NYC&Stl Pacifics

Discussion in 'Scratchin' & Bashin'' started by nkp174, Nov 9, 2006.

  1. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    Hello all :wave:

    I've spending several months researching how to scratch build a several steam locomotives and cars. I've currently got a DSP&P pay car under construction, but my lack of a lathe and mill have prompted me not to built the appropriate Dawson & Bailey 4-4-0 #2 which pulled the car. I cannot find a source for the necessary 44" O scale driver centers.

    Instead, I'm inclined to pursue building either a Nickel Plate K class pacific or an R class ten wheeler. Since my father has the Alco builder's photograph of K-1b 168, and I have the builders photograph and drawings in the Nickel Plate seems to be a better choice. Some basics on these engines:
    Built with 73" drivers (later increased to 74" through the addition of thicker tires).
    22.5"x26" cylinders
    Weight on drivers: 148,500-159,300lbs.
    Total weight: 245,000-265,100lbs.
    Boiler Pressure: 200psi
    Grate Area: 50.23 sq ft
    height above rails: 14'10.25"
    driver wheel base: 13'
    engine wheel base: 34'
    lead truck wheels: 36" dia
    trailing truck wheels: 45" dia
    Tractive effort: 30,700lbs
    Factor of Adhesion: 5.0 (insane!)
    160-163 were built by Lima...164-169 were Alco Brooks.
    Walshets valve gear
    Franklin Type D reverse gear

    My plan is to get my hands on an Athearn Genesis USRA light 4-6-2 mechanism. If memory serves me well (although I don't have a book on me to verify it), USRA light pacifics had 73" drivers, a 13' driver base, 34'6" wheel base, Walschets valve gear, and 25"x28" cylinders. If Athearn's model is accurate, then I can harvest the frame, running gear, and drive train to build a new boiler over the top of. I would prefer not to use Bowser's mechanism since it has 72" wheels and would require a bit more work to make it as smooth as the Samhagosa assembly used by athearn. I will need to replace the USRA trailing truck with the appropriate style. I'm not extremely concerned about these, because I took my digital calipers to my Rivarossi berk (65" drivers instead of 69"), my Athearn Mike (61" drivers instead of 63"), and my brass NKP hudson (75" instead of 73/74")...but I'd prefer to get it right...and later use the 72" Bowsers for building an R class 4-6-0 with which they would be right on.

    I will use the tremendous MR articles from October 1997 through May 1998 for my anything else I learn here on the guage :) Previously I have kitbashed plastic HO cars into HOn3, scratch built styrene structure and rolling stock components (windows, doors), assembled Grandt Line and Clear Creek Model's kits, but my only experience in working with metals has been in repairing a brass passenger car with a mix of glue and solder. So my work is cut out for me...all while doing this on what money I can spare from research stipend. I have $30 a month for my whater I get for Christmas...and my wife knows I want resin casting supplies!

    I believe the tender is pretty close to the USRA specs, so I don't know if I'll need to build it or not (I don't have a set of USRA drawings currently). The primary difference is that I'll need to fabricate a new boiler...after I can afford to buy the mechanism to use for design specs...I'll probably be building a Lima model...162 had a reputation for being the best pacific on the railroad...I grew up within 10 miles of the Lima Locomotive Works. It'll probably be a while before I can afford all the detail part castings, but it'll take me a while to finish the engine. Despite the commonly held belief among Nickel Plate modellers that they were based off of NYC power (plausile considering the NKP's ownership of the NYC at the time), the NYC power books do not provide information of any similar NYC pacifics. (yes, the NKP was owned by the Van Swerigans, whom owned the NYC...later they owned the NKP, C&O, Erie, and PM...the NKP was their flagship road)

    Do any of you have any experience in modifying the Athearn pacifics? Do any of you know how close to scale the drivers, wheel spacing, and running gear are? Do their motors take well to adding a ton of weight (with a factor of adhesion of 5, this engines did not slip :D)? Has anyone performed a similar conversion?
  2. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Sounds like a great project. You might try and get in touch with Gauge member Ray Marinaccio - he does a lot of this kind of work, and also has the required metal working equipment, if memory serves...

    Here's just one example:

  3. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    I'm not familiar with the prototype that you wish to duplicate, but I'm curious as to how different it is from the Athearn boiler. If you're merely interested in learning to fabricate it in brass, then I do understand.
    As far as adding weight to these locos, you'll not likely be able to get enough weight into it to stall it. When I was testing my Athearn Mikados to see if they could stand to have weight added to them (I didn't want to go to the trouble of adding a lot of weight to them if they were going to stall because of it), I ran one with a "saddle" of sheet lead draped over the boiler top. Manually holding the tender in place so that the loco couldn't move, I was pleased to see that it was still able to slip its drivers. The weight of the "saddle" was 22 ounces, far more than I eventually managed to cram into the boiler.

  4. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    thank you for the helpful advice. I'll contact Ray and see if he has any tips to share. I'm also pleased to hear that the motor is adequately strong on the Athearn engines. The boilers on the NKP pacifics were a bit different from the USRA engines.

    My goals are basically this: I would like to have all three classes of Nickel Plate passenger power from 1948...R class 4-6-0s, K class 4-6-2s, and L class 4-6-4s. The Ls are available in brass (i have one). The others have never been offered. I would also like to have all of the freight power, H-5 and H-6 Mikes, S-1 and S-2 berks, U class 0-8-0s, etc...
    Life Like has produced accurate 0-6-0s, 0-8-0s, and berks. There are multiple sources for the mikes. The Spectrum is almost a dead ringer for some of the dad has the whistle off of one of them. So, I need to build the Ks and Rs. I also have a grand NYC&Stl system trackplan. I grew up around the 765, so I'm obsessed with the NKP. Part of the plan includes scratch building the necessary passenger cars...but using resin casting to duplicate my masters into a complete roster.

