HOn3 locomotive shops

Discussion in 'Narrow Gauge Model Railroading' started by Bill Nelson, Dec 16, 2009.

  1. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

    Dummy couplers wouldn't work on my standard gauge operations, where magnetic uncoupling , and near hands free delivery of individual cars to specific locations is a big part of all operations.

    When I started my current RR I had 1 3 foot gauge locomotive that ran well enough to use, and it had only dummy couplers. To start with I just had the narrow gauge reload track, that had a standard gauge / narrow gauge crossing at one end, and dual gauge switch at the other. a single narrow gauge log train was parked on the spur, and it was either blocking the standard gauge access to the reload at the crossing, or it was out on the main, blocking the dual gauge switch at the run around track.

    Next I had the idea of adding an iron ore reload, and it was similarly limited to a couple tracks that didn't go any where. Then I got mildly crazy and added State line in dual gauge, hanging off the 45 degree ceiling above crooked creek; with a turntable, and the dual gauge staging yard.

    Then I realized that the track next to the Ore reload pointed to some roadbed that was abandoned when the Gizzard module was reconfigured to fit this railroad; so I laid track up the mountain. After I did that I had a dual gauge turntable and staging yard in state line, an ore reload and a log reload, none of which had been built with complicated operations in mind, hooked up to a main line that didn't go anywhere.

    Then I had an insane inspiration, and added a fifth level, again hanging off the sloped ceiling, six feet above the floor. I originally was going to put a turntable up there, but I had another flash of insane inspiration, and extended the shelf and added a return loop.

    I liked the return loop so much I am adding a second narrow gauge return loop around the Georgia staging yard, so whole narrow gauge trains can come and go, without switching; and be constantly in the way on the single dual gauge passing siding in Stateline.

    Since the three elements of traffic on the narrow gauge is Iron ore, logs, and passengers, and I can do all of those things, with two return loops without switching; and I haven't built the narrow gauge track with magnetic coupling in mind, I figure during operating sessions whole narrow gauge trains will come and go. Switching will be a standard gauge activity, and the Narrow gauge trains will contribute mainly by being in the way.

    with this operational concept, the dummy coulers will not be a problem, as most likely this critter will push log or ore cars from Georgia staging to Ridgemont and back, and coupling and uncoupling will not be necessary. you will need to uncouple and couple on the standard gauge, but look, there is a log train in the way again ******!

    If this locomotive doesn't like the log reload spur (I won't know till I fix a short on that siding) It will push iron ore cars to the ore reload.

    Bill Nelson
  2. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

    SML Puffing  Billy #1.jpg another project!

    I'm still not done with the 0-6-0T yet, it has brief intermittent shorts, and needs the motor leads swapped around to get the polarity right.

    I have run it it with the room dark , and when it hitches, there is a spark under the smokebox, near the added insulated pick up for the front insulated wheel; so when I tear it down to swap the motor polarity so it can double head with the rest of my narrow gauge fleet, I can look at that area and try to see if I can fix the short.

    Another locomotive has found it's way to my work bench. This is a model of a Baldwin locomotive that was exported to Australia, and was known there as a Puffing Billy. I acquired this locomotive at least fourth hand, There is no box, or identification on the model so I do not know who the importer is, or manufacturer was.

    It has been in my possession for over fifteen years. It had serious tracking problems with its trailing truck, which would derail early and often, usually causing a short. I eventually figured out that the rear truck had a wheel tire that was crooked on the insulated wheel center, so as the wheel rolled it went from in gauge to way under gauge. once I got that fixed it was much better but still did not like to go backwards through complicated track work.

    I ended up soldering a phosphor bronze wire t the rear truck and wrapping it around the rear driver axle. this serves both as a centering spring for the trailing truck.

    Like the 0-6-0T it had electrical pick up issues. I had to add a pick up wiper for the rear insulated driver, and rework the factory electrical pick ups on the front two insulated drivers.

