Adding The Braking System

In this section we'll address how to build and install a K Type Braking system.

Reading Material

Before we delve into installing the brake system components on our model, it would be beneficial to spend a few minutes to gain a basic understanding of rolling stock braking systems. The following documents contain valueable information.

Step 1 - Starting Point

Your model should resemble this before commencing with the brake installation.

Before we commence with installing the brake rigging we need to make sure the heavy construction activities have been completed otherwise the delicate brake details may be broken.
At this point in time, the basic frame of your car has been completed, the siding and roof have been installed along with the roof walk.
The truck bolsters have been installed along with the needle beams and mounting blocks for the couplers.

Step 2 - Installing the Brake Line

Underside view of the car showing the Train Line location.

Our first task is to identify which end of the car is the "B" end, that is the end with the brake wheel.
Refer to the kit drwings for idication of which end has the brake wheel. Though the car may appear symmetrical from end-to-end, there are subtle differences. Mark the "B" end of the car in some fasdhion as we'll be continously refering to this as we install the brake system.

Now that you have that sorted out, let's install the first part of the brake system - the Train Line, aka the Air Line.
The Train Line runs from one end of the car to the other. It connects to the Air Hose which is mounted to the right of the coupler when you view the car from the end, right side up. In order for the line to be on the right side of the coupler at each end of the car, it must cross over the centre sill, typicaly in the centre of the car between the needle beams.

The Train Line passes under the truck bolster (when viewing the car upside down) then under or through the needle beam then turns and crosses over the centre sills then repeats the same route pass the 2nd needle beam and the truck bolster. Depending on the car you are building and the route the Train Line takes, it may be easier to install it before the bolsters and needle beams are place. In this example we should have done that but didn't which means we had to install it in two pieces and using a short piece of small gauge wire insullation to hide the join. See diagram.

Step 3 - Installing the Brake Cylinder

The Brake Cylinder mounted to the under frame.

Locate the Brake Cylinder in amongst the brake parts. Clean off any flash - careful not to break any of the delicate parts. Clean out the cleavis as we'll be inserting a lever into this in a later step.
Now dry fit it under the car. Ensure the piston rod/cleavise is facing the B end of the car. Depending on the car, the piston rod may cross over the needle beam nd terminate there.
If the kit does not include mounting plates or ones the right size, you will need to fabaricate new ones from styrene and NBW castings.

Install the brake cylinder in place with ACC glue.

On this car, the brake cylinder piston extends over the needle beam.

Step 4 - Install Additional Piping

We now need to connect the Brake Cylinder to the Train Line and add the regulator line.

The air line runs between the Brake Cylinder tail stock and the Train Line.

Using a piece of wire the same size as the train lins, cut and bend a length to connect the tail stock of the brake cylinder to the train line. Refer to the kit plans / prototype plans to determine the exact position.
To be accurate, there is a stop cock valve on this line. Should the kit include one, you may wish to install it.

Next we'll install the Retainer line which goes from the Brake Cylinder to the Retainer Valve that is mounted on the end of the car.

The Retainer Line.

Locate a piece of light gauge wire and form the wire to connect to the Brake Cylinder tail stock, pass under the needle beam and truck bolster, then terminate at the B end End Sill.
It may take a little trial-and-error to get the bends in the right places.
You may want to drill a small hole in the tail stock to hold the end of the wire.
Glue in place.

Step 5 - Adding the Brake Levers

Now its time to add the brake levers and associated hardware.

Installing the B End Brake Lever

Lets start with installing the B end brake lever.
One end of this lever connects to the Brake Cylinder cleavis while the other end "floats" freely.
Locate this lever in the kit parts. Be careful when cutting the plastic parts off the sprue as they are very delicate.
Insert one end of the brake lever into the brake cylinder cleavis and glue in place.
Of course, in real life the brake equipment hangs under the car, so we'll need to add a few supports to prevent the brake rigging from dragging on the rails.

