Model trackwork, grades…..!

16th July 2018:  This post has been updated at intervals over the last week.

Grades

Note that larger versions of all photo’s can be viewed by clicking on them.

Terry Smith’s modified Custom Brass SR&RL #18 hauling freight cars uphill while on test. Note the packing on top of the left hand trestle to raise one end of the temporary board.

At the start of August 2005 on the MaineOn2 Yahoo Group, a thread started about grades. The discussions between Walter Orloff, Terry Smith, Peter Tuttle and Trevor Marshall (and others) are summarised here for the insights they provide.

This is one of those classic questions for which the answer is “it depends”.

It depends a lot on what locomotive we’re talking about, how well your particular model of it was built (brass is hand-built, so each one has the potential for its own unique blend of operational problems), how well your particular model has been tuned, the quality of your trackwork, etc.

Other factors also have to be considered, the rail material you are using, and material your loco drivers are made of,  this determines the coefficient of friction between the two materials, hence slippage  The rail cleaner you use can increase slippage. So the short answer is, the best way to determine this is to do tests with your own models. If you plan to pull any brass cars (cabooses or passenger cars come to mind) be warned that they could severely limit your grades.

For a very technical description of grades for the model layout visit http://webspace.webring.com/people/ib/budb3/arts/tech/grade.html

FAQ authors note, no track grade does not necessarily lead to a flat layout.

Trevor’s approach – I’d like to be able to pull passenger trains with 3-4 cars for the occasional railfan trip, camp special, or running of the S&PCRR’s premier passenger train, “The Rusticator”, so I’m building my layout with a planned grade of ZERO. I’m sure that’s not the answer you’re looking for, but it at least explains why I’ve decided to not introduce grades on my layout. My advice – build some track – straight and at your minimum radius – on a portable board, prop it up to various grades (which you can calculate by using rise over run), and then pull some equipment with your locomotives and figure out what works for you.

This picture shows a temporary set up assembled by Terry Smith in his garage in order to demonstrate the PFM Sound System to a friend. As will be seen, it is very easy to convert to grade test rig. The board is a 3″ thick slab of foam insulation board supported on two folding trestle supports.

Peter Tuttle – Allan Hanson, one of the pioneers in HOn2 and then On2, recommended a maximum grade of 0%, for all the reasons already mentioned. And Al’s scratchbuilt On2 engines were engineered to track and pull. (His SRR #15 had working leaf springs.)

Terry Smith‘s experience – I tested each of my locomotives for haulage capacity on the flat, round curves and up and down grades. The first tests were done with freight cars. Most loco’s could pull 6 or 7 boxcars built from SRCS kits with Grandt Line trucks and NWSL wheels. The bigger engines like the Sandy River Prairies and the Bridgton 2-4-4’s #7 & #8 could handle 10 boxcars (all that I had running at that time). The track was Precision Scale flex track with code 70 nickel silver rail. The tests originally showed me that the units tested could still pull a reasonable train up a 2% grade without too much slipping or other problems and my first iteration of my P&SR layout was designed with these figures in mind.

…………………………………….And then it all changed!.

I started using a PFM sound system, and had bought a set (#15/#16/#31) of The Car Works Bridgton coaches/baggage cars. Because of the sound system, I found that I needed to clean the track to avoid spurious sounds/signals etc. I ended up using Goo Gone, which is a fabulous cleaner, but the trains could no longer manage the 2% grade, so the P&SR was re-jigged to become as perfectly flat as realistically possible. 

It is only through discussions on another board that I have recently learned that rails should not be cleaned with Goo Gone as it leaves a deposit which is slippery. A pal of mine uses Rail Zap, and I have a sample to try, maybe more later.

