Tuscarora Railroad

The Tuscarora Railroad is a 1:20.3 garden railroad located in suburban Denver, Colorado. The railroad is based on the East Broad Top RR which still operates today as a tourist line in Orbisonia, PA (south-central PA). Be sure to check out Garden Railway Basics , Kevin's book on building and maintaining garden railroads for information on how the TRR was built.

Location: Denver, CO

Monday, December 5, 2011

EBT #7

In 1881, the East Broad Top RR found itself in need of a new locomotive. Naturally they turned to their good friends in Philly at Baldwin to see what they could do. Baldwin delivered a new 2-8-0, built to the same drawings as the D&RGW's "70-class," later designated their "C-19" locomotives. This loco featured 37" drivers, and developed nearly 19,000 pounds tractive effort--more than twice that of any of the EBT's other locos. The loco, named "Aughwick," would serve on the railroad until 1913, when it was sold to the Ohio River & Western RR. It survived on that railroad until the line ceased operations in 1931, having the dubious honor of pulling the last train.

Number 7 went through a series of mechanical and cosmetic changes over the years. The photo above shows the loco shortly after delivery. In the mid 1890s, the loco received new main rods that connected to the third driver instead of the second. Some reports indicate this was done so to try to smooth the ride. Whether this was effective or not is lost to history, but #7 appears to never have been known for comfort.

In the late 1890s, #7 ran headfirst into #8, causing significant damage to the front ends of both locomotives.

But perhaps the most notable change to #7 came in 1908, when it was being stored inside the EBT's paint shop when the shop burned down.

Damage was significant, as this photo shows. Seemingly all of the wood parts on the loco were badly burned. The tender tank appears to have suffered a great deal as well, though it's unclear how much damage the tender frame would have incurred.

After the fire, the EBT rebuilt #7, with a new steel cab--a curiously tall affair presumably built by Baldwin, as it strongly resembled the cab on #11, which they were building for the EBT around the same time. Unfortunately, no photos of #7 in service on the EBT after its rebuilding have come to light, so its post-fire appearance remains something of an enigma.

This is the "next" known photo of #7, taken after it was purchased by the OR&W. It was originally numbered #14 on that railroad, and later changed to 9669 after the Pennsy took over and renumbered all the locos.

What's not known is when the tender behind #7 was changed. The tender that's seen behind it on the OR&W has all the hallmarks of a Pennsylvania RR tender as opposed to a Baldwin tender. Most likely, the EBT kept the original tender (maybe putting it on a new frame after the fire), but the OR&W replaced it with a larger capacity tender.

The Model

I've always liked #7, and when Accucraft came out with their D&RGW C-19, I was seriously considering saving my pennies for one. Alas, when I saw the model, I realized I'd have to make changes to many of the details to get it to resemble the EBT's locomotive. That's normally not a problem for me, but there was just something about buying a $2,500 locomotive only to not use the vast majority of it that didn't sit well even with me (the CFO notwithstanding). So, despite my desires, that option was out.

The next option was to scratchbuild one. Only one problem... I hate scratchbuilding locomotive drive mechanisms. Yeah, I can do it, but it's just not the tops of my "fun" list. So anything that requires such an effort gets bumped down below other projects that don't require such tedious measures.

Enter Barry's Big Trains. I had always heard good things about the quality of his drive mechanisms, but didn't have any firsthand experience with them until I built my EBT #3. That, a subsequent remotoring of TRR #3 with one of his replacement gearboxes, and tweaking a friend's 4-6-0 chassis sold me on the quality of his stuff. The things are about as top drawer as you can get. Strong motors and gears, and very smooth operation allowing for very slow speed starts and stops. So, after a short period of boredom not having a locomotive project to work on, I e-mailed Barry the drawings for #7, and ordered a custom chassis from him.

After a few months wait (well worth it), this is what arrived in my mailbox. The drivers are Barry's custom-cast 36" drivers--technically 1" too small, but you have to consider that locomotive drivers were frequently shopped and resurfaced. It wasn't uncommon for driver diameters to vary as much as 3" to 4" from what was specified before the drivers had to have new tires fit to them.

Next, what to do for the cylinders, valve gear, and all that fun stuff. As luck would have it, I had a somewhat surplus locomotive that could be used for this project. My model of "old" Tuscarora RR #2 (as opposed to the 1920s version documented elsewhere in this blog) hadn't turned a wheel in quite a while. In truth, I was never 100% satisfied with how that loco turned out, and after gutting the old R/C electronics out of the tender, I was on the fence about what to do with it. After doing some quick measurements, I discovered that the cylinders, valve gear, and domes from that loco would be almost spot on for #7. So, #2 got scrapped, with its parts now being used for #7.

If I were to model #7 as built, I could have used the main rod from the 2-6-0. Since I'm modeling the loco as it presumably appeared after the 1908 fire, I needed a longer main rod. By happy coincidence, the main rod from the Bachmann 4-6-0 was nearly a perfect fit. It's actually about 1/8" too short, but it's not noticeable. The only thing is that the crosshead nearly touches the back of the crosshead guide support (whatever that's called--it's escaping me right now).

Here's a view inside the chassis at the valve gear. My original thought was to just use the Bachmann valve gear as it came off the locomotive, but there were clearance and fitting issues to deal with. When combined with the fact that no one would actually see the valve gear because it was behind the frame, I decided to simplify things, and just modify the eccentrics so they simply moved back and forth without any kind of working reverse mechanism. I also had to grind the top of the rods down so not to rub on the cap of the frame.

The boiler is formed from a section of PVC pipe. The pipe itself is too small, but the PVC pipe couplings were the right diameter. So I cut a bunch of rings out of some couplings, then placed them at points where domes, handrail stanchions, and other fittings would be attached to the boiler. The aluminum foil tape at the end is to simulate the boiler jacket folding down over the lagging.

Here's the progress to date. The cork wrapped around the smokebox is to expand that to the proper diameter. The black tubing for the smokestack, headlight, and pilot are just fillers for aesthetic purposes. They'll be replaced by pieces that better match the prototype.

More updates as events warrant.