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Bethlehem Car Works DL&W Baggage Car

I had one of the BCW D.L.&W. Baggage car kits that I needed to assemble. It looked a little daunting, being composed of brass, 2 kinds of plastic, and wood, but the instructions that came with the kit were so crummy, I decided to write them out in better form, so that others might benefit.

Assembling the Kit

Using the supplied instructions as a crude beginning, below I have written out how I put this kit together I've divided it into several sections so that (perhaps) as one section or assembly dries, you can go on to the next:

Body: The body is as good a place as any to start with. I began by laying out the parts, sorting the styrene bits and labeling them by putting them in Envelopes. Remove the brass sides from the sprue containing the doors. trim off the 'gate' material. I used a nibbler for the large bits and finished with a sanding card.


1) Drill out the pilot holes for the grab irons near the side doors with a #78 drill. Then frame them out with pieces of .020 x .080 styrene around all four (4) edges. This will give the doors some setback from the sides. You might have to re-drill the holes for the grabs if the glue fills the holes.

2) Using the .020 x .150 styrene strips, glue it along the bottom of each side, cutting out where the styrene around the doors interferes. Also keep this strip 1/16th inch in from the end of each side.

  • Repeat this process along the top of each side with the .040 x .060 styrene.

3) To finish this assembly, cut pieces of the .060 x .060 styrene and glue it on the top edge of the .020 x .150 which is already in place.


Cut four (4) pieces of .040 x .060 styrene 7/8 inches long. Glue these to the back side of the two end pieces, leaving a .020 ledge from the edge. You can use a piece of .020 styrene as a gauge.

The ends in my kit had 'slots' at the .020 interval, so I simply had to glue the styrene to cover the slots.


The roof in this kit is a piece of wood, milled to a curved profile.

1) Using a sanding block or long file, sand the lower edges of the roof piece until the 'V' shaped undercut is removed.

2) Apply several coats of sanding sealer, buffing with fine steel wool between dried coats. (I used my gray primer for sealer and some 600 grit sandpaper.)

3) Lay the wood piece on 2 pieces of wood or plastic so that it is supported by the edges you sanded. Glue the resin end caps on the roof. After this dries overnight, sand the roof so the caps match the roof. Then re-coat the sanded wood with sanding sealer, apply body filler and sand as needed. I used several emery boards as I like the way they 'give' a little to prevent straight gouges in the wood or plastic.


1) Put the dried roof assembly on a flat surface against a surface that is standing 90 degrees. Mark and draw a line 5/16 inches from the upright surface. Locate where you wish to locate the roof vents and mark the spots on the roof. Do both sides of the roof.

(I measured the centerline of the roof and drew a pencil line. Then I measured 1/4 inch out on both sides. I then divided these outside lines by placing my scale rule at 30 in the center and making marks at 15 and 45. Then I used a scriber to punch a shallow hole into the wood roof and I then sanded off the pencil lines, leaving the punctures as marks for the vent locations.)

Note: I am modeling the 2037 which had 3 vents per side. The kit provides for 7 vents per side. -DR

2) Cut the roof vents from the sprue with a single edge razor blade. Trim an angle on the rear of the vents to match the roof. (The instructions provide a cutting diagram.)

3) Glue the vents to the roof with the back edges of the vents on the pencil marks. (or punctures)


1) The floor should be the same length as the car sides. If the floor is longer, cut or file to shorten the length.

2) Remove 3/32 inches at both ends of the center sill on the underside of the floor.

3) Place a car side face down on a clean, flat surface with the bottom edge toward you. With a machinist's square or drafting triangle, match up the edge of the car with one end of the floor. Putting downward pressure on the floor, run liquid cement along the joint formed by the floor and car side. The cement will run between the mating surfaces by capillary action.

Hold until cement sets. Set aside until thoroughly dry before proceeding.

4) Take the other car side and lay it face down with the floor side away from you.

Note: If your first alignment is made on the right hand side, this alignment MUST also be made on the right hand side. If left sided, the second alignment must be left sided

5) Align the car side and the floor with the machinist's square or drafting triangle.

It is important that the two car sides are matched perfectly so that the ends and roof match properly at final assembly.
Do not be concerned at this time about squaring of the sides and floor.

