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March 2015 Winner!

"Into The Night"
by member Richard E

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Most-Recent O Gauge Topics:

Richard E
Topics: 50   Replies: 21
posted on Apr 16, 2015:

A B&O passenger train emerges from Cattaraugus Tunnel Pulled by a pair of passenger GP-9s

Cattaraugus Tunnel
Topics: 34   Replies: 16
posted on Apr 14, 2015:

Normally I wait until I have finished a project and then post it here.
This is going to be a long project with a lot of photos so I have decided to post it in sections as I go along.


In the thread I just did on the brass locomotive, I had talked about getting started on trains by "kitbashing" the plastic steam engines that were available back in the 70's.

The main engine kit that I used was a model of the Indiana Harbor Belt 0-8-0 locomotive.
These were made in Italy by Rivarossi and sold by AHM.
The model kit was sold with plastic wheels and they made a motorizing kit that had metal wheels to replace the plastic ones.
Here is what that engine looked like when assembled with the motorizing kit.

Over the years I have managed to collect several of these plastic engine kits and the motorizing kits to go with them.
Using parts from a couple of these model kits, I would like to build a model of an Erie Railroad 0-8-8-0 Camelback steam locomotive like this.

These are the main parts that will be used to build the engine.
An engine boiler shell and a tender shell.
Two frames, one with the motorizing kit already on it and an extra motorizing kit for the second frame.
Some miniscules plastic parts and metal side rods and valve linkage parts.
A cast brass boiler piece for a Camelback locomotive ( this will also add the necessary weight in the back to balance the engine so it isn't to front heavy ).
A piece of plastic pipe to use for extending the boiler.

The first step is to cut the front part off the frame that will be used as the rear chassis.
Then I cut the rear part off the frame that will be used as the front chassis.

I formed this piece out of sheet brass.
It will attach the two chassis units together with the brass shoulder bolt.

The brass piece fits on the back of the front chassis frame for the pivot between the two chassis frames.

This is a view of the underside of the two frames attached.

Here are the two frames set upright.

The cast brass firebox has a stub section of boiler on the front of it.

The plastic pipe that I'm going to use for the boiler is just a little larger diameter than the stub section on the firebox so I can bore the end of the plastic pipe out to fit on the firebox.
Unfortunately, I only have the small hobby lathe so I can't put the whole boiler in it.
I cut a short piece off the end of the plastic pipe and chucked it up in the lathe to bore out the end.

This end piece now fits over the end of the firebox.

The end piece is then glued back onto the end of the boiler.
I scribed a line on the side of the plastic pipe before I cut the end piece off so I could align the two pieces back the same way.

Starting to make the mounting base for the firebox out of styrene sheet.

Lining up the boiler on the chassis.

Right now the top of the boiler is even with the top of the firebox.
You can see in this drawing that the top of the firebox sets higher than the boiler and the rear portion of the boiler flairs out going into the firebox.

Using automotive body fill, I added height to the top of the firebox and tapered it down to blend with the boiler.

Here is the finished boiler.

Erie 0-8-8-0 Camelback Locomotive
Richard E
Topics: 50   Replies: 21
posted on Mar 27, 2015:

A Buffalo Rochester & Pittsburgh Passenger train slowing to board passengers at St.Paul depot while a Pittsburgh Shawmut & Northern freight crosses the Kessler canyon bridge in the background.
BR&P Passenger Train
Topics: 43   Replies: 37
posted on Mar 25, 2015:

B&O Q-4b 4611 is on the head end of a delayed Metropolitan Limited on the Baltimore & New York Rwy.
It's approaching Tower A and Edgewater station.
This was the B&O "maid of all work" train between St. Louis and Jersey City, making almost every stop along the way.
B&O had some freight steam and freight diesel locos equipped to cover passenger runs for emergencies or other needs.
Running late, but running!
Topics: 34   Replies: 16
posted on Mar 1, 2015:

This is a "freelance design" 2-4-4-2 articulated Locomotive and not a replica of any particular locomotive.

The project started with three main parts.
1- a locomotive shell:

2- a drive chassis:

3- a tender shell:

This gives you an idea of how the boiler and chassis will fit together.

The boiler shell was missing the smoke box on the front so I made one up out of sheet brass.

The boiler shell has been cleaned up and the new smoke box is soldered onto the front.

I used a piece of brass tube and bent it to form the steam supply pipe on each side coming from the steam dome and curving down and forward to the steam chest on the rear chassis.

The two steam pipes are cut at an angle under the boiler to mate up with the sides of the steam chest.

Here you can see the fit of the steam pipes to the sides of the steam chest.

There was 3/8 gap under the cab between it and the chassis frame.
I formed a pan to fill in this space and the brake cylinders and linkage are attached to it on each side.

Here is how it looks mounted under the cab.

A steam pipe is added to the front chassis.

The two drive chassis's are connected by a flexible drive shaft.

The electric motor is connected to the transmission on the rear chassis with a small U-joint.

The sides for the coal bunker on the tender were made out of pot metal.
I removed them and cleaned up the tender body.

Then I made up some new sides for the coal bunker out of sheet brass.

The sides are soldered on top of the tender body and a plastic coal load is added.

The water hatch, lights and ladder are added to the back of the tender.

Here is the completed locomotive.

Brass locomotive project
Dale H
Topics: 32   Replies: 31
posted on Mar 1, 2015:

Cant seem to get pics to load,sorry Please copy and paste link below,pics are on page 2

A question came up on another forum.


