Re-laying my narrow guage track

Discussion in 'Narrow Gauge Model Railroading' started by Glen Haasdyk, Apr 12, 2008.

  1. Glen Haasdyk

    Glen Haasdyk Active Member

    I started re-doing some of my HOn3 trackwork. When I laid it a couple years ago I was in too much of a hurry and used the wrong kind of track. I had mixed code 70 and code 55 together. the code 70 works good, but I couldn't get the code 55 to work for me without kinking and going out of guage. so I'm replacing the code 55 with code 70. I'm also removing a turnout where forced the track into a tighter curve than the one engine I have could handle.
    I started by pulling all of the track nails out and then soaking the track with water for about 5 minutes to loosen up the ground foam that I had glued in place with white glue.
    I also unsoldered the leads to the track. After the track was wetted down it lifted up quite easily, breaking only a few ties in the flextrack and none on the turnout.
    I cleaned up the edges of any plaster and scenery material that might get into the new track. When it's all dry I'll take the shop-vac to it. I'll be laying dual guage track and cutting the third outside rail off since that was the only track I could find (at a swap meet a couple years ago) and ordering new track is too costly for me.
  2. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    Glen, I didn't remember ever hearing about your HOn3 before! Do you have any other pictures on here somewhere. If not, please post more!

    What type of locomotive is that? It looks sort of like a RGS 4-6-0. And is that a Grandt Line D&RGW drop bottom gondola as well? Are you replacing flex track or hand laid? It looks like flex track to me. Shinohara turnouts?

    I'm planning on creating the same problem you have. I know that heavy On3 locomotives are good at messing up code 70 rail...but I plan on using it on my future layout regardless. I just might have to get creative when it causes trouble!

    Thank you for keeping us apprised of your current work!
  3. Glen Haasdyk

    Glen Haasdyk Active Member

    I never really bothered to post since the narrow guage is small and until now, unoperable. I hope to change the latter by the end of the weekend.
    Today I replaced the track, using Shinohara flextrack:

    I tested it by rolling a set of trucks as well as a car over it, making sure that the bumps were all smoothened out.


    I soldered new leads to the track, using my trusty cold heat soldering iron (works great BTW!)
    In the forground is a scratchbuilt flatcar carrying a lumber load. I built it years ago for something to do before I even had a layout.
  4. Glen Haasdyk

    Glen Haasdyk Active Member

    Just a quick pic of the engine in the background of the first picture.


    It's an MDC/roundhouse 2-8-0 inside frame. It's the only operating narrow guage engine that I have. I added a set of NWSL gears to it but it still retains he original MDC motor. I've never run it except to break it in on the workbench. It still need couplers added though.
    I also have an MDC hon3 two truck shay but haven't finished putting it together.
  5. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    Looks good! I'm surprised sometimes at the prices of some of the HOn3 brass locomotives. The smaller rio grande engines sometimes go for around (and less than) $200. Your MDC kits are now worth more than they were when new. The outside frame version like yours looks way nicer than the inside frame version I have. Something about the boiler size.
  6. Glen Haasdyk

    Glen Haasdyk Active Member

    A couple years ago a fellow modeller was getting out of HOn3 and gave me a box of parts for these engines. Turns out there is enough to build 2-3 more of these engines. I have frames and drivers for 2 inside frame and one outside left as well as the boilers, cabs and tenders. The only things I'm missing are the motors and some gears for them. I also have a couple of the 3-1 kits of the 0-8-0t engine (dummy)
    The Shay has the drives assembled but I haven't tackled the side drive shafts yet. I picked that one up cheap as a basket case but all the parts are there.
  7. Glen Haasdyk

    Glen Haasdyk Active Member

    I soldered the leads to the track and finally I managed to run a locomotive. I think the engine needs some tweaking, since it runs in stops and starts, but at least it's better than before.
    here's the last three pictures of this weekend's project:


    The future engine facilities and log transfer area. The track ing the foreground is HOn3. The background track is HO the idea is to transfer logs from the narroaw to the standard gauge and then move them down the switchback to the sawmill below.


    Towards the end of the line, where I plan to build a boom-type log loader from a spar tree. as well as other logging projects. The track on the right is operable, the track on the left, isn't. The short siding on the far left will be an engine shed for the shay, whenever I get that finished (the shay I mean)


    Just one last parting shot.
  8. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    Sounds like you got a few good deals for your HOn3 power. Did you use the NWSL gears for them?

    Your layout looks great.
  9. Glen Haasdyk

    Glen Haasdyk Active Member

    The rest of the consolidations are all in pieces. I think I do have some NWSL gears in the parts but I'm not sure. The Shay I'm putting together using the stock parts and the Shay handbook open on the bench.
  10. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    If you didn't see it, here is how I built my inside frame consolidation:

    These kits take a whole lot of tinkering, filing, and tweaking, yet still fun to put together. I used the NWSL gearing for my IF 2-8-0 and the standard MDC gearing for my OF 2-8-0. I actually think the OF runs a little better. I am not sure if the NWSL gear kit is still available, but I know you can get the gears seperately.

