Brake Hoses Redux.

Denny Anspach <danspach@...>

Since my last post on this fascinating subject,
quite a bit has gone under the bridge, and I have
gained considerable wisdom thereby:

As you recall I had purchased brass air hoses in
bulk from PSC on special order (i.e. they cast
them to order), and I found that there was a
learning curve in effectively adapting them to
our usual freight car modeling. A major problem
was that when shaping them, they tended to break
right at a very thin critical point between the
angle cock and the hose. An experienced modeler
also using these brass hoses has related to me
that he thinks that the installation "loss" is
perhaps around 10%. My initial loss was higher,
but has significantly subsided in the interim.

Jack Burgess inquired as to whether or not they
could be annealed. Good question, and I have
tried it- and it seems to work to some
substantial degree (I held the air hose in a gas
burner flame until dull red and then dunked it in
a nearby glass of water). I did curl up and lose
most of the air pipe on one hose by getting it
too hot, but all in all, it is worthwhile.

Jack also reported the fact (new to me, although
I should have known better after all of these
years) that the angle cock is rotated 30ยบ
clockwise on the air pipe (viewed facing the car
end), the purpose being obviously that the two
facing cocks on adjacent coupled cars actually
squarely face each other on the same vertical
plane. Off list, Dennis Storzek has also sent me
some wonderful photos graphically depicting this.
This factoid simplifies things immensely inasmuch
as for most installations, all one needs to do to
shape the hose is to grasp the hose proper just
beyond the critically-thin section and gently
curl it downward almost to a vertical stance just
as gravity would encourage any hanging rubber
hose with a heavy weight on the end.

Before heading to Naperville, I installed brass
hoses on five cars, one styrene and four resin,
four of which I wrapped in plastic sheeting,
packed in fitted foam boxes, and took to the
show. Four individual air hose installations did
not make it. The hoses were great, but their
plastic or resin mounts were not. Outside
pressure on the hoses simply leveraged the mounts
beyond what they could stand. Part of this was
poor packing on my part, and more generally, it
indicates that the job is not finished: we need
good solid well anchored air hose brackets.

Keep in mind, all air hoses survived to live
again; the air hose brackets did not.

The only ones commonly available are Kadee's,
which I have since been told were more common
than just log cars, but still were relatively
unusual. These can and do work well providing
that once the bracket is cemented in place, it is
further anchored by driving a wire "drift pin"
through the base in to the underside of the car
or end (#76 drill), and ACC it in place. I
personally just use any one of the clipped off
wire grab iron remnants on the bench top, and
simply drill through to size.

According to Dennis' estimates, he feels that
about half of the cars in our interest era
1920-60 in broad terms just used a simple metal
strap 4-5" wide projecting out and sloping
gently down from under the end sill to suspend
the end of the air pipe and its attached angle
coek/air hose below with a U bolt. This strap
had some bracing of course, but the concept and
execution was pretty simple.

A number of our kits have included these
strap-type brackets in cast resin, the most
recent for me being a Sunshine SS Milwaukee
boxcar of c. 1922. These good looking, but
precarious brackets on this car did not survive
the leverage of the brass hoses during the trip,
and IMHO would not have survived long in routine
handling/operations otherwise under any

Finely done styrene brake hose hanger/brackets of
a slightly different type on a 50' Branchline
steel boxcar lasted even less time: both were
broken prior to the car even being put on the
track for the first time!

So, my attention is now directed to just how can
we have made some bulletproof brass air hose
brackets that have locating/anchoring pins that
can be inserted into drilled holes on the
underside of the car ends. My intention to to
first concentrate on developing some sort of
strap-type hanger that would be fine for at last
half of the cars we are doing, and perhaps be
acceptable by many for an awful lot of the
remaining cars as well.

Other air hose variables not mentioned, but have to be considered:
1) Compatibility with couplers with magnetic
coupling pins still intact. This issue includes
the pin on the coupler on the car A, and the pin
on the adjacent car B to which it wishes to be

2) The effect of the wide coupler box. The air
pipe comes out right alongside the box right on
the central horizontal axis of the coupler
drawbar and head. If you are attempting to model
the air pipe right from the angle cock back to
the bolster, one has to consider the interference
of the wheels, which in most instances will
prevent it. With the narrow box, accurate
modeling of this detail becomes a greater

I have more information to share on this subject,
but will retire for now. Dennis has generously
given me permission to share his photos and
graphics on this subject, and I will post them to
Files in the next day or so.

Dennis is a precious resource in our hobby.

BTW, I have a VERY limited number of packets (@36
count) of brass air hoses in excess of what I
will ever need, which I will sell for my expenses
(c. @ $0.27-0.30) and a SSASE. Please contact me
ONLY off-list.


Denny S. Anspach, MD

Join to automatically receive all group messages.