October 26, 2013

Equalized Locomotives in HOn30

A sample of Chris' modeling (photo from M2FQ website )
Chris in his layout in progress.
On Saturday after the Great Scale Model Train Show JB Wielepp, JD Drye, Brian Brendel and I visited Chris McCheseny and his HOn2 layout. Chris is well known in Maine narrow gauge modeling as the builder of the WW&F waterfront modular layout and other models. Chris is continuing to work on the WW&F with a home layout that is designed for moving. He and his wife plan to eventually move and take the finished layout with them.

He models in HOn30 and he scratchbuilt or  rebuilt most of the locos.  Along with the Narrow Gauge in the Sheepscot Valley series, in 1997 he wrote a book called the HOn30 Locomotive Handbook that describes most of his techniques. Jeff Bissonnette rebuilt the WW&F #7 and #9 to be equalized.  Chris finished up the rebuild and painted them.  Other locos Chris scratch built.

Amazing work on this loco
The key to modeling in HOn30 is building locomotives that run reliably. Chris seems to have solved that issue with some absolutely amazing models.

 Jeff Bissonette documents some of his work on his blog and it is a must see if you are interested in fine scale engineering.

The WW&F is one of my favorite railroads. I dedicated a chapter to it in my first book on mid sized layouts.

I plan to build a 4-4-0 in the future and I would like to try an equalized chassis. I hope to learn more about this in the future.

9 comments:

  1. Bernie:

    A 4-4-0 is a big challenge. The bible of compensation/equalization is a little booklet by Mike Sharman called Flexchas. Also useful are the Gauge O Guild's on line manual, and Iain Rice's book on etrched chassis construction (both have a chapet on compensation). Finally, on line there is the ScaleFour Digest Principles of Locomotive Suspension. I found the Rice book through International Hobbies in Auburn CA, I think and the Sharman pamphlet through Abebooks.

    These are all British, and I have had a lot of trouble trying to translate their ideas into small, open framed 4-4-0s. The classic equalized suspension for a 4-4-0 has the rear, geared axle rigid, and both the pilot truck and front axle free to move vertically, connected by a longitudinal beam on resting above them on their centerlines, pivoted off of a cross bar about half way between them. All this is fine with a British slab sided frame to hide the works but is complicated to arrange and is in pretty plain sight on our style locos. Also, this arrangement seems to shorten the effective wheelbase of the already short whellbase 4-4-0s of the 19th century.

    I have just started a 4-4-0 using Stevenson Preservation Lines castings and my planned work around is to mount the rear, geared driver rigidly, mount the pilot truck (equalized side frames like a frieight truck) directly to a fixed height kingpin (given a short 16-17' distance between he rear axle and the kingpin, and soem sideplay on the front driver axle, I am hoping to get away with simply pivoting the lead truck bolster on the kingpin, just like a freight truck) , and suspend the front driver axle on regular coil driver springs. I am part of the way through a subframe to hold the drivers, motoer and gearing, so this is only theory at the moment, but so far it seems more promising than traditional British style compensation.

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  2. Bernie:

    In my limited experience, a 4-4-0 is a big challenge. The bible of compensation/equalization is a little booklet by Mike Sharman called Flexchas. Also useful are the Gauge O Guild's on- line manual, and Iain Rice's book on etched chassis construction (both have a chapter on compensation). Finally, on-line there is the ScaleFour Digest Principles of Locomotive Suspension. I found the Rice book through International Hobbies in Auburn CA, I think, and the Sharman pamphlet through Abebooks.

    These are all British, and I have had little luck trying to translate their ideas into small, open framed 4-4-0s. The classic British equalized suspension for a 4-4-0 seems to have the rear, geared, axle fixed in place, and both the pilot truck and front axle free to move vertically, connected by a longitudinal beam on resting above them on their centerlines: that beam see saws on a cross bar about half way between them. All this is fine with a British slab sided frame to hide the works but is complicated to arrange and is in pretty plain sight on our style locos. Also, this arrangement seems to shorten the effective wheelbase of the already short wheelbase 4-4-0s of the 19th century.

    I have just started a 4-4-0 using Stevenson Preservation Lines castings and my planned work around is to mount the rear, geared driver rigidly, mount the pilot truck (equalized side frames like a freight truck) directly to a fixed height kingpin (given a short 16-17' distance between he rear axle and the kingpin, and some sideplay on the front driver axle, I am hoping to get away with simply pivoting the lead truck bolster on the kingpin, just like a freight truck) , and suspend the front driver axle on regular coil driver springs. I am part of the way through a subframe to hold the drivers, motor and gearing, so this is only theory at the moment, but so far it seems more promising than traditional British style compensation.

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  3. Matt,
    That sounds very interesting. If you can, please send some photos. I can post them here if you like.

    I have both of the books you cite (thanks of Trevor for the Flexi-chassis booklet). I do find the Flexi-chassis book very hard to follow. I do find it interesting how the flexi-chassis book makes a big deal about adding slop to the chassis since everything is sprung or free floating. That just seems off to me, but having no practical experience in this matter I defer to them. Time to try some experiments and see what happens.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Bernie. Prep work is going well and I am planning to have the basic frame and drive train subframe assembled this weekend, and will forward a photo then (if it works. If not, this conversation never occured!).

      Will we see any more of your WWI project? Since it is the other area of military history I am very much interested in, it was a kick to see your photos. I don't know if you have had a chance ot see any of the impacted areas, but the fighting was so intense and extensive that there is a lot of evidence existing in unexpected areas. In the woods on a farm I visited near Chateau Tierry /' Belleau Woods last year, you could easily see trench lines, machine gun nests and even individual US foxholes. Small arms brass still littered the ground under the leaf cover and I even tripped over a German gas mask. Sobering and evocative of the mood you captured.

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    2. OK, please keep me posted.

      The WWI book will be featured in my upcoming book on military RRs. Hopefully that will satisfy your interest. I built it as a project for the book.

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  4. Hi Bernard,

    Thanks for referencing my website... Chris does extraordinary work! I get great satisfaction from seeing him finish a locomotive with one of my mechanisms under it, or a locomotive that I've had a hand in helping him tune and get the most out of. It's something I'm fully incapable of doing myself, and because of this, ours is a great collaboration.

    Regards,

    Jeff Bissonnette

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    Replies
    1. Jim,
      I was very impressed with your mechanisms. I may ping you for some ideas on improving the 2-6-2 steamers for my WWI layout.

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    2. Not a problem Bernie... Whenever you need some ideas, drop me a line.

      Jeff

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  5. Bernie, I have a photo of the 4-4-0 project that might interest you. What is the best way for me to get it to you? Matt

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