    If you need a motor, get a junked CD rom drive (you may find someone throwing one out, or you can get one for 1-2$ at a thrift store). I pulled a few motors out of CD rom drives that are nearly identical to the one I got from NWSL for my 2-8-0.

    The biggest binding issues I had were on the side rods and crossheads. It took a lot of careful filing to remove interfering flash and interfering parts. Also, the MDC drivers have a tendancy to get out of quarter on the IF loco, and also tend to wobble on the centers. I have found that most of the wobbling is due to the tires not being true to the centers. This can be fixed with an NMRA gauge and finding the spots where the gauge is either slightly wider or slightly narrower and then adjusting the metal tire on the plastic center. I wound up building a special quartering device for the MDC HOn3 drivers. I was told the NWSL quarterer would not work for drivers of this size.

  11. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    Kevin, I had the exact same issue with the crossheads on mine. I had to tinker to get it to work. Otherwise, it's been without issue (other than parts getting broken off from time to time). Originally I went way out of my way to get IF version...ever since, I've wished I'd gotten the OF version. I built a Grandt Line diesel before the 2-8-0...both during high around 8-9 years ago. The Grandt line diesel was definitely the nicer engine.
  12. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    Kevin, I don't visit General talk, too often, so missed your thread on #3. Nice work!, and quite a history!
    So Far I haven't experienced any problems with quartering, and this is the first I've heard about them. I'll have to keep an eye on the IF 2-8-2 I did from the MDC IF 2-8-0.
    I have seen MDC drivers where the tires were loose on the plastic centers, and needed to be trued, and ACC'd. My OF 2-4-4-2 has been running well for over twenty years now, so I have no major issues with MDC.
    Athearn now owns the product line. I have been digging up all my HOn3 instruction sheets, for the next time I'm at show with Athearn. All they got was a list of Part Numbers, with no description of what they were. They had no idea that they had any HOn3 kits! :confused:
    One of my projects, on hold for too long, is adding flanges to the "blind" drivers that come with the 2-8-0 kits.(I have a lot of them left over from other projects)
  13. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member


    They most not ever check the resale prices of the old MDC kits...since it sure seems like those old MDC HOn3 kits go for noticeably more than their HO kits.

    I really wonder how much attention some manufacturers pay to the current prices of existing models. If they did, we'd have 3 different options for non-brass mason bogies rather than 3 different C-16s :rolleyes:
  14. Glen Haasdyk

    Glen Haasdyk Active Member

    I'm probably going to build the inside frame engine out of parts and then maybe find homes for the other two, since I don't see myself needing two of each.
    One thing, I think my problem might be electrical and not the engine, I'm using Sinohaa turnouts and I neglected to isolate the turnouts from power feeding back so I might have a short somewhere in there.
  15. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    The best thing to do with those shinohara turnouts is to put plastic rail joiners on the two diverging rails from the frog. I have also cut the rails just beyond the frog using a dremel, but be careful not to nick adjacent rails!

    As long as you only power the point end of the turnout, you are okay and don't need to cut the rails. But this means the power to the diverging routes is entirely dependent upon contact at the points, which is never very reliable. But if you want more than one power lead to your whole layout, you either need to cut the rails or use plastic joiners. If the trunouts are still loose, I recommend doing this at the workbench.

    Oh, and poor contact at the points has always been a problem for me. I use the caboose industries sprung ground throws to hold the points against the stock rail. You may also want to investigate using some kind of turnout control that uses contacts to route power to the points and frog (caboose also makes one of these).

  16. Glen Haasdyk

    Glen Haasdyk Active Member

    That's what I plan to do. I've done that with all my Peco turnouts on my standard gauge, since they do the same thing. I'll probably look out for some caboose industries ground throws. As I said this line has been inoperable for a couple years now so it needs some work!
  17. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

    MDC 2-8-0's

    The operating charicteristics of these locomotives can be greatly enhanced by adding extra electrical pick ups to the insulated side of the locomotive an tender, so you have all wheel pick up except for the lead axle.

    with careful tweeking they can be made to run very well, especially the later issues with nickel silver wheel tires. You are lucky to have the pieces. I'd kill for some Hon3 drivers.

    The grade on my hon3 is too steep for the consolidation, so mine went to the club, but they increased the ruling grade there too, so unless I add some hidden track at the club to make a big loop, mine may have to come home, and be a switch engine.

    My narrow gauge is a small sideshow on top of my mountain. pictures in the logging minning and industrial section.

    Bill Nelson

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