Building a steam railmotor (2005)

Ted Polet

For many years I had a 1960s Peco ´Jeanette´ whitemetal locomotive which has always been mounted on a Minitrix dock tanks chassis. Back in 1968 this loco was used in a railmotor incorporating bits of an Egger bogie coach. Later the locomotive was replaced by an unlikely vertical boiler contraption and the body was re-used to build a crane tank locomotive.

At some stage the crane jib was removed from the model and the loco was assigned yet another duty. For a time it worked the branch steam tram, and in more recent years it was experimentally fitted with a Mashima motor and used to shunt the distillery at Rae Bridge. During this chequered career I always remembered that first railmotor which, in hindsight, was quite a pretty model. So recently I decided to re-use the loco in another railmotor. At the Valkenburg show of 2003 I found a Golden Arrow etched coach body at the Society´s second-hand sales stand, which I decided to use for the purpose. Prototype photos, found in an old magazine clipping from 'The Engineer', came in quite well to design a believable model. Here is one of them, an articulated railmotor of the Great Northern Railway.

I removed one compartment of the coach and the rear portion of the loco body, then installed a pivot between the two, using the rear coupler pocket on the Minitrix chassis. The loco cab roof (which I had to build up with styrene around the low weatherboard remaining on the distillery shunter) goes under the overhang of the coach roof. The model is much narrower than my usual coaching stock, but that doesn’t matter as it usually runs on its own anyway.

The Minitrix chassis had its centre wheels removed but retains the gearing to the forward wheels, so it runs quite well, being fitted with a Mashima motor. It will go through 195mm radius curves because it will be used on the branch which has a sharp reverse curve.

Still to be added are the windows, more details and working lights. Passengers, driver and fireman will have to be fitted in, and I plan to use paper strip lining on the loco body. I will put an auxiliary water tank under the coach floor (the usual place in a railmotor) and convert part of the existing tanks of the loco body into coal bunkers. Once lights are fitted I will have a good candidate for late evening workings!

More photos