There have been a few requests for information on how I lower the bolsters on the Intermountain boxcars. Years ago I realized that Intermountain boxcars rode too high, especially noticeable when next to other boxcars, and the couplers were slightly on the high side. The first photo shows an IMWX/Red Caboose underframe on the left and Intermountain underframe on the right. You can see how much higher the bolster is on the Intermountain underframe. This makes the cars ride too high. The Intermountain coupler box has a much thicker cover than the IMWX/Red Caboose coupler box to bring the couplers back down with the raised bolster (IMWX/Red Caboose coupler cover on the left, Intermountain on the right.
The second photo shows the bolster after I have removed the entire raised portion. Usually I do this before attaching the underframe, but I have carefully cut it off on some preassembled cars. I then attach Kadee scale size couplers in a Kadee coupler box (old #5 coupler box in this case). The existing hole for the pin on the Intermountain coupler box cover is in the correct location for the Kadee coupler box. Then I fill in the space between the coupler box and the bolster with blocks of styrene.
As shown in the third photo, I use a Kadee red washer on the bolster. The red washers are 0.015” thick. In a couple of cases (where the bolsters were not cut down as far) the gray washer was sufficient (0.010”). The washer gives the truck a smooth surface to rotate on, and spaces the car correctly for the coupler height.
After attaching the trucks, I check to make sure the car sits level and the coupler heights. Sometimes I don’t cut down far enough on one side, and need to even up the bolster.
Vadnais Heights, MN
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