I would also add that details on another site (see below) which deals with a number of technical issues for model railroads had an interesting section on haulage capacity and grades. It reminded me that different wheel materials will have different performances, and if I remember it correctly it more or less stated that nickel plated wheels on nickel silver rail was nearly the worse combination (lowest coefficient of friction, therefore lowest haulage capacity) and that turned steel drivers were better and powder metal iron drivers were the best. Interesting that the CB loco’s tested had different degrees of nickel plating, the Portland Products loco had turned steel driver tyres and I suspect that the Car Works Loco’s have nickel plated driver tyres or do they have stainless steel tyres? Technical site mentioned above, http://webspace.webring.com/people/ib/budb3/arts/tech/grade.html

On2 Maximum grade tests done for P&SR ;-

F&M #1 hauled two coaches up 5/8” rise in 48” (1.3%)

B&SR #7 hauled two coaches up 1 1/8” rise in 48” (2.3%)

F&M #1 hauled three freight cars up 1 1/8” rise in 48” (2.3%)

B&SR #7 hauled three freight cars up 1 1/2” rise in 48” (3.1%)

The F&M #1 weighs 370 grams, so in total it was lifting around 715 grams up a 2.3% slope (based on average freight cars) and 1074 grams of passenger cars and loco up a 1.3% slope.

The B&SR #7 weighs 548 grams, so in total it was lifting around 893 grams up a 3.1% slope (based on average freight cars) and 1252 grams of passenger cars and loco up a 2.7% slope.

F&M #1 model by Portland Products, no modifications at test, except well run in.

B&SR #7 model by Car Works, no modifications at test, very little running.

Two coaches would be two from The Car Works B&SR #15, #16, #31. Three freight cars would be SRCS kits equipped with Grandt Line Trucks and NWSL wheelsets. Freight cars in P&SR layout running condition weigh between 75 and 155 grams. The calculated total weight of the three most likely freight cars based on average weight is 345 grams (12 ounces). Track used was Precision Scale flextrack with code 70 nickel silver rail.

 

Additional tests done by Terry Smith in July 2018

SR&RL #6 hauled a coach and combine up a 3.6% grade.

SR&RL #18 hauled two coaches up a 3.6% grade.

SR&RL #6 hauled two coaches and a combine up a 2.04% grade.

SR&RL #18 hauled two coaches and a combine up a 2.9% grade.

SR&RL #6 hauled six freight cars up a 3.6% grade.

SR&RL #18 hauled seven freight cars up a 3.6% grade.

Amount of slip/wheel-spin allowed on test: I allow a minor amount of locomotive driver wheel slip when starting the train on the inclined test board, but do not allow wheel-spin once the train is moving at a steady pace. This is judged by eye, so it may be somewhat variable in terms of accuracy and reproducibility.

I recorded the weight of the train of freight cars that the loco could pull up the grade slope, which was 692 grams (6 cars) and 798 grams (7 cars). The passenger coaches weighed 352 grams and the combine weighed 364 grams.

The modified SR&RL #6 weighs 474 grams, so in total it was lifting 1166 grams up a 3.6% slope (freight cars) and 1190 grams of passenger cars and loco.

The modified SR&RL #18 engine only weighs 500 grams and its tender weighs 184 grams, so in total it was lifting 1482 grams up a 3.6% slope (freight cars) and 1388 grams of passenger cars and loco.

The Custom Brass SR&RL #6 tested above has been re-motored with a Faulhaber 1624 coreless motor driving through the original gearbox, and has the OEM boiler weight modified to add more weight over the drivers, as well as extra lead in the boiler. Additional power pickups have also been added.

The Custom Brass SR&RL #18 also has the same 1624 Faulhaber coreless motor, but in this case it is married to an RG4 gearbox fitted to the rear driver axle. The PFM Sound System fitted has an on/off switch allowing the loco to run as a non-sound loco on conventional controllers, and it was slope tested in this configuration.

 

The foam board set up is easily converted into a grade test rig by adding packing on top of one of the trestles, as shown here.

Rather than relying on measuring the height of the packing, Terry prefers to use a spirit level with a shim piece (electrical connector block used here) to determine the true grade. The level is levelled by moving the shim piece, and the height of the end of the level above the board is measured by a ruler. Dividing this height by the length of the level gives the grade.

In this picture Terry’s modified Custom Brass SR&RL #18 hauls a three car passenger train uphill.

 

The topics of locomotive drawbar pull and truck friction are related to the maximum grade capability, and have now been published on these FAQ’s is a separate topic. Click here to view on another page.

Text corrections: 03- July-2018. Text additions and photo’s added: 09- July-2018. Further additions and presentation changes 11, 12, 13, 16 & 24 – July – 2018.

