The color photo was an original EMD 8 x 10 transparency I scanned in 2003. It is amazingly crisp. I have a very high resolution copy uploaded here.
This S SCALE GP30 was imported by Greenbrier Models in 1997, sold by Bill’s Train Shop (BTS) It was PRR but I never bought 1 because it was out of my main era of interest. Since 1997, I have come to appreciate the GP30 more when painted for B&O, Reading and especially Chessie.
Hard Knock Life
This particular GP30 was listed on eBay in November 2016 starting at $1.00. It was in a collection of about 100 brass models that were sold without the original box, and most by far had some to significant damage to them. The models were sent from the owner to the eBay seller without much or ANY bubble wrapping. I contacted the eBay seller and asked about it. There were just thrown in piles in boxes – out the door they went. It was an extensive collection. I did not bid on the GP30 at that time but did win a few other models including my Conrail SD60. A friend bought the PRR GP30 knowing I could fix it. I bought from him in May 2017. I figured the purchase was going to happen that way when he sent it to me for repair.
from before it was officially mine, I have called it my Hard Knock Life GP30.
It was apparent the loco took some significant shots to the pilots in shipping. The couplers were broken, pilot steps were knocked off, steps bent in, and PRR antennas were thrashed. It will never be 100% pristine again, but I knew I could fix it and make it presentable again. Luckily the paint was just beyond saving without it being obvious there was a massive touch up job. The decision to strip and start again was pretty obvious. I get to fix whatever and not have to worry about saving the paint. These antenna stanchions on the angle are possibly the most vulnerable of all. I wanted to add some additional solder. I also wanted to change the number to 2224 because of the awesome builder’s photo.
I already started the repairs by soldering the front pilot steps on.
I was very surprised that there was NO access to the front top headlight. There were incandescent bulbs in the bezel. I think the bulbs were installed first then the cab soldered to the long hood. I have to have access, and must be LEDs now. I cut a hole in the cab roof.
I don’t know why I started with repairing the antennas first. Most of the antenna was replaced with phosphor bronze wire. 2 of the stanchions were broken. I shortened 2 more just a bit. I try to have laser straight antennas if possible.
All Wheel Pickup
I went through the drive like I always do adding all wheel pickup and making sure there are no couplings slipping on the shafts. As usual, I cut grooves into the back of the wheels for the pickups to ride in. Almost no pick up job is the same twice. There were recesses in the sideframe castings for the springs. Brass tube fit in the recess nicely to hold the wipers. These trucks do not have much room between the wheels and gearboxes. I usually run the pickups across the top of the wheels. These are almost straight across the bottoms of the wheels. It was very easily done. They are also the lowest ever - the nylon screws are about 1/16” off the rail head. The pickup wires are soldered to brass washers. Some black paint and it will all go away. The photo at right is a very temporary decoder test run set up. The decoder and speaker are going in the roof of the shell. A 4 pin Miniatronics plug goes between the drive and the shell. It now runs VERY quietly and VERY smoothly.
I cut out the second cab wall so I could get a piece of glass in for a window. It previously had window goop.
I think the repairs turned out pretty well. You would have to get another PRR GP30 sitting right next to mine to see the minor differences. I made some minor detail improvements.
On 10-13-18 a good friend John Peters stopped by with his PRR GP30 for some double headed running. We will have 3 units running at some point as John has another PRR GP30 that needs to be painted. The PRR frequently ran the GP30 in consists of 3. I think Johns at left/rear was painted with black. You can JUST see the different to Brunswick Green.
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