    It wobbles going down the track. at first I thought it was a bind, but it runs very smoothly when held upside down. It seems a little weak and slow on my workbench throttle which is a leftover from a cheap Bachman trains set, so I will have to run it for a while on one of my layout throtttles, which have a lot more amps, and see how it does. If the motor is weak, it is just like one I took out of my C-16, when I installed a Locodoc conversion motor in it. That leaves me two options, I could use the old motor from the C-16, or buy a conversion motor from Locodoc, to put a modern can motor in this old tank engine,

    Cosmetically this locomotive has been altered some, it began life with a straight stack. When I got it a demented freind had installed a C&S style beartrap cinder-catcher on it. Being even more demented than him, I removed the stack and replaced it with a cabbage stack, which goes a long way to hide the locomotive's Baldwin export pedigree once this locomotive and the 0-6=0T are operating satisfactorily, there will only be two HON3 locomotives in line for work. One is a 2-4-4 outside frame Forney of unknown origin, which has already had some frame mods, and a new motor, but still isn't civilized yet, and a Ken Kidder 0-4-2T Baldwin plantation locomotive , which has had it's broken gears replaced with new gears from NWSL, but has a short in an insulated driver that I'm not really sure how to fix yet.

    I would really like to fix the little plantation engine, as it can go around impossibly tight radii, and woul be fun to use for a micro layout.

    Bill Nelson
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2014
  3. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

    I had not planned on swapping the polarity on the little o SMLA-1  Tktkewrng.jpg -6-0T anytime soon, but the intermittent short that caused a tiny hitch in it's stride looked like it was coming from right next of the hot contact between the frame and the boiler. No point in working in that area without fixing the polarity issue, so I got a start on it today.

    Bill Nelson
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2014
  4. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

    I ordered a Hon30 train set from Big City Hobbies. These are redesigns of the old AHM mini trains train sets of the late 60's early 70's; with upgraded mechanisms.

    I have one of the old 0-4-0 Porters, which I had modified to Hon3 back in the day. for 25 years it was my best running Hon3 locomotive till it's cheap mechanism died. These should have a lot of potential for micro layouts or industrial railroads on larger Ho pikes. I'll post pictures when the shipment arrives.

    What I'm going to do with these is not set in stone yet, but options include,

    conversion to Hon3 for use at the Ore transfer in Ridgemont ( see the DG CC & W thread in the logging section (hidden somewhere in 40 some od pages) ) use at the Iron furnace in Montgomery Furnace- in Hon3 or Hon30 - no track yet either could be done.

    At the club , in a mine system for the Gravestone mine (documented in the logging section as Bill and Tom's excellent adventure), also in Hon3 or Hon30, as like the iron furnace, ther is no track yet.

    also possible would be a micro layout, or any combination of the above.

    Woo Hoo I'm excited

    Bill Nelson
  5. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

    SMLA-1   0-6-0T  GC.jpg Working on the little 0-6-0T, I got the polarity revered and finally seem to have gotten rid of the intermittent short I traced it down to the front axle, by disassembling the locomotive and going over the parts with an ohmmeter. The insulated driver on the front axle was not insualted. I couldn't see anything, but I ran a dental pick around the inside and outside of the insulated driver along the line if the wheels insulation. That seemed to do the trick, apparently there was a tiny piece of conductive material that bridged the gap. I have it running , have given it the red roof and green cab characteristic of State line railroad's locomotives

    It still needs a white stripe on the footboard

    Bill Nelson
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2014
  6. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

    SMLA-1 BCH HOn30 ts  w  Hon3 2-6-0T.jpg.jpg I got my Hon30 train set from Big City Hobbies. these are reissues of the old minitrains that were sold by AHM in the 1970's

    I spread one to HOn3 back then This one might get that treatment, or remain in Hon30 and be a mine train. it also might get a micro layout to play on.

    my 0-6-0T is stuck in the picture for a size reference, and it is tiny.

    Bill Nelson
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2014
  7. gbwdude

    gbwdude Member


    Long time no chat. I saw the pics on your Facebook about the tree in your driveway and hope that's the extent of damage to your place. Everything's been fine on the north end of town and out here in the desert/highlands, although I'm sure you heard about the six guys that passed recently from the 101st... I knew four of them. Sad news but that's the real life challenges I chose to accept.

    Anyways I've been interested in possibly getting a set of the Minitrains just like you have and was thinking about using it in my quarry module. The only thing is that the WRRy takes up too much space down there the way it is and if I were to incorporate that into my plan I'd have an excessively huge module which I'm trying to stay away from. Either way I'm interested to see how she works for you, just in case in the future I reward myself with a set.

  8. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

    Tyler. with modules, space is of great concern, and usually there isn't enough room for what you want to do in standard gauge, much less adding some narrow gauge to the mix. Tom and I studded those problems back when the club was modular. we considered making a two module segment with a narrow gauge swamp railroad .

    The plan was abandoned when I discovered that my original min-trains locomotive had died . at that time I had no other reliable Hon3 locomotives, and the Great Tommawille swamp project was abandoned.

