Carfloat Build

Walther’s Carfloat Kit

I have gone as far as I can with the engine project, so I decided to move onto the carfloat.  I would like to have something new to see before showing the layout at the Toronto Xmas Train Show in a couple weeks.  I managed to snag one from eBay earlier this year for a reasonable cost.  Since Walther’s discontinued them a few years ago they seem to go for a fortune on eBay.  I recently learned that Walther’s is re-releasing these early next year, which is great because I need a few more and don’t want to pay $100 each for them…

I was going to scratchbuild the carfloats and managed to acquire a set of original blueprints for the floats built at the B&O Yard at Staten Island.  Once I studied the drawings and compared them with a Walther’s carfloat I borrowed from a friend, I found that the Walther’s float has been very precisely built around the same drawings!  Its hard to justify the effort of scratchbuild them when the commercial version is so well done.

I could go on for a while about this.  While its great that precise kits are available, scratchbuilding as a hobby dies a bit whenever these are released.  I enjoy scratchbuilding, but the moment someone dismisses a few months of work with “oh, that’s Walther’s kit” I want to cry….

I will take advantage of this, and spend my time on the areas that require a modelers touch.  I guess that is the upside to commercial kits.

This is a pretty easy kit to build.  I will be replacing the plastic rail with metal rail, but other than that I just built it stock.  I will paint it up and weather it heavily to make it look well used.  Similar to this…

What a great picture!  Click on it to see a huge version with lots of great detail.  This is CNJ 1001 sitting on a float (slightly different than the Walther’s version) in front of a dilapidated  Bronx Terminal.  This would be in the mid to late ’50’s.

On to Next Section


About the Author:

I'm your host, Tim Warris, a product developer in Port Dover, Ontario. Since March of 2007 I have been documenting the construction of the former CNJ Bronx Terminal in HO scale. For my day job, I design track building tools for Fast Tracks, a small company I own and operate. Fast Tracks makes it fast and easy to hand lay your own trackwork. Stop by our website to learn more!

Posted by: Tim | 11-13-2008 | 11:11 PM
Posted in: Latest Posts


  1. Just want to offer you encouragement. Looks like you are a truly gifted modeler. I also have an interest in rail/marine modeling, but not a lot of room to work with.

    Good Luck

    Comment by Bruno Biava — January 20, 2009 @ 9:20 pm
  2. Thanks Bruno! Hopefully you will get some space in the future. Fortunately, rail/marine modeling can be done in a small area.


    Comment by Tim — January 20, 2009 @ 9:22 pm
  3. You mention the turnout of the car float being out of guage – did walthers supply a metal rail tunrout? If not why not purchase a turnout (#4 looks like?) and use it instead of the out of guage one

    Comment by Jim — February 1, 2009 @ 1:34 pm
  4. Did you still need car floats? I believe my LHS has two of them…let me know if you need them.


    Comment by Brad — March 4, 2009 @ 10:58 am
  5. Typically locos weren’t allowed on floats – unbalanced weight could cause them to capsize – or on float bridges as they could collapse. To keep the loco on dry land, reacher cars were used. In this case, #1001 was so light(35 tons), she could be ferried back to Jersey City for servicing or, in later years,as business declined and only one shift was employed to prevent damage from vandals.

    This photo is used to illustrate the loco in “Jersey Central Diesels”. My scanner is down, so I’ll have to go to the library, but I’ll scan and email the page (which has a lot of data on #1001), well as the ones for #1000 to you in the next week or two. Will also check my CNJ books for other photos of interest – like the steamer the preceeded #1000 and finished its career as the Communipaw shop goat. It would allow someone to backdate the yard to pre-1926 (Westerfeld and others have appropriate cars vailable).

    It would also work electricfied with either a box of steeple cab for the juice enthusiasts. The Hoboken Shore right across the North River started with juice, added steam, then boxcab diesels, ran all three for a short period, added an Alco HH600 and finished with GE 70 tonners.

    GE 45 and 70 tonners are availabe if boxcabs and critters don’t turn you on. PRR used theirs to replace class A5s down on the waterfront in Phillie and Baltimore and tne NYNH&H used theirs on the Belle Dock line in New Haven and the Union Freight in Boston (in the past several years either RMC or MR had an article or series on modeling the UF).

    To help model the waterfront scene get ahold of editions of “Transfer” that was the journal of the Rail-Marine Interest Group that was run by John Teichmoeller and featured some very detailed photos and drawings. Unfortunately, contributors ran out of material and John folded the group (wish he would scan the back issues and and sell a CD…)

    I grew up about four blocks from the station in Fanwood NJ (which had a kit produced by Micromark) 1955-1970 on the CNJ’s main line. Your home town line is like your first girlfriend, you never forget either,

    Comment by Beausaber — January 21, 2010 @ 9:50 am
  6. Tim, Absolutely beautiful work on the carfloat! can you share what colors were used during painting/weathering?
    Thanks!… Mike

    Comment by Mike Quinn — September 12, 2010 @ 9:43 am

Comments RSS TrackBack URI


Leave a comment