HO/HOn3 conversion

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by beevee, Feb 24, 2007.

  1. beevee

    beevee New Member

    Hello there,

    Heres a little poser. My interest is in South American metre gauge copper mining railways. The intention is to run diesel outline (General Electric) locos with a variety of tank cars, flat cars and hoppers.

    All of this equipment is available as HO ready to run, and I have bought several Frateschi locos (made in Brazil) which are of GE outline. (There bodies fit straight onto Proto GP7 chassis by the way).

    Question. In HO they will look and operate ok, but I am considering going to HOn3. Is there any way for a quick conversion of bogies, and would it all look top heavy as a result. In the flesh (or metal) they all seem pretty large (standard gauge size) with the metre gauge bogies, but they look pretty small alongside the 5'6" gauge locos which run on the main line.

    Thanks. I live in the UK by the way.
  2. Fluesheet

    Fluesheet Member

    No easy way, no. I've done it with a smaller steamer when I was a kid, but it never looked right, and was time intensive. I've also visited a club where they had a couple four-wheeled (small) diesels that were converted to HOn3, but even those looked a little impossible. However, it's really up to what looks good to YOU and how much time you want to spend on it. I'm not familiar enough to comment on whether it is feasible with modern diesel bogies, someone else will have to chime in on that.
  3. Canopus

    Canopus Member

    Meter gauge is 3 foot 3 inch, so that means HOn3 would be the closest you could get.

    By "south american railways" I take it you mean railways like the E F Sorocabana? To my memory, the locomotives that run on that are very similar to the GE 70 and 45 ton, but have much more substantial trucks.

    EDIT: Should this not be in the Narrow Gauge forum?
  4. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    Beevee... years ago there was an article in MR about chopping Athearn (and Proto 2000 too - same design!) trucks down to 3' gauge.

    If you can find the October 1980 Model Railroader, on page 74 is an article called "Kitbash a trio of narrow gauge diesels".

    IIRC, he describes how he cut the axles down for the narrower wheel spacing using the existing mechanisms of the S12 and "SW1500" (was actually an SW7).

    Unfortunately, my collection of MRs went away when I downsized my living space. If you can't find a copy, or someone here doens't have it, let me know. The local MRR club has every issue of MR back to Vol. 1 Issue 1.
  5. Canopus

    Canopus Member

    Didn't Bob Hayden once regauge a GE 44 tonner to HOn30?
  6. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    In Europe, where 3' gauge wasn't/isn't common, true meter-gauge modelling exists, using TT track and mechanisms. This is called HOm.
  7. Canopus

    Canopus Member

    Actually Roco and Bemo manufacture HOm track and RTR equipment. People haven't used TT track or mechanisms since the early 1970s...
  8. beevee

    beevee New Member

    Thanks for the interest. The locos in use in my particular area of interest, which is Chile, use various GE locos a majority of which are now about fifty years old.

    I am quite happy to run what I have got on HO, but thought if there was an easy conversion with wheels I might be able to get a bit closer to prototype.

    Railways such as the FCAB (Antofagasta-Bolivia) run heavyweight freight including high capacity gas carriers which would not be out of place on a standard gauge railway. Unfortunately most HOm seems to be based on small prototypes wheras I want to run 'modern' stock on metre gauge.

    I will try and find that 1980 Railroader, I am working my way through some from the 1980's at the moment.

    Thanks everybody.:wave:
  9. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    Have you considered going to S scale? Standard-gauge HO track is about 41" in S scale... close enough to colonial gauge (3' 6") or metre gauge (39"). It sounds like you're going to be doing some scratchbuilding anyways, so if you could do it without modifying the running gear, it might simplify things.

    Railmaster Exports has a whole line of locomotives and rolling stock.
  10. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    Isn't that sort of the point? Narrow-gauge equipment is often larger proportional to gauge than standrad gaueg equipment. In fact, EMD, GE and Alco export models were sold to railroads with a variety of gauges from 2' to 5'6". They were small compared to US domestic equipment, so they looked large on narrow gauges and small on broad gauges.
  11. Canopus

    Canopus Member

    A lot of people seem to think this, but it's actually not got a lot of truth to it. Most narrow gauge equipment doesn't have much more track overhang than standard gauge does. Don't forget that in most cases the locomotives and equipment are proportionally smaller.

    American diesels exported as narrow gauge were usually just regauged standard gauge locomotives. To be honest though this kind of thing makes little economic sense. If you need to haul that much then you might as well just build standard gauge.
  12. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    is supect that, in a lot of cases, these lines were originally low-traffic lines that later became more important.
    If you have a 10' wide train on standard gauge and an 8' wide train on metre gauge, the narrow-gauge train is proportionally larger. The standard gauge train is 2.12 times as wide as its gauge, the metre gauge 2.46 times. I believe 8 feet or a little more is the typical width of US export models - they're more or less the same size as British standard gauge equipment.
  13. beevee

    beevee New Member

    Have you considered going to S scale?

    No I hadn't but looking at its a bit expensive for me and our Customs and Excise are very good at bumping the price up if they get their hands on it.

    If you need to haul that much then you might as well just build standard gauge.

    Remember many of these railways were built on the cheap anyway. The FCAB was originally 2'6" gauge and was widened back in the 1920's to be compatible with the Government sponsored metre gauge Longtidudal Railway which linked up many individuall and quite seperate systems. This virtually closed down anyway in about 1980, but we were up North in Chile two years ago and came across a train on a piece of line which hadn't been used for at least seventeen years according to the locals who came out to look at it. The Engineer, a man in his 50's said he could not even remember when it had last been used. It was his first time on the line having been sent 80 miles to collect some wagons from another line further South.

    Being on a limited budget I think I will stick with it as HO. I will be in Orlando next week for a week and want to visit some hobby shops, me for railroading and my wife for card making (I think it is called scrap boarding in the US). Any suggestions anybody, I have Googled it and many of the shops do not seem to have websites.

    Thanks for your interest :thumb:
  14. Canopus

    Canopus Member

    There's no such thing as "cheap" when it comes to investments. There's only "good" and "bad". Invest your money poorly and you get poor results. Probably why a lot of these railways either regauge, shut down, or wish they'd started with standard gauge.

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