    I also have an On3 project for the DSP&P in 1884. This consist of building the roads only 4-4-0 and the pay train to match, building or bashing the Cooke moguls and Baldwin consolidations, and either buying brass or building the mason boogies. Again, I will use resin casting and assembly line techniques to build these cars. I use cork board as a base to build my jigs, and I've fully studied the differences between the different cars (Barney and Smith coaches, Pullman Palace sleepers, etc...), so I'll be able to use my existing frame jig to produce all of the underframes...or I'll cast them once I have a 42'6" car master.

    Due to the availability of HO components, I'm starting with engines in HO and working on the passenger cars in On3.

    Attached Files:

  5. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Thanks for posting the photo of the NKP Pacific. I don't have an Athearn Pacific on hand for comparison, but I believe that the cab/boiler assembly on the Athearn Mike is the same as on their Pacific, so I compared your NKP visually to one of my Mikes. The boiler seems to be a similar diameter, although with the smaller drivers on the Mike, it's hard to say for sure. The steam dome looks pretty similar, although the sand box looks to be different. Not sure about the running boards, but it's fairly easy to raise or lower them as required. One big difference is the cab: the one in your prototype photo appears to be quite a bit longer, from front to back. The back seems to be in about the same position, relative to the frame, as the Athearn, but the front of the prototype cab is about 2' or 3' closer to the front of the loco. The piping, air tanks, etc. are easy enough to change, if need be. That trailing truck is available from Precision Scale, or you could use one from a Tyco/Mantua Mikado, or, as I did on my Bachmann USRA Light Mountain, from a Rivarossi Pacific.


    The tender looks pretty close to the Athearn one, and the correct trucks are available from Bachmann (see the photo above), so you can also have current pick-up from the tender.
    Whichever route you choose to build your NKP locomotive, good luck, and please keep us posted on your progress.

  6. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    Good ideas on the trailing trucks! The boilers are actually quite a bit different. The USRA light Mikes and light Pacifics actually had quite a bit different boilers...The mike's are much closer to the NKP pacifics. I think I'll also check into the lead truck with your suggestion on the trailing truck...the USRA's had 33" ponies instead of the 36" on the Ks.
    Since I am going to need to learn how to work with brass for the DSP&P 4-4-0, I'm inclined to build the right boiler. Once I have it most of the way done, and starter holes drilled, I'll try casting it in resin so I can have all ten Ks eventually with a little more time than it takes to have one.

    Thanks for the heads up on the tender trucks...I was wondering where I could get them...I also thought the Athearn tender was fine...I intend to have power pickup from all 20 wheels. My wife is going to help me with photoshop to project the builders photogragh into a 90 degree side shot for uploading to CAD at school and producing drawings from that augment the drawing available in the Nickel Plate Story. I believe that the boiler is probably of a NYC design due to the close relations of the railroads during the time period.
  7. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    It sounds like you know what you're doing, so, as I said, I'm looking forward to seeing this take shape.
    If you're able to get the Athearn mechanism that you need without actually having to buy a complete loco and tender, you might want to think about the USRA-style tender offered by Bachmann with their USRA light Mountain. It's almost identical to the Athearn in appearance, but it's available with the proper style trucks and the "coal" load is removeable: a big plus if you need to do any modifications around the coal bunker. I modified the tenders on my Athearn Mikes to allow for an open bunker and loose coal load, but the tender shell is quite thick, resulting in a slope on each sidesheet, from the edge bead on the top outer edge, down and inward to the actual inside face of the tender. The Bachmann tender allows a pretty straightforward cut, with no taper.
    As you're probably aware, Bachmann parts are usually readily available. The tender, minus the circuit board, is covered by two separate part numbers.
    H81604 is the body of the tender, including the removeable coal load.
    H81610 is the chassis, consisting of the floor, weights, trucks, coupler, mounting hardware and axle wipers.
    If you want just the trucks and wipers, with the mounting hardware, call Bachmann and explain that you want the trucks that are meant for the H81610 Chassis. The Athearn tender needs a modification to the mounting area if you wish to use the Bachmann trucks, but it's easy and pretty much self-explanatory.

  8. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    I received word from Athearn today that they won't sell any of the parts I need separtely. I'll have to be on the look out for an engine that's had its boiler damaged so I can get it cheap.
  9. Chessie6459

    Chessie6459 Gauge Oldtimer

    Sounds like this one should be fun. Keep us posted on it.:wave:
  10. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Have you considered other manufacturers besides Athearn? Model Power, IHC, Mantua, and Mehano have all built USRA light pacifics. Most of their mechanisms seem to be pretty good, especially if you replace the stock motor with a can motor. You can get the tender you want from Bachmann, and your plan is to scratch build the boiler anyway, so the lack of detail or just cast on detail of these cheaper locomotives would not be an issue. Keep us posted on your progress. I'm looking forward to seeing it take shape.
  11. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    I looked into Bowser. I don't like IHC's drivers, running gear, etc...(I have one of the pacifics). I didn't realize Model Power made a pacific (let alone IHC)...and I didn't check into Mantua's either...I'll try to find out what their pacific is based on (I think it was Reading) and see how close the drivers/valve gear are to a NKP pacific.

    Thank you for the ideas.
  12. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    I just realized that BLI will be offering a USRA light pacific. I've emailed them to see if I'll be able to acquire the parts I need.

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