Wolfeboro - Freight House

Publication: Model Railroad News
Publication Date: October 2009

Over the years the number of railroad depots built in America must number in the tens of thousands, but in model railroading it is usually the passenger station that is selected for a layout. However, the freight revenue is what kept the railroads running and the freight depot was essential in this operation.

Bollinger Edgerly Scale Trains is now offering an HO kit to build a typical freight depot with a large freight platform. This is the type of structure that would be accurate for any time period on a layout as it was originally constructed in the late 1800's and is still in use today, though not as a railroad structure.

The Prototype

Wolfeboro is located in New Hampshire, and was served by a little-known line named the Eastern Railroad, This all-wood depot was built in 1871 and over theyears, the railroad now being operated by the railroad now being operated by the Boston & Maine, continued to be a hub of freight service unitl the line was abandoned in the 1960s.

The depot was designed with freight doors on each side; the freight platform was on the rail side and transfer of freight to trucks took place on the opposite side of the building.

According to Bollinger Edgerly, the B&M sold the depot in the 1960s to a furniture store for storage purposes. Subsequently the old depot was sold to the Wolfeboro Oil Company, which still uses the building for storage.

There was a large passenger depot located next to the freight depot. This is a very fancy structured with mansard roofs and a large center tower. Bollinger Edgerly also has a kit for this structure, No 1006-A. Both kits can be viewed on the BEST web site.

The Model

The freight house kit is composed of both clapboard siding and scribed wood siding, with the various parts being laser cut; wood roofing sub-based, diamond-cut peel-and stick shingles, Tichy plastic windows, stripwood for the platforms and trim, and a nice assortment of cast metal detail parts round out the rest of this kit.

The instructions include a numer of photos of various parts of the construction and I found myself going back and forth between the photos and the various parts before I really understood what BEST had in mind.

Also included are some veiws of the depot as it presently appears, but the freight platform has been removed. Thus a set of plans for the structure would have been quite helpful.

The building of the kit is rather straightforward once you become familiar with the various parts. The long walls are built in three sections, which are held together with support pieces on the backside. The lower part of the walls has vertical scribed siding on the platform side and long horizontal strips on the trucking side.

The prototype depot was built with support pillars with bracing along the bottom of the walls. These can be seen under the freight platform, but are covered by the horizontal bracing on the other side of the structure. I made a scale drawing of these assemblies and fabricated them before installing on the bottom of the walls.

Windows for the depot are molded in plastic and should be painted before they are installed in the openings precut in the walls. The freight doors are supplied as pre-cut pieces of scribed wood. These, along with the doorframes and corner trim, should be pre-painted.

The roof of the building is made from two sheets of wood. Rather than attaching these to the walls, I find it is easier to make the roof a free standing item. Copy the shape of the end walls onto heavy cardstock and then glue the two roof sections to this. This will allow easy access to the building should you late want to add lights or a full interior. The diamond-shape shingles are pre-cut in long strips and are self-stick. Use care in aligning the strips, as the diamond shape must be maintained for the correct look. There are spacing lines printed on the instructions, but do not cut these out until you have built the freight depot, as the plans for the platforms are on the opposite side of the page.

I found that it was rather easy keeping these aligned by having a small light on the surface. This allows you to keep spacing of the diamond shingles correct. It takes time to get the strips applied correctly, but the finished roof will look realistic.

The instructions state the shingles should be painted after they are applied to the roof base as some paints will attack the adhesive. I painted the model shown with a flat brown spray paint and had no problems. Bragdon Enterprises weathering powders were then applied to create an aged look to the shingles.

Full-size plans are provided for building the freight platform. This is composed of cleanly milled strip wood, but the parts must be cut to size by the modeler. The instructions do provide excellent photos of the various steps in building the platform. The platform is built in three sections and wraps around three sides of the building. Take your time in getting these exactly the same height.

Once the platform is completed and painted, it is glued evenly with the bottoms of the freight doors to the edge of the wall. The steps at the office end of the building are made with laser-cut stringers and strip wood. Use masking tape to hold the stringers upright, then glue the steps onto them.

There is a large selection of cast metal detail parts to complete the look of the depot, including barrels, wooden crates, pallets, and two sizes of milk cans. These should receive a base coat of dark primer, and then be painted with colors of your choice. There is a nice sheet included with the instructions that provides a number of good ideas for weathering wood and metal and plaster casting.

Final Thoughts

This is a very well designed kit, and once you study the instructions thoroughly, as mentioned, you should have no trouble building the depot. As with all craftsman type kits, you should take your time and not try to rush the construction. I find that each step should be taken as a separate project. I've heard many modelers say they are overwhelmed with a wood kit, but taking it step by step it is quite easy. Probably one of the nicest things about this particular structure is that it can be utilized for a number of different uses, not just a line structure.

Denis Dunning


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