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.

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