Custom Brass – SR&RL locomotive #18


This model generally requires a 36″ or larger minimum radius for satisfactory operation.

The model was reviewed by Bob Brown in the Narrow Gauge & Short Line Gazette January/February edition of 1980 with additional input from Peter Barney. Bob Brown wrote “Right out of the box my locomotive ran smoothly, slowly and with good throttle response. I do not plan to modify the power mechanism at all”.

It was noted that the model lacks a valve gear/cross head yoke and that the ashpan was missing. The sand dome is 6″ too high and the sander lines on #18 are those for #16. The prototype #18 had metal grid running boards whereas the model has wood grained boards. It was also suggested that the front boiler braces be replaced by more detailed brass castings.

The Custom Brass models of SR&RL #16 and #18 were produced at the same time and incorrectly share some features, while other prototype differences are correctly modeled. See also our post on the CB SR&RL #16 by clicking here.


Terry Smith writes; I acquired this example of #18 at the Edaville Rail Fan fair in 1988 as a non-running not quite basket case. It was my first On2 brass loco. The “non-running” turned out to be caused by someone replacing the original motor with a very small coreless motor fitted with a 63:1 gearhead driving the original 40:1 gearbox. In my inexperience, I decided to update the drive to a Portescap RG4 unit driving on to the rear axle which entailed dismantling the rear axle and wheelset and replacing the RG4 drive gear and bearings with their 3mm diameter alternatives to suit the axle. The loco was back dated cosmetically to match a picture of the prototype just after it had been rebuilt into a 2-6-2 by the Maine Central around 1915 and before the electric headlight was installed. The sand dome was reduced in height and the steam dome was sleeved to increase its lower diameter. The stack was turned parallel and a Baldwin style cap was added. The firebox sides were set into the boiler cladding and an ashpan/lower firebox was fabricated to house the PFM ballast/boiler glow bulbs. The rear truck was modified to work on 36″ radius curves without electrical shorting.

Other modifications not visible in the photographs include fully equalising the tender trucks, adding all wheel electrical pickups and installing the PFM Sound System.







SR&RL loco  models CB #16 & #18: model similarities and differences.

Here’s my dilemma, I have one of the Custom Brass, On2, “Could be a 16, could be an 18?” models and I want to get it painted, etc. The tender trailing truck is an archbar (16), the tender deck tool box is missing and the brake cylinder is “under” the tender, not hanging out on the right side as on “18”.  The engine has an “18” number board on the front of the smoke box and an “18” style headlight. When I got the model, the cab roof hatch was missing, so it’s anybody’s guess as to which configuration it is, although it does appear to have the stamped slide rails as on “18”. Bottom line: I have an “18” engine and a “16” tender. Was this common with the way Custom Brass imported this “run” of models? Does anyone out there have an 18 tender they would want to swap for my “16” tender? I’d really rather model the “18”.  If not, who might have a “16” number board for the smoke box front? The rest of the work (headlight, etc.) I can do myself. Or, I can take care of moving the brake cylinder and building the tool box to convert the tender to make an “18” version — but, I’d need a tender trailing truck replacement for the archbar on the “16” tender. Finally, should I manage to get the engine and tender “matched up”, then come the lettering and striping questions. I assume I’d want gold lettering and aluminum (or white?) striping with a “red lead” roof?

John Hitzeman – MaineOn2 posting   _     _     _    _     _    _     _     _     _    _     _

Hi John, I heard about your tender mismatch so I thought I'd add to your confusion. Both the 16 and 18 models have some unique characteristics making the conversion difficult. 

Your model, the 18, has strap-end side rods. The 16 has round end rods, correctly modeled on the CB #16. The smokebox fronts are different. The CB model has the first #16 smokebox front, the original smaller front with an extra ring riveted to the outside. It was later replaced with a standard Baldwin design of the period with no door dogs, just boltheads showing. The 18 had a smokebox door with dogs throughout its life as it appears on the model. 

To further confuse things I don't believe the 16 had the mismatched trucks and the early smokebox front at the same time.

The tenders from both models use the same shell. The differences are the brake cylinder and trucks as you already noted plus the handrail placing. Plus the 18 had a builder's plate on the tender when the new tender came from Baldwin. Precision lists a 2-foot tender truck that should do for the 18 if it is still available.

Another thing to note is the sander lines. The 18 never had the air sanders on the model, just the single pipe gravity lines. Plus the domes are the wrong height. If you can get a pair from Portland Products they are much more accurate. If you want more, get my number from Bill and call me.

Ray Christopher - MaineOn2 posting

To view Chuck Collins’ prototype information on this loco, click here.

Updated 14-12-2018.

3 thoughts on “Custom Brass – SR&RL locomotive #18

  1. Pingback: Locomotive models available by prototype roadname; Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes | The Maine On2 FAQ

  2. Pingback: Locomotive drawbar pulls and truck friction measurements | The Maine On2 FAQ

  3. Pingback: Custom Brass – SR&RL locomotive #16 | The Maine On2 FAQ

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