On an isolated rail on the approach to a lift bridge the rollers on the engine and cars jump the center rail via the pickup rollers and the train fails to stop in time when the bridge is up. The bridge has an internal switch which shuts off power to the approaching block to the bridge. Here is how a relay can solve the problem and insure reliable voltage cutting. The relay coil is activated by the insulated rail method. The contacts are used to insure a shorter stop. The method is explained in more detail here



The train wheels complete the circuit to the relay coil,converted to DC by the bridge rectifier. The capacitor 470 uf , 35 volt eliminates chatter caused by intermittent wheel contact and increases pulsed DC current to 24 VDC filtered. A 10 ohm half watt resistor in series to the capacitor slows charge just a bit to remove arcing. A 1n4001 diode across the coil suppresses spikes.

When the train or any car sits on the outside insulted rail, the coil is energized working the relay contacts. When the relay is energized C (common contact) and NO (Normally open contact) are connected.When the relay coil is not energized C and NC (Normally closed contact) are connected.

So,lets say the bridge is up and B1 center block has no power. As the train approaches B2 still has power. When the wheels on the engine crosses the outside insulated rail, the relay is energized. B2 is disconnected from the track power and connected to B1 and share whatever power is on B1. Since the bridge is up both blocks B1 and B2 will not have power. If Block B1 is maximum stopping distance and block B2 is longer than the train,there will be no roller jumping. When the bridge is closed,power is restored to both B1 and B2. Power is cut off as soon as the first to metal wheels of the engine sits on the outside insulated rail. Thus stopping time is greatly reduced. The wheels and track have to be reasonably clean for this to work. Stopping distance depends on the type of engine etc. Pw stuff can coast a while.

Stopping distance can be further reduced with the addition of a second relay. This assumes only one train runs on the loop. The voltage can be reduced and the train slowed on the bridge approach. It will also start at the reduced voltage reducing wear and tear on the engine.


In this diagram the A throttle and D throttle run the train,the A throttle is set at a reduced voltage. When a train is on outside insulated rail IR2, the reduced power from "A" tap is on the train instead of the power from D tap. Note,both A and D are isolated and can not be connected together. Either A or D controls the train but not both. Without a relay A and D could be connected by roller jumping and cause damage to the transformer.

Shown is a PWZW,but any transformer with an accessory tap can be used. 12VDC relays can be used at reduced voltage. Just remember the capacitor increases voltage 41% so do not exceed 12VAC for coil power. (that turns into about 17VDC)The 10V tap of an MTH Z4000 for example is appropriate. Most relay coils can take up to 50% over rated voltage but why push it? The contact rating should be 10 amp or more for track switching. I can not cover all the types of relays,there are too many makes and models. If you use DPDT ones,you can use the extra contacts for block signals etc. A good 24VDC DPDT relay and socket can be had for about $8. You can even get them cheaper if you want to do a bit of soldering.

If you are using a transformer with only 1 track output, you can make and use a voltage dropper to take the place of A and D taps. 2 bridge rectifiers for example can drop voltage by about 3 volts and reduce voltage on the approach. This same method can be used to slow a train down a hill or on a curve,wherever you need.


Dropping voltage with diodes is described here further


Further examples of circuits where relays eliminate roller jumping are here



Making the above circuit should cost about $20 or less. 2 relays,2 bridges and some misc parts. A euro style barrier strip will neaten hookup. Use #22 wire or thicker for the coil circuit. Use #18 wire (short runs) for the track power circuit. #16 or #14 for longer runs.

Now someone wanted a bi directional circuit. First we will have to establish direction logic. For that we will use a twin coiled latch relay. This will orient the contact switching in relation to train direction.

Here is a 12 volt DC version for someone using the 10 volt tap of a a Z4000 transformer. For a PWZW,KW etc, 24 volt DC ones could be used.


Use of the relay is shown in detail in a different application here,some soldering is required to the relay pins,they are PC mount.


Below is the coil circuit using the relay. It is activated by the outside insulated rail method IR3 and IR4.They are placed at least one train length apart from the bridge where the train has to travel in order to cross the bridge from each direction. It assumes the train is not backed up across the bridge before it activates the following IR. ahead If 2 trains go the same direction and follow each other ,this system would have to be switched off in the proper orientation.


A diode off the 10 volt tap provides DC rectification. capacitors remove ripple and charge voltage to peak. 10VAC becomes 14 VDC,filtered. A train traveling counter clockwise would leave the left coil thrown. A train traveling clockwise would leave the right coil thrown.Insulated outside rails IR3 and IR4 need only be 1 section long. The coils will take continuos power if the train sits on the IR. In this diagram 2 SPDT relay coils are wired in parallel to get an effective DPDT one.

Below that are 2 SPDT conventional type 12VDC coiled relays which are activated by outside insulated rail IR1 and IR2. The next diagram shows the switching,it is similar to the unidirectional circuit previously described except 2 relays are used. The contacts orient the switching as to train direction. Hope I got it right,you can trace circuit flow to verify.


Connections can be made with a barrier strip and some soldering to the relay pins. This whole thing could be made up for maybe $30-$40 depending on how cheap you can get components.


Eliminating roller jumping with relays
Richard E
Topics: 50   Replies: 21
posted on Feb 26, 2015:

A B&O EE2a 2-88-2, formerly a BR&P class XX with a coal drag heading to the industrial city of Garfield in the middle of the night.
The photo was taken using nigh photography technics developed by O. Winston Link
Into The Night

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