Sunday, September 23, 2012


One of the problems with having long rigid wheelbases in O gauge coupled with wheels with tiny flanges is the propensity of said vehicles to leave the rails at their earliest convenience. Assembling them on a flat surface such as a piece of glass might feel nice but it only works if the track never deviates in height over the length of the wagon by less than the height of the flange. Given my layout will be mainly outdoors the chances of never having such deviations is wishful thinking. Visits to other layouts with larger flangeways can also test your models out.
There are many proprietary rocking and sprung systems on the market, however such items don't really fall into this railway's budget. Just removing the bearings added some flexibility that solved some situations but didn't solve everything. Replacing the bearings in one end and adding two springs to bear down on the other axle without bearings seems to have made a very reliable vehicle. The 3 versions I have so far made stay on the track no matter the deviations I have made to test them.
These are all assembled wagons that I have been retro fitting. For my new wagons I might be able to keep the bearings on all wheels and just deepen the bearing hole downwards to allow some vertical movement.

The above photo shows the two pieces of brass wire inserted into the floor of the S wagon. Wire is either 15  or 22 thou depending on what I had in stock. In this case I melted the wire into the urethane with a soldering iron and set it with superglue. Tension is adjusted to be just enough to lift the wheels when upside down. A coat of black paint will make them all but invisible from normal viewing distance. If this suspension system proves itself over time I will have solved one of my biggest concerns since changing from AMRA wheel and track standards.


18 class finished for now

The 18 class is earning its keep. Until I equip it with a sound decoder there is little I wish to add to it for the moment. Now I have returned the pickups to my normal method it is reliable shunter.

It runs so well I look forward to finishing some more steamers.

Friday, September 14, 2012

CPH Lives!

After just 18 years since starting this model while away working in Sydney it finally moves under its own power.

It does have a driver, but no passengers yet. I guess lack of seating would not encourage much patronage.
The Athearn universals have gone hard over the decades of use and parts broke off them as I installed them. A temporary fix with sticky tape and heatshrink saved the day. I'll have to check what spares are still available.  Otherwise I will adapt another universal system to the Athearn drive trains.

 There is probably just as much work to be done inside and out to finish it as has already been done but it is a pleasure to watch it rolling up and down the test tracks.

Total cost including decoder would be less than $100 if I had to purchase all new parts. As it was I only had to buy 4 off Slaters rolling stock wheelsets and a decoder. I would never have imagined when purchasing my first HO Athearn diesels many years ago that they would be recycled into O gauge power units. 

TE wagon rake progress

Somehow I thought this was going to be quick way of getting wagons.
Here is a picture of progress so far.

So far we have used cardboard, pop sticks and some old wooden Venetian blind slats. All coated in shellac before painting.

Buffers are scratchbuilt from styrene (8 pieces per buffer)
Yard brake handles are a mixture of card and metal.
Brake hoses are just phone wire.
Couplers are American Models dummies with a Kadee 802 for each end of the rake.
I have had some Athearn Symington bogies in stock for a decade or two. They look close enough so I will equip the whole rake with them.
Some more detail to be added, lettering and some loads to be made then they will be ready to earn their keep.
Each wagon will cost less than $20 including paint and glue.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Rolling stock needed

With the construction of the outdoor layout now started there is a pressing need for some more rolling stock to be available when the loops are in. I decided on some flat wagons to start with.
First off the rank are some TE wagons. Given there were only 6 ever built I thought that was a suitable number to make. They are being constructed of card and other wood products. I have created my own kits of the basic structure and am in the process of assembling them. The wood top deck is made of some thin pop sticks available at one of the local variety stores. Each stick is approximately 12'' wide in 7mm scale so I score each stick down the centre after being cut to length.
Bogies will be Athearn Symington, perhaps fitted with some NWSL wheelsets at a later date.
They will be run as a rake so only one working coupler needed on two wagons and the rest will have dummy knuckles fitted.
While the TE's were originally created  for transporting army tanks, they were later used in general revenue service so mine will need some suitable heavy loads fitted.