 

 

Maine On2 layouts – Trevor Marshall’s Somerset & Piscataquis Counties RR

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Editors note, 21st April 2020; this topic was originally written in 2013 as a link to Trevor’s own site. It has been revised at intervals as additional pictures have been found, or have been provided after requests to illustrate particular features for other topics. Early in 2020, Trevor had problems with his internet collections, and the site showing his On2 layout was one of the casualties. Trevor has been providing photographs and captions in batches from his archives to allow them to be published here instead. During this process, we will simply post the pictures and captions as they come. The joints maybe obvious, and that is deliberate. Enjoy.

Here’s a snapshot of Trevor Marshall’s Somerset & Piscataquis Counties RR. This freelanced line was based around his interests in slate quarries and Maine Two Footers, and existed in his Toronto basement from 2003 until 2011.

The first iteration occupied a 14 x 16 foot space;-

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The picture below shows the Enoch Pond station area under construction. The Depot building was later used in the second iteration of the S&PCRR as the Snowdon Station.

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And here is a picture of the transfer yard at Snowdon on the second iteration of the S&PCRR.

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The original layout was superceded by the plan below when more space (31 feet x 14feet approximately) became available. This plan was not completed before it was supeceded itself by the S scale Canadian National layout “Port Rowan” which now occupies the space.

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To view a video of the Mount Snowdon area of the second layout, go to

To visit Trevor’s current blog about his S scale Canadian National layout “Port Rowan” click here.

Update 16 March 2017:- Trevor has written about the design of his layouts and some of what he learned on his Achievable Layouts blog, and he has illustrated the posting with a lot of pictures – so if you enjoy looking at Trevor’s modeling or are inspired by his writings, then you should take a look. Click here to view on another browser page.

 

Trevor is an exponent of telling a story with his model railroads and pictures. Below we see the sequence of operations as the S&PCRR took delivery of a new snowplow and prepared it for winter operations, including turning it on a turntable.

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November 2016: we have found more pictures of Trevor’s layout hiding away in the files featuring the S&PCRR. Shown below are 2 pictures of  Pulpwood flat car #327 with rack.

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Here is a rare overhead shot of the Hebron Pond Slate Company sheds and trackage showing the railbus and trailer waiting at the small passenger depot.

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3rd April 2020: Trevor’s website showing pictures of his previous Maine style layout was noted as being lost in the recent problems with his Port Rowan and associated blogs. In response to a recent specific request for any pictures showing Maine style buffer posts he found these two pictures from his personal albums;-

In a former Yahoo, now io, group thread about “buffers” Trevor wrote;-

The (now out of print) “Two-Foot Cyclopedia Volume 1 – Kingfield, Maine” has a set of drawings for a rather complex SR&RL style bumping post.
– Trevor in Toronto

and later followed with these two pictures plus an explanation;-

My layout is freelanced, but I’m following prototype practice.  Therefore, I’m building the SR&RL bumper posts for use in places where, if a car was shoved off the end of the track, “badness would occur”.

For example, if a car is shoved off the end of track at Quarry, it would go through the wall of the slate mill.  If you look at this picture, you’ll see what I mean:

The main building of the mill included areas for finishing and shipping slate products.

9th April 2020: Here are some more of Trevor’s pictures originally published on his own site;-

A small station served the workers at the slate mill.

The wood shop provided everything from packing crates to framing for the mines in the quarry.

A Forney takes a spin on the Quarry turntable. The red building is the water tank.

An overview of the left end of the Quarry layout.

Workers take a breather at the slate company.

A couple of workers prepare a block to lift a slab out of the slate quarry.

A flat car with side boards delivers coal to the slate company’s power house.

A pair of railbuses, used to transport workers to the quarry, are spotted out of the way between runs on the turntable lead.

These flat cars are the back bone of the fleet, transporting everything from roofing slates to curb stones and headstones from the company to the standard gauge connection at Snowdon, Maine.

A railbus pauses next to the water tank and coal shed on the turntable lead at Quarry.

Two ways to lift slate in the quarry – a crane in the foreground, and a derrick behind.

A steam crane in the quarry.

Number 24 shoves flat cars into the shipping shed.

Number 6 pulls a load of roofing slates from the shipping shed.

21st April 2020: Here are more of Trevor’s pictures originally published on his own site;-

A close-up of the office of the Snowdon depot photgraphed before installation on the layout.

