hilarious! Local model railroaders must have been asking Krogers to stock them! :)