I picked up a new engine a few weeks ago and new is a relative term as in it means I just recently own it. The engine had some rough points to it. The back truck cover was missing, the railings were broken missing or bent, no horn, no couplers but the body itself was in good shape.


The engine is an old blue box era Athearn so it had metal railings and when you first get the engine you have to put a lot of the parts on yourself. Personally I liked this era as you couple get decent engines at fairly reasonable prices. Nowadays that isn’t the case everything is RTR and costs twice as much. I picked this up for 30 bucks which really was a bit much given its state but to me the shell alone was worth 20-25.

I made a stop to Just Train Crazy on Friday and low and behold they had an undecorated Athearn blue box with the parts unassembled powered + a dummy for another 30. I picked it up and took it home to see what could be applied to the Chessie.

First I put the new trucks on. A train isn’t complete without trucks. This wasn’t hard they mainly snap back into place. They sat off a wee bit so I used some plastic adhesive to hold it in place.

Next I added a Kadee couple box. This unfortunately sat too low and there didn’t appear to be another Athearn style in the box. The dummy SD40-2 sacraficed its couple box.

After some running tests of the undecorated vs the Chessie it was obvious the undecorated had never been run before and was in perfect condition so the shell was transplanted to the new/unused motor and trucks.

I used some adhesive to get the railings to stay in their upright position, many of the rails had the hook part broken at some point. The glue did a well enough job of holding it in place. Some of the broken clips now stuck up over the railings and I eventually clipped these down to match where the railing wire sat.

Finally I glued a new horn in place and Voila! A restored Chessie SD40-2 with just enough natural aging on the colouring to give it character!


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