    The best way to add the mini trains to a module would be in a simple mine setting, with a simple track plan for the standard gauge, the main element being a siding to a ore bin. the narrow gauge if elevated to or above the top of the ore house ; could travel above the standard gauge on bridges, making two levels of tracks.

    Careful study has shown the new mechanisms for the minni trains are not as easily widened to HOn3 as the old one. The cover plate under the porter has little clips to hold it in place that look so fragile I'm not tempted to remove it, so I'm thinking this set will stay HOn30. I may rebuild some of the tracks near the ore transfer as Hon3o, as well as building the tram system for bringing coke to the iron furnace in HOn30 as well.

    At the Club I'm thinking some mine tracks to the Gravestone mine in HOn30 would be a very interesting touch.. These porters could be easily converted into a fireless cooker for mine use by cutting off the smokestack.
  9. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

    a new project!

    I have had a NWSL Flea drive on back order @ Walther's for about a year. for the intended project I already have a static model for a Mack Rail bus from Jordan Miniatures, and a NWSL Flea auxiliary gearbox, and two HON3 geared spoked wheel sets.

    I gave up on Walthers and ordered a Flea drive directly from NWSL.

    When it shows it and the auxiliary drive will allow me to easily set up a high quality four wheel drive mechanism for the excellently detailed Jordan Mack rail bus body.

    The resulting critter will likely get painted blue and lettered for the Marietta and North Georgia RR. My State Line RR already has a kitbashed Con- Cor pierce arrow Goose. Con Coor has since released a Pierce Arrow goose, but thier first geese were Wayne buss bodied geese, They had very good mechanisms, and were cheaper than brass geese. It was not clear that they would release a Pierce arrow goose; and I had waited 30 years for a good running goose I could afford, so I bought one and converted it to the original Pierce Arrow configuration.

    With the flea drive I will be able to build a second good looking, good running Hon3 infernal combustion unit to help keep things interesting.

    Bill Nelson
  10. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

    The Blackstone c-19s are i the country!

    I understand that the Blackstone C-19s are in the port in California! I have a painted/ unlettered version with Dcc and sound (dual mode), on order. I will soon have too many HOn3 locomotives.

    Bill Nelson
  11. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

    Hon3 shops open again

    OK they were never closed, Yesterday I was cleaning my work bench off some, and that can never last very long.

    I ended up taking the cover plate off of my old AHM minni trains porter to look at the axle gears. So far I haven't been able to see a split on the axle gears, but they are loose on the axle. I may try to clean them up and try a dab of glue, and see if I can make that tiny locomotive run again.

    Then I took apart my outside framed 2-6-2 Puffing Billy, which I have finally gotten to stay on the track, and not short out, but it is as weak as rainwater. I thought it had the same motor as I removed from my C-16 when I re-motored it with a locodoc kit, but the C-16 motor, was the same design, but slightly larger and would not fit. I did find a can motor from a late MDC kit that might fit. The can motor has much better low speed, and has more torque, so If I can make it fit it will be in there.

    I also took apart my 0-4-2 Forney, which isn't working, for testing, and it's motor, a replacement, seems to have died. I have not yet located a suitable replacement.

    Bill Nelson
  12. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

    SML A A-1 mltd drvrs.jpg SMLAA-1 frny nw mtr.jpg SNLAA-1 nw dr lnk  PB.jpg bone headed move

    well I had my ancient AHM minitrains porter that had been stretched from HOn30 to HOn3 out on the work bench.

    I had flooded the motor with contact cleaner about six or seven times, and had the motor running pretty well ( year ago it wouldn't run at all.

    Having the motor run well I thought I'd study the busted gears on the axles . The axles were pretty gunked up, and the gears were spit, cause they would turn freely on the axle. to clean them up, I put the on a paper plate, on some folded up paper towels, and flooded them with contact cleaner.

    That really helped clean them up, and I set the plate aside to dry, and started working on the motor from the little outside frame Forney, which was dead. it is still dead, but it did during testing, manage to send out an amazing spark, which ignited the paper plate.

    I got it put out without catching the work bench or the house on fire, but the cross heads and the wheels are melted some. possibly salvageable , but not easily

    The motor from the Forney is toast. it wasn't the original motor but it ran well. going down the track it sounded horrible, like it ought to be leaving a trail of brass shavings behind it. I found a motor salvaged from a GM power outside rear view mirror mechanism. it has a plastic worm, that runs quietly, and the motor starts very smoothly and at low voltage, so that project may go well.