With some small gauge wire, fashion a "U" shaped piece and install this near the other end of the brake lever. See photo.
I found drilling two holes in the floor for the wire will simplify the installation. The kit instructions / prototype plans may show where to install this support.
Two supports are required for this lever.

The "Fixed" Brake Lever.

The Fixed Lever is at the other end of the car and like the name implies, one end is physically mounted to the car's under frame.

Locate this lever in the kit parts. Be careful when cutting the plastic parts off the sprue as they are very delicate.
The fixed mounting point frame maybe attached to the lever, or it may be separate or not included at all!
If the mounting hardware is not included, you will need to fabricate one out of styrene. See above photo for example.
Identify from the plans where this lever is located. Ensure it is raised high enough off the sill to permit a connecting rod to join this lever to the Floating Lever.

Glue the mounting hardware and lever in place.

Once again we need to add a Lever Support. With some small gauge wire, fashion a "U" shaped piece and install this near the other end of the brake lever. See photo.

Step 6 - Add Connecting Brake Rods

Location of the connecting brake rods.

Next we'll install the connecting brake rods.

The first one ties the two Brake Levers together.
Take a medium diameter wire and cut it to length to connect the mid point of both brake levers. Glue this to the top side of the levers using ACC glue.

The next wire goes from the end of the Fixed Lever to the truck. In real life this connects to the truck itself but in order for the truck to pivot freely, we terminate this rod near the truck bolster.
To ensure where we locate this wire doesn't interfere with the truck movement, temporarily screw the truck in place. Now dry fit wire between the brake lever and the centre of the truck bolster.
Now swing the truck side-to-side as in operation and confirm the wire doesn't interfere. You may need to try a few locations to determine the most ideal location which may vary from one car to the next.
When you hve determined the location, cut the wire to length and ACC in place.

Repeat the process for the brake rod on the Floating Brake Lever at the other end of the car.

Now we will add the last brake rod. This one goes from the Brake Cylinder end of the Floating Brake Lever to the hand brake wheel.
In real life this rod extends to the B end of the car where it connects to the bottom end of the Brake Wheel shaft. What you may find is it needs to be cut a bit shorter to clear the truck wheels/axle.
Test fit a piece of wire. We terminated ours by the center of the truck bolster. ACC in place.

Step 7 - B End Details

The B end of the car illustrating the various parts.

We're almost done! Next up is to install the Brake Wheel & shaft plus the retainer valve.

The Brake Wheel is installed at the top end of a shaft the starts at the bottom of the end wall and extends past the roof line (on the older cars).
Locate the lower brake rod bracket fron the kit parts. Make sure you are at the B end of the car and install it to the left of the coupler pocket.

Now locate the brake platform, if applicable to your model, or the upper brake shaft pawl.
You will likely need to drill a hole in the platform/pawl and the lower brake rod bracket to accept the brake wheel shaft.
Dry fit the brake shaft and platform/pawl on the end of the car. You need to ensure the brake shaft is vertical on the end of the car.
Glue the platform/pawl into place.

Now cut the brake shaft to length, file the ends and glue in place.

Clear out the centre hole on the brake wheel with a drill then ACC to the top of the brake shaft. Make sure the wheel is on straight.

Locate the retainer valve in the kit parts and by confirming it's location on the kit diagrams, glue it to the end of the car.
This is a very small item so make sure you have it around the right way.

Take a piece of small gauge wire and connect it between the retainer valve and the lower part of the end wall.

If you have any, now is the time to add the brake hoses.
These are typically glued to the underside of the end sill just to the right of the coupler pocket.
Another option is to drill a hole near the bottom of the end sill and instert the stub end of the brake hose.

Additional Photos

Here are some additional photos of other freight cars for your reference.

The bottom side of a Labelle HOn3 car.

This completes this section of the kit aassembly.

This Web page is maintained by Grant Knowles and was last updated on Mar, 2016.