The interior of the car shop (taken before installation on the layout)

The carshop and engine shed in situ at Snowdon: Quarry can be seen across the aisle in the distance.

The coal shed at the end of the transfer yard in Snowdon, based on the one at Monson Junction. The upper door is for loading locomotive coal. The standard gauge track is on the opposite side.

An overview of Snowdon, taken from the roof of the car shop.

A view of the turntable at Snowdon.

Combine 104 in a train.

Trevor comments I did like the way my passenger cars turned out: the trains were very handsome, in my opinion!

The track inspector has left his car on the main at the Hebron Pond Slate Company. This is the Train & Trooper model, fitted with DCC and Sound as described in the March 2004 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman.

One of the two B&SR tank cars – the only tank cars on the Maine two-footers.

S&PCRR 6 (ex B&SR) pulls loads of roofing slates from the mill.

S&PCRR 6 (ex B&SR) spots a car of polishing sand at the mill.

B&SR 41 was the subject of a group build led by Trevor on the now-defunct TwoFootProjects Yahoo Group.

Another view of the B&SR 41 flat car.

S&PCRR 21 (ex-Eustis) pauses at the small station at the Hebron Pond Slate Company.

Boxcar 156 would carry a variety of slate products between mill and transfer yard.

Dairy Car 59 is not normally found in the quarry. The crew must be spotting it somewhere on the return trip.

Pulpwood Car 327 is not normally found in the quarry. The crew must be spotting it somewhere on the return trip.

S&PCRR 21 (ex-Eustis) repositions a wedge plow during a special move.

A closeup of one of the derrick houses in the slate quarry. (On the layout, this one operated a virtual derrick, located in the aisle. The “cables” emerging from the house under the window at right were made from piano wire and clipped off at the fascia)

The powerhouse at the slate mill featured a full interior, lighting and sound. It was written up as the cover story for the June 2006 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman magazine.

A worker enjoys a cigarette while waiting for the railbus to arrive and take him home. (The Maine On2 FAQ’s does not endorse smoking).

A photo album view of S&PCRR 21 (ex-Eustis).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s your ***** loco? – part 5

In 2008, I posted a set of questions to the MaineOn2 Yahoo! group list under this title. I felt that the Yahoo! group postings had been dominated by other topics such as ”bashing brass and brass owners” in the verbal/written sense not the converting to another type sense, and by complaints about the poor running qualities of particular examples of brass loco’s, and that it was time to encourage other brass loco owners who had been quietly enjoying positive experiences with their collection of loco’s to post about them.

The questions were chosen quite deliberately to allow different locomotives to be selected, recognising that some owners may have a favourite loco which they would not necessarily recommend as a suitable choice for a newcomer.

My thanks to all the contributors for their comments and especially to the late Bill Kerr for updating his replies showing how they have changed over a three year period, and for the “Pearls of Wisdom” from a former Moderator of the Yahoo! Group and long term On2 modeller about starting today.

The collected views have been re-edited in 2013 to present a consistent loco/model naming format to facilitate links etc, and finally posted to the new style FAQ’s site.

Terry2foot

What’s your ***** loco? – part 5

General comments and discussion:

Trevor Marshall:  That’s funny, and points to one of the issues that Terry’s question has raised. My Car Works SR&RL #23 ran only so-so – it required torque arms to keep the motor from wrenching itself sideways on the rather flimsy, spring-loaded support structure and setting up a large buzz against the inside of the firebox. Bill Kerr’s #23 apparently tried to tie its own valve motion in knots the first time he set the wires to it. Jerry Kitts’ #23 runs well, apparently.

I bet we could find examples at both ends of the satisfaction index, for every On2 brass model produced (come to that, for every brass model produced, in any scale/gauge combination).

I’d certainly agree with the Prairie vs Forney argument for adding DCC/sound. Some of the Forney installs have been really tight squeezes. The new TSU-750 solves a lot of problems – but not all of them. The guy who tuned my SR&RL 21 said he needed to add two torque arms to the mechanism, widen the slot in the boiler bottom to accommodate them, then spent great whacks of time trying to thread the wires for the headlight past the improved mechanicals. His advice, “don’t open it up. Ever.” 🙂

Jerry Kitts: I agree that brass locomotives are all over the place when it comes to quality. Odd part is I have worked on four of the No. 23s and all of them were gems.