    The Puffing Billy's motor was not easily replaced, I had one that looked just like it, put it was slightly larger and wouldn't fit. I cleaned up the old one and made some adjustments to the bracket to get a better alignment, and replaced the flexible shaft coupler with a cup and ball drive set up. It seems to start a little more smoothly and at a slightly lower voltage, so I have made some improvement.

    I am experimenting with hooking up some other wheels for the porter, but don't have a good way to add the side rods yet. nobody makes drivers that small, so ti will have to be a project.

    Bill Nelson
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2014
  13. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

  14. gbwdude

    gbwdude Member

    Oh how that makes me wish I could have my stuff over here... my vintage Lil' Monster by Athearn would have it's new motor in and my Super American project would be closer to finish. I have to completely reinvent the wheel on that one, as my basic underframe has to be scratchbuilt and gear assemblies possibly made since the wheel arrangement will make it difficult to have the backhead detailing I desire.

    Either way, I like seeing pics of progress on your pike, on or off the workbench.

  15. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

    SMLA-1 PFingbilly new  mtr  #1.jpg I brought up the NWSL web site and measured the space in my Puffing billy, hoping to fit a sizable motor in it.

    No luck ! The bad news, the 16mm can motors which would fill the cab, were all too long for the cab. As a rule of thumb, bigger motors run better, so you want the biggest good quality motor you can fit. the space is limited and odd shaped in this critter, and only the tiniest 10mm-12mm- 27 mm flat can motors would fit. The good news is, I had one in stock! what do you know!

    I had a hell of a time hooking up the shafts, as the motor shaft was tiny and the gearbox shaft was fat. the old motor's shaft was the same size as the gearbox shaft, and there was a piece of tubing to make the connection. after spending most of the morning experimenting, I found some tiny medical tubing, from a pediatric central line extension (trust me you don't want to deal with these on a daily basis, but I did once upon a time , and some remnants found their way to my junk drawer. a little piece of the central line extension tubing was a tight fin on the motor shaft, and the outside of the central line tubing was a tight fit in the tubing that hooked the original motor to the .

    In this photo you can see the easy way to mount a motor to a frame. I have the motor set on some scrap wood to hold the shaft alignment right, and there is a blob of silicone bath tub caulk, that when it dries will make a fine secure low vibration motor mount.

    Double heading tests show the antlered 0-6-0T and the recently re motored Forney 0-4-4T run very well together. If the Puffing Billy works as well as it looks like it will, I will have to try to repair the Baldwin 0-4-2 plantation engine's shorted driver next.

    I may have to make a micro layout to show off these now fine running critters that can go around stupidly tight radiusses

    Bill Nelson
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2014
  16. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

    SMLa-13 ts.jpg the Forney and the Puffing Billy are almost ready to go, all three tank engines run together acceptably. all that is left is some cosmetic work, mainly painting the new motors black so they aren't as visible

    once that is done I can screw them together and start testing them on the layout. if they perform well there, then it will be time for some cosmetic work.

    Bill Nelson
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2014
  17. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

  18. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

    I hauled the Forney to the train club to test it with the GE diesel. they don't run real well, the diesel is considerably slower. I didn't get the Forney up to the sttpest track, as some of the track was very dirty, so I din't get a chance to see how well the Forney pulls, it is a heavy little monster so there is some potential there.

    Bill Nelson
  19. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

    SML ken Kidder 0-4-2.jpg Ken Kidder 0-4-2

    My oldest Hon3 locomotive, a Ken Kidder 0-4-2 had a shorted insulated driver and some broken gears. Dave Krembs, whom I corresponded with on another list was working on one, and he located the gears I needed from NWSL. .

    This weekend I got brave enough to tackle the shorted driver. I grabbed the axle with a pair of pliers, and used the body of the pliers , and a screw driver to lever the tire off of the wheel, working from side to side. I removed the factory insulation, and made some from some electric tape, which was cut a little wide to start with. after pressing the tire back on, I trimmed off any electric tape that oozed out with an exacto knife

    it is working again. runs slow. but not quiet or smooth yet.

    it will have to go the the paint shops.

    Bill Nelson
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2014
  20. S class

    S class Member

    Sorry bill but did you re-gauge the puffing billy* loco? by rights the loco should be HOn30 or HOn2-1/2 instead of HOn3 as the prototype ran on 2'6" track or is that how it came from the factory?.

    Btw there are people I know of who would love to buy that sort of loco off you if it could be re-gauged back into HOn30

    *The actual name is the VR nA class tank.

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