Put downward pressure and apply cement to the joint formed by the car side and floor. Hold until cement sets. Then set aside to dry.


1) When the glue has set, test fit the roof and ends on the car. With the roof on the car, push one end up to fit the roof. CA glue both sides of the end to the car sides.

Repeat the process on the other end of the car and allow the glue to dry.

2) Turn the car upside down. Glue the coupler mounting pads to the car ends. The slot in the pad is to face the car. Push the pad towards the floor center sill until it stops. You may need to put shims under the back of the pads to make them level.

Glue the truck-mounting pads on location shown in fig. #4 in the instructions supplied with the kit..


1) Cut the fishbelly center sills and the eight (8) triangles from their sprues. Measure the distance between the truck mounting pads. Subtract this dimension from 8 1/4 inches and divide balance in half.

2) Using this dimension (from step 1) cut off both ends of one of the fishbelly center sills. Before you cut the second sill, match it with the first. Then make your cuts.

3) Remove the two (2) tabs on the back of each sill. Test fir the sills between the truck mounting pads and glue in place.

4) Use the cutoffs as fill between the truck mounting pads and the coupler pads.

5) Refer to Fig. #4 for placement of the eight (8) triangles. They are the wider cross pieces on the drawing. The larger triangles are glued toward the center of the car. The rivet detail should face toward the center of the car.


1) Glue the battery box faces to the styrene blocks. Refer to sheet #2, and glue the box assemblies to the floor

2) Assemble the brake assemblies. Refer to Fig. #4 for the placement of each item. From the .060 x 5/32 styrene cut platforms to mount the brake assemblies. Drill #51 holes for the cylinder assembly and triple valve. Drill 1/16-inch holes in the mounting pads and thread with a 2-56 tap.

The brake assemblies have a deceiving appearance. The tanks come in 2 parts, but are not halves, but rather a tank and an end. When I saw these, they looked like miscellaneous sprue bits. Hate to admit it, but I'm not much for brake detail. I cut off the 'pegs' which would be drilled for and just epoxyed the tanks and other parts onto the bottom following the diagram provided in the kit instructions.

3) From the .060 x 5/32 styrene cut two (2) pieces 1/8 inches long. Glue these to both of the ends for mounting the brake wheels.

4) Cut pieces of .060 square styrene to fit between the brake wheels and the door frames on both ends. See Fig. #2

5) Drill #53 holes for the mounting of the brake wheels. Drill a #67 hole under the brake wheel holes. Cut chain to length and glue chain and brake wheel to car.

6) Refer to Fig. #1 and #2. Locate and drill #78 holes for the grab irons. Form the grab irons using the .015 brass wire. Glue the grab irons to the car (CA cement recommended.)

7) Drill #73 holes for stirrup steps. Glue the stirrup steps to the back of the car sides at the baggage doors and glue the end steps to the car.

8) Remove the tabs from the brass reinforcing plates that are placed under the baggage doors. File them smooth and glue them to the car..

9) Cut the tabs from the bottom of the doors only. Leave the tabs on the sides and top of the doors to help hold them in place. Glue the doors to the back of the door openings.

10) Cut door sills from .010 x .060 styrene and glue in place.

Paint & Decal:

1) Paint the roof and underside of the car Grimy Black (I use Polly Scale colors.) Paint the sides and ends of the car Pullman Green.

2) Cut clear sheet styrene and glue behind the door windows.

3) Add weight as desired. (I added about 1 1/2 oz. to bring the car up to about 5 1/4 oz. (sans trucks.)

4) Add trucks and couplers. The trucks I am putting on this car are Eastern Car Works Pullman Standard 4 wheel truck, (part # 9005.) No doubt this is not an absolute match, but it was recommended to me as a 'Goodnuff' by Don Spiro and Rusty Recordon. Don recomended removing the little brake 'ears.'

5) Sign, date, and glue roof to car. Add the rain gutters using a piece of the supplied .020 square styrene over each door. (used wire for the rain gutters.)

6) Touch up the paint. Decal as per Fig. #1.

7) Enjoy!


Here a few photos I took of the restored DL&W Baggage car when it was being displayed at the Whippany Railway Museum. Another good source would be the DL&W Color Equipment Guide.


Luckily, there is a photo of one of these on the Branch. It's # 2037.

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