O to On30 Diesel Conversion?

Discussion in 'On30 Forum' started by riverotter, Feb 17, 2008.

  1. riverotter

    riverotter Midwest Alliance Rail Sys

    I'm building a switching layout as my first foray into On30 and due to space limitations, I'd like to use a small diesel switch engine (e.g., an SW-1) instead of a steam loco (I know it's probably not prototypical). How hard would it be to convert, say, an Atlas O 2-rail DC switcher to On30, and what work would that involve?
  2. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    On30 runs on HO track, so an HO mechanism would be a better starting point. Plus O scale body components.
  3. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    Yep, just pick an HO mechanism that works for you, and build a superstructure in O scale. That could mean building something from the frame up, or just cutting the roof off the cab and raising it to fit an O scale person.

    Or you could get one of these.
  4. riverotter

    riverotter Midwest Alliance Rail Sys

    How about something like this as a starting point?


    It's an Atlas O.

    Is there any chance I could just push the wheels closer together (to HO gauge)?


    Thanks for your feedback!
  5. riverotter

    riverotter Midwest Alliance Rail Sys

    That sounds like a good idea. I'm using Peco code 100 On30 track (with wider tie spacing than HO track), so wheel flanges should be no issue. Maybe I could take an HO SW-1 mechanism (for example) and find an O scale shell that would fit?
  6. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    No. Not without major reconstruction.

    If you want that style, you could raise the roof on a Bachmann Plymouth switcher:

    Model Power makes an MDT that is actually too big for HO, it might be close, or less work to convert:
  7. riverotter

    riverotter Midwest Alliance Rail Sys

    Do you mean literally take an HO scale switcher and just build up the cab? That would certainly be about the quickest conversion!
  8. riverotter

    riverotter Midwest Alliance Rail Sys

    Cool! I'll get busy looking for one of these!
  9. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    Or, you could buy a Bachmann or Accucraft On30 gas mechanical switcher.
  10. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    Either he missed it, or it's not what he's looking for, or he's bent on doing it the hard way... :p
  11. riverotter

    riverotter Midwest Alliance Rail Sys

    Actually, I just bought an HO MDT and one of the cab conversion kits from Boulder Valley Models. Of all the excellent suggestions, I thought this was the best way for me to go (given my modeling skill level - if you could call it that!).


    P.S. I put one of my HO SW-1s on the On30 track with an On30 boxcar and what do you know -- the couplers heights matched up perfectly!
  12. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    Until I had a chance to look at scale drawings of thirty inch gauge rolling stock, I thought it was just a coincidence that the coupler height was the same for HO, and On30.
    I have made the commitment to set the couplers at the same height as 3' gauge. (my brakeman has a back problem :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:)
  13. HarryHotspur

    HarryHotspur New Member

    Mechanically and electrically that will work fine. The problem is the shell will probably look grossly over sized. The reason is that narrow gauge locos were usually built smaller in almost all regards (HxWxL) than their standard gauge counterparts.

    I don't know if the SW-1 was ever build for narrow gauge, but if so you might be able to find the prototype dimensions on line and compare them with O scale shell. Of course, if there was no prototype, you can freelance whatever you like - actually, you can do that regardless if it suits you.

    A lot of modelers say S scale standard gauge shells are about the right size for ON30 steam locos, so you might want to consider this approach. My personal rule of thumb is that "If it looks OK to me, I gonna do it." Good luck. :thumb:
  14. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    There were no narrow gauge SW1s. That does remind me, though: EMD Export Page A 6-axle SW1200 to spread the load. I believe this is metre gauge.

    Locos of North American standard gauge dimensions have been built or converted for 3' and metre gauge, but they'll be a bit big for smaller gauges.
  15. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

  16. wjstix

    wjstix Member

    ...or your link didn't work, I tried it both places and it came up with a blank page !! :mrgreen:
  17. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    It was working. Apparently Bachmann is re-tooling their website or something, because their product search is "temporarily unavailable".
  18. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Member

    EMD exported SD45's to Brazil for a meter gauge iron ore railroad. To get around the weight on the rail issue, they used D trucks like the ones used on the UP Centennials making the engine a DD45M. I've seen HO SD9 chassis used under EMD G12's for a cheap and reliable way to power narrow gauge diesels.

  19. Catt

    Catt Guest

    Some food for thought or a picture is worth a thousand calories :mrgreen:

    Couple lousy pics of one of my 0n30 critters :D



    What it is/was.

    Loco is based on the KATO HO scale NW2(Athearn SW-7 bluebox loco would work too).The walkway and steps are scratchbuilt,while the cab is a modified Bachmann 0n30 steamer cab.

    The single exhaust stack is a cut down drinking straw.I made cab doors .but I just can't seem to talk myself into installing them.Future plans call for a rear headlight and working ditchlights on both ends (this part of the Grande Valley Railway is a modern day narrowgauge railroad)
  20. kennyrach

    kennyrach Member

    TO me the o scale body are to big for on30 and the S scale standard gauge body are about just right size for ON30 .i build all mt on30 item like car engine and building in S scale .You can see one of my scratch build truss bridge here http://www.zealot.com/forum/showthread.php?t=169191

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