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

Friday, September 14, 2018

"Little 6"

"Have I got a deal for you!"

While the exact quote has been lost to history, that's the sentiment behind the meeting between the TRR management and Southern Equipment & Iron, purveyors of fine used locomotives. It had been a few years since the TRR acquired #5 from SE&I. Truth be told, the TRR really wasn't much in the market for a new locomotive. They had 5 serviceable locos, which allowed them to always have one in reserve to cover for routine maintenance, and they had both the East Broad Top and Tuscarora Valley railroads from whom they could borrow a locomotive if dire need came up. But credit to the SE&I sales force--when something came along that seemed well-suited to one of their customers' needs, they didn't miss a beat trying to move it.

Such was the case with a small Baldwin 2-6-0. It came to SE&I from a mining operation on Michigan's Upper Peninsula. They had unexpectedly stopped operations, and their equipment ended up in SE&I's inventory. It was a small loco, with only 12,000 pounds of tractive effort; about 2/3 that of the larger consolidations on the TRR's roster.

Well, the salesman earned his paycheck that day. He somehow convinced the TRR brass that they needed a new locomotive. Number 6 arrived, and began sharing passenger duties with #4, the railroad's other smallish mogul. Passenger trains on the TRR were not high-tonnage affairs, so the little locos were quite well-suited to the task.

"Little 6" soon became a common sight on the railroad. It was a bit sluggish when asked to pull freight, but she was easy to fire and a fairly smooth ride.

Finishing the Model

The genesis of TRR #6 is described here. Like the TRR management, I wasn't really in the market for another loco for the railroad, but this one presented itself at the right time, and I had an itch that needed to be scratched.

I decided that the paint on this loco would follow along the lines of TRR #5, with a planished iron jacket, black paint, and gold lettering. It's simple but elegant. I figured the TRR, having just bought #5 recently, would have kept the same theme going. The planished iron jacket is simulated by using Testor's buffable metalizer paint "Gunmetal." It's very close in finish to Russian/planished iron jackets, and reflects the light equally well--especially outdoors.

Don't look too hard at the builder's plate and smokebox number plate on this loco. They don't match. At all. I actually meant to keep the stock LGB builders plates on the side of the boiler, but forgot to mask them off when I primed the loco for painting. Oops. So I filed them down and added new ones from my scrap box. I forget which loco these came off of, but they're "Baldwin" builders plates dated 1912. The #6 on the smokebox is from Alco loco works, and dated 1890.

The pilot deck is littered with coal dust to give the look of cinders everywhere. The pilot bearing is painted with Vallejo engine oil paint to give it an oily look.

The Vallejo engine oil paint also gives an oily/greasy look to the valve gear. Oh how I wish I could turn down the flanges on those drivers, but oh well. A little black Sharpie along the outside edge will tone them down visually if I find it too distracting.

Black acrylic paint was stippled along the top of the boiler to simulate soot from the smoke stack. Washout plugs have hard water deposits dripping from them.

A single airpump adorns the fireman's side of the loco, with tank under the cab. There's a second tank on the rear of the tender. The running boards were widened along the length of the locomotive.

I moved the cab of the locomotive back around 5/8", so I built a new floor in front of the firebox.

A proper deck plate between the cab and tender fills the gap so the fireman doesn't fall through.

Clutter on the back of the tender gives the loco a very utilitarian look. I didn't like the original location of the headlight as I had it mounted on the wood backboard, otherwise blocking the engineer's view as he would look back. So I moved the light and lowered the backboard. I also had side boards originally, but I moved the battery pack inside the tender itself, so I could get rid of them since I didn't need them to hide the battery pack. The speakers in the boiler left lots of room in the tender for the electronics.

With that, Tuscarora Railroad's "Little 6" is ready to head out on the road once again, so I'll close with a few more photos of the loco.


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