This page contains documentation, how-to articles and drawings about the theory of operation, techniques and procedures used in car restoration, and notes about how to fabricate your own equipment. Most of this documentation has been tested and proven by us, since it was used to carry out past car restoration projects.

All of this information is copyright GN Trains but may be used freely for personal, non-commercial use.

If you have questions, we'd be happy to try to answer them. Send your questions to GN Trains, along with your contact information. Short questions are best answered by email. Questions requiring long answers will probably require a phone conversation.

Electrical Notes

3 Phase Main
Power Distribution

A suggested wiring plan for 480V trainline, 240V standby and 240V diesel 3 phase power. Control circuits are included for automatic power selection and switching.

Diesel Engine

An electormechanical diesel engine starter that can be used as a simple, local control for a diesel generator set or in conjunction with a remote start/stop pushbutton station and/or solid state engine controller.

Diesel Engine
Controls - Manual
and Automatic

Remote manual and automatic controls to be used in conjunction with the electromechanical diesel engine starter (above). Allows remote starting and stopping of the diesel from a pushbutton station or automatically upon wayside or trainline power failure.

Control - Single
Pumpout with
Crankcase Heater

An implementation of the controls necessary to operate an airconditioning compressor, including safety controls (high/low pressure), single pumpout upon shutdown (if you don't know what this is, trust us, you need it), dual solenoid valves, crankcase heater and condenser fans.

Rewiring Vapor
Thermostats for
SSR Operation

A description of how to rewire a Vapor thermostat for use with a modern SSR to control electric heaters.

Rewiring Door
Engines for
120V Operation

Door engines can be rewired to operate on 120V AC, rather than their original 32V (or other voltage) DC. Here's how to do it.

Standard Exterior
Electrical Enclosure

Fabrication plans for a standard sized, water-tite exterior electrical enclosure. Features include positive closure of the cover against closed-cell neoprene gasket, glove knobs and plenty of room inside for components.

HVAC Notes

Transition or
Transition Elbow

A quick course on how to fabricate a transition or transition elbow to convert from round to rectangular duct work and possibly change direction at the same time.

Tools Notes

Build an
Undercar Rollout

Plans to build a device for rolling heavy equipment (e.g. generators, airconditioners) under your railway car. No forklift necessary. Works in close clearances (e.g. 5 ft.).

Full-Length Articles

DC Blower

A description of how to replace a direct-drive, DC blower motor, commonly found powering the main ceiling blower for the airconditioning and heating systems on older, DC railway cars, is found in this article.

Electrical Systems
for Private Car

An article which discusses many of the aspects of electrical systems found on railroad cars. It deals with upgrading older electrical systems, how to build modern electrical systems and covers much of the basic principals used in design and construction of electrical systems. It should prove useful to private car owners who wish to work on their own cars or who need to supervise the work done for them by electrical contractors.

Down The Drain
Microphor Toilets

An article covering the theory of operation, installation of, modification of, tank requirements and maintenance of Microphor toilet systems on private railway cars.

Railway Equipment

An article which covers the steps that should be taken to prepare railway equipment for painting (both interior and exterior), the application of paint, the types of paints that are available and can be used to paint railway equipment and the tools that are used to apply the various coatings.

Safety Wiring of
Railroad Fasteners

An article which discusses the safety wiring practices that are used to secure fasteners in those areas of the railway car that are exposed to high vibration.

VIA Rail
HEP Requirements

The requirements for operation of private cars on VIA Rail trains (both LRC and HEP I/II) are described in this article. Essentially, it is possible to operate an Amtrak-compatible car on a VIA Rail train with very little investment in electrical modifications, given a basic understanding of how the VIA system works. The simple steps to follow for trouble-free operation are enumerated after a discussion of the details of the system.