Paul Dobbs, one of the ACWRRHS members, is building an O Scale ACW layout in P48. For motive power he plans to kit-bash an old Rivarossi plastic model 4-4-0 into a P48 operating locomotive.
Where did this kit come from? Rivarossi was an Italian company founded in 1945. Lionel briefly distributed their models in the United States until Athearn and then Associated Hobby Manufactures (AHM) took over. AHM closed operations in 1985. It is common to find older packaging marked AHM Rivarossi.
|Box art from an AHM Rivrossi 4-4-0 Genoa|
In the 1990s Rivarossi acquired Lima (1992), Jouef and Arnold (1997). In 2003 Rivarossi went into receivership, the last of many times. In 2002 the US importer folded leaving debts greater than the capital value of Rivarossi. In 2004 Hornby Railways PLC acquired assets from Rivarossi, in particular the brands Arnold, Jouef, Rivarossi and Lima. Since 2006 products are sold again under these brand names. To my knowledge the O Scale locomotive kits have not been rereleased. The plastic kits can sometimes be found on Ebay.
I am not sure what powering kit Paul plans to use, but he mentioned that he needed P48 trucks for his freight cars.
I offered to convert some of my Alkem Scale Models trucks to P48 for use on his freight cars. (note these trucks are not yet available for sale, but they are coming soon)
What the heck is P48 anyway? Due to a historical quirk, standard gauge O scale locomotives in the US are made with wheels set to a 1.25 inch (a scale 5 feet) gauge. P48 standard gauge modelers use a correct scale track gauge of 4' 8.5 inches, though it should be noted that some American Civil War era railroads were 5 feet gauge. While they are at it, they also adopt fine scale wheels with realistic tread and flanges. For more information about P48 see http://www.proto48.org/
I modified the design of my O Scale my trucks to accept a p48 wheel set that Paul provided. The photos the P48 trucks compared to my standard gauge O Scale trucks.
The wheel sets in this test have a significant extension of the axle to the outside of the wheel face. As a result, I was unable to make journal covers for the P48 trucks since the axle shafts extended past the journal boxes. Otherwise, the truck uses the same design as my standard gauge trucks, including the working brake mechanism.
The P48 wheels will just barely rest on the standard O gauge track, but they will not operate on it. They require track built to those specs.
So you be the judge, is the difference worth converting all those SMR locomotives to P48? I know what my answer is.
In looking at these photos it occurs to me that I may be able to make the O Std truck narrower by using the same idea I used in the P48 truck. That is, make the axle hole in both the frame and the journal. That would allow the frame sides to lie closer to the wheel faces. The main problem with these wheel sets in the amount of axle that protrudes from the wheel face. The O Std wheel sets have a pointed axle to reduce friction. But if you don't rely on that point to hold the axles, and use the flat part of the axle as a bearing surface, you could make the overall truck narrower.