John Rogers: (who seems to have more motor and gearbox problems than the rest of us): I have a variety of models but they all seem to blow out the gear box sooner or later. My favourite is #24 which looks “cool”. It runs OK with the factory gear box and motor and has not blown out as yet. My number 23 blew last month and is in for the new gear and motor. My #10 runs ok but is noisy and has an intermittent short and may have blown the gear box also.

Bill Kerr 2011: Sacrilege, but if I were starting today I would seriously look at Bachmann On30. Their Forney can be the good basis of several locos for the two footers, both inside and outside frame. Several good kits are available to change the look. And they run. A loco with sound for around $200! And the parts are so easily interchangeable. I bought one without sound for $90 just for spare parts. Eventually I will get around to making a proper photo etched frame with bearings to re-gauge to On2 ( .5″), decided that filing the metal Bachmann frame down, is not the way to go. I have several engines that I want to model (SRR 16, SR&RL 8, SR&RL 9). Bachmann did it right, they made a good Baldwin catalogue engine, rather then going for a specific prototype.

Terry Smith writing 2013: I would also echo Bill Kerr’s 2011 comments posted above as being good advice to a newcomer rather than “sacrilege”.  I give similar advice when asked personally in face to face discussions, adding “buy a couple of freight cars kits and BUILD them”. If the person asks about the difference in gauge, then I reply “it only matters if YOU can see it, get some experience and if you can still see it then switch, but in the certain knowledge of what is actually involved.”

 

What’s your ***** loco? – part 4

In 2008, I posted a set of questions to the MaineOn2 Yahoo! group list under this title. I felt that the Yahoo! group postings had been dominated by other topics such as ”bashing brass and brass owners” in the verbal/written sense not the converting to another type sense, and by complaints about the poor running qualities of particular examples of brass loco’s, and that it was time to encourage other brass loco owners who had been quietly enjoying positive experiences with their collection of loco’s to post about them.

The questions were chosen quite deliberately to allow different locomotives to be selected, recognising that some owners may have a favourite loco which they would not necessarily recommend as a suitable choice for a newcomer.

My thanks to all the contributors for their comments and especially to Bill Kerr for updating his replies showing how they have changed over a three year period, and for the “Pearls of Wisdom” from a former Moderator of the Yahoo! Group and long term On2 modeller about starting today.

The collected views have been re-edited in 2013 to present a consistent loco/model naming format to facilitate links etc, and finally posted to the new style FAQ’s site.

Terry2foot

What’s your ***** loco? – part 4

What locomotive would you suggest to an interested newcomer (who is supposed to be fully aware of the pitfalls of brass loco’s, but nevertheless has decided to model in On2) as a first purchase and why?

Terry Smith: Probably a Custom Brass SR&RL #6, because they are a good general engine, and when re-motored (a number are already) can be very reliable performers.

Bill Kerr (2008): Custom Brass SR&RL #6 , basic engine, not too complicated, good starter if it needs rework, not too costly, the Forney’s probably defined the two footers, more then the 2-6-0 or 2-6-2 (which I prefer).

Bill Kerr (2011): If serious about On2, start with Custom Brass #6, its small, still seems to be relatively easy to acquire one, and easy to start your journey on working with On2 brass. See also the general comments.

Jerry Kitts: I will stick with the No. 23. Some of the smaller engines would frustrate a new comer to On2 right to another scale or track gauge.

Brass Locomotives have pitfalls? All models that move under their own power can have problems. I would suggest the No. 23 because it runs well, it’s easy to work on, plenty of room to add sound and/or DCC without losing your mind trying to stuff all that electronics in a Forney should it be your first time around.

I would certainly recommend a brass steam engine over some of the new stuff coming in from say Bachmann, which may be cheap, but you really get what you pay for. I have some Bachmann engines most of which have failed when you actually run them with a heavy train. Bachmann has replaced the parts, on two of them twice and now one of them has failed just sitting on the shelf. I tried their version of a Forney and sent it back. The drivers were not even round and as to turning into a scale model not much chance of that happening if you are interested in Maine Two Footers. The out of round drivers gave me a good excuse to get my money back.

So far if you want to be in On2 I am not aware of any offering that is not brass for a locomotive.

Trevor Marshall: I’m quite pleased with the performance of my Car Works B&SR #6. It is relatively new and needed little done to it. I added a pair of wipers to the drivers on the insulated side and it picks up power well and runs very nicely. Locomotives from this run (SR&RL 8 and 9, WW&F #7, B&SR #6) are still available “new” so haven’t suffered from being much loved, as have some of the older engines that I purchased second hand. For someone who’s looking for a first On2 brass engine, I think there’s a lot to be said for getting one that’s new.

Chester Louis: I would ask the newcomer what their plans were and then suggest. If they are interested in big power I’d suggest Custom Brass SR&RL #24 or Custom Brass SR&RL #16. If they wanted something simple, then it would be Custom Brass SR&RL #6. They keep popping up on eBay.

Jace Kahn: The last is a thorny matter, as most On2 modellers are prototype-specific, and a great deal depends on the individual modeller’s preferences. As a general thing, probably a Portland Forney remains the obvious choice for a first locomotive, both for size and because, effectively, all the Maine two-footers had them; the SR&RL Prairies (and even WW&F #6) are large to start with. If someone were thinking of producing a new locomotive in On2, I think one of the Porter 0-4-4T’s would be worth doing (I’d buy one)–they are small and basic, and no else has ever made one commercially (I’m not sure whether anyone has even scratch built one). The other suggestion is one of the Monson Vulcans, which have the advantage of also being small, uncomplicated, and the prototypes are still in existence, and (periodically) still in steam, so there is likely to be some additional interest among the general public.

Bob Schlechter:  The Custom Brass SR&RL #6, etc. Forney as it is the most versatile of the prototypes as it was produced in the greatest numbers model wise and can depict many roads if not free lancing. Also, the Forney is the watermark of loco types for the Two Footers.

Gerry Cole: The Custom Brass SR&RL #6 seems to be often available, or at least quite a few were on eBay a year or so ago. Availability at a decent price would be the main advantage, and it’s already On2!

Dean Brown: Get one that you like the looks of. This is a personal choice, but chances are you will spend a lot of time with that loco, so make sure you like to look at it. Also make sure you get one that runs well, or that you have the wherewithal to make it run well.

Matt Coleman: Any of the old CB or CW locos would be a great start. Avoid the Putnam and Stowe locos — they are too much work.

Matthew Latham: Hard to say as I only have one brass locomotive.

What’s your ***** loco? – part 3

In 2008, I posted a set of questions to the MaineOn2 Yahoo! group list under this title. I felt that the Yahoo! group postings had been dominated by other topics such as ”bashing brass and brass owners” in the verbal/written sense not the converting to another type sense, and by complaints about the poor running qualities of particular examples of brass loco’s, and that it was time to encourage other brass loco owners who had been quietly enjoying positive experiences with their collection of loco’s to post about them.

The questions were chosen quite deliberately to allow different locomotives to be selected, recognising that some owners may have a favourite loco which they would not necessarily recommend as a suitable choice for a newcomer.

My thanks to all the contributors for their comments and especially to Bill Kerr for updating his replies showing how they have changed over a three year period, and for the “Pearls of Wisdom” from a former Moderator of the Yahoo! Group and long term On2 modeller about starting today.

The collected views have been re-edited in 2013 to present a consistent loco/model naming format to facilitate links etc, and finally posted to the new style FAQ’s site.

Terry2foot

What’s your ***** loco? – part 3

What is your favourite locomotive? and why? 

Terry Smith: my Car Works Wiscasset #7, because it looks so good.

 Bill Kerr (2008): Car Works SR&RL #23, largest of the Prairies, purchased as my going away present from Motorola after 19 years (the termination package was GOOD, so I could afford the cost)

Bill Kerr (2011): Prairie #24, I like its size, #23 is large in comparison, mine needs to be worked on to get it running, and it is a Baldwin that would look good running on any world wide railway, S American, Cuban etc.

Jerry Kitts: My favourite is the Car Works SR&RL #23 because of how well it runs and it will take 30″ radius curves easily. If with little or no work a steam engine works great, then I am more than willing to put hours into detailing it to the best of my ability.

Trevor Marshall: Until recently, a Car Works B&H #8. It was my first Forney – it has also been tuned and has extra wipers for pick-up so it runs quite reliably. It’s been used a LOT in my slate quarry – has been my “test loco” and has seen the most time in steam for operating sessions.

My NEW favourite is a Custom Brass SR&RL #21. Just got it back from a tune-up and it’s delightful. I need to finish detailing it – it needs lettering, a crew, 14 panes of glass, a coal load, some shovels’n’picks, and weathering – but when it’s done it’ll be a much more appropriate locomotive for quarry work than the 2-4-4Ts.

Chester Louis: It’ll be the Hinkley most likely, but will have to wait and see how the rebuilding of my Portland goes.

Jace Kahn: Probably my scratch-built B&SR #7 (for obvious reasons, although I also like the prototype). Among commercial products, probably my Custom Brass SR&RL #24, because the lines of the prototype are so elegant.

Bob Schlechter:  From the stand point of aesthetics, the Custom Brass SR&RL #24 wins hands down in my thinking. The pinnacle of the BLW’s designs.

Gerry Cole: Definitely my brass Car Works SR&RL #23. I think #23 is even prettier than the more popular #24, and both have room for DCC and sound.

Dean Brown: This is a toss up between the Car Works SR&RL #10 and the Custom Brass SR&RL #24. The big Forney, emblematic of Maine 2-footers, looks good and runs well, while I really like the proportions of the Prairie.

Matt Coleman: Custom Brass #22. It looks great and runs well and I just happen to like those big Forneys.

Matthew Latham: Car Works WW&F #7 because it is the only WW&F locomotive I have.

Doug MacLeod: SandyRiver 2nd #2. Probably will be the next On2 locomotive I build.

John Rogers: My favourite is a Custom Brass SR&RL #24 which looks “cool”. It runs OK with the factory gear box and motor and has not blown out as yet

 

What’s your ***** loco? – part 2

In 2008, I posted a set of questions to the MaineOn2 Yahoo! group list under this title. I felt that the Yahoo! group postings had been dominated by other topics such as ”bashing brass and brass owners” in the verbal/written sense not the converting to another type sense, and by complaints about the poor running qualities of particular examples of brass loco’s, and that it was time to encourage other brass loco owners who had been quietly enjoying positive experiences with their collection of loco’s to post about them.

The questions were chosen quite deliberately to allow different locomotives to be selected, recognising that some owners may have a favourite loco which they would not necessarily recommend as a suitable choice for a newcomer.

My thanks to all the contributors for their comments and especially to Bill Kerr for updating his replies showing how they have changed over a three year period, and for the “Pearls of Wisdom” from a former Moderator of the Yahoo! Group and long term On2 modeller about starting today.

The collected views have been re-edited in 2013 to present a consistent loco/model naming format to facilitate links etc, and finally posted to the new style FAQ’s site.

Terry2foot

What’s your ***** loco? – part 2

What is your best locomotive? and why? 

Terry Smith: A Portland Products F&M Forney, because it is so reliable.

Bill Kerr (2008): Car Works SR&RL #23, currently being reworked and sound added.

Bill Kerr (2011): Car Works SR&RL #23, purchased in 1997, reworked to get it to run and sound with cam, $1500 tied up in what is now a $650 engine ;^)

Jerry Kitts: Car Works SR&RL #23. Because it runs better than any other brass locomotive I own. It came with a few faults, like some parts ACC’d on the frame, but following some clean up and quality time with my torch all the parts are now soldered in place.

Trevor Marshall: Custom Brass SR&RL #24 – it has been tuned and is a very smooth runner.

Chester Louis: It will be my Hinkley when it is finished. Because I built it.

Jace Kahn: Do you mean best runner? or most suitable? or best-detailed? Hard to say, although I could cite a couple of lemons.

Bob Schlechter:  Again, the Forney (the Custom Brass SR&RL #6) as it was used on several of the roads making it versatile. The Custom Brass SR&RL #24 and the Eustis engines (Custom Brass SR&RL 20, 21 & 22) are a close second.

