August 21, 2016

A Track Mobile?

No, not that kind of track mobile.

This is a railroad trackmobile, a small locomotive that combines rubber tires and steel wheels. See the Trackmobile website for the interesting history of these neat little work horses. Rail King is another maker of these mobile railcar movers, and that is the kind that Rio Tinto has. I suspect that "Trackmobile" is a trademark, and that iswhy Rail King calls them mobile railcar movers. The company that makes Rail King, Stewart Stevenson, also makes the Army FMTV trucks.

A few years ago, Broadway Limited Imports produced an HO scale Trackmobile in DC and DCC versions. Now that I have started to expand Rio Tinto-US Borax on my layout, the layout could use a Trackmobile.

This photo shows the basic benchwork and mock up of the track, borax silos, pier side loading shed and the bulk carrier.

It is hard to fathom that a ship this size is considered a "Mini-Bulker."   This would be about a 10,000 - 15,000 DWT ship. Bulk carriers can get as large as 300,000 DWT! More on the bulker later.

As you might be able to discern, the new sidings are about 60 percent longer than before. I got a Peco curved Number 7 turnout to tighten up the arc even more.

On Saturday my mom and I took a ride in the Alkem-mobile to Mainline Hobbies in Blue Ridge Summit, PA. It's just over the Maryland border near Camp David. It's a nice ride once you get out of the city. The road from Thurmont to Sabillasville is twisty (time for sport mode), scenic and hosts the former Western Maryland East Subdivision. That line is still used by Maryland Midland.  We like to stop at the Scenic View farmers market and get fresh produce- and yes, the corn was excellent.

Mainline Hobbies is one of the nicest hobby shops in the United States especially for HO stuff (maybe the nicest with Caboose Hobbies shutting down). They had BLI Trackmobiles in stock. I got a yellow one with DCC, along with a bunch of other supplies. When I got home, I decided to test the Trackmobile. I really did not expect it to run very well. Wow, was I in for a pleasant surprise. The little engine runs great (see video below). It manages to traverse the dead frogs on the turnouts without a problem. It also had surprising pulling power. The only drawback is that it doesn't have sound. Nonetheless, I definitely plan to integrate it into the operations scheme. Plus, Alicia says, "It's cute!"

1 comment:

  1. I've had a BLI Trackmobile in my operations for several years, serving the Lehigh Cement Transfer (prototype in Union City, CA, south of Oakland). It has run very well and can pull 2 or 3 100T cement hoppers. BLI warns of limited lifetime, so I bought a spare on the 2nd run but haven't needed it. Looks good and, as noted by Bernie, runs surprisingly well.