After busying myself for a while with the bogies and couplers, it’s time to start detailing the flatcar. Though they are not that striking at first glance, the details will significantly add up to the overall picture. And since they are the most visible parts, I’m starting with the trusses or more specifically the queenposts.
Those of you who have been following along for some time will remember, that I started my first own garden railroad during 2017. After I got stuck with it, so to speak, it was at the end of 2019 with a heavy heart that the railroad got deconstructed and I refocused on rolling stock. However, on the one hand I do need some sort of test track and on the other hand I don’t want to banish the dream of some future garden railroad altogehter.
So I’m pleased to announce that during the summer of 2020 the Lead Road Railway came into being.
This time, believe it or not, we’ve had three battery-powered units in service, most of the time each had its own operator, too. Alas, the weather didn’t play along all the time, so a spontaneous layout extension was realized at the roofed porch. My No.1 braved the rain several times and did quite well. The encapsulated electronics really pay for themselves.
Based on my lessons learned during the last operation session, I’ve already started to mount couplers to the bogies. The result works very well, however I’m not quite happy with the looks: too clumsy, too heavy. So I’m trying a more delicate approach for the second coupler.
Our Summer Operation Session was a lot of fun, but most of all it was informative. I learned three very important lessons concerning my flatcars:
- Frame-mounted couplers need large radii
- Bogies need clearance for operational reliability
- Bogie-mounted couplers increase reliabilty
This operation session was scheduled rather spontaneously and spurred me into building a prototype for a flatcar. Accordingly, I was quite expectant concerning the experience I’d gain with the new waggon.
Since we only had a relatively short time for operations and I was preoccupied with test runs, there are only a few pictures. In return, I learned lots of lessons.
After preparing the frame and floor boards, construction can continue with the underframe. The main components are the body bolsters, needle beams and trusses. Unfortunately, I don’t have got a complete set of diagrams, so I had to guesstimate concerning the longitudinal and cross trusses. However, it’s not rocket science.
Based on my experiences from the flatcar experiments I’ve decided to construct a prototype for 26′ flatcars. The model is going to be built from red cedar and purchased Piko bogies.
Before I start the actual construction of my planned flatcars, I’d like to know first which limits the tracks will pose on them. I’ve only ever known classic model waggons, which have their couplers on beams attached to the bogies. This design ensures high operational reliability because the couplers can follow even the tightest curve radii. However, it’s not a pretty sight.
So I’d like to build a few test waggons in order to learn how the couplers perform when attached to the waggon’s body.
For our next operation session I’d like to contribute a few waggons of my own. In that way I will stick to my intentions, that is to focus on a complete train for the time being.
One better starts small. That’s why I’ve picked the construction of freight waggons, precisely: flatcars. The reasons are natural: most US freight waggons based on flatcars or were closely related to them. Furthermore they make the easiest waggons to model, apart from disconnects and skeletons.