New Jersey Transit Comet Passenger Cars

For this project I purchased Comet II passenger car shells from Island Model Works.  My intention was to use these cars and paint them in a more updated livery which was on the Comet IIM cars.  Below are a couple of shots of how the looked when they arrived.  As you can see there's a lot of flash and left over molding that had to be cut out from the windows and along the bottom of the cars.  It took a lot of patience, but it wasn't too hard to do.

The NJ Transit cars have inside bearing wheels which means the outside of the wheels aren't attached to anything.  I purchased several sets of Kato wheels that are used on their Amfleet cars.  These trucks have a coupler mounted on them which would hit the steps molded onto the Comet II chasis so I had to cut off the coupler.  While I was at it I trimmed the electrical leads since I have no plans on lighting my cars and they would only present a challenge later

Here you can see how I used an NMRA coupler gauge to ensure that the couplers are at the right height.  I also had to check the clearance of the coupler to make sure that the coupler wouldn't hit against the floor of the car next to it.

The next step was to check to see if the coupler will clear the platform on the end of the car.  The picture on the right shows the platforms as they came.  I later rounded the edges so they'd work better in push mode.

Here you can see the fully assembled cars.  There are still minor tweaks to me made, but otherwise they're ready for testing.

Testing

Testing is crucial and must be vigorous when trying to operate in a push/pull fashion.  Since every can has a little ledge at each end of the floor (so passengers can safely walk from car to car) I had to make sure that the cars could navigate turns without catching on each other.  I had to carefully cut and file each one so that they would push the car in front of in push mode without pushing it off of the rail and they needed to be able to navigate tighter turns (12 inch radius) both forwards and backwards.  They were tested in all types of situations including switch tracks and tight S curves.

Final Tests Before Painting

Push Mode

Pull Mode

Time to Paint

Unfortunately many of my painting pictures were lost.  I experimented with over 15 combinations of various silver and white paints until I found the perfect combination to match the NJ Transit aluminum silver color.

 

In this picture you can see that the car was already airbrushed with what I call NJT silver and is now masked for the black stripe.  Below that is a picture after the black is airbrushed and the tape is removed.  Some of the molded on features unfortunately prevented me from getting a perfect stripe on the ends.

Here are some pictures and video of the final product.  I am extremely pleased with the way they came out.

These videos shows just how close the cars are to each other on a 19 1/4" radius in push mode and in pull mode

Pull Mode

Push Mode