Gerry Cole: Not brass, but nonetheless the Bachmann On30 inside frame SR&RL. Purchased to run well when converted (hopefully by somebody else on this list) to proper On2. They seem to be economical, good running locomotives, very practical, but not the right gauge. If I can’t get it converted to On2, I’ll probably be able to sell it for about what I paid for it on eBay.

Dean Brown: I’m not sure of the criteria here, but the Car Works SR&RL #10 is good in many respects, so it may be “best”.

Matt Coleman: The Portland Products SR&RL #1 produced by Bob Werner/Hobby Barn Portland. Looks great, is small and runs very well.

Matthew Latham: Car Works WW&F #7 as it is my only one.

Doug MacLeod: Laurel River & Hot Springs, 2-6-0. Nice looking locomotive.

 John Rogers: My best running loco is a Custom Brass SR&RL #18 with a coreless motor and gear head and Grandt Line 2 to 1 bevel gear on the axle. It runs like a Swiss watch and I have bought motors and gears to redo several of them.

 

 

 

What’s your ***** loco? – part 1

In 2008, I posted a set of questions to the MaineOn2 Yahoo! group list under this title. I felt that the Yahoo! group postings had been dominated by other topics such as ”bashing brass and brass owners” in the verbal/written sense not the converting to another type sense, and by complaints about the poor running qualities of particular examples of brass loco’s, and that it was time to encourage other brass loco owners who had been quietly enjoying positive experiences with their collection of loco’s to post about them.

The questions were chosen quite deliberately to allow different locomotives to be selected, recognising that some owners may have a favourite loco which they would not necessarily recommend as a suitable choice for a newcomer.

My thanks to all the contributors for their comments and especially to Bill Kerr for updating his replies showing how they have changed over a three year period, and for the “Pearls of Wisdom” from a former Moderator of the Yahoo! Group and long term On2 modeller about starting today.

The collected views have been re-edited in 2013 to present a consistent loco/model naming format to facilitate links etc, and finally posted to the new style FAQ’s site.

Terry2foot

What’s your ***** loco? – part 1 

What was your first locomotive purchased? When and why?

Terry Smith: A Custom Brass SR&RL #18, purchased at the Edaville Rail Fan Fair in 1988, because it was the first On2 loco I had come across in the price range that I was willing to pay.

Bill Kerr 1: Custom Brass SR&RL #6 Forney, 1979, purchased from friend

Bill Kerr 2: Custom Brass SR&RL #6 Forney purchased 1979, because it was available, now have 2

Jerry Kitts: Custom Brass SR&RL #6 about 1976. Because I liked the engine, I had a hobby shop at the time and gave myself a generous discount. [smile]

Trevor Marshall: Custom Brass SR&RL #24. Purchased in 2003. I was interested in the scale/gauge potential and one was available.

Chester Louis: My first was a Custom Brass SR&RL #24. I bought it at the 10th anniversary NG Convention in St. Louis from Peter Barney.

Jace Kahn: A Custom Brass SR&RL #6, bought new circa 1978, because it was the only On2 commercial locomotive produced at that point. I have had three or four of them pass through my hands over the years, and that particular one has long since gone back into general circulation, but I have kept one #6, bought from the late Mike Pearsall (with can motor replacement), who had added a few details, and I have added a few more.

Bob Schlechter: The Custom Brass SR&RL #6 Forney, etc. as it was the first and only one available at the time.

Gerry Cole: Custom Brass SR&RL #6 “early”, purchased a couple years ago from a fellow Maine On2 list member. Why? Because the price was right, and I liked the size and proportions of the locomotive.

Dean Brown: Custom Brass SR&RL #18, sometime in the late ’80’s. It was the first On2 loco I’d seen, it was painted and lettered and ran beautifully; it still does.

Matt Coleman: my first loco was the Custom Brass SR&RL #16 2-6-2 purchased in 1984 or 85.

Matthew Latham: The Car Works WW&F #7 Late in 2007 because it was the only WW&F brass  locomotive available.

Doug MacLeod: Never have purchased an On2 locomotive. I have 3 On2 locomotives, built two and acquired Sandy River #1 for payment of parts from Putnam & Stowe.

John Rogers: My first loco was not brass. I was probably “loco” at the time and bought a Bachman Forney. A good runner, but the wrong gauge. I narrowed the gauge. Not easy but do-able.