A Tiny Locomotive makes a Fun Little Project

So, in a couple of posts I have referred to “Mystery Locomotive #1” as an ongoing project here and here.  This post introduces and explains what that locomotive in fact is!

In mid 2016 the Toronto Railway Museum started a campaign to raise funds to save a unique narrow gauge locomotive which had been offered for donation to the museum by Andrew Merrilees Limited.  The campaign was successful, and the small 0-4-0 Compressed Air locomotive was donated and moved to Roundhouse Park in September 2016.  The locomotive was built in 1906 by the H.K. Porter Company in Pittsburgh PA for the Plymouth Cordage Company in Welland Ontario.  Plymouth Cordage was a rope manufacturer, and the process was one where a spark could have caused a deadly explosion and fire.  The locomotive is “Narrow Gauge” and runs on tracks that are 40.5″ apart, instead of the “Standard Gauge” of 4′-8&1/2″ (56.5″).   The locomotive also runs on compressed air as sparks from a steam locomotive could have caused catastrophe at the plant.  It works like a steam locomotive though in terms of using the motion of the air to move a piston, which is connected to the wheels and which moves the locomotive forward/backwards.

Plymouth Cordage No.1 upon deliver to the Toronto Railway Museum.

Following its delivery, I had the opportunity to take detail photographs documenting the locomotive and to measure it.  From this, I created a 3D model which could be printed in HO scale.  The model is very simple, and not designed to run, but to be a static item.  There are two pieces in the print, the main body, and the cab roof so you can access the interior to paint.  In terms of additional details, a brass bell, brass whistles and safety valves, and a brass globe valve were added to the model.

The completed HO Scale Porter 0-4-0 Compressed Air Locomotive.

I realized that through the process, I never took any pictures of the unpainted parts when they arrived, or of the model as I was building it.  I did however, blog about this once before, in very vague terms here.  The test print I did at the library of the locomotive is really rough, and the support material almost impossible to clean up, but it confirmed that the overall scale and look of the locomotive was correct.  But, for less than $5.00, I knew that generally my model was in the right place, subject to cleaning up and finishing adding details, which is a huge benefit vs. the cost and time of waiting on an order from Shapeways to see if something is right.

The test print from the Lulzbot Taz5 in blue on the left, and the completed and painted Frosted Ultra Detail plastic from Shapeways models of the Porter.

The HO Scale Porter is available here on my Shapeways Store if anyone else is interested in adding a little talking point to a corner of their layout.

Tuesday Train #40

IMGP5667RawConv.jpgOut of the tunnel and into the Light.  Eurostar power car 3308, a Class 373/2 on display at the National Railway Museum in York.  This car was never actually used in Channel Tunnel service.  It was built for the “North of London” UK domestic service, which never really happened except for short periods.   And in a sign of how fast things change, the operators of the Channel Tunnel have been sending these locomotives and the coaches that run with them for scrapping, having been in service since the tunnel opened in 1994 and now less than 25 years later being replaced by newer equipment.

New 3D printed Parts

I finally got around to getting some “small” projects done.  I received a number of 3D printed parts back in December that I mentioned here.  I hadn’t had time to paint up the parts and update My Shapeways store with any details though. I have now completed painting a set of the parts, and updated my Shapeways listings, so here we go:

Woodings CBI Speeder Car

A model of a Canadian Built Speeder car.  The car has been finished with a Detail Associates Beacon Light and decals from a Highball Graphics CPR Maintenance-of-Way vehicle set to look like the CBI preserved at the Toronto Railway Museum.

Fairmont M14 Speeder Car


A model of a Speeder Car found across North America.  This version doesn’t have a roof.  It is based on a car formerly used in the Ottawa area that has been donated to the Toronto Railway Museum.  The seatbacks and armrests broke on my test print, the parts have been beefed up for the version for sale to survive cleaning and shipping.

City Street Details

Anyone who lives in Toronto will quickly recognize all three of the above pieces of street furniture.  The oblong garbage/recycling bins that are a ubiquitous part of Toronto’s street furniture for the past 10 years or so.  Along with them, the Toronto style “post and loop” bicycle post.  Finally, a Storm Sewer Grate modelled on ones commonly used in Toronto.  I’ve drawn up these details as I need them all for a small diorama I am working on.

Talyllyn Backhead


As can be seen inside the Cab, a 3D printed boiler backhead fills the empty space nicly.  The 3D printed part is finished with two small pieces of clear rod and a transparent blue paint to look like the water glasses on the back.  Not super fancy, but just enough to look better than a big empty space.

Will any of these upset my all time best seller of a sprue of BBQ propane cylinders? Who knows! Time will tell!!

imgp4766My best selling 3D printed part, a sprue of 10 BBQ Propane Cylinders!!

Tuesday Train #39

imgp5490rawconvA Tyne & Wear Metro train approaches the platform at Tynemouth Station.  The Tyne & Wear Metro is a rapid transit line serving the Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Sunderland area in north east England.  Some of the stations on the coast, such as Tynemouth were originally built as railway stations for holiday makers getting to the beach.  While today only two through tracks remain at Tynemouth, the large glass canopy covers evidence of four additional bay platforms from when the station was originally built by the North Eastern Railway (later a part of the better known London & North Eastern Railway) anticipating heavy vacationer traffic which never developed.

Talyllyn Takes Shape

After last weeks successful first trip to the paint shop, I made another on Friday night, primarily to spray gloss black on my OO9 Gauge Talyllyn locomotive, which is a conversion of a Bachmann Thomas and Friends locomotive to the actual Welsh narrow gauge locomotive Skarloey in the Thomas world was based on.

imgp6071rawconvPainted Body shell, in gloss black and grimy black.  Ready for detail painting and re-assembly.

With the major components painted, I could start putting the locomotive back together.  Getting it apart had been a slog, the motor and metal weight are a tight fit, and the wires are very fine.  Once I got the running plate back into position, and re assembled the valve gear, it had a discernible wobble running and an audible tick.  It took probably 45 minutes of running back and forth and adjusting the positioning of parts to find the cause, and solve it.  When I reassembled the slide bars, the didn’t seat in the right place, and the piston and motion were making contact they shouldn’t have been.  As I didn’t use the parts of the Narrow Planet kit I bought to replace the cylinders and motion with 3D printed and etched parts, I was re-installing the overscale plastic parts from the original locomotive.  I decided the soldering and work to assemble the etched gear was beyond me at the moment, and rather than muck it up, leaving it off and untouched means I can come back to it in a year, two years, five years, ten years, whenever I feel like it.

imgp6069rawconvGetting the Mechanism back together.  It took me a while to diagnose how the slide bars were not back in the right place, it ran, but had a major wobble and audible tic, but eventually it got sorted and runs smooth again.

Once everything was running right, there was a list of details to add to the locomotive.  I had to finish the 3D printed backhead I designed to fill the cab space, install the new smokebox door (sans Thomas face), install a brass handrail on the smokebox, install the air pump, add back the couplers and buffers, put real coal in the bunker, and touch up the paint.  As I was going through these steps, I also kept putting the body on and test running to look for anything I was doing that was binding

imgp6075rawconvTesting as pieces go back on.  Showing the 3D printed smokebox door and a brass air pump mounted on the smokebox.

Once everything was reassembled, it was on to adding decals.  The real Talyllyn has worn a number of different paint schemes over the years.  I decided that I am doing the black with BR style lining that it carried until recently.  This was for a few reasons, simplicity, but I also like the look.  I ordered decals from DTB Models, who did a custom set of lining to fit this conversion in either the black or the current red schemes.  I could have done the lining from sheets of individual pieces that I have, but having pre-designed panels makes it much better looking.

Lined out and detail parts installed.  The only remaining parts to install are the etched brass nameplates, builders plates, and number plate.

I’ll make one more post wrapping this project up with finished pictures once I install the nameplates and builders plates in the coming days. For now, the decals are setting and then I need to make sure they are well settled before putting the plates on.  Then it will be on to finalizing the design for a little narrow gauge layout